The good, the bad and the ugly for bikers | Jan Glidewell column, April 18
Help educate on sharing the road
Although I found the article interesting, it appears your update needs an update.
ABATE is the largest motorcycle rights organization in the state of Florida and has been incorporated since 1981. ABATE consists of a state board of directors, 32 chapters statewide, 7,500-plus members and the services of a full-time lobbyist.
Originally ABATE stood for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, but it has also come to mean American Bikers Aimed Toward Education to better portray our mission.
As for the columnist's comments about helmets, I know he meant well, but he has been misinformed about the fatality figures concerning helmets. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, every year since 2004, there have been more fatalities among the helmet-wearing riders that the ones who choose not to. In short, a helmet is no more of a guarantee of safety than a seat belt is to the driver of a four-wheel vehicle.
Between the years 2000 and 2008, motorcycle registrations were up 124 percent, yet the fatality rate in relation to registration is down 12.91 percent. So if we at ABATE can get the support of the media to help us educate the public on how to safely share the road, it will be a tremendous boost to making the roads safer for everyone.
Dave Soles, Brooksville
President, Freedom Chapter, ABATE of Florida Inc.
Fairness lacking in Brown-Waite ploy
Let's see if this lowly taxpayer can get this right. U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite tapped Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent because she could. She was mad that her fellow Republicans did not ask how her health was, so she taught them a lesson.
She would tell the sheriff how sick she was. (I wonder if he ever asked?) Maybe, just maybe, he said, "Well, Queen, maybe you should step aside and let the sheriff take over since you are sick and I am your best friend forever and I can keep a secret till after the closing bell.''
So much for fair play.
Lois Yates, Spring Hill
Seat in Congress is not a fiefdom
On reading the accounts of the Brown-Waite/Nugent caper, I was reminded of the ease with which those in power assume the mantle of the privileged few.
In the Middle Ages, the nobility had what was termed "seigneurial privileges." Among these were the right to possess a "fief" (think 5th Congressional District). This included the right to impose an "annual tax" on the "vassals" of this fiefdom. A commoner could become one of the nobility in various ways, one of the criteria being that he must not engage in any commercial or manual activity. This fief could be passed on to kin or others that met the criteria.
I am a registered independent voter; as such I do not endorse any one political party. I voted for Ginny Brown-Waite up to 2006.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated much of Louisiana and Mississippi, some of us suggested that Congress use its earmarks of $27 billion to help those states recover. Brown-Waite's response was, "I'm not giving back my money." I submit that this is not her money, but the people's.
Now we come to Sheriff Richard Nugent, who has repeatedly shown an arrogant disregard of the public in his running of the Sheriff's Office. When questioned about the rather unsavory method he entered the race for the 5th Congressional seat, he said, in effect, it's her seat and he respected her right to do with it what she wished.
It leaves one to believe that if he should win the right to occupy that seat, he feels that it then becomes his seat. Again I submit that the 5th Congressional seat belongs to the people, not to any self-anointed nobility.
D.P. Rose, Ridge Manor
Nugent shows sense on guns
U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite for hall of fame, not hall of shame. She pulled a Charlie Crist, realizing the Republican Party has shifted so far to the right it left no place for moderate Republicans.
Her choice of Sheriff Richard Nugent of Hernando to run for her seat must be driving Republican state committeeman Bill Bunting and his bunch crazy over the specter of someone filling Brown-Waite's seat with a Republican who actually thinks common sense should come before guns.
Sheriff Nugent is on record opposing continued sales of assault rifles both on the federal and state level. So, too, are the vast majority of law enforcement agencies throughout this country.
Other Republicans in our area who supported the NRA's more-guns-everywhere program wanted a crack at that congressional seat. Bunting would have been happier with Sen. Mike Fasano, who never saw an NRA piece of legislation he wouldn't vote for despite the effect on public safety and the ballooning out-of-control domestic arsenal.
Arthur C. Hayhoe, executive director, Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Inc., Wesley Chapel