Cost of border wall is small share of budget

In reality, the cost of the border wall would be a very small percentage of the federal budget.

It is conceivable that the cost savings from Homeland Security would offset some costs because of less need for ICE agents and border patrols.

The savings on the troop withdrawal from Syria could help, as could the sale of timber from federal lands cleared for fire mitigation. Any number of other cost saving measures are certainly possible.

Even though $5.7 billion is a lot of money, it is small when compared with the total we spend annually.

This has never been about the money, except as it acts as a control. It is about a philosophy, one where it is difficult to see any compromise. It is a battle between globalism and nationalism.

Bruce Butler, Englewood

McConnell's bill blocking hijacks the Constitution

The Constitution charges the House of Representatives with proposing laws providing for government revenue.

A revenue bill passed by the House is sent to the Senate. The Senate has the option of voting in favor or rejecting the bill. If it is passed by the Senate, it goes to the president.

The president then has the option of signing the bill into law or vetoing it. If it is vetoed, Congress can pass the bill over the veto if both chambers provide a two-thirds majority in the bill's favor. Otherwise, the bill fails.

That is how the country's founders intended the legislative process to work.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken it upon himself to declare that he will not even allow the Senate to vote on a budget bill unless the president has already declared that he will sign it.

In doing this, McConnell has hijacked Article I of the Constitution, and subverted the intent of the separation of powers. He has suppressed the voice of the people by not allowing their elected senators to vote.

McConnell should be called to task by his colleagues for this unpatriotic act.

Robert Lipset, Sarasota

Education administrators cheat teachers, professors

Discovering that Sarasota schools hire substitute teachers for a whole year brought to mind the horrendous plight of adjunct professors at colleges and universities in this country. This problem receives little recognition in the press but poses a major problem in our nation.

When hired, adjuncts usually make wages that place them at the poverty level. They have no access to medical care and no hope of ever building a retirement program.

Scrambling from one place to another allows little time to build relationships with students or other professors. It doesn't provide time for input regarding the curriculum or planning worthwhile educational goals.

In most instances, adjuncts are hired to save money. At the same time, administrators in higher education are increasing exponentially, as are their salaries.

These administrators are reaping the financial benefits from higher education while the professors doing the educating are often on food stamps.

The public needs to take care that the same kind of stinginess does not overtake our public school teachers. And hopefully, the public will cry foul regarding the shameful salaries of higher education professors.

Katherine Schoenhals, Sarasota

Traffic light near roundabout will improve motorist safety

A letter on Jan. 5 commented on the traffic signal being installed at Publix/Floridian Club, a short distance from the Jacaranda Boulevard roundabout.

The roundabout does keep traffic moving "easily and continually." That is precisely the problem.

Traffic from side streets must now navigate through a continuous high-speed traffic stream coming from the roundabout, making many maneuvers dangerous.

A recent fatality (and another serious accident) at the intersection of Jacaranda and Hatchett Creek Boulevard highlights the danger, particularly where the curvature of Jacaranda makes sight lines difficult. The county is resisting calls for a signal at this intersection.

The roundabout has produced one of the highest accident totals in the county, although there have been no fatalities to date.

The planned signal at Publix/Floridian Club and another at Hatchett Creek will greatly increase safety for all motorists. The signals, of course, have to be properly timed and coordinated for traffic flow.

Roger Roess, Venice

Instead of 'art objects,' put trees in roundabouts

As we all know, one person's opinion of art is another person's interpretation of junk. So instead of putting distracting sculptures in the two proposed roundabouts at 10th Street and U.S. 41 and 14th Street and U.S. 41, plant trees and shrubbery.

We cut down so many trees in the name of condos, apartments, subdivisions, strip malls, etc. By the way, trees supply our planet with oxygen.

In a violent storm, the “art objects” will become missiles ready to do damage to the surrounding buildings.

Marsha Oldinski, Englewood