Evans murder trial
A justice system of compassion
It has been almost three years since our daughter, Elizabeth Weingarten Evans, was murdered. Last week, justice was served with the conviction of Patrick Evans. From the moment this horrific crime was committed, the governmental agencies of Pinellas County have supported the families of the victims in a manner that can only be described as magnificent. Detective Ed Judy and victim's advocates Gwen White and Bobbie Tarpley of the Sheriff's Office kept us informed in a compassionate manner and stood by us at the bond hearing, the interminable pretrial hearings and during the trial. Bill Loughery and Chris LaBruzzo of the State Attorneys Office provided continual updates and sought our input in presenting their case. Finally, the trial itself! In such an emotionally charged trial, you couldn't have found a fairer judge than Richard Luce, who kept everyone in line, including the spectators, nor could you have found jurors more thoughtful and attentive than those in this case.
This has been a very difficult three years for two families. It would have been much worse without the professionalism and heartfelt compassion of the entire Pinellas County justice system. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Julian and Shelby Weingarten, Homosassa
Voters have a right to know
Herman Cain supporter Florida state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, says, "You don't get to come forward 15 or 14 years later and say this (sexual harassment) happened." Why not, Ronda? If a jerk winds up running for the nation's top job 15 years after making some lame moves, isn't he still a jerk? And shouldn't the public know the candidate they are voting for is still, 15 years later, a jerk? Is there a statute of limitations on being a jerk? C'mon, this guy is so over and done with.
Bruce H. Alexander, St. Petersburg
Accusers warrant contempt
I am wondering: What is the next treat we can expect from the media? Perhaps the name of the coeds with whom Herman Cain played doctor in kindergarten! As a liberal Democrat and an advocate for women's rights, I have only contempt for the women that now unearth decade-old accusations against the GOP presidential aspirant. They should know very well that these types of accusation are impossible to prove and disprove after so many years. Their only effect is to undermine a political message with unfair innuendos. The settlement they accepted a long time ago indicates to me that they are gold diggers, not that Mr. Cain was responsible of inappropriate behavior. The fact that they want out of the settlement now suggests that they have no honor and are only looking for more profit.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
Would he face the 'board'?
I noticed in the Republican debate Saturday night how much Herman Cain is in favor of waterboarding as a method of inquiry. I wonder if he's willing to undergo it to determine whether or not he's guilty of sexual harassment as claimed?
D. W. Molt, St. Petersburg
Lesson learned in BOG meeting | Nov. 12
And a child shall lead them
Wow! Finally someone with the courage to say, "The emperor isn't wearing any clothes." The fact that 20-year-old Michael Long spoke out against state Sen. J.D. Alexander in a public meeting, knowing full well the retribution the powerful senator could use against him, showed courage sadly lacking in the vast majority of our politicians. If Michael Long ever decides to run for office, I will be among the first to volunteer on his campaign.
Nancy White, Dunedin
Long has one vote already
Michael Long; remember that name and that person. I am a 30-plus-year Florida resident and have seen the blatant politics of this state while also wondering how it has been able to continue to exist into the 21st century. We have a governor that campaigned from strength and independence from politics but governs with a lack of conviction.
State senators wield their power like a club while the few, like Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, have the courage to stand up. Mr. Long, keep your courage and keep your ideals, and if you run for any office that I am able to vote for, regardless of office or party affiliation, you will have my vote.
Jim Miller, Riverview
Teacher bucks review system | Nov. 13
Transparent classes are best
I emphatically respect and admire Joseph Thomas for his strong stance, but in our current funding environment where austerity hawks are circling, this position could prove to be political suicide for our profession, which I have spent nearly 10 years in as a high school social studies teacher in Hillsborough County.
With one half of the political class in the GOP and ever more so the Democrats questioning the efficacy of public education, now is not the time for public school teachers to tape up our windows and refuse the critique of an evaluator — any evaluator — on the basis of perceived inferiority.
Educators are not like policemen, firefighters or the military, which work more in the light of day and are seen daily by citizens performing their vital security roles. But like these public servants, teachers also protect our nation's security by providing to citizens the foundation for our democratic government. A transparent classroom — one that welcomes not only peer evaluators of all levels, but principals, parents, the press and politicians — is the only way public educators can showcase their skills and recapture the public and political support needed for our survival.
Brian Ayres, Valrico
Scott goes silent on ethics plan | Nov. 11
Rick Scott? Ethics reform?
Floridians, wake up. Who in their right mind would expect a guy who claimed the Fifth Amendment 75 times to go big on ethics reform? Seriously, no one really expected Gov. Rick Scott to follow through on that one any more than his ridiculous job-creating pledge. Remember the 7-7-7 plan? You don't hear anything about that one either, and you won't. I would like someone to introduce a recall initiative. Soon.
Douglas Bauer, Clearwater