Haitian refugees deserve our help
As a fervent supporter of President Barack Obama and his administration, I find it extremely disheartening that the president has not taken notice of the plight of the some 35,000 undocumented Haitian refugees living here in the United States who are unable to return to their home country due to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna last year. Many of these Haitian refugees reside right here in Central and South Florida and are members of our community.
It is no secret that even before last summer Haiti was considered by most political and economic experts to be one of the poorest and most politically unstable countries in the world. Then, from August to September 2008, storms ransacked the impoverished nation, leaving approximately 1 million Haitians homeless and causing an estimated $1 billion worth of damage to Haiti's infrastructure. To this day the Haitian government is unable to provide even the most basic of services to the country.
The president has the power to grant Haitian refugees what is known as temporary protected status. TPS is a temporary nonimmigrant status that the U.S. government may grant to noncriminal nationals of designated countries who are living in the United States and who are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country because of extraordinary and temporary conditions such as war or natural disaster. Hondurans and Nicaraguans in the United States were granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch decimated their countries in 1998; Salvadorans in the United States were granted TPS when El Salvador experienced numerous earthquakes in 2001.
It is time for the United States to stop turning its back on our neighbor.
Andrew X. Stawar, Esq., Clearwater
Sorry, Charlie, you did back stimulus plan Nov. 6, PolitiFact
Electorate has left our politics distorted
Gov. Charlie Crist was obviously helping our state by supporting and advocating for the stimulus bill. So what's a reasonable, "moderate" Republican conservative to do, now that the "hard right" half of the party, along with some portion of the rest of both parties, has lately gone completely nuts?
His choices: Misrepresent his original position, or risk being thrown aside in favor of some terminally doctrinaire, hard right wing nut? I understand the need to maintain reasonable "balance" in reporting. In this instance, your treatment — watch Crist on video and see for yourself — borders on tilt.
Yes, "spin" is endemic to "politics" at all levels. Please consider the near certainty that the electorate is responsible for it, on account of its individual and collective minuscule attention span and willingness to believe anything consistent with the emotional state of the moment.
Allan Avery, Clearwater
Sorry, Charlie, you did back stimulus plan Nov. 6, PolitiFact
Stimulus a good thing
Gov. Charlie Crist should be defending his support of the stimulus program rather than pretending he opposed it. It was one of his best decisions.
Bad as the economic situation is in Florida, it would be much worse without these federal dollars. The stimulus allowed the governor to balance the budget and has been a lifesaver for our schools. This seems like a good thing.
Jeffrey Harper, St. Petersburg
No jail in road rage beating | Oct. 20, story
A travesty of justice
On July 3, a "road rage biker" followed and assaulted an unsuspecting senior citizen, my father, Nathan Snyder. It's been a devastating nightmare for my father and our entire family.
The assailant, apparently feeling he got cut off in traffic, followed my father for approximately a half mile, when he saw my father pull into the Palms of Pasadena Hospital parking lot. This surprise attacker started pummeling my father while he was still sitting behind the wheel. Then, as the attacker started dragging my father from the car, my father was able to pull out his (licensed) firearm and fire a warning shot, but to no avail. So he then shot the assailant in the arm, trying to stop him. But this vicious bully did not stop! This assailant could have killed him!
My father was rushed to the trauma center at Bayfront Medical Center, where he remained for almost a month. He was bruised and battered from head to toe and needed extensive hip surgery. Due to overall "shock" to his body, many other serious problems also ensued (including a second surgery for a new bladder problem). Eventually, he was transferred to "rehabilitation" (which continued at home). My father still has not regained his independence, is still living with pain daily, still has physical therapy twice a week and still walks with a walker/cane. Before this, my father was an active and independent 83-year-old man.
The assailant pleaded "no contest" and received only two years probation. Afterward, showing no remorse, he actually had the audacity to state he did nothing wrong and that my father was the criminal, blatantly ignoring that he would never have been shot had he not made his decision to follow and attack my father.
We've received incredible support from friends and from the community, and we thank them. We're all outraged and frustrated. It seems the assailant should have received some sort of jail time. How is this possible within our "justice system"? How can none of the extreme details of such an assault matter? This is a travesty of justice.
Lydia Snyder, St. Petersburg
Driver's ed: a safe loss? | Nov. 3, story
How many more deaths and accidents do we Florida drivers have to put up with, due to untrained licensed teens? Take for example the teen that killed the homeless person in the Davis Islands area and was too irresponsible to stop and call the police to report it.
I find the excuses of the school districts totally insane, let alone the fact that "driver's education is not required for a Florida license."
Daily I see teens texting while driving, applying makeup and not using turn signals. There simply have been too many accidents or near-misses due to carelessness and improperly educated teens.
If the parents can't take the time to properly train their teens, then don't give them the car keys. Let us remember, our children are only as responsible as their parents are. I understand we are in tough times right now, but what is a human life worth?
Tim Dorn, Tampa
Space mission to punch hole in moon in search for water | Oct. 8
Money down the drain
After reading about sending a rocket to the moon to look for water, I said, "What a stupid idea." Here we are in Florida, praying for rain to fill up our reservoirs, streams, ponds and rivers, to put water into the ground for our drinking. Everyone here knows we can only water our lawns once a week. That's how badly we need water. Now I want to know how they are going to bring the water back to Earth so it will help resolve our problems here.
I thought we had some very smart people at NASA, but we threw $40 million down the drain when we could have used that money to feed the homeless and help people get started again during this time of financial crunch.
I know there must be thousands of people in Florida who feel as I do about blowing money up in space. It doesn't benefit anyone on Earth. And besides that, they want more money. For what?
Richard Imondi, Port Richey