Camera as cop goes to court | May 22
Red-light runners risk a lot
I seriously thought that all defense lawyers had reached bottom already, but this article has proved me wrong. I don't care how a ticket is issued, when it is, or where it is issued, but the driver has put one or more persons at risk. In many cases, the drivers of red-light violations are very likely the deadly "texting driver." In these cases, the defense attorney has also protected these idiots without even trying. If and when I, or anyone in my family, is killed by a "red-lighter," I will haunt the defense lawyer and judge for the rest of my life. One haunt is that all of their children will become prosecutors.
Bob Wolfe, Sun City Center
Find money elsewhere
I really hope that legal challenges on red-light cameras cost the cities tons of money. Having that plan backfire on the city officials that voted for them would be awesome.
Using the pretense of safety to stick it to drivers doesn't have the support of the citizens. If the people had been allowed to vote on red-light cameras, they would have been overwhelmingly voted down. Cities need to face the facts and make cuts to reflect their income. Maybe we don't need new buildings and new city cars every year or new park projects or millions in beatification and marketing.
Hal Batey, St. Petersburg
Watching Eckerd flourish | May 22 editorial
Retired dean earned praise
Thank you for reporting the good news of Eckerd's achieving financial stability and paying tribute to president Donald Eastman, who has made it happen. A tribute should also be paid to recently retired dean Lloyd Chapin. More than anyone else, he maintained standards and a quality of education above what "financially troubled Eckerd College" could afford. He held to the image of the school we were, and his faculty never let him down.
St. Petersburg should be very proud of its first-class college with a national reputation, and the role it plays in the life of our city.
James Crane, professor emeritus, Treasure Island
Invest in facility police force deserves May 24 editorial
Explore a new police model
I was surprised and disappointed that the normally progressive St. Petersburg Times has put the full weight of its editorial page behind the building of a 20th century-style monolithic monstrosity of a police headquarters in St Petersburg. The Times says that we must ensure that law enforcement has the facility and resources to do the job under adverse circumstances, to paraphrase. I say that "facility" and "resources" are two very different things. Police cruisers, training, firearms, computers and good leadership are "resources" that they indeed do deserve. A huge, 230,000-square-foot "facility" is not. Policing is done on the street, not in air-conditioned offices that few patrol officers ever work in. State-of-the-art evidence storage, small holding cells, communication rooms and appropriate offices for the chief and his command team is reasonable and can be renovated or built for less than $32 million.
Why the city and the Times are so adamant in resisting even looking at the distributive policing model, meaning substations, is beyond me. The Times is correct in saying that this issue involves a vital public interest. But the old government solution, to address it with a new, ridiculously expensive building, is a shortsighted and ineffective way to go.
Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg
Browning's take on voting law is a stretch May 24 PolitiFact
Avoid another debacle
I was glad to see PolitiFact tackle the new elections law and the defense of it, which appeared on your opinion page recently. As a longtime elections office volunteer and sometime employee (over 30 years) I feel that another important point needs to be explored: What database/procedure/insight/magic will be used to verify the legality of the provisional ballots after election day that isn't already available to poll workers? Their training the past several years has emphasized detecting voter fraud using new technology they have at their fingertips. Is there some method available only after ballots are cast? The fact that checking the accuracy of would-be provisional voters' sworn statements after election "results" are announced should provide all the reasonable doubt necessary to confirm the this new law is suspect and unnecessary. I hope the Justice Department looks closely at this mess before Florida is subject to another elections debacle.
Roger Crescentini, Tampa
Former pastor accused of DUI | May 23
Church treated unfairly
I count myself among the tens of millions of Christians who are not perfect. I attend and worship at a church that is not perfect. And, finally, I am quite aware that Without Walls International Church is not a place of worship that is perfect.
Why must this institution be dragged into an unrelated story about its former pastor in the first sentence of Stephanie Wang's report? Randy White's driving-under-the-influence arrest is unfortunate, but quite unrelated to the fact that his former church has been under scrutiny for "ostentatious spending." If the reporter wants to regularly pummel this imperfect church, that by the way has served the needy and the faithful in the community generously for many years, please direct her to the editorial pages of the Times. Just report the news.
Robbin Ebright, Tampa
Catastrophic insurance fund
Time to pull together
With the most recent proof of Mother Nature's power, doesn't one single "person in power" see the need for a national catastrophic fund? I don't believe any state in this beloved country hasn't recently suffered some form of indescribable, unbelievable, horrifying devastation. Why isn't there a national program in place? Too many families are suffering right now. Time to get it together as a nation, just as we did after Sept. 11.
Karin L. Stephansky, Indian Rocks Beach