Saturday, March 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Commission listens to Floridians

Key panel devolves into farce | Oct. 29, editorial

Commission listens to citizens

This Times editorial misrepresents how the Constitution Revision Commission is actively incorporating ideas and proposed constitutional amendments submitted by Floridians. Direct sponsorship of a public proposal is only one of several ways public input is incorporated in the CRC process. To assert that only six public proposal submissions were advanced by the CRC is an intellectually dishonest statement.

The 2017-18 CRC has received historic public input compared to previous commissions. Thousands of Floridians attended our statewide public hearings and thousands more have taken the time to share their thoughts and ideas with us by email and on social media. We also received more than 2,000 public proposal submissions. As we reviewed these public proposals, comments and ideas, it became clear that hundreds of citizens were proposing similar changes to the Florida Constitution.

For example, nearly 600 public proposals submitted to the CRC were related to the issue of E-Verify. In response, one CRC commissioner recently filed a proposal on the same topic so it can be more thoroughly vetted and considered in the committee process.

At CRC public hearings held across the state, many Floridians came before the CRC to present their ideas to commissioners. Two of the most popular topics were the restoration of felon rights and repeal of the alien land law. Both issues have been picked up by commissioners who have created proposals reflecting those ideas in the appropriate legal language.

This is a public-driven process and we encourage all interested Floridians to continue sharing their feedback as we incorporate their ideas into proposals that may eventually be placed on Florida’s 2018 general election ballot. Proposals being considered by the CRC are available for public review on our website at

Carlos Beruff, chairman, 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, Tallahassee

House backs $4T budget | Oct. 27

Wrong time for tax cuts

The economy has slowly rebounded since the crash of 2009. The top 1 percent have experienced unfathomable increases in their personal wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high. Many corporations find that they have never been more powerful or profitable — parking most of their profits offshore to avoid taxation all together.

Yet, we continue to run the government at a deficit. Throw in proposed record increases to military spending, never-ending undeclared wars, and the added costs of dealing with multiple national disasters, and you have a machine that is severely leaking oil. Any good mechanic knows that to keep the motor from seizing, you have to stop the leak and add back more oil.

There is no rationale for the tax giveaways that Congress is proposing. The corporations who receive the tax cuts will not use the money to create jobs. Jobs are created by demand, not tax cuts. They will use this money to buy back their shares and/or declare dividends for their shareholders.

Tax cuts for the poor and middle class will stimulate the economy, because they will spend it all. Not true with the super-rich and tax-dodging corporations. For them, we should be talking about a return to a tax system that we had in the ’50s and ’60s.

Gary Gibbons, Tampa

Trump orders many JFK files to remain closed | Oct. 27

End the secrecy

I am concerned but not shocked that the government did not release the last of the Kennedy assassination documents. I believe that all government documents belong to the American people; the claim that they could be "damaging" to our country after more than 50 years is absurd.

If documents remain secret forever or are redacted forever, how will we ever know the truth of what they contain? What could the CIA, FBI and State Department be hiding? It seems to me that there is a conspiracy: one of silence by government agencies that don’t want to be embarrassed by their past behavior and failures.

They foster suspicion for no good reason at all.

Arthur A. McTighe, Tierra Verde

War of words imperils Republican agenda Oct. 26, commentary

McCain’s integrity

I take umbrage at George LeMieux’s conclusion that Sen. John McCain voted against the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act because McCain did not like Donald Trump’s remarks about McCain’s POW status.

Some politicians do not act on personal insults. Some politicians are mature enough to not need their ego stroked constantly. McCain knew the repeal measure was not good legislation. He voted with logic, not revenge.

Teddy Buell, Clearwater

Gun safety

Annual checks needed

When individuals apply for a Florida concealed weapons carry permit, they are required to have demonstrated competence with their weapon once, which is documented in their initial permit application. That permit is good for seven years. After seven years, if the individual reapplies, that individual faces no requirement to demonstrate continued competence.

In 2004, President George W. Bush signed HR 218, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act, into law. It allows individuals who have retired in good standing from a law enforcement agency to carry their weapon concealed as long as they carry appropriate identification and show evidence of having qualified annually with the type of weapon they carry.

If retired law enforcement officers are required to qualify annually to show continued competence in the handling of their weapon, it certainly makes sense that non-law enforcement individuals who carry a Florida concealed weapon permit should also be required to demonstrate competence on an annual basis.

Robert Cromwell, St. Petersburg


Sunday’s letters: We need better intelligence, not more hardware

Myths about U.S. military spending | March 22, commentaryMore intel, not hardware, neededI am concerned that a discussion of excessive military budgeting is alarmingly absent from today’s water-cooler crowd and Twitter universe.William Felice, in...
Published: 03/24/18

Monday’s letters: Driverless cars on perilous roads

Driverless cautions | March 23, commentaryDriverless carson perilous roadsHaving watched the video of the tragedy in Tempe, Ariz., I believe the police are correct. This accident could not have been avoided as the pedestrian stepped out of the sh...
Published: 03/23/18

Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Saturday’s letters: Tax guns to pay for security

Million-dollar questions | March 21Tax firearms to pay for securitySo public officials are wondering where they’ll get the money for stationing an armed guard in every school. How about heavily taxing every gun? It’s the proliferation of the weap...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/23/18

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18