State to collect DNA in felony cases | June 17, story
DNA law a challenge to our rights
Your article on DNA collection in the cases of people "accused" of felonies sent chills up my spine. It does not take a scholar of constitutional law to see the potential violation of constitutional rights, and certainly the potential for misuse, in this obviously knee-jerk attempt by Gov. Charlie Crist to garner votes in his run for the Senate.
I am an advocate of victims' rights but not at the expense of someone else's rights. I am so sorry for Hilary Sessions' loss. However, I ask her and others to first consider if they would want the joy of "justice" to be tainted by the question of whether or not a conviction in the death of their loved ones was fraught with possible issues that could overturn the conviction.
In this day of "supertechnology" we have the opportunity to be absolutely sure of a person's guilt or innocence. This should not, however, be substituted for the Constitution but allow us to use it in its purest form. I would ask that each person who values our beloved Constitution to not see the passage of this law as a victory but as a challenge to each American's civil rights.
Carla Del Fuoco, Tarpon Springs
Crime in Florida is raging. The recession is fueling it — too much idle time from uneducated, out of work, angry people. What to do? Gov. Charlie Crist thinks testing anyone who has been charged with a felony would help. It's hard to disagree really, but have they thought this through? How about a wrongful arrest?
Here's my solution, folks: Anyone who gets a driver's license gives some DNA — everybody. Add it to the cost of the license. That way everybody is on file, there's no discrimination, a level playing field.
Simple? Fair? Helpful? Well I guess that kills it. Ouch!
Daniel Orsello, Tampa
The only legislator in either chamber to vote down legislation requiring any Floridian who is merely "accused" and not convicted of a felony to submit DNA was Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey. It's about time a legislator voted on principle and not what is simple or popular.
Privacy is an individual right and the foundation of a free society. The ends, when it comes to such rights, should never justify the means.
Rep. Legg, in his lonely seat, cited wrongful government expansion. As our government promotes the benefits of socialism at the expense of personal freedoms, hopefully there will be legislators at the federal level with the courage of ours from Port Richey.
James Mathieu, Port Richey
Water board okays repair | June 16, story
Oversight from board
too slow in coming
Let me begin by stating the obvious. Tampa Bay Water's professional staff has repeatedly failed to effectively manage their business. As a result, the substantial financial and other consequences continue to burden us, their customers.
This has got to be corrected now. It is the responsibility of Tampa Bay Water's board of directors to act on our behalf by addressing the gross incompetence of the key managers who have presided over these numerous project fiascoes. Have they terminated these "officials" or perhaps awarded them with performance bonuses?
Board chairman Mark Sharpe is correct when he said, "We can't undo what's been done. …We have a responsibility to get this thing right." At this point, we all have to wonder what he and the other board members have been waiting for?
Bruce Baldwin, Seminole
Bigger cars are safer cars | June 13, letter
Shift to smaller cars
I disagree with the letter writer who thinks big cars are the way to go and scoffs at small ones. She doesn't like the push to have Detroit manufacture more small cars. I just have to ask her: Would you rather get hit by an Excursion or a Mini Cooper?
See, the danger lies in that careless drivers are behind the wheels of such massive vehicles, and that there are so many of them on the roads with small cars. It's time to phase out these behemoths. Their fad is through.
Speaking of safety of small cars, manufacturers these days know customers worry about crash safety. If their small cars do not pass muster, they do not get sold. Therefore, they have a host of excellent safety features built in (which work perfectly well unless hit by said behemoth).
I say we should wean Americans off the supersized vehicles for personal use.
Sarah Lehrmann, Clearwater
Oil money no boon | June 16, letter
Change the rules
Sen. Bill Nelson wrote recently in a letter to the Times that oil revenue to the states can only be spent for mitigating damages from the drilling.
He's certainly in a position know what he's talking about, but isn't he also in a position to change that? Didn't we elect him to enact legislation that will benefit Florida and the nation in general?
We need energy independence, and the best way to achieve that is to develop our own natural resources. The state could also use the revenue.
If we don't claim that oil, the Chinese will be only too glad to do so, and how environmentally sensitive are they going to be?
It appears difficult to change Sen. Nelson's mind on this issue. The voters will have to address it during the next election.
Larry Alter, Seminole
Global warming is here and it's getting worse June 17, story
Trying to scare us
The White House report on global warming is a continuation of the use of fear tactics by extremist environmentalists. As a 73-year-old chemical engineer, I have watched this for six decades.
In the 1940s we were told that we had only 20 years of oil reserves. We believed it.
Was it in the 1960s we were told that carbon dioxide was causing global cooling?
I believe the most honest assessment is the Petition Project which has been signed by more than 30,000 scientists:
"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."
Ronald P. Rowand, Clearwater
C-section births becoming a given | June 17, story
Save it for emergencies
The reasons pro-C-section doctors give for performing so many of the procedures are weak, at best. I believe the truth of the matter is that it is done for two reasons: convenience for the doctor, and more income.
Any surgical procedure is a risk. The World Health Organization says the rate of C-section births should be no higher than 15 percent. Six area hospitals have 40 percent or more C-section births. It's time for all hospitals to install midwives in the maternity wards. Save your C-sections for emergencies.
Gail Randle, Clearwater