Stroke death result: training and 'He's simply a slumlord' | July 11
A terrible lack of accountability
I read two stories first thing this morning in the Times. One was about the man who was jailed in Hillsborough County and had a stroke and was not given proper care, or perhaps one should say no care. The other was about the squalid trailers owned and rented by William Brown of the Tampa Port Authority.
Although these stories were about two different topics, a common theme jumped out at me: the total lack of accountability and responsibility of any of the people involved.
The sheriff's office is not going to discipline anyone — they are going to "train" them. Shouldn't they have been already trained? Do they really even care that a man died? A man who did nothing wrong and should never have been in the jail in the first place?
William Brown is "sorry" for his actions — what exactly is he sorry for? That he actually did something wrong, and knows it? Or that he got caught? I think I know the answer.
How about people owning up to their actions and bearing the proper consequences? We have become a society in which no one wants to be accountable for anything.
Theresa Hoskinson, Tampa
Brown's rentals ripe for trouble | July 12
Their rules are different
Once again we are treated to the story of a citizen who has somehow managed to skate on property and zoning regulations in the city. Also, once again we hear that Tampa officials are "shocked" that nothing has been done for years.
This is the standard Florida story of how wealthy, politically connected people operate under a different set of rules from the rest of us.
Clyde Walker, Sun City Center
Police scandal roils Lakeland | July 11
Problem at the top
I have 35 years in law enforcement and corporate security. It is inconceivable that the Lakeland police chief would not have known about the "bra-shaking" procedure, apparently routine, or the well-known department sex scandal being conducted by her senior sworn supervisors.
She is either incompetent or so apathetically out of touch with daily operations that firing or resignation is mandated.
C. Dan Slagle, Hudson
'I can't live like this. No fun' | July 10
Life after an injury
In response to the article about the man injured in a bicycle accident, it is possible to still have fun after becoming a quadriplegic. Not easy, but possible.
My husband received a C4 spinal cord injury in a not-at-fault vehicle accident five years ago this month. He cannot move from the shoulders down. Granted, he is not on a respirator, but his life is unalterably changed.
We have adjusted to what we call our "new normal." We could not have gotten to this point without the support of family, friends and the staff at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center's spinal cord injury unit.
Since the accident, we have gone to the college graduation of one child, seen both children married (rolled our daughter down the aisle), gone on a cruise and experienced the miracle of the arrival of our first grandchild. During that entire time we have continued to laugh and have fun. He says he is ready to go when God is ready to take him, but I thank God daily that he is still in our lives.
Madelyn Davidson, Lutz
Brandes will seek greater personal privacy protections | July 10, The Buzz
Steve Bousquet reported last week that state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, will file legislation in the 2014 session to expand personal privacy. I am so glad to hear that the senator is suddenly so interested in citizen confidentiality.
He is mistaken, though, in thinking we need new legislation to do this. He only needs to read the Florida Constitution. Article I, Section 23, guarantees every citizen "the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life."
We need no new laws — we just need our politicians to understand that Florida citizens already enjoy an expressed right to privacy and thus extra legislation would be redundant.
What we do need, though, is for our Legislature to read the entire Constitution to reinforce in their minds that additionally, Article I, Section 2, confers that right on all persons, stating that "female and male alike are equal before the law." Our legislators always seem to forget that provision when it comes to applying privacy rights to women's health decisions. Our Florida Constitution mandates that a politician cannot force his personal philosophy or theology on constituents and, further, can never interfere with a privileged conversation between a Florida citizen and doctor.
In November 2012, our Legislature tried to erase this privacy protection only as it applies to women's rights, and the electorate soundly defeated Amendment 6. With all the recent indignation over warrantless search and seizures, I would hope that Brandes and other Republicans who are newly concerned with privacy rights remember our Constitution and never again attempt to erode those rights by invading women's private decisions.
B.J. Star, Dunedin
Woman eludes MacDill security | July 9
If the security has been stepped at MacDill Air Force Base since the 2001 terrorist attacks, I can only imagine how poor it was before. Suzanne Jensen, accused of using a trash can to climb a wall to get into the base, has put MacDill to shame.
While Jensen may be homeless, the woman has smarts and knows how to stay alive, despite her dire situation. In fact, MacDill ought to give her a job. No doubt, she could give them pointers on how to better secure the base — so that those like her can't get in.
In any case, it's the same old, same old — as our government gives away billions of dollars every year to nations abroad that could be used on the home front to help get the homeless off the streets.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater