Bondi fumbles on gay marriage | June 4, Sue Carlton column
Poll questions can sway answers
Sue Carlton is astounded over a passage in Attorney General Pam Bondi's defense of conventional marriage that, briefly, states or implies that the backbone of our society depends on a solid family structure headed by a male and female father and mother. Gee, Sue, look around you and see what happens when you deviate from that.
As far as her claim that "a majority of Florida voters are okay with same-sex marriage" because of some poll, I think most people realize that the results of polls are greatly dependent on who conducts them and how the questions are asked. If the question is "Do you approve of same-sex marriage?" and the poll is conducted by the Tampa Bay Times, I'm sure the result would be in the affirmative. However, if the Catholic Church conducts the poll, I'm sure it would be in the negative.
Bill Bravick, Tampa
Lawyers judge the judges in survey | June 7
Because of small response, survey has no credibility
It's surprising that anyone would allow their name to be associated with what the "Association of Lawyers Promoting Judicial Excellence" posted on the Web as a survey. In no way do the results "provide a good way to let the public know how each judge is viewed by attorneys who are familiar with their work." The article points out that only 115 of approximately 3,200 lawyers participated.
But the unanswered — or possibly unasked — question is: How many respondents rated an individual judge? The lowest score posted on the website is an average of 2.19. That score could have resulted from as few as 16 voting attorneys, with only one of the 16 respondents giving the lowest rating possible. Just as lacking in credibility was a high score "average" of 5, which could mean only one attorney rated that judge in that category.
Is it fair to give a single attorney who may have had one case — that he or she probably lost — the same weight as a professional who could have gone before that judge 50 or 60 times in a year, possibly with as many losses as wins?
Each judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit has as many as 1,500 open cases at any one time. Those singled out for the lowest scores handle cases that vary from highly publicized, hideous crimes to minor violations that are contested on principle.
Every case has a winner and a loser. Just as sports fans blame the referee, it's natural for the losing attorney to blame the judge.
However, every ruling by judges and every comment they make to an attorney is made in public, for the record, and is subject to review by a higher court.
Ron Stuart, public information officer, 6th Judicial Circuit, Palm Harbor
Bergdahl is focus of debates | June 9
Facts and opinions
Whether the subject is a prisoner swap, cramps on the basketball court, a horse race, health care or Benghazi, many opinions are based on what cable news station the speaker watches. Critical thinking, which is based on the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion, is as rare as someone who understands that one opinion is not as good as another.
Using facts to determine opinions is too much work for most Americans, so parroting the opinions of Rachel Maddow, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh is common.
Robert F. Clifford, Tarpon Springs
Sweep! Sweep! It's sure getting crowded under that rug. Move over Benghazi and VA — here comes Bergdahl.
Connie Paglen, Treasure Island
Clintons 'dead broke' departing White House June 10
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus seems to have a problem with the English language, especially tenses. Hillary Clinton said she and Bill Clinton "were" dead broke up on leaving the White House. They have been making speeches to make money in the past several years and are "now" not dead broke.
Sheila Krause, St. Petersburg
Latest Florida rail roils | June 9
High speed into the future
Concerning the "not in my back yard" comments on the proposed high-speed passenger train on Florida's east coast, there seem to be some misconceptions about noise and air pollution.
High-speed trains make little noise, as they are built as unit trains. My experience with such trains is that there is a swoosh, and that's it for noise. The right of way can have berms or trees added if necessary to allay noise fears. As to air pollution, just look at the pollution from highways.
I foresee an East Coast electric line from Boston to Miami. Currently this line exists from Boston to Washington, D.C. The logical extension is south, and getting private capital to build the southern leg seems like a no-brainer.
The current Tampa-Orlando line would need upgrading, not necessarily to high-speed, but to form part of an East Coast network. An extension across the proposed new Howard Frankland Bridge would remove some of the need to keep building roads.
John Bassett, St. Petersburg
FSU's presidential search consultant resigns post | June 10
Keep politics out of it
Florida State University is at a critical time in its history, poised to be a top research university and among the top 25 universities in the nation. Its future is now under threat by a presidential search process tainted by Florida politics. It's the same pay-to-play game that has infected the Florida Legislature.
State Sen. John Thrasher is credited with seeing that the Legislature has generously funded FSU and thus is qualified to be president. It was not too long ago that a new university was created as a favor to a politician.
All you have to do is look at the dismal list of candidates to know that this is a failed search process. Typically, candidates would be presidents of regional universities, chief academic officers of major universities and individuals with national stature in their fields. A search process free of political interference should be instituted.
Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson