Prisoners released lacking even an ID | June 25, Steve Bousquet column
Daunting process should be easier
Steve Bousquet's column was spot on. A Florida identification card is critical to getting on with one's life once a prisoner is released. Without one, an individual's return to society is delayed or halted. It is frustrating at the least, and a confusing process of dealing with various state bureaucracies at the worst.
Thanks to Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, for realizing that this is one small way the state of Florida could ease the re-entry process and reduce recidivism. Please try again next year.
At Daystar Life Center Inc. in St. Petersburg, volunteers assist clients daily with obtaining Florida identification cards. The Daystar office has on file the steps involved for obtaining a birth certificate for every state and some cities and counties, depending on how that state requires that application for a birth certificate be made. Document requirements and fees for a birth certificate vary from about $10 to $30 depending on the state or issuing government.
The response time for each local government ranges from two weeks at best to three to six weeks for most. For individuals born in Florida, a birth certificate will usually come back in the mail within 10 days if the proper documentation and fees are submitted. Many governments have made the process more complicated and raised fees as the demand has increased.
The entire process is daunting on a good day with proper documentation and money. Without the proper requested documentation and fees for both the birth certificate and the Florida identification card, the process can drag on or be totally stymied.
There must be a better way that treats individuals with dignity and respect and yet protects the United States from terrorists and illegal immigrants.
Jane Trocheck Walker, executive director, Daystar Life Center, St. Petersburg
Deen denies racism | June 27
Apology doesn't ring true
I don't mean to be mean, but Paula Deen's apologies and her seeking the forgiveness of the public remind me of Bill Clinton-speak when he was denying his extramarital affairs.
I would also like to add that in all of my 80-plus years I have never heard the n-word spoken in my presence. Maybe I just have a better class of friends and acquaintances than Paula, or a better respect for humanity.
Mary Bernard, Oldsmar
Southern writers rebuff Deen | June 26
I'm thoroughly upset with people who hold themselves "above" other Southerners. It seems that we have some heartless Southern cookbook authors who have done that to Paula Deen. We are all human, and God told us to forgive our fellow man and help him up if he falls, not to "stone" him. Well here we have three who have "kicked" instead of helping Paula up.
I collect cookbooks — in fact I have over 900, no two of a kind, and I read them like novels. I've always liked to cook; it brings me great joy to feed my friends and family. I believe in building people up, not treating them like they are beneath me.
Crystal Mackey, Dade City
Paula Deen, the deep-fried boor June 26, commentary
I'm surprised you printed this hateful criticism of Paula Deen.
Obviously, Frank Bruni dislikes everything about this lady. She admits she used the n-word many years ago, just like millions of other people. That's all in the past.
Why should we care? She doesn't use it now. Times change; people change. I wonder if there are very many people in the United States who can truthfully say they have never spoken that word either in jest or anger. They are not racist and neither is Paula Deen.
Jim Studdiford, St. Petersburg
Toward equality | June 27
The imperial court
The majority of voters in California voted to not recognize same-sex marriages with Proposition 8. Now the Supreme Court invalidates the voters' wishes. The court also invalidated a bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act, which stated that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The top federal judges have abdicated their real duty to interpret law and have become dictators. Also, President Barack Obama did the same thing when he told the Justice Department over two years ago to stop defending DOMA. He had no right to do that; he took an oath to uphold and enforce the law.
America is on a slippery slope to doom just like the Roman Empire of centuries ago.
Walter Rinehart, Spring Hill
Protecting basic rights
Proabortion supporters' attempt to label prolife activists as "antichoice" would be laughable if it weren't so poignantly sad, given the irony of the immediate lack of choices that proabortion (or so-called "prochoice") proponents strive to deny.
For example, prolife proponents not only fight for adoption as a life-saving choice (which would still provide all of the mother's life's ambitions), but for the assurance that our most basic and fundamental civil rights, including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" will be protected, even for our society's most vulnerable.
Nick Suszynski, Tampa
Obama pushes climate reform | June 26
Public must be educated
Anyone who says the climate is not becoming more violent in recent years is simply not attentive or in denial.
The coal and oil industries have for decades been subsidized to keep their prices low. At the same time they have passed on to consumers the extremely large, indirect costs of polluting the environment. Wind and solar look more expensive to pursue, but they do not inflict indirect costs onto the consumer by polluting their environment.
Education, not lobbyist-driven smear propaganda, is needed by the consumer and voter to understand fully this very important dynamic.
Jim Demmy, Kenneth City