Plea rises for immigration | April 11
A proud and loyal legal immigrant
My nephew and I immigrated to the United States through legal channels.
I wonder how legal immigrants feel when they hear the chant of "the time is now" from thousands of illegal immigrants outside the U.S. Capitol.
We have worked and paid our taxes since arrival and have never drawn a penny of welfare, health benefit or unemployment payments from the U.S. government. We are proud and loyal citizens.
My hope is that if these illegals are granted citizenship they can say the same after 53 years.
Valerie Visnage, Seminole
Lack of respect for the law
If illegal immigrants are granted citizenship without going through the current process, what grounds would we have to forbid future illegals the same right?
The fact is, they are here illegally and have no right under our laws to be recognized outside of the established process for obtaining citizenship.
To read that some have been here illegally for decades, and haven't applied for citizenship during that time, proves a disrespect for our laws.
Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor
The public's right to know | April 6, editorial
I am compelled to correct the misinterpretation of the intent of the motion I made. My motion was to revert to the previous way of sharing with the public and the press the names and actions of suspended employees coming to the School Board. That process does not deny the right of parents and others to have the information. That process does not protect employees. That process is transparent, it is accessible to all, and it is legal.
What is missing from the most recent way of disclosing the name of employees is a sense of compassion and sensitivity, and I make no apology for that kind of consideration. I would like to think that we can strike a balance between the public's right to know and our employees' right to dignity.
You speculated about my intentions and motivations. They had absolutely nothing to do with any specific case. My comments were in the context of cautioning board members about how we respond to emails or calls because of the possibility of hearing the case in the future.
Let me be clear about my intent: to adopt a process that ensures transparency and accountability, while showing compassion and sensitivity toward our employees. I still believe we can strike that balance.
Doretha Edgecomb, Hillsborough County School Board, Tampa
Vote looking close on gun bill | April 15
Holes in background checks
The likelihood of background checks reducing gun violence is slim at best. The proposed legislation does not cover private sales. How difficult would it be for anyone to have a friend or family member purchase a gun for them? Or, if one has no friends or family members, simply respond to a private ad for a gun for sale. I suspect the only reason for the bipartisan support for this legislation is that it gives a thin veneer of protection, while doing nothing to hurt the finances of those in the gun and ammunition business.
Also, the reality is that a background check would not have red-flagged the majority of those who have committed mass murder. The reader is advised to examine the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for a delineation of the criteria to deny gun purchases from federally licensed sellers. Some of these criteria appear arbitrary and based on hunches and prejudices, rather than data.
There is no system to identify angry and psychologically disordered people who lack any of these "markers" in their personal history. An al-Qaida member who is legally residing in the United States is not prevented from buying whatever guns he wants, unless he has one of the "markers." The politicians have, again, found a pretend solution that makes them look good while not alienating their campaign donors.
John Dalton, St. Petersburg
LaHood, Buckhorn push bike safety at summit | April 12
Breaking the rules
In my area of town, I would estimate that 90 percent of the bike riders pay no attention to the rules of the road. Perhaps this is different downtown, but not where I live. They bike against the traffic lights as they see fit, ride on the sidewalk, then dash to the road when it's to their liking.
I'm sure "real" riders don't do this. I must assume there are a lot more of the other kind of riders out there. In addition, biking to and from work in August does not appeal to me.
Dan Mason, Tampa
Sticker shock on way? | April 11
Your headline screams "Sticker shock on way?" True, yet interesting that Citizens Property Insurance, with no help from the Legislature, has already "shocked" condominium owners across the state of Florida.
The "Transient Rental Rule" converts wind policies held by Citizens from "private residential" to "business exposure" policies for any condominium association that has 25 percent of its units "rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days."
This devastating rule forces homeowners associations to see increases in annual premiums ranging from 600 to 1,700 percent. The end results will be costs passed on to homeowners — and renters, Florida's valued tourists. Something must be done to prevent further damage to the economy in Florida.
April Schiff, Tampa
Face to face with Thatcher | April 10, commentary
A leader to respect
On opening day of the Rays season I always take my third-inning walk to see the what's new at the Trop. This year as I was walking I saw former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
I am not from Tampa but have always felt she was one great leader. I walked up to her and had a two- to three-minute conversation. She gave me her undivided attention as we briefly talked baseball and then a little politics. I complimented her on what a superb job she did as mayor of Tampa.
When I read her essay in the Times I thought of what she said about Margaret Thatcher. Iorio showed me respect and interest, as Thatcher did her.
Wynne T. Black, New Port Richey