An unworkable approach
I was disappointed to read your editorial, "Redistricting foes act out of selfish motives," on Sept. 22.
The editorial fails to consider that the amendments will create impossible requirements. Scholars and independent, nonpartisan organizations are recognizing how the amendments will be impossible to implement. According to the Florida-based James Madison Institute, the amendments would create "confusing and contradictory standards." According to MIT scholar Dr. Daniel Loeb, the amendments "do not achieve the goal of creating balanced, competitive congressional districts."
I strongly agree that the redistricting process needs reform. But passing Amendments 5 and 6 is not the solution we need.
Amendments 5 and 6 should be rejected and other reforms should be implemented. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, and this is clearly one of those times. Voters should nix 5 and 6 and demand a legitimate fix.
Kurt Browning, chairman, Protect Your Vote, and former Florida secretary of state,
Case for Amendment 4
Reckless overdevelopment has crashed our economy, plummeted home values, threatened our quality of life, paved over Florida's natural beauty and led to higher taxes. Irresponsible local officials (egged on by special interests, lobbyists and developers with deep pockets for campaign contributions) have let much of this happen while the public's voice was not heard.
Amendment 4 will give Floridians a chance to fix this problem by empowering voters to have a veto over bad development. Don't be swayed by desperate attempts by business special interests to sway this election with half-truths and scare tactics. Their campaign is financed by the same overbuilders who got millions in federal bailout dollars.
Experience shows we can't trust the Legislature in Tallahassee to protect our homes and communities in this state. We should get a vote before we're forced to pay for politicians' mistakes with higher taxes.
Lesley Blackner, president, Florida Hometown Democracy, Palm Beach
Inspections put burden on homeowners
This year, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 550, which requires homeowners with septic tanks to have them inspected every five years.
These inspections are to be performed at homeowner expense by a septic contractor. If there is a problem, the homeowner is given 60 days to fix the system under penalty of fines.
Most people in the septic service industry are honest, hard-working professionals. But this law unfortunately opens the door for the unscrupulous to enter the septic business.
In addition, the law requires all septic systems to be brought up to current code by 2015.
With almost 3 million people in the state on septic systems, most in rural areas, this will result in millions of homeowners paying thousands of dollars most can't afford.
Meanwhile, big agriculture and business has tens of thousands of acres of groves, sugarcane fields, dairy and hog farms and phosphate mines that are putting out tons of fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides and pasture runoff into the groundwater.
It's time to quit making the little guy pay for the pollution caused by big agribusinesses and other corporate polluters and repeal this bad law.
D.B. Orr, Avon Park
Combating drug epidemic
The state Legislature has taken important first steps in combating the prescription drug epidemic that has taken hold of the Tampa Bay area, but there is still much more work to be done. One bill alone will not solve this crisis, as the criminals responsible for it are very resourceful when it comes to finding and exploiting legal loopholes. While some loopholes in the recently passed legislation are already known, others may not become evident until later. The Legislature must take the appropriate measures to ensure these loopholes are closed. It will take the assistance of the medical profession to weed out the bad actors who prey on our residents and assist the criminal element.
Many believe that requiring the use of a live and interactive prescription data system for the dispensing of all controlled substances, similar to the programs pharmacies utilize, could be the best measure to fight this epidemic. Such a system would allow doctors to be our greatest ally in this cause.
The responsibility of fighting this drug problem does not lie solely in the hands of the Legislature; conscientious leaders in the medical community must take action as well. Some members of that profession have sued the state to halt enforcement of the new law. Others advocate for undefined alternative solutions. The time is now for doctor groups and associations to support laws that seek to eliminate the bad actors among their ranks and assist in solving this problem. Cooperation among lawmakers, the medical community and law enforcement will result in less prescription drug addiction and drug-related crime in our state.
State Rep. John Legg, Port Richey
Classical music fans are generally a quiet lot. If we were rockers the streets would run with blood.
A publicly funded classical music station, WUSF-FM, based in Tampa, decided recently to buy a Christian station in Sarasota, WSMR, and put all its classical music there, thus converting its Tampa operation to an all-talk PBS format.
That was a month ago and there still is no classical music on WSMR or anywhere else. The general manager offers this lame excuse on the station's website: "We plan to broadcast the brand-new, classical WSMR at 89.1 as soon as we can."
In the meantime classical music lovers can just go hang. As classical fans all we can do is withhold our contributions to a station that has callously abandoned us.
Arjay Morgan, Zephyrhills
The forgotten phrase
The Preamble sets forth the purposes of the Constitution. I emphasize below one phrase that's ignored by Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Donnell, all the tea partiers I've read about, and all the Republicans I've talked with:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Charles Matthews, Tampa