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Friday letters: We still need the Equal Rights Amendment

Constitution Day

Equal Rights Amendment still needed

Today we celebrate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

But for America's women, the day is not as meaningful as it ought to be. Only the long-proposed and still viable Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would solve the problem. We're working on its ratification, with two bills before the Florida Legislature, and helping mentor activists in five other states.

The language of the 14th Amendment refers to "all persons." But when you read the 1868 amendment's second section it refers specifically to "male citizens." Though that amendment was stretched a few times to protect particular rights for women, nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it declare that American women have the right to equal treatment alongside any man.

Actually neither males nor females have constitutional protection against sex discrimination. Laws, the Florida Constitution, statutes, etc., none of them guarantee this protection the way the U.S. Constitution would.

The Equal Rights Amendment would fix that inequity for males as well as females:

"Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state according to sex." No strings attached.

Anyone can phone or e-mail her/his Florida legislators, urging that the ERA bill come to a vote. You are their VIP. Your supervisor of elections office has their contact information.

You are warmly welcomed to for the full impact of what this means to men, women and families in these tough times.

Sandy Oestreich, St. Petersburg

Jabil deal burdens taxpayers Sept. 15, editorial

Hostile to business

As I read your editorial on the Jabil deal I laughed out loud. On the front page of your paper, I read that the economy is not turning around in Florida as fast as it is in other parts of the nation. Duh!

With Florida laws on the books that make it unfriendly and sometimes unreasonable for businesses to make money in this state, one can only wonder why there are any businesses left here. I think most Floridians would love to wait in traffic a little longer for a good job and would not hesitate to see their taxes going toward building infrastructure for new and existing businesses as opposed to funding a commuter rail line that goes to a place that is much easier and cheaper to get to by car.

Most states would love to build a better road to a new business just to have it. That's why most businesses that pay well aren't located here. The weather is great, the people are hard workers, and there are lots of great things to do here. The only drawback is the state and local attitude that big business and big profits are bad and anything we can do to run them out is good. Well, how's that working for you now?

Daniel Stamper, Sun City Center

Del. GOP veteran loses Senate bid to tea party ally | Sept. 15, story

Budget reality needed

This tea party stuff is insane. A year ago Fox News was promoting tea party rallies whose rhetoric revolved around being overtaxed by Barack Obama, the "stimulus" socialist. The fact that all tax rates had not gone up and a few had gone down didn't register with all the "Joe the plumbers" in attendance.

Where were the tea parties when Bush took a slow but stable economy with a budget surplus and turned it into an $800 billion debt, all by dropping taxes and sending checks out to — wait for it — stimulate the economy, once in early 2001 and then again in 2008?

What a great blueprint for every president: Cut everyone's taxes, give nearly everyone a $300 check (twice), borrow all the money you need, then leave office with the country in financial ruin.

Obama has been up front about the challenges we face stabilizing the economy and reducing the debt. It can't be done overnight or without sacrifice. Mostly, though, it can't be done without some grasp of reality, something the tea parties might want to consider.

Jim Harvey, Tampa

Sale of warplanes to Saudis proposed Sept, 14

Who benefits?

The AP story on Page 3A gives readers the erroneous impression that our government will be delivering a quantity of fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia, in exchange for a $60 billion payment to our U.S. Treasury.

Last I heard, the U.S. government was not in the fighter aircraft manufacturing business — maybe automobiles but not aircraft. In fact, the Pentagon will be notifying Congress of its intent to permit a sale of advanced technology by a U.S. manufacturer to the Saudis, ultimately a $60 billion commercial transaction.

This transaction detail is essential in understanding all major factors influencing foreign policy and national security decisions. While Iran and its nuclear threat to stability in the region may be uppermost, there are also powerful commercial interests at work in this case.

In Washington once you've lined up solid support from both national security and commercial sides you've got a winner. NATO expansion is another example: Filling the void left by the collapse of the Soviet Union, while opening up sales of more up-to-date weaponry, was viewed as a win-win.

An informed public needs to better understand the confluence of rationales at work, which all too often go unreported.

Jim Sennott, St. Petersburg

Sale of warplanes to Saudis proposed Sept 14

Caution is advised

A $60 billion arms sale to the Saudis should be done with great caution and not be implemented simply because it may secure more than 50,000 jobs. Global arms sales are big business, and America competes heavily with the likes of Britain, Russia and China. The Saudis have long bought weapons from us and in earlier times had to finance such purchases before the price of oil escalated.

Saudi Arabia is a small country, suffers internal attacks and its national guard is mainly trained by Americans. If it is a real friend it would not spend so much money in the United States to influence Washington to ignore our relationship with Israel and might even spend some of the weapons money relieving Palestinian poverty.

I can't believe it needs all the F-15s it wants to buy unless it really fears Iran. That makes little sense because the United States will support the Saudis in the foreseeable future to protect access to its oil.

The sale will impose limitations on the use of the weapons and deny some weapons that would allow the Saudis to attack Israel. If the sale occurs, the United States must monitor and enforce the sales conditions.

James R. Gillespie, St Petersburg

School chief's choice for key job is rejected Sept. 15, story

No place for her

Congratulations to the Pinellas County School Board for rejecting superintendent Julie Janssen's request to transfer a failed administrator to another position. Janssen's appalling lack of judgment to reassign Janet Hernandez to another position is an affront to every decent educator and every taxpayer. Worse is Janssen's statement: "We'll find a place for her … "

Why? Hernandez was given a year to succeed in her job and she failed. In business, she would have been warned, put on probation, and then fired because she couldn't do the job.

Now, we have a situation where a failed administrator who makes more than $76,000 a year plus benefits will be reassigned. No wonder people are fed up with bureaucrats who create and promote a system favorable to themselves at the expense of others who foot the bill.

Cherie Haigley, St. Petersburg

Friday letters: We still need the Equal Rights Amendment

09/16/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 6:43pm]
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