Paper ballots may be trouble | Aug. 11, story
Only properly marked ballots should count
More voting nonsense. Now we have to have soothsayers determine who the incompetent voters cast their ballot for because they cannot follow the simple instruction of filling in an oval.
May I suggest the following to resolve the problem: Bring a 3- or 4-year-old into the booth to fill in the oval, or have an election worker take the voter by the hand into the booth to assist in casting the vote. Or just disregard any vote that is not cast according to the rules. No lines, no symbols, no crosses, no line outs or no anything except filling the oval. Period.
No wonder Florida is the laughingstock of the country every time an election comes around.
Joe Schlosser, Spring Hill
The latest tax idea: Leap first, look later Aug. 10, Howard Troxler column
A backbone builder
Howard Troxler feels it would be dangerous to pass Amendment 5 without first having replacement revenue lined up for education.
This is a good point, except the Legislature doesn't have the political will to increase the amount required now to fully meet the state's obligation. It has been increasing the local tax obligation for schools, which is how we got into the fix we are in now.
It appears that the only way to create a backbone in the Legislature and a political will to face up to the obligation of the state is to take such a drastic step as passing Amendment 5 and leaving the Legislature no other choice but to pass the sales tax increase, eliminate sales tax exemptions and take whatever steps necessary to close the gap.
The Legislature will have the 2009 and 2010 sessions and any special sessions necessary before the elimination of the school property tax takes effect. I could see the Legislature proposing putting options before the voters to choose the source of revenue to replace the property taxes for school. This might include perhaps a 2 percent sales tax instead of the proposed 1 percent in the amendment.
Paul C. Blatt, Dunedin
Hillary fans still frowning | Aug. 11, Susan Estrich column
A winning ticket
In her column, Susan Estrich simply misses the point. Though sympathetic, she doesn't seem to understand that Hillary Clinton's disappointed loyalists aren't going to be wooed by Barack Obama's words. They want action!
If candidate Obama would choose Sen. Clinton as his running mate the dissent would die down, his poll numbers would go up and a fractured Democratic Party would be well on its way to good health. The two of them would make an exciting, unbeatable ticket for victory in 2008.
Nancy Hoppe, Largo
New Rays stadium
That parking problem
Now that the Rays are having a championship season and the parking is now overflowing to the point of people parking wherever they find an opening, can anyone see the mess it would create if it was downtown? Where would the business people working downtown be parking? Where would the shoppers be parking? Where would the visitors to downtown be parking? Where would anyone park who had to come downtown? Moving the stadium downtown is very foolish.
And why would anyone build a stadium for millionaires and just give it to them? Make them pay for it and see how quick they run for the hills.
I see nothing wrong with where the stadium is now and it wouldn't take much to enlarge the parking there. Also how would you increase the parking downtown if it's ever needed? The stadium we have now is as easy to get to as any I've ever been to. If you want to upgrade it, fine, but don't mess with what ain't broke.
Robert Murray, Oldsmar
Fractured hip | Aug. 10, etc
It's all relative
For those who think 40 is old, here is an old saying that offers both perspective and consolation:
"Forty is the old age of youth, but is also the youth of old age."
Daniel P. Quinn, St. Petersburg Candidate replies The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to respond. Here are some of the responses to the recommendations for the Aug. 26 primary races.
Miriam Velez, Esq. Candidate for Hillsborough Circuit Court judge, Group 2
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your recent recommendation. In doing so, I hope to dispel your editorial's dismissal of my experience in the judicial system. The judicial system is not only comprised of "lawyers" but also includes other officers of the court such as bailiffs, court reporters, clerks, probation officers and other law enforcement officers. Your recommendation is disappointing because it diminishes my experience and the role of these dedicated, hardworking individuals.
I take great pride in the fact that I have worked my way through the system in various capacities, including the past six years as a member of the Florida Bar. I have been a part of the judicial system as a whole for 12 years. This experience has allowed me to view many different facets of our complex system firsthand and gives me an incredible level of diversity.
I am honored to be part of the judicial system. For the past six years, I have been practicing law, first working as an assistant state attorney and most recently operating a successful law practice focusing on criminal defense, civil and commercial litigation and family law. Having worked on "both sides of the aisle" can come in many different forms. Serving my community as a member of Florida's judiciary is one of my life goals and I am asking Hillsborough County's voters to help me achieve this goal on Aug. 26.
J. Kevin Carey Candidate for Hillsborough Circuit Court judge, Group 7
For the past six years I have worked hard serving the citizens of Hillsborough County as a judge. I have rendered fair and impartial decisions based on the facts and the law, not politics. I care deeply about our community and I have made a difference in various ways, including providing free legal services to the poor prior to becoming a judge and tutoring underprivileged youngsters.
I hope the voters will look at this race carefully and consider that those who are in a position to know best — the lawyers who have practiced in my courtroom and other leaders in the community familiar with my judicial service — believe I deserve to be re-elected. That is why I have been endorsed by 24 current and former presidents of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, as well as Sheriff David Gee, Public Defender Julianne Holt, the county firefighters, Police Benevolent Association and the Federation of Labor.
I have served with honor, decency, integrity and have been ethically above reproach. I ask the voters to make an informed decision based on the facts, not negative campaigning.
Linda Courtney Clark Candidate for Hillsborough Circuit Court judge, Group 21
While I thank you for your kind words and acknowledgement regarding the importance of my rounded view, it appears some of my professional experience may have been overlooked. I refer to my professional experience gained during my 10 years of practicing law (intern/attorney) as compared to that of my opponent. While my years of practice are indisputably shorter, I believe that my achievements and activities during that time period attest to my preparedness to take the bench. I have practiced in state and federal courts, 2nd District Court of Appeal, participated in oral arguments, and made law or changed existing law in multiple areas. My opponent has no experience in federal court, as she is not admitted to practice there, nor has she ever practiced on the appellate level. I am admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and my opponent is not. Importantly, court records confirm that my caseload as a private practitioner exceeds that of my opponent during her time in private practice.
I submit that these experiences have been broader and combine well with my life experience as a wife, mother, business owner and manager to make me the more balanced candidate.