Sloven folks expect others to pick up | C.T. Bowen column Jan. 20
Cracking down on littering is easy
I'm fairly new to the area but I wonder if Florida or at least Pasco County does not have antilitter laws and/or fines for littering. If they don't, perhaps it's time they did.
Post signs that say littering is subject to fines of up to $500, then start enforcing the law. I'm sure that a goodly share of the people who toss trash leave something with their names on it.
Just on New York Avenue alone, I have observed a great amount of trash. Even now, after a week, there is someone's used carpeting alongside the road. Obviously, the hospital tag he found had identification on it. I know that times are tough and the law enforcement people have much to do, but this is such a pretty area. When people take pride in their surroundings I feel there is less lawlessness in that area.
Dorothy Tainter, Hudson
Tipping disguises true cost of meal
Tipping, which was at least once supposed to be a reward for impeccable and outstanding service, is now mandated in all cases where service is at least adequate, and depending on circumstances, sometimes when it is inadequate but given with sincere effort.
Who is to blame for this? Well, that's a chicken/egg question, but it might be you. You might be one of the majority of people who decide your choice of dining location by pricing.
Restaurants recognize this, and discovered — thanks to lax regulation and cooperation in this scam by government and marketers — that they could advertise artificially low prices by shifting responsibility for their employees' pay to the patrons.
Minimum wage for servers and other staff is a joke, far below the joke earned by retail and other workers. Want a steak for $9.99? Go to a grocery store. Otherwise, plan on paying tax and tip on top of that price, adding typically $2.70. Add a drink, and you're usually over $15.
This is today's reality, that server wages are a hidden add-on to your meal, an add-on constructed cynically by a triumvirate of politicians, marketers, and restaurant owners.
Most restaurant owners work long hard hours and deserve what success they have in a risky field, but they long ago should have stood up and said their workers deserve a decent wage that is not dependent on the whims of customers.
The job of server, regardless of tips, is to provide the best quality service possible. You might not like the pay system, and I can't blame you, but if you cannot or will not do your job then I suggest you find a different profession, one that involves no public contact. Every job that does includes the possibility that your work will be unappreciated and that you will not be adequately compensated for the aggravation.
And, whatever could possess someone in a service industry to think that it is appropriate to threaten to do something unpleasant to the food of restaurant patrons?
Brent Yaciw, Wesley Chapel
Tipping pays part of servers' wages
Do you want to know what really grinds my gears? People who think that just because someone is a server they are uneducated. You can't tell how much education someone has just because they are serving you a cup of coffee.
We serve because we enjoy it. We pay our bills and are productive members of society. I feel bad for people who don't tip because they don't want to support a server.
What do you think you are doing when you do your grocery shopping or buy a new purse that you like? You are paying the salary of the employees. Oh my goodness, that means you are supporting everyone you do business with. Why take it out on servers?
I hope one day I get to serve you nonbelievers so I can charm you with my wit and intelligence and make you want to pay my rent.
Christina Carmichael, New Port Richey
Legislature left cuts to others
The Republican-controlled Legislature once again prioritizes according to special-interest influences instead of representing the people who voted for them.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the largest over-the-month decrease in the level of employment was recorded in Florida (a drop of 58,600) in the month of December. We currently have over 650,000 unemployed Floridians with a 7.3 percent unemployment rate.
Florida has begun to swing its ax by cutting $820-million from schools. They have, with one swing, transferred the burden of budget cuts to local school boards. They don't care how the job gets done; it's now out of their hands. This is the Republican Legislature at its worst. Why are the youth of this state bearing the burden?
Here is a no-brainer — legislators can cut the state budget without affecting millions of schoolchildren. There are 8,175 double-dippers in the state of Florida: retired state employees, legislators, judges and municipal workers who are collecting a pension and are receiving their same salary plus their pension, compliments of a Republican Legislature and the 1998 DROP program.
Gov. Charlie Crist pointed to the empty Capitol plaza and told supporters that Floridians know and understand the difficult cuts lawmakers have to make. "That's why you don't see protesters outside," he said.
Gov. Crist, people don't understand the complexities of the Legislature; if they did, Tallahassee wouldn't have enough space to accommodate the protest.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill
Gun carry law is frightfully lax | Jan. 15 letter
Letter on gun law rife with errors
Misinforming the public about the self-defense laws of Florida is apparent when the writer states "I call it the right-to-commit-murder law, which allows anyone with a gun to shoot unarmed people they consider frightening."
Florida is very specific in defining the legal use of deadly force in section 776.012, wherein the law states: "However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony."
It is irresponsible to lead the public to believe that just because a person is "frightened," that person can use deadly force with impunity.
It is every citizen's right to a fair trial, and that each and every accused citizen is considered innocent until proven guilty in a proper court of law.
There is no such thing as the Florida National Rifle Association. Perhaps the writer is referring to Unified Sportsman of Florida, an NRA affiliate, a fine organization led by Marion Hammer, and which has done so much for our Second Amendment rights. He also cites 850,000 concealed handgun permit holders in Florida. In reality there were 541,149 as of Dec. 31.
Crime rates have been dramatically reduced since the late 1980s when our concealed carry laws were set in place, and even further since the introduction of the 10-20-life laws which penalize those who commit violent crimes involving firearms, mandating minimum prison terms for offenders.
Indeed, if one was to accept the factual and legal weaknesses that the writer presents, one might also be accepting a tooth fairy full of hot air.
Lee Hanson, Hudson