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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Jackson: Displeased readers unload

Paraphrasing Lincoln: You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Among the discontented are some of our favorite correspondents, who weigh in below. Re: Restoration project worthy of WWII vets’ triumph Your article had a picture of Edward “Rocky” Williams stating he was a lance corporal during WWII. That didn't seem correct to me, a Marine sergeant and Viet Nam vet, so I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, lance corporal was in use until the 1930s but discontinued until restructuring of ranks in 1957. Are your facts correct? Could he have been in the Corps and held the rank of lance corporal for all those years? He doesn't look that old in the picture. Glenn A. Shaw
Zephyrhills We are reminded, again, of the risks inherent in reporting on any topic steeped in facts not in common knowledge, particularly when those facts conflict with family lore. — T.J. Re: Rubio's beguiling outreach, May 3 For the record, the day I'm “cradled by that remarkable palm” will be the day I no longer draw breath. This guy will never be president. Did you read the comments following your column? Some of those folks are not only right but Republican! Clay G. Colson Land O’ Lakes Good grief, Rubio running things? Yikes!  Honesty, it would be such a relief if the fools on the hill actually worked on problems that are affecting the rest of us instead of their corporate and otherwise bedfellows. Just because we wish to be free of diseases doesn’t mean we don’t want them to work for the people. Diane Kearns-Carlstrom Tampa As a paid propagandist for the Republican Party, your position as a columnist has nothing remotely close to do with printing fact or truth in any way, manner, shape, or form anyway. I certainly understand your role, though when a person is as compartmentalized as you have to be to write some of the stuff that you put out to the public, I thought that having access to some truth might offer you the opportunity to do some introspection. At some point, fiction can become truth and that, my friend, is what I'm sure that you're banking on. John Russell Dade City You’ve written some intriguing, insightful articles on Senator Rubio. Let’s remember the two door prizes were a hand gun and a rifle at a dinner honoring a U.S. president who took a bullet to his chest in an assassination attempt. A bit of irony? One person said to me, “They should have invited Wayne LaPierre as a guest speaker.” Sure, a bit over the top but as you pointed out, there are numerous question marks regarding the Rubio/dinner event and this is one more. Tom Burke Clearwater Re: Job in “big chair” just got tougher, April 21 Column on Hillcrest Preserve case was excellent. I especially like your focus on Gallagher's replacement — you’re right, who wants to step into this snake pit! Stephen A. Bennett Wesley Chapel It turns out there were dozens interested in succeeding John Gallagher as county administrator, and a sturdy quartet willing to endure the full interview marathon. Fascinating. — T.J. Re: Pension reform's better pitch, May 1 Your example of the teacher who banks 5 percent of her $48,000 salary to build a nest-egg assumes she can afford to take $2,400 off the top of her salary (relentlessly), making her a $45,600 per-year employee. The median American income is about $50,000, meaning there are millions who earn even less, making it less likely they would be able to follow such a plan. A mortgage payment, college tuition, or any unanticipated loss of job or serious health problem would derail that plan in a New York minute; and we’re all just one job loss or health crisis away from catastrophe. … The 401(k) was never intended as a retirement plan — it was a tax dodge for high earners, which is why Congress put strict limits on how much could be invested ($17,500 for 2013), but I’ll bet you know that. The financial services industry was naturally happy to fill the void of corporate pensions as companies dropped them in response to the effects of globalization and the 20-year explosion of the stock market that seemed would never end — now that’s an act of  hubris! When the markets crashed, we got to see how well individuals really did. … IRAs and 401(k)s are good financial tools and when properly combined with other retirement income they can make an important difference in quality of lifestyle following retirement. But they are a poor substitute for pension plans. Public pension plans, in particular, are uniquely constructed to operate in perpetuity, which is why they will recover and continue to do their jobs. Susan F. Marden Sutton, Mass. (Marden is a spokeswoman for the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association.) So, which should I believe: The voice of the FPPTA, or the balance-sheet evidence of my faithfully fed 401(k)? Tough call. — T.J. Re: Near when bombs blew, May 12 I just wanted to let you know the story, as well as the pictures, were spot-on. You captured the essence of this family and the closeness they enjoy. Great job and thank you for writing it. Diana Cofield Dade City No, no. Thank you, Diana Cofield. — T.J.

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