On March 9, the 2012 legislative session concluded. Unfortunately, no legislation passed addressing the protection against arbitrary evictions for residents of assisted living facilities.
The need for legislation is apparent: The Governor's Assisted Living Facility Workgroup recommended enacting eviction protections for residents of ALFs, and several legislators proposed bills that included additional protections for ALF residents from arbitrary evictions. However, lack of protections for ALF residents remains a reality.
Why are additional laws necessary? Florida law currently allows an ALF administrator to relocate or terminate a resident from an ALF for almost any reason, as long as the administrator provides the resident with 45 days' notice and documents the reason.
Because ALF residents do not have basic due process protections from being asked to leave their homes, administrators may decide to relocate a resident for making what may be legitimate complaints to state agencies involving things like poor care or lack of food. For example, a resident was recently evicted after filing a complaint with the ombudsman program.
The ombudsman program investigated 75 inappropriate ALF eviction complaints and 72 fear of retaliation complaints during 2010-11. An even greater number of arbitrary discharges may have occurred but were not reported.
How can ALF residents be protected? We need legislation providing basic due process to ALF residents, including the ability to challenge a proposed relocation in a neutral forum and the requirement that a 45-day written notice be handed to the resident. The law should establish standards for the appropriate relocation of residents, such as changes in medical condition, failure to pay, and behavioral changes necessitating a different setting.
These recommendations will allow residents to seek redress of any concerns about their care and quality of life without fear of retaliation.
Jim Crochet, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Tallahassee
Trayvon Martin killing
Gun culture excesses
While visiting your great state one could not escape the coverage given to the Trayvon Martin tragedy. There can be no question that the United States is a world leader, but I fail to grasp the love of weapons by its residents.
How sad it is to see that ordinary people carry guns on their person as they go about their day-to-day lives. I fail to see the necessity for residents to carry or even have guns in their homes when you have very competent and professional police forces.
I am concerned at the thought of a person next to me in a shopping mall or restaurant might be armed with a gun. The chance of this type of event occurring in Canada is almost nil as no person other than a police officer is entitled to carry a gun on their person.
Guns used in hunting is a different situation, but there is nothing to hunt in a residential area other than humans. This can and needs to stop.
Rick Romain, Toronto
It's become a racket
Political causes eventually become businesses, which in too many cases turn into rackets or shakedown schemes. Civil rights is just one example, and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are its enforcers.
In Detroit a few days ago, a 9-month-old black baby was shot in a hail of AK-47 rounds in a drive-by shooting. Where were Jackson and Sharpton? In Chicago on St. Patrick's Day, there were 49 shootings with 10 fatalities. Where were Jackson and Sharpton?
As long as contributions and federal grants keep rolling in, Sharpton and Jackson will keep the pot boiling. That's how they make a living. We have a RICO statute, but we really need a Race Racketeering Statute.
Charles Scott, St. Petersburg
Young doesn't mean weak
The death of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy. However, Martin wasn't a little boy, as is being frequently portrayed in the media. He was 6-foot-3. And, allegedly, George Zimmerman suffered injuries during the incident.
I wasn't there. And I don't know the facts. But anyone who doesn't take teenage boys' strength and endurance seriously should work out with them in a contact martial arts class.
J.D. Wright, Land O'Lakes
A lack of decency
The reactions by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to President Barack Obama's comments about the Trayvon Martin case show their lack of decency. The president showed dignified compassion, yet was thoughtful with regard to the legal aspects of the case.
Gingrich accused the president of politicizing the case, but that's exactly what Gingrich and Santorum are doing, not the president, who was responding to a question posed to him. They accuse the president of dividing the country, yet they are guilty of doing just that by their words and their tone.
Carole Gallotta, Bradenton
Hard questions | March 28
Republicans, especially those from Florida, are leading the charge to sue the federal government over Obamacare, specifically concerning the mandate of making everyone buy health insurance. Yet the same Republicans, in Florida, passed a bill, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, that any woman who was pregnant and seeking a termination must pay for an ultrasound and view it with her physician. She could waive viewing it, but she was still mandated to pay for it.
Is there a difference in either of these mandates? I guess you could argue that one is for the purchase of insurance and the other for only a diagnostic study. Yet both are mandates to purchase something related to health care, and it seems to me that you can't support one without supporting the other … or vice versa.
David Lubin, Tampa
Plugging in to what?
Let us assume the following: First, the day will come when the technology needed for the batteries used in electric cars is perfected. Second, this technology can be translated into a viable electric car. And finally, the price to produce such a car makes it a real possibility to the consumer.
A question remains. Where will the electricity come from? Coal-fired plants? Nuclear energy? Magic? Shouldn't we consider the source of electricity before making electric cars the end-all and be-all goal of our nation?
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Excellent weekend of racing
Thank you, Indy Nation and the city of St. Petersburg, for putting on another premier world sporting event in our city.
I look forward to this event all year and again had a excellent weekend. I'm planning my schedule and funds for next year's race!
To the residents of St. Petersburg who think the Honda Grand Prix disrupts "city life," I would like to say these are the events that make a city a city.
Thirty-plus years ago when I moved here, I never went "downtown" — there was nothing to do or see. Now we have races, music festivals, art shows, boat shows and the list goes on.
The waterfront blocked for the race is not the "typical" place residents or tourists walk. I was able to walk along our waterfront during breaks from the race and much enjoyed Straub Park and Beach Drive.
When I want peace and quiet, I leave the "city" and go camping/kayaking in Citrus County.
Rebecca Schulz, St. Petersburg
Peering into the secret lives of birds | March 27
Observe, don't confine
This delightful article showed how we can view the natural activities of birds via Web cameras. These, plus skilled cameramen, have made it possible for us to see wildlife in its natural environment.
For those who argue that we need zoos to educate our children, I answer that zoos negatively teach children that it is acceptable to forcefully remove animals from their natural surroundings and confine them to cages. Let's learn about wild animals without impacting their lives.
Isabell Stawicki, Beverly Hills
Retiree hounded by death camp charges March 18
Victims of other faiths
This article gives the erroneous impression that only Jews were murdered in the Treblinka and Sobibor camps. While Jews were probably the largest religious group, victims also included Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians.
Bogdan Zarski, St. Petersburg