The right direction
I commend the Tribune for printing Dr. Lynn Ringenberg’s commentary summarizing all the reasons to support the EPA’s proposed reductions in emissions from existing power plants (“Why I strongly support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” Other Views, July 28). There is sufficient alternative technology so we could stop using coal, but vested interests resist the switch to renewable energy sources.
The EPA is moving in the right direction, but even more is needed to protect our health and mitigate global warming.
Rays strike out
Our homeless ministry took 33 homeless people from Tampa to a Rays game on July 13. We drove to pick up the tickets that Saturday. We arrived for the game in 12 vehicles. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were told four or more passengers in the car would be free, but the rest would have to pay $20 per car. I explained that I purchased 60 tickets for our group and was never told by anyone in the ticket office of that rule. I said I would stand there with the vehicles as they came through the gate as we all followed each other. The man said it didn’t matter — it would be $20 per car carrying three people or less. Needless to say most cars had three or less people, so I shelled out $20 per car!
As the parking lot attendant was walking through the lot before the game, I asked if the people could take an unopened soda, Gatorade or water bottle into the game. He assured us as long it was unopened those drinks would be fine. As the homeless people were entering the gates they were told they could only take in water. Over half the people had to throw away their drink.
One man in our group was in a wheelchair. When we got to the top level I was told he would have to sit all the way down in the right-field corner! The usher said there was a section for season-ticket holders in wheelchairs, but he couldn’t go there. I asked if there was anywhere else I could put this man other than stuffing him in a corner so far away that he wouldn’t be able to see the game. The usher said he could go downstairs — if he wanted to upgrade his seat.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a good experience! They took our money fast enough but didn’t care to address our situation! I can see why nobody goes to a game.
The writer is a member of Kay’s Ministry.
Money won’t cure VA
Regarding “Leaders offer rival plans for VA fixes” (Nation & World, July 25):
Taxpayers’ money has been spent multiple times over the years trying to fix problems that are institutionally ingrained in the VA. No amount of money will fix these problems.
Before spending more money on a broken system, Congress should ask these questions: How will this money end a backlog caused by insufficient, inconsistent and ineffective ongoing training? How will it end the backlog of veterans seeking health care? How will it correct reassignment of raters to tasks other than deciding claims? How will extra money end the firing or other retribution against concerned employees who bring up issues that would make the VA a better department? How will additional taxpayer money end the indifference, non-responsiveness and, frankly, lack of respect for members of Congress by those senior individuals who pay lip service to Congress?
Money won’t change this.
The top elected officials of Hillsborough County — the seven county commissioners and three mayors who comprise the Policy Leadership Group — are discussing a hostile takeover of HART. They want to remove the board and replace it with themselves, then expand the charter to include roads and bridges, creating a new “Super HART.” They have already signaled their support of the idea in a vote directing the county administrator to report on how they can execute this takeover.
When this hostile takeover of HART was first proposed in a PLG meeting, prominent members said they liked HART because of its access to funds. Imagine that. They said this is about creating a super agency to “take the hand-off” of ideas from the PLG and make them happen. You can see how well thought out that is.
When the PLG takes its seats on the new Super HART board, they will be in position to hand off the ideas to themselves. What a concept! In the process, they will dismantle HART, the most excellent public agency we have.
They will be trading excellence for indebtedness, and excellent financial management for excessive spending on grandiose plans. They will wipe out HART’s well-earned public trust for a new level of skepticism, and they will give us heavy federal strings that will tie our hands in return for billions of federal dollars. This move will mark the end of excellence in transit management in Hillsborough. What is truly shocking is that they are this far down the road on this scheme with virtually no public input.
A smart person once said, “Follow the money.” In this case, “Look for the money.”
The top elected officials in this county are moving to position themselves in direct control of the largest funding source available for transit projects.
What could possibly go wrong?
The writer is a member of Citizens Organized for Sound Transportation.