It's time to hear what you guys have to say — about everything from big payouts at the Sanford airport to shoddy treatment of veterans. Plus, we have an abundance of strange and funny notes from confused readers.
Mr. Maxwell: I want to ask you something. Could you please call me at 407-420-6141?
Um, you didn't leave your name. A bigger obstacle, however, is that you gave me my phone number.
Scott, great eye-opener! ["Haiti relief efforts won praise — but payments to airport raise questions]. How did you sniff this out? Tom
As soon as I heard that the Sanford airport asked for more than $580,000 in reimbursement from taxpayers — compared with Miami, which collected less than $140,000 for handling more passengers and flights in connection with the earthquake — I had questions.
Scott, in the words of the former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel: "Never allow a crisis to go to waste." The police call this "crimes of opportunity." Peter
I'm not calling anything a crime, Peter. But I still have questions. I talked with a state official Thursday who made me feel better about some of the spending. But I've still yet to hear satisfactory answers about why federal taxpayers paid more than $160,000 worth of ramp and "landing fees" — and for basic salaries that would've been paid, regardless of any disaster efforts. (For the latest information on this story, including notes from Thursday's interview, check out OrlandoSentinel.com/takingnames.)
Scott, don't let this airport-earthquake thing go. What's next? Rick
That may depend upon your elected officials, Rick. Any member of Congress or the Legislature can ask for audits and more answers. But I think those who represent the district with the airport — U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, state Sen. David Simmons and state Rep. Jason Brodeur — all have a unique opportunity and responsibility to do so. All three are newly elected. All three vowed to watch taxpayers' money closely. So we'll see what happens. It's easier to bluster about wasteful spending on bridges in Alaska than to ask tough questions of those in your own backyard.
Scott, your opening line [calling Gov. Rick Scott "Baldy"] is absolutely insulting to our new governor and all bald people. Obviously he is scary to you and your liberal agenda. Your lack of sensitivity and ignorance makes me wonder if you are a qualified columnist. You should apologize. Daniel ("Baldy")
Amen, Daniel … well, except I didn't write that column. Mike Thomas did. Did you lose your vision along with your hair?
Scott, I just want to say I am so glad you are attacking the pensions. Dale
Actually, Dale, that was also Mike Thom… oh, never mind … I'm glad you liked it. I worked hard on that one.
Thank you for your column ["Here's why vets deserve extra attention"]. Between my wife and I, we served 47 years in the Navy … and I couldn't have said it better myself. I too have noticed that there seems to be a disproportionate number of veterans suffering homelessness and illnesses. My son was in the Army and suffers from PTSD, because as a teenager he saw the terrible things wars do to humans. T.D., U.S. Navy, Retired.
Thanks for your note, T.D. — and, more importantly, your family's service and sacrifice. If there's a silver lining, it's that the government seems to realize the problem. Here are some powerful words spoken just last month by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and four-star Gen. Eric Shinseki: "Veterans lead the nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse and suicides. And they rank right up there in joblessness as well. It was a punch in the gut for me, and I repeated that line until it sunk in. I didn't want to become inured to its impact by letting it become part of the day-to-day background noise."
[Bleep] you, Scott Maxwell. For making a 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound former Marine tear up while trying to drink my coffee and read the stupid paper. You write a lot of great columns...today's was extra great. Sean
Sean, I was honored to hear from hundreds of service men and women that week — people who had served in everything from World War II and Korea to Vietnam and the Middle East. But your first sentence made me laugh the hardest. I've never been more honored to [bleep] a word.
You hate Rick Scott. You hope we flounder as a state so your evil liberal brothers can care for the downtrodden. — Steve
You nailed it, Steve. The ultimate goal of ALL evil people is to help the downtrodden. What could be more nefarious than to find someone in need and …(cue menacing organ music) … help them?? Bwaa-ha-ha!
Scott Maxwell wants you to know the following e-mail and phone number is his — not yours: email@example.com and 407-420-6141.