Sheriff: Privacy bill protects criminals | April 6
Citizens' privacy needs protecting
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, among other law enforcement types, apparently believe they should not be hindered in their jobs by some silly Fourth Amendment, which they seem to think only favors criminals. They clearly fail to recognize that our Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment specifically to protect us from the likes of them — overzealous police and prosecutors.
In any such privacy debate, many ignorant people will say something like, "I'm not worried because I don't have anything to hide." Well, maybe I do and maybe you will someday. What if you voted for the sheriff's opponent and have pictures on your phone with that opponent?
Thankfully, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, like our Founding Fathers, believes that, as the Constitution states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause."
Note to Gualtieri and Bondi: Please take a constitutional law class and try to learn from it.
William Nye, Clearwater
An argument for 'inclusion' | March 31
Classes met special needs
Special education, now called education for the exceptional child, came into existence in the 1960s. As a guidance counselor, I remember children with emotional needs who had developmental, physical, emotional or mental problems. These students previously had been in special classes provided to meet their many needs. They were taught by teachers who had trained as special education teachers, and generally only were with the regular students during lunch and physical education, depending on their handicaps.
As more parents entered the workforce, they demanded more from the schools. The special education parents were strongly united with their demands, and the federal government agreed to provide the extra funds that would be required to meet the demands of those parents. The funds were to pay the difference in cost for educating the average and above-average students from those with special needs. Costs grew as more children came to the public schools with greater individual needs. Such needs included small classes and/or individual teaching, but some also needed special diets, counseling, diaper-changing and aides to assist them with breathing and swallowing.
As these programs grew, government money paid for less, and the school districts had to find more money elsewhere. In the end, the special education students — many of whom could have benefited from such individualized education planning, parent involvement and counseling — could not be offered such individual assistance. Many who could have been successful were in larger classes, and some became dropouts. Until the parents of students who are in average and above classes demand at least as much care and planning for their children, the loss of opportunity and success will continue.
Linda de Bottari, Clearwater
Honda Grand Prix
Dear city of St. Petersburg: The citizens deserve a clear, precise answer. How much does it cost the city to stage the Grand Prix and how much does the city earn?
Donald Cunningham, St. Petersburg
Danger to society
You can't talk about the pain "medical marijuana" relieves and get the whole picture. The other side of the coin is the pain marijuana creates: the lost lives, futures and heartaches of the users who loose their ambition, concentration and ability to learn, complete a task, keep or even have a job. The heartaches and draining of energy, time and resources of family and friends. The destruction of families and relationships because the user loses all consideration for others.
There are medicines and therapies available to relieve and treat pain without needing to legalize marijuana. The real push is to legalize it for recreation. This is a danger to society.
Rose Marginson, Tampa
Rubio should follow Nelson's lead | April 6, editorial
Consult the source
This editorial is disturbing and an affront to many Christians. You state that Sen. Marco Rubio should join Sen. Bill Nelson in supporting same-sex marriage. In essence, he should get on the right side of history. When did men having sex with men, and women having sex with women, become right?
Nelson is quoted as saying "the Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals." Since Nelson is referencing the Lord, why not fact check his statement by taking a look at what the Lord's book (the Bible) says. In Genesis, it states that God created man in his own image. Later, God created woman as a helpmate from one of Adam's ribs.
Homosexuality is a behavior. I can fine no reference in God's book that states He created homosexuals. In fact, if you check Genesis, Chapter 19, God destroyed Sodom because of sinful behavior which included homosexuality.
I recommend that Nelson and all of our elected Congress members might want to actually read the Bible before they start telling people what God has done, or is doing.
Randy Eisenberg, Valrico
Personal Injury Protection
You cause damage, you pay
For yet another year, lawmakers in Tallahassee are trying to fix the broken automobile insurance system called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. In 2013, changes to PIP went into effect that included: a 14-day limit to seek medical care after an accident; elimination of massage therapy and acupuncture; and a drastic reduction of benefits to $2,500 if the injuries are not deemed an "emergency medical condition."
Recently, a circuit court judge agreed with a group of providers and said the new PIP law was unconstitutional. As a result, legislators in Tallahassee (SB 7152) are proposing to do away with PIP altogether and join the majority of states by making it mandatory for every driver to carry bodily injury coverage. This type of coverage means that the driver who caused the accident pays for damages. This system is a good idea as it holds people responsible for their actions as well as eliminates PIP, which is broken beyond repair.
Let us all hope that our elected can get this right this session and pass mandatory bodily injury coverage.
Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo