Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Don't put law in service to zealots

A simple truth | June 24, letter

Don't put law in service to zealots

The writer's claim that the notion that "life begins at conception" is "a simple truth" is most certainly neither simple nor the truth. Surely, he and other like-minded individuals are free to believe whatever they wish. They are, however, not free to submit their religious doctrine as truth for one and all, and assert that a civil legal principle — the definition of murder — must therefore follow logically from that religious doctrine.

In the United States, unlike theocracies such as Iran, church doctrine is not imposed blindly upon the society by the government; rather, matters of church and state are separate. When life begins is a philosophical question upon which good and decent people can and do disagree. But ultimately, American laws, and the courts that interpret them, provide the standards of conduct for all Americans.

May our American legal system never be subject to the dictates of religious zealots who seek to impose their beliefs on our pluralistic society under the guise of "simple truth."

Morry Bornstein, Seminole

A look back at 22 years on the performing arts beat | June 23

A distinguished run

John Fleming's official departure from our music/drama scene is noted with regret and a fanfare for an uncommon man. A critic's job is not an easy one, although he made it seem so. His insightful, analytic pen was dipped in a deep and warm appreciation for our fortunate area's highly gifted artists.

As a knowledgeable friend of the Florida Orchestra and American Stage, among others, his reviews added to our enjoyment of performances we attended over the years and caused us to rue some we had missed.

Thank you, Mr. Fleming, for leaving a critical space it will be incalculably hard to fill. We offer a standing ovation for your memorable, long-run performance.

John and Patricia Vigneau, Spring Hill

George Zimmerman trial

Lessons from history

As I follow the proceedings of the George Zimmerman trial in the paper and on television, I am reminded of another trial in 1980 that sparked just as much national attention: the McDuffie trial.

In that trial, four white Metro-Dade police officers were acquitted of manslaughter in the death of a black motorcyclist after a lengthy chase. The riots that followed were the worst the state of Florida has ever seen. As a young police lieutenant, I was shocked and dismayed at the carnage — 15 people killed, hundreds injured, property damage in the millions.

My point is that the city of Miami Police Department and the Metro-Dade Police Department were woefully unprepared for the outcome of the trial and the consequences that followed. It is my hope that the major police departments throughout Florida are prepared for what may follow if Zimmerman is acquitted. I'd like to think that race relations have come a long way since 1980, but in my heart and soul, I know this is naive thinking.

Bob Fortney, Land O' Lakes

Another step for immigration bill | June 25

Selling out supporters

I voted for Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate in both the primary and general elections. I gave hard-earned money to his campaign. And while he was better than any of his opponents, Rubio has betrayed us.

Rubio's immigration reform bill does nothing that he said it would. It does everything that the pro-amnesty Democrats demand. It gives old-guard Republicans the cheap labor they crave, and liberal Democrats the cheap votes they dream of.

It gives American citizens higher unemployment and lower wages. It gives Janet Napolitano more power and less accountability.

Rubio, alas, I thought I knew ye well. Et tu, Rubio?

Robert Arvay, Tampa

Court turns page on election history June 26

Protections overturned

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg succinctly summed up the fallacy of Wednesday's majority decision striking the Section 4 preclearance formula from the Voting Rights Act when she wrote: "Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Immediately after the ruling, officials in Mississippi and North Carolina — jurisdictions formerly covered by Section 4 — said they will move ahead with controversial and problematic changes to voting rules. Freed from preclearance requirements, such changes will likely suppress minority voting, as well as result in long and costly litigation.

In 2006, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. It must once again join together to remedy this critical blow to one of the most important and transformative civil rights laws of the 20th century.

Hava Holzhauer, Florida regional director, Anti-Defamation League, Boca Raton

BP publicly challenges settlement | June 26

Undeserved claims

Despite the fact that my Tampa Bay-based business was not affected by the BP oil spill in any way, I've been receiving letters, telephone calls and emails from lawyers soliciting me to file a claim. The BP fund was set up to help those genuinely hurt by the incident, yet unscrupulous lawyers are hounding people to file claims.

I'm not sure which is worse: the parasitic lawyers or the people going along for the ride and cashing in on something they do not deserve.

Tim Bryce, Palm Harbor

Polling, politics swamp Lens | June 22

Run, don't walk, to Tampa

Let this pier debacle be a sign to Stu Sternberg and the Tampa Bay Rays. Pack your bags and run, not walk, across the bay. Pay off your lease and leave indecisive, parochial Mayor Bill Foster and the City Council far behind. Start planning for a new stadium in Tampa, where Mayor Bob Buckhorn seems to have a vision for the future.

If St. Petersburg can make such a mess deciding on a new pier, imagine what it would do to a major-league baseball stadium.

Deborah Green, Sun City Center

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorialApplication process needs fixingThere is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application p...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17