Reform will bring jobs to Florida
A lot has changed in the telecommunications industry over the last few years. There are many new communications providers entering the market offering deals and choices for consumers. Even AARP offers phone service and has an app for iPhones and iPads, demonstrating that consumers of all ages are keeping up with changing technology.
Consumers are demanding services and products that reflect the way they live and work. However, without regulatory reform in the telecommunications arena, Florida will continue to have rotary dial laws in an iPhone world.
Legislation introduced in Tallahassee this session by Sen. David Simmons and Rep. Mike Horner would modernize these outdated laws, encouraging investment and innovation from all providers. If passed, this legislation would help make Florida a state of choice for companies like AT&T and many of our competitors when faced with decisions about where to invest.
By passing telecommunications regulatory reform, the Legislature will be choosing to make our state a compelling place for businesses to expand and relocate.
How can Floridians spur job creation and make the Sunshine State a magnet for investment? I believe the answer is by passing Simmons and Horner's regulatory reform act this session.
Marshall Criser, president, AT&T Florida
Scott's signature changes teaching March 25
Tenure has great benefit despite occasional abuse
As a former high school teacher and professor at four universities, I have seen the misuse and abuse of tenure as discussed in the SB 6 debates. Yet I certainly have seen the benefits of tenure as well.
Now that Gov. Rick Scott has signed the "nontenure bill," I am worried for two reasons. First, tenure for our public school teachers is one of the major cornerstones of any educational system, and to suggest that it be eliminated because of a few troublesome and incompetent tenured teachers is akin to suggesting that democracy be eliminated because we elected a few troublesome and incompetent legislators.
Second, if the Legislature eliminates tenure for our public school teachers, public college and university professors will be next. With tenure, college and university professors can openly and honestly honor their commitments to teaching, research and community service.
My biggest fear is that the Florida Legislature and Scott have thrown baby out with the bathwater.
William G. Emener, Ph.D., St. Pete Beach
Job-killing governors March 28, commentary
The money's not there
This column by two "distinguished" college economic professors was less than persuasive. They argue that governors throughout the country are making a critical mistake in attempting to cut spending as a way out of the current economic downturn. The professors' answer is to spend more, not less.
That's same rationale as the one that says you cure a hangover with the "hair of the dog that bit you." In all of their reasoning to justify increased government spending, they left out one important question: Where is the money coming from?
The federal and most of the state governments are broke and deeply in debt. We can't keep spending money we don't have and we can't continue to print even more money to cover the debt.
Raymond Groff, Homosassa
Norman targets animal activists | March 22
Expose the wrongdoing
Why are farmers so worried about caring individuals taking photos of their facilities? Are they afraid that they'll be caught drop-kicking chickens, beating pigs, squeezing hens into tiny, overcrowded cages, or leaving sick and injured cows to languish in agony — all things that have been filmed at factory farms and slaughterhouses in the past?
Our laws are supposed to protect victims, not enable perpetrators. Should we be required to get a criminal's permission before submitting evidence of a robbery or murder? Should neighborhood watch groups be forced to ask a sexual predator if it's okay if they tell police that they saw him stalking a child?
People should be encouraged to speak out if they see or suspect abuse, not feel intimidated to keep quiet. Sen. Jim Norman could help protect both animals and noncriminal farmers if he spent his time urging agribusinesses to police themselves by installing third-party-monitored videocameras. But perhaps preventing abuse is not on his agenda?
Robyn Wesley, Tampa
Bills take aim at choice | March 23
Attack on women's rights
Florida legislators are targeting women's reproductive health and rights with no fewer than 18 bills — including an attempt to increase funding for antichoice organizations; a measure to require women to undergo ultrasound procedures before having an abortion (even if not medically necessary); and an amendment to the state Constitution that would weaken women's privacy rights.
These 18 bills are among the most extreme in the nation — many lacking exemptions for women who are facing threats to their health or coping with fetal impairment, rape or incest. These bills threaten to undermine women's rights and harm women's health.
When so many Floridians are struggling with loss of jobs and homes and shrinking retirement accounts, one might wonder why these politicians are obsessed with antichoice legislation instead of focusing on the budget and getting Florida's economy back on track.
Judy Gallizzi, St. Petersburg
Florida government stained | March 29, editorial
I found myself spellbound by how your liberal repugnance for "the ethical swamp in Tallahassee" did not exist over a year ago when the Democratic Congress and president rammed through health care legislation via backroom, closed-door deals. In November, the American people repudiated the actions taken by the ethical swamp in Washington, D.C.; however, your paper was oblivious to this virulent use of power.
Your liberal cogitation and odious bias towards anything that resembles conservative governance is painfully obvious.
R. Gonzalez, Trinity