Blind trusts boost public confidence
In 2006, the Florida Commission on Ethics endorsed the principle that blind trusts are an effective means of assuring public officials are making decisions that are in the best interests of the state. As former members of the commission, we continue to strongly support that position.
Under a blind trust, public officials give up the right to control how their investments are managed, and they are not entitled to information about the specific holdings in the trust. As a result of the use of blind trusts, Floridians can have greater assurance that their elected officials are making decisions that are in the public interest as opposed to their own personal financial interests.
Placing assets in a blind trust has become a relatively common practice of elected officials around the country. Furthermore, blind trusts have received widespread support from newspaper editorial boards and government watchdog groups.
We continue to believe that blind trusts are a crucial means of strengthening public confidence in the integrity of elected officials. Furthermore, we support Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's efforts to minimize the possibility of conflicts of interest by setting up a blind trust.
Thomas P. Scarritt Jr., former chairman; Charlie Lydecker, former vice chairman, Florida Commission on Ethics
Have we become addicted?
Have we been so brainwashed by big business to the point that we're putting our lives (and the lives of others) in jeopardy by talking or texting on a cell phone while we're driving? Are we so oblivious and so dispassionate to others on the road because we "have to take this call"? Do we really need to be in constant communication with the rest of the world?
Our society has become so complex and stressful because of our addiction to communicating with others. We're actually putting our lives on the line in order to save a few minutes. We're texting and calling and e-mailing and sending pictures and downloading files and playing games and getting new ring tones and on and on at the expense of other people's lives.
To all of you addicted cell phone users who talk/text and drive: Get off the phone and save a life! To the Florida Legislature: Get off the phone and realize the immense problem this has become and do something about it.
Joel C. Routman, Brandon
Make it illegal to text at the wheel | Aug. 1, Sue Carlton column
Money talks loudest
Columnist Sue Carlton asks why is it still legal to text and operate a motor vehicle in Florida? The answer is simple: The Florida Legislature and our governor-for-the-moment, Charlie Crist, will never have the courage to pass legislation making it illegal. The reason being campaign contributions from the telecommunication companies.
Your wishes to have texting outlawed, insignificant citizen, mean very little to our politicians. The wishes of the telecommunication lobby, holding bulging sacks of cash, are heeded. Texting puts vast amounts of money in the pockets of wireless and cell phone companies. It's money that can magically become campaign contributions to a "right thinking" politician. Fools texting while driving put the lives of you and yours at risk. To some of our legislators, guess which one of these two choices is most important?
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Cash for clunkers program is broke | July 31, story
I may be a right wing extremist because I am a conservative by nature, but I don't understand how you can take a government program with $950 million budget, find 23,000 people to take advantage of this program with a $4,500 rebate and be broke in four days!
You don't have to be a math major to figure out that rounding up to 23,000 people and multiplying that times a maximum of $4,500 equals approximately $103 million. Where did the rest disappear to?
Could someone please tell me what happened to the other $847 million?
Is anyone going to ask? And now, the Congress is trying to pass a $2 billion addition! Where is this money coming from, as if we didn't know!
William Lee, Palm Harbor
Traffic stop never is routine | Aug. 2, story
Revealing too much
Once again you have given the criminal element information on how to cover their tracks. My husband is a Pinellas Park police officer. Again, you have reminded me of how dangerous his job is, as though I don't have enough to worry about every time he goes to work.
My husband and I have tried real hard to keep that kind of ugliness from our 14-year-old daughter and now she was upset and afraid for him when he walked out the door for work on Monday. I truly do not understand why you felt the need to print that kind of information. What purpose did it serve other than to again inform criminals on how to cover their tracks and what to do or not do to keep from getting caught?
Find a feel good story. I'm ashamed of your ethics in getting people to always focus on the negative side of things.
Lorraine Plageman, Redington Shores
Traffic stop never is routine | Aug. 2, story
There ought to be a law
I can appreciate the plight of law enforcement officers at all times let alone during traffic stops. There have been many articles written about the situations these fine people get involved in, and I always wonder why there isn't a law passed to help alleviate one basic problem. I was taught (many years ago) in drivers training class that when you are pulled over, you roll down your window, place your hands on the steering wheel and sit very still until the officer tells you to do something. Pretty basic right?
As it was pointed out in the article, the officer wonders what he will be faced with when approaching an auto. Wouldn't it be great if he looked at that person sitting still, with both hands on the wheel? Plus it would solve the problem of not being able to see thru a tinted window. Maybe it is a law someplace but not that I'm aware of. We pass so many stupid laws, why not one that makes sense?
Jim Hildebrand, Spring Hill
Did they find dog, or he them? | Aug. 2, story
Thank you for the wonderful story about the dog RaeLee/Odie.
It was a good story about good people, too. Nice to read.
It made my day.
Doris Taylor, Brooksville