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Letters to the editor: Successful election

Successful election

On Monday an activist group released a report that claimed Hillsborough County voters had a bad experience during the 2012 election. Had this group sat down with me, I could have explained how its numbers told an incomplete story, and where their data was flat-out wrong.

I could have even put them in touch with one of our poll workers, who emailed me Tuesday — very upset by the suggestion that the election went awry. And why wouldn’t she be? She served as a troubleshooter for six precincts and she knows firsthand there weren’t long lines at any of them.

We rose to the challenge of putting on a presidential election in the fourth-largest county in Florida with thorough and meticulous planning. We encouraged early voting and vote by mail, and in that way served 62 percent of our voters before Election Day. Did you know we were one of only a few counties that paid the return postage on vote-by-mail ballots?

Thanks to careful planning and projection, we staffed our precincts with enough equipment and poll workers to serve our voters on Election Day. We didn’t plan for the telephones or the power to go out, but they did, and even then we reported the election results from all 347 of our precincts by 10:30 p.m. on election night.

We’re working extremely hard to ensure voting is secure, accessible and convenient for all eligible voters.

We want Hillsborough County to be the best place in America to vote.

Craig Latimer


The writer is Hillsborough County’s supervisor of elections.

Two different worlds

The Trib’s recent article “Report: 64% of Fla. jobs pay under living wage” was just a biased, poorly examined opinion from a left-wing nonprofit, so it was taken with a grain of salt. The part that was so uncalled for was naming Gov. Rick Scott as if he could have undone President Obama’s war on middle-class jobs. The majority of jobs that have come under our commander-in-chief have been mostly low-paying, unskilled, part-time employment.

As far as Florida is concerned, Northern retirees come here not just for the weather but because many can’t afford to live on a small pension and Social Security in their home states. Also, the gap between the rich and poor is appalling. It’s too bad the people who write such propaganda won’t take a ride in minority areas in a few of lefties’ utopian states. I have. It’s like two different worlds.

Thomas R. Hochschild Sr.


Tax nightmare

Regarding your Dec. 8 editorial “Move the online tax needle” (Our Views):

Per your editorial, there are estimates showing that Florida could increase its tax revenue by between $200 million and $800 million per year by collecting taxes on online sales.

The editorial criticizes the Florida Legislature for not enacting legislation that would allow the state to collect these taxes. OK, I get it. You want Florida to pass a law to start collecting taxes on online sales. Well, per the Florida Department of Revenue website, Florida already has a “use tax” that imposes a 6 percent tax on numerous purchases, including all Internet sales. The website also states that failure to comply with the “use tax” subjects a person to “certain penalties,” and provides instructions on how to remit the tax to the state.

A minor point, since the “use tax” is already required by Florida law, but the addition of a “sales tax” without a repeal of the “use tax” would be a tax increase, contrary to your statement that “Opponents make the false claim that collecting online sales tax would amount to a tax increase on Floridians.”

The real issue is that the current Florida “use tax” law is not being enforced on Internet sales because it would be a nightmare to collect. If an item were purchased from a state that has a 4 percent sales tax, the purchaser would only have to pay a 2 percent “use tax” to the state of Florida. What happens if an item is purchased via Amazon in California and shipped from New York via Georgia? How much “use tax” do I owe Florida?

Your comment that “federal law prohibits a state from collecting the sales taxes from online retailers without a physical presence in that state” is misleading without defining what is meant by a “physical presence.” For the purposes of the New York tax law that the U.S. Supreme Court failed to review, a physical presence includes an affiliate advertising on an Amazon or eBay website. I suspect most people would equate a physical presence to a brick-and-mortar store.

Ron Edinger

Dade City

Vulnerable treasures

Regarding Mike Pheneger’s “School district should reject armed officers for elementary schools” (Other Views, Dec. 6). To draw the conclusion that school resource officers’ presence causes school arrests and/or suspensions is astounding. It would be like saying high crime areas have high crime because of all the police officers who are there! I’m sure if any actual thought or research were done, he would’ve found that SROs are placed in some schools because of the already high rate of criminal or disruptive activity.

After the Columbine massacre, we’ve heard of numerous teenagers who were caught planning similar attacks. I hope and pray that those who decide to leave our most vulnerable treasures easy targets can live with the blood on their hands.

Randy Parker

Plant City

Fair trade

The Rays and the Skyway Bridge: We have two fairly large local problems that will need to be resolved in the coming years. The Rays need to be in Tampa, and we have a bridge to our port that will soon be too low to allow passage of the new supersized cruise ships. Solution: The Rays come to Tampa, and the ships go to St. Pete.

I know that stadiums and cruise terminals with deep-water channels are no small expenditures, but we can do this with a little will and cooperation. Both sides will win.

Terry Regan


Weather Center