Getting the shaft
I recently learned that Hillsborough County authorized $100,000 to study a ferry proposal between MacDill Air Force Base and Apollo Beach. I also learned that the county may commit millions to the ongoing operation of these ferries over the next 10 years. This is absolutely outrageous, and the taxpayers should remember those who voted for this boondoggle. If it is needed, it should be paid for by MacDill AFB itself or perhaps the people using the service. It should certainly not be subsidized by the taxpayers of Hillsborough County who may never be allowed to use the service.
County Commissioner Sandy Murman is quoted, “You have to take a first step to find out if you can take the next step, that’s what this does because it sets up the feasibility study — to see if this subsidy is going to be a wise use of our tax dollars.”
Well, Sandy, how about a study on how tax dollars can be spent on real improvements to the communities that actually surround MacDill AFB? Port Tampa, a community that borders MacDill, has repeatedly asked her for assistance in improving transportation and pedestrian infrastructure only to be told there is no money. Children who walk to Westshore Elementary are forced to walk on busy streets and risk being killed because there are no sidewalks. Why isn’t there enough money to serve the children outside the gates of MacDill?
Streets, water and sewer systems designed and built many decades ago in Port Tampa are now overloaded by hundreds of new homes and apartments approved by the city and county with no regard to traffic, access and modern service requirements. Are we to believe that a ferry serving an exclusive group is more important than the needs of the overall community? More important than basic services?
Requests by the Port Tampa community for road improvements in and around the community are not only laughed at or ignored by the military leadership and civilian consultants at MacDill, but by city and county representatives responsible for allocating taxpayer dollars. Even when there are community development agreements, legal contracts, between developers such as Ashton Woods, the city and MacDill AFB, convenience and back-scratching seems to trump the law. Homeowners and taxpayers are given the shaft in favor or back-room deals.
Help the unemployed
I am writing this letter simply to voice my opinion regarding the recent article “Obama will focus on economic opportunity.” It states that the United Stated has moved away from the deep recession because corporate profits and the financial markets have reached record highs. Although that may be true, most average Americans are still suffering from the recession and have not experienced any benefits of the nation moving away from the deep depression.
President Obama, as it says in the article, plans to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in order to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. The raise would definitely help the poor and middle class in America who have jobs. However, that would not in any way benefit all of the people who are still unemployed.
There are many people in this country who have been laid off due to budget cuts and such and are still having difficulties obtaining new jobs. Something needs to be done so there are more jobs available to those in need of one.
No friend to teachers
Regarding “School board opts to fire teacher” (Metro, Feb. 5): I see that Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia is sending a message to teachers again. The special-education teacher lost her job because a student who was very seldom in her class decided to walk home. This student was a habitual user of the system where he could decide to skip at will. He used every avenue at the school to skip.
Instead of the principal or other administrative employees getting the blame for letting this child take advantage of the school’s administrative personnel, they go after an Exceptional Student Education teacher, who probably was so overloaded with students that she had trouble keeping tabs of where all the students were at a given time.
Elia, being non-teacher friendly, used this occasion to let the teachers know that the buck stops at the teacher, no matter the circumstances. The old regime board members, who are blinded by the $100 million Gates grant, voted in favor of Elia’s recommendation to fire the teacher. The new members voted for the teacher. Maybe after the next election this non-teacher friendly atmosphere will change.