Don’t outlaw fun
Regarding “Douse Florida fireworks bill:” It’s pretty safe to bet the The Tribune editors would side to continue to restrict people’s rights. Let’s create a bill to bar any rights to have fun. Granted, people may be injured; however, the smart individual will realize that and take precautions. State Rep. Matt Gaetz’s bill makes sense. I wonder whether we should create a bill to outlaw gunpowder so no one can be shot.
I am really confused by this whole “Duck Dynasty” controversy. It seems everybody has to chime in and throw in their two cents’ worth. Most are just trying to further their own agendas. Sarah Palin is a perfect example. She was quick to open her mouth, and later admitted she hadn’t even read the article.
What I find most confusing is this: Jesus said such things as “Judge not lest ye be judged,” “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and “Why do you worry about the splinter in your neighbor’s eye, and ignore the plank in your own?”
If these teachings are truly the cornerstone of Christian principles, then wouldn’t calling someone else a sinner also be an abomination to Christ?
Stop foreign subsidies
After the latest attempt to lower the budget deficit, Congress has decided to cut military benefits and stop the employment checks to millions of our citizens. Yet every day I see this country sending more and more foreign aid to countries, such as Egypt, that despise us. Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks charity begins at home, with our citizens, many of whom are about to become homeless for lack of a job? This country can no longer continue to subsidize these countries, particularly since we are borrowing the money.
Donald Leggett Sr.
Changing the rules
Can a field goal in football suddenly count for five points instead of three after the game ends? Changing the rules after the fact is precisely what the Obama administration and Congress have done to already retired U.S. military veterans younger than age 62. Of course, ditching previously established rules for cost-of-living adjustments that deeply slash military pensions already earned is not a game. Especially outrageous is that this recent change in law also applies to disabled veterans, prompting some members in Congress to casually state they can always just change the law back. But this change should never have been on the table as a matter of common decency, not to mention it occurred after Obama twice proposed huge increases for medical care enrollment costs and co-pays for the same group of people.
Once upon a time, the U.S. commander-in-chief, secretary of defense, and Congress stood by the troops. Sadly, now the support seems to come from veterans’ advocacy groups and those Americans who understand the importance of keeping promises made to the men and women who volunteered to serve decades ago and have met their end of the deal. Obama and his ilk should be embarrassed and ashamed.
Fred W. Van Cleave
Training for adventures
I am appalled by the suggestion that one of the best advanced dive sites in the U.S. should be closed because a diver with little training recklessly endangered an uncertified diver by taking him there. The sign at Eagle Nest in Hernando County clearly says the site is an advanced cave dive requiring special training.
Should we ban private boats from Florida’s offshore waters because many boaters are careless enough to kill themselves? Should we close all trails in the White Mountains of New Hampshire because careless hikers have died there? Should we close Grand Teton National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park because climbers have died there?
I am all for training people thoroughly for whatever adventure they choose, but forbidding adventure diminishes the human spirit.
Allen A. Smith
The Tribune reported Sunday about more excessive travel expenses by Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes (“Board member defends travel tab,” front page). This should be no surprise. Another local media outlet recently called her “clueless.”
As part of the Tribune story, Valdes spent more than $3,000 at a 2012 conference in Boston. Last May, my wife and I spent a long weekend in Boston celebrating our granddaughter’s graduation from Boston University. With round-trip airfare, four nights at the downtown Omni hotel, a rented SUV, and picking up the tab for many family meals, our expenses were about $2,500.
How in the heck did Valdes manage to spend more than $3,000 in taxpayer dollars by herself?
As a retired Hillsborough school district grant manager, I know regular school employees have expense limits and rigorous oversight regarding travel expenses. Why don’t board members have the same? After her outrageous expenses for travel between 2005-08 to places such as Disney World, Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas, other board members created a committee to monitor such. The Tribune story said that the committee has become inactive. Why?
So we all know the superintendent and her staff cannot, by law, control the travel expenditures of board members.
Only other board members can create a policy for such. Until that happens, we must assume that board members such as Valdes can book hotel suites, rent luxury vehicles and eat meals outside state and district maximums.
I would think that after several years on the Hillsborough School Board, Valdes is not going to conferences to learn much.
More likely, she is going on taxpayer-expensed junkets.