Don't ignore history's lessons | June 8, editorial
Appeal to ugly, divisive politics
In this offensive editorial, the Tampa Bay Times turned its opinion pages into a tool of ugly, divisive politics by comparing Florida Gov. Rick Scott to notorious segregationist George Wallace.
Scott's offense? An insistence that we prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in our nation's elections.
For weeks, opponents of Scott have questioned whether noncitizens are on our voter rolls. Scott's efforts proved they are. Then opponents questioned whether any had ever actually voted in elections. Even the Times has reported that this too is an irrefutable fact. So only one question really remains: What number of illegal voters, and illegally cast votes, will these opponents abide?
Further, we should all be asking the Tampa Bay Times to explain how there are parallels between a reasonable effort to end noncitizen voting and segregationists who put race before the law. The answer, I find, is that the Tampa Bay Times would rather incite fear among minority communities than inform all Floridians about the real problem that is posed when we surrender the integrity of our vote. This proves you to be an organization willing to put politics ahead of truth. It's shameful.
Sam Newby, chairman, Florida Assembly of Black Republicans, Jacksonville
Don't ignore history's lessons June 8, editorial
Comparison grossly unfair
This editorial comparing Gov. Rick Scott's approach to validating/cleaning up the voter registration database and Gov. George Wallace's attempt to block black Americans from their right to a public education is grossly unfair. It's apples and oranges. Shame on the Times for using a race card.
While I am not a fan of Scott, his attempt to verify that people registered to vote are in fact citizens is commendable and should be supported by all citizens.
Randy Eisenberg, Valrico
Scott protects legal voters
Gov. Rick Scott is not disenfranchising anyone. He is protecting my vote as a legal U.S. citizen. Even one illegal vote disenfranchises my vote.
You insult the integrity and intelligence of the poor or minorities by insinuating they cannot respond to an inquiring letter.
Geraldine Williams, Seminole
A matter for the courts
Your use of the picture of the late Gov. George Wallace attempting to bar the entrance of African-Americans to the University of Alabama 50 years ago and likening it to Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to purge the voter rolls of ineligible voters is despicable.
You write, "This June, the governor of another Southern state is challenging the federal government's authority." There are many states that are being sued by the Justice Department over immigration enforcement issues and proposed voter ID laws. Scott is in good company.
I, like many other Floridians, am tired of being told by the Big Brother feds what the states can and cannot do. If the federal government wants to stop the state's effort to prevent noncitizens from voting, sue us. That's what the court system is all about.
Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach
Getting ID is the issue
The problem is not showing your ID — it's the Florida laws that make getting one so difficult.
During the past few years newspapers have published accounts of how hard it is for many people, especially the elderly or divorced women, to get a new or renewed driver's license or ID because the documents they have used for many years to establish identity are no longer recognized. This can be for something such as a clerical or registration error in a name spelling, or something now required on a document, such as the maiden name on a divorce decree, that was not considered necessary by the jurisdiction issuing the decree.
My name was changed in Tampa by court order in 1977, but last year the Bureau of Vital Statistics would not honor it because they said the wrong judge ordered it. After 35 years, I had to spend time and money to get another judge to okay this so I could get new ID to prove I could vote at my new address.
Theressa Placke, Tampa
We need a national ID card
Were it not for all of the self-serving interests of our legislative branch in Washington, this perennial problem could be solved in a heartbeat. Pass a law that requires one-time proof of citizenship and issuance of a national ID card. No excuses accepted — no card, no vote.
This eliminates all discussion regarding discrimination against certain blocs of voters.
Fred Beerman, Tampa
Don't expect others to bail us out June 11, letter
Disasters happen all over
This letter seems to suggest a national disaster fund is all about Florida. It's not. In recent years, there has been far more costly damage to the Midwest and "Tornado Alley" than to Florida. Devastating snowstorms abound in northern regions. Wildfires are a continuous problem in Texas and other Western states, and let's not forget California wildfires and landslides.
Creating the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. were poor choices. The problem is, they primarily benefit those who live in high-risk areas along the coasts. If you choose to live in a high-risk area, you should pay premiums commensurate with the risk.
Before the concept of insurance, no one lived in high-risk areas. You want to play, you need to pay.
Richard Golden, San Antonio
A liberating choice for the liberal arts June 8, commentary
Education, then training
Kudos to Andy Thomason for his column about liberal arts education. He reminds us that the original intent of a university was to provide an education, which would then be the foundation for a full and productive life. Training for a specific occupation should follow that.
As Thomason so aptly states, "the heightened capacity to reason, to think and to argue" learned in liberal arts courses will serve you well the rest of your life.
STEM is all well and good. However, people in the scientific world need, first and foremost, to be grounded in the basics. In a world of specialists, how much more important are the generalists who can tie it all together — who see the big picture and not just the details.
Catherine F. Mitchell, Tampa