Critics should put up or shut up
As soon as Donald Trump won the election, Democrats, others opposed to Trump and the majority of the media have tried to explain his victory. They offered several excuses other than the obvious one: Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed, uninspiring candidate who ran a terrible campaign based on a sense on entitlement. The excuse that grew legs is that the Trump campaign, including him, colluded with the Russians to elect him.
Six months and endless investigations have failed to reveal a single bit of proof that there was collusion or that the Russians affected election results. Congress consist of 535 men and women. Most of them are lawyers and many are former prosecutors. Now they say that if we just had one more person looking for evidence, that would do the trick.
Its time for the anti-Trumpers to either put up or shut up. Either make a specific charge for a special prosecutor to investigate or admit they blew the election.
Jack C. Bolen, Brandon
Loyalty to Constitution
Before Aug. 20, 1934, the German army and its officers swore an oath to the German constitution. After that date, those oaths were suspended and army officers swore an oath to Germany's leader personally.
We now hear that President Donald Trump asked former FBI director James Comey for his loyalty. Comey said no. But the fact that Trump even asked should be frightening to every American — Republican, Democrat or other. I understand the Republicans want to be loyal to their party and Trump. But it's time for them to put loyalty to the U.S. Constitution first. The Republicans need to say, at a bare minimum, that no American president should ever ask a loyalty question of a person who swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution.
Russ A. Johnson, Hudson
Income from Russia
Donald Trump's lawyers have declared that he received no income from Russian sources, "with a few exceptions." Those exceptions include $54 million profit from a property sale and $12.2 million from Miss Universe pageants. Since when does more than $66 million constitute "no income"?
Anita Jimenez, Tampa
A quiet river, a water war | April 30, Perspective
Turn to science, not lawyers
After spending $71 million, we have a very clear indication that the courts will not bend Georgia's will or curb its appetite for water. Let's say Georgia is off the table. Can we consider a strategy to augment the surface water flow for the benefit of the Apalachicola River and its bay?
"The Apalachicola Bay Oyster Situation Report" was published in April 2013 by members of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. As in your article, this report named Georgia and periodic droughts as culprits. The report points to a historic average flow rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second (1950-2000) comparing it to approximately 5,000 cubic feet per second in 2012.
Can we imagine an informed debate to consider using desalinated water from the Gulf of Mexico to ease the current condition? Can we consider taking in water off Port St. Joe (it is open to the gulf with no barrier reefs), desalinating it and piping it up Florida Route 71 for approximately 24 miles to the northern point of Hathcock Bay (a fairly dry swamp today) at White Oak Landing as a first step to begin to recharge the system?
The debate should focus on off-the-shelf technologies, maximum use of solar power and recycling of the removed minerals. Hopefully the operating costs for these plants will be dwarfed in time with the sales taxes from increased revenues from successful oyster farmers, shrimpers, beekeepers and crabbers.
Given the court's decision, can we reasonably suggest not to hire more lawyers but to explore hydrologically sound techniques to ameliorate a very bleak future for Apalachicola Bay?
Thomas Curtin, Tampa
Assignment of benefits
Crisis goes unaddressed
The Florida legislative session has ended, and we once again find the state without a solution to the assignment of benefits crisis, which is raising home insurance costs and threatening to make home ownership unattainable for many.
Insurance is meant to make homeowners whole when they experience a covered loss, not line the pockets of a small group of self-serving attorneys and vendors who use policyholders' special attorney fee rights to game the system and all too often collect fees far in excess of the homeowner's own claim payment. It is a shame that the interests of a few have taken precedence over what is best for Florida's homeowners and would-be homeowners.
Sadly, Floridians will have to wait another year for a chance at reform. Meanwhile, the manipulative and fraudulent activities of a select few will continue to cost time and money, driving rates higher for the majority of policyholders who simply want good coverage and customer service at a fair price.
William Stander, Tallahassee
The writer is executive director of the Florida Property & Casualty Association.
Bilirakis defends health bill vote | May 15
Listening but not doing
Anyone who attended the New Port Richey town hall meeting will tell you: The first words out of Rep. Gus Bilirakis' mouth were that he was in favor of repealing the ACA, hadn't heard anything at the previous town hall to change his mind, and didn't expect to hear anything that day either.
That was a pretty bold statement to make at the beginning of what was billed as a "listening tour." He made all the right comments in response to people's concerns, but his opening remarks were the tell. So his vote was no surprise. The town halls may have been billed as a listening tour, but they are really a "hearing" tour, as in, "I hear you, but I'm going to do what my party tells me to do."
Greg Talamantez, Tampa