A daily 9/11
Over the past week I have been closely following the events in Israel. I have read the many letters in your paper concerning Americans’ views of the war on Israel. It is a given that any conflict can create situations that we, those standing by, consider horrific. It is easy to be judgmental when you’re not fighting for your life. With that being said, how many Americans would be able to cope with their cities being bombed on a daily basis, living next to bomb shelters and losing their beloved family and friends to mortar shells during all hours? We were outraged and shocked after 9/11. That is what goes on daily in Israel.
Yes, the Israel Defense Force is tough, but are our soldiers pussycats? Yes, we see pictures of things that are horrible, but Israel has time and again stated it is more than willing to sit down and have a “meaningful” discussion with Palestinians. However, Hamas announced it is unwilling to cease fire upon Israeli cities. How can we expect a country to exist amidst this terror?
In the past, Israel has demonstrated its willingness for peace by giving up land. Would the United States give up any state to appease another country? The Palestinians have repeatedly demonstrated they do not want peace; they only want “a piece of” Israel. The only way peace will come to the Middle East is through mutual alliances and the recognition that Israel is a state that will never surrender her right to exist. Unless the Palestinians and Hamas can accept Israel as a state and have a good working relationship for the betterment of both peoples, war will continue and Israel will continue to stand and fight for its right to exist.
No such thing as ‘free’
With his reporting on the PSTA park-and-ride scheme, Tribune staff writer Christopher O’Donnell has perpetuated the notion that if a service originates from the government, it is somehow “free.” According to O’Donnell, PSTA plans to pay the city of St. Petersburg for parking with money from a grant obtained from the state. The state is funded by tax revenues. So “free” parking for PSTA riders will be provided by all Florida taxpayers, whether they’re PSTA mass transit enthusiasts or not. O’Donnell further reminded readers that St. Petersburg city employees already ride PSTA buses “free” at taxpayer expense. A cynic might speculate that all this wonderful “free” stuff is simply part of the overall campaign to promote PSTA and mass transit leading up to the November referendum.
Major cities such as Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston and New York all have central hubs of industry, commerce, government and culture. These hubs are surrounded by residential neighborhoods, villages and towns. This traditional arrangement, with its predictable daily traffic pattern, supports the efficient utilization of the kind of mass transit solutions that mass transportation Utopians envision. Light rail along I-4, the Veteran’s Expressway and I-75 corridors may be a partial solution to Tampa’s commuter congestion. But the present homogeneous distribution of living, recreation and work space in Pinellas County was evolutionarily determined by the automobile, and this is unlikely to change in the immediate future. On many routes the large PSTA diesel buses are an underutilized, taxpayer-subsidized burden. We don’t need more, and in these economic hard times we can’t afford an expensive social engineering experiment with light rail.
Timothy “Mac” McDonnell
Anyone who pulls out a gun and kills another human being over texting noises is, in my opinion, a hot-headed, dangerous man. Even though Curtis Reeves must surrender his firearms and wear an ankle monitor while remaining under house arrest until his trial for the shooting death of Chad Oulson, he’s still a danger to society, as well as to himself. The man is like bottled lightning that could go off at any time.
JoAnn Lee Frank
Vote on fireworks
It’s a sad situation when the people we elect to represent us turn a deaf ear when it comes to fireworks. The lobbyists who work for the fireworks dealers — who devised that idiotic form that the buyer signs, stating they are buying fireworks for agricultural use — proves that money buys votes. It’s time we had a referendum. Let the people vote on whether the sale and use of fireworks should be allowed in Florida. The licensed and professional pyrotechnic companies would be exempt from the law.
In my area, the dealers set up their tents three weeks prior to the Fourth of July, so we’ve had to put up with the setting off of fireworks during the day and late into the night for weeks. It’s my understanding that it’s against the law to set off bottle rockets. If that’s true, why are they allowed to sell them?
Schools’ real problem
Here we go again. The state Department of Education is handing out school grades. It amazes me every year how school superintendents and school administrators (principals) promote how they changed the school reading programs, how they extended the school day and how they changed teachers even to the point of dismissing them to bring up a school grade. It amazes me that these experts never mention the family setting or the demographic areas these schools are in. They never mention the change in students at a school. I am not even an educator, and I know where the problem lies with education. It is time that these superintendents and administrators address the real problems of education.