Bridge to a better Tampa Bay | Oct. 4, editorial
New bridge a boon for commutes
The Florida Department of Transportation's new plan for the Howard Frankland bridge is a welcome change from previous proposals that failed to provide real transportation options.
Constructing a fully separated bike path and transit lanes as part of the new bridge is cost-effective and shows FDOT is listening to the community's desire for new transportation choices. Previous plans for the Howard Frankland Bridge gave people two choices: drive or pay more to drive faster. The new plan preserves those options while adding two more congestion-proof modes of transportation across the bay: biking and transit.
To those who say biking across the bridge would be unsafe or impractical, consider this: It is only 8 miles from Westshore to Carillon, two major employment hubs. That's a 35-minute ride, fully separated from vehicle traffic. As a daily commuter, I'd choose a reliable 35-minute bike ride across the water over being stuck in traffic any day. The concrete barrier and lack of intersections mean there are no safety concerns — in fact, this path would be much safer than most of our roads. I can't wait to ride it.
Lisa Frank, Tampa
New bus routes strand many | Oct. 7
Difficult to get around
In an area that screams out for more public transit, HART decided the best way to help their bottom line is to cut routes and make it even more difficult for the public to get around Tampa Bay. This is one of the things I find the hardest to understand since I moved to the area. I don't know why our political and business leaders are so against more public transportation.
I know if light rail was available connecting the Brandon area to downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, I would not hesitate to use it rather than sit in the constant traffic jams in the area. Now, the bus lines are not even an option.
Richard Fiedler, Sun City Center
Trump expands company opt-out on birth control | Oct. 7
The president is afraid that insurance-provided contraceptives will increase "risky sexual behavior." This is coming from a man who has lived much of his life indulging in promiscuity, disregarding women's feelings and dignity. For so-called "religious" people to praise him and for him to kowtow to them is so illogical, it is downright comical.
As if that news were not bad enough, next I read about Jeff Sessions' directive to allow those with certain "religious" views to discriminate against LGBTQ people. In what century are we living? Does this new directive mean that evangelicals who do not believe women should wear makeup, jewelry, pants or even cut their hair could discriminate against those who did these things and were applying for a job or wanting to eat in a restaurant? And what about personnel managers who believed divorced or remarried people were sinners?
Corinna Carter, Brandon
Sessions: Religion trumps LGBTQ rights Oct. 7
License to discriminate
The problem with Jeff Sessions' directive is that it does not actually protect religious freedom as it claims to do. What it does is give the religious right the ability to discriminate against anyone who does not hold the same religious beliefs as they hold.
There is no war on religion or, more specifically, Christianity. However, by using that complaint, the religious right can seek to have directives like this passed in order to discriminate against anyone who does not agree with their beliefs. They are forcing their beliefs on others.
The ban on birth control because of religious belief is a perfect case in point. The companies' owners don't believe in birth control so their employees are refused coverage. Is that not forcing their beliefs on others? Chew on this: If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. If you don't believe in birth control, don't take it. If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. Leave the rest of the people alone to follow their own belief system.
Beverly Botte, Hudson
Debris sits uncollected
No doubt workers are struggling to remove all the yard waste left by Hurricane Irma, but nearly a month later they still have not come through our neighborhood to pick up even normal yard waste. I took four trailer loads to the dump myself to save my lawn from further damage and was amazed at the mountain of trees and yard waste being converted to mulch. That said, I don't think Hillsborough County had a good plan in place, or solid contracts with waste haulers, for storm cleanup. May I suggest placing a Confederate flag over your yard waste, and then I'm certain the county commissioners will find a way to dispose of it quickly, even in the middle of the night.
Brian Boyle, Tampa
County loses $1.7M in Penny program | Oct. 6
Poor stewards of money
I'm rethinking my decision to vote for an extension of the Penny for Pinellas after reading about the property that commissioners voted to sell at a loss of $1.7 million rather than keep on spending $3,800 per year for maintenance or find other ways to develop it. I can't understand this as a good business decision, nor do I have faith that another elected commission would be any wiser.
Muriel Desloovere, St. Pete Beach
O.J. Simpson's lawyer blasts Bondi | Oct. 3
Lawyer's appalling conduct
The statements of Malcolm LaVergne, parole attorney for O.J. Simpson, during a Times interview were stunning, unprofessional and disgusting. He scraped the bottom of the barrel in using gutter profanity to demean Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is merely trying to do her job in the best interest of the public she serves. LaVergne is a discredit to the legal profession and should be severely reprimanded by the American Bar Association for his unethical and disgraceful conduct.
V. Don Meyer, Hudson