Immigrant loses high court battle | March 7
Case points to need for reforms
The recent decision of the Florida Supreme Court denying Jose Godinez-Samperio admission to the Florida Bar should be required reading for all people who are interested in the issue of comprehensive immigration reform — whether pro or con.
First, the decision of the court as well as the concurring decision unabashedly recognize the unfairness, indeed illogic, in denying Godinez-Samperio the privilege of practicing law even though he is highly qualified in all respects. Second, the decision acknowledges that Godinez-Samperio is morally innocent with respect to the decision by his parents to enter the United States. Third, it highlights the conflict between federal and state law and practice as to eligibility to practice any occupation that requires a state license, even if the non-U.S. citizen has been granted employment authorization by the federal government.
The law as it exists is the equivalent of a cruel version of a legal chess game for which there are divergent rules, resulting in dire, life-changing consequences. Worse yet, there surely are thousands of other young people confronting the same situation. All of this is below the standards of fairness and humanity for which our country prides itself. It is time for our nation to face up to the reality that our immigration law needs a complete overhaul.
Ramon Carrion, Clearwater
Immigrant loses high court battle | March 7
He didn't follow the rules
One has to admire Jose Godinez-Samperio for his tenaciousness in pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer. From reading the article and the editorial, he did, in fact, follow the rules any person in his situation would do to achieve a goal. But one rule he did not follow was to become a citizen so that he could become a licensed lawyer in the state of Florida.
Why did he not apply for citizenship when he knew that it was a requirement in getting a law license? Surely with all the teachers, Scout masters and co-workers at the law firm supporting him, one would have mentioned this to him and encouraged him to apply.
Godinez-Samperio seems to be a perfect case of a person who wants to live and work in the United States but does not want to follow the laws. The exact laws that he wants to practice to help other "residents who left their birthplaces to work hard and seek better lives here" are the ones he is not willing to follow. Why should the rules be bent for him or others?
Marilyn Calora, Oldsmar
Don't tighten rules on dropoff ballots March 10, editorial
Give voters options
Ballot dropoff sites are convenient and well-monitored options for voters. Our county elections supervisor, Deborah Clark, apparently violated a "directive" — not a law — in allowing these dropoff points to remain although Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner want them removed on the grounds that "no law allows it."
But does any law disallow it? To punish her these two officials want to punish all of us. Why not try to help local citizens exercise their democratic rights instead of continually finding ways to make that process harder? It seems that a thoughtful body of elected officials would do all they can to help their constituents, not thwart them.
Elaine Markowitz, Palm Harbor
Lots of cash pumping into vouchers March 6
Private, public funding
Private schools, a part of America since colonial days, should remain private. Those wishing to attend should pay. Scholarships for those unable to pay the fees should be provided by a private foundation to which individuals and corporations contribute.
Public money should be given to public schools, the foundation of a democratic society. The voucher system siphons off funds that our public schools desperately need not only to exist but to provide quality education.
Unfortunately, our Florida legislators are once again failing our public schools by backing the voucher system legislation and often criticize the public schools' performance while slashing their incomes.
Lois Rogers-Watson, Palm Harbor
Military sexual assault bill fails | March 7
'Good old boy' approach
When the Senate defeated Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to move sexual assault cases from out of the chain of command, it defied all logic.
Army Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair has pleaded guilty to sexual assault to avoid more serious charges and in order to keep salacious details out of open court. The Army's top sex crimes investigator, Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, is under investigation for allegations he groped a female lawyer. Don't facts such as these make it obvious that the military leadership is utterly incapable of effectively handing such cases within the chain of command?
Even though sexual assaults go in both directions, many are the case of she-said vs. he-said with the male aggressor and the female victim. It appears the "good old boys" still rule our Congress and our military.
Jay Hall, Tampa
Red-light cameras out | March 7
Deciding to remove the intersection cameras because people have modified their driving habits and ticket revenue is therefore down is like had we chosen to dispense with the Salk vaccine as soon as when outcome studies showed fewer cases of polio being recorded.
If one simply factored into this reasoning the money saved by the city of St. Petersburg, which previously was expended for hospital emergency room care of victims injured in intersection collisions, the cost/benefit figures would look remarkably different.
This decision gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Penny-wise and pound-foolish."
Thomas Fredrick, Port Richey