$73 fine sparks crusade | July 18, story
Law needed against annoying noise
A 49-year-old corporate attorney thinks you need to listen to his car stereo as it belts out Justin Timberlake's music. Richard T. Catalano has fought a noise violation citation he received in 2007, a legal battle some say could go all the way to Florida's Supreme Court. If so, it could wipe out local vehicle noise ordinances statewide.
I'm not going to comment on the fact that Catalano's taste in music runs parallel to that of most adolescent girls, nor will I express my thoughts about a middle-aged man who has a car with a trunk full of subwoofers and amplification equipment, something many teenaged boys would think is really cool.
I'm just writing to ask if perhaps someone in the legal system can apply some common sense to this case and throw it out. Noise ordinances are necessary precisely because of people like Catalano. If "annoying everybody within a three-block radius" becomes a legal activity in Florida, then Catalano should at least be made to buy earplugs for everyone within his sonic field of attack.
I don't want to hear it.
Jim Kenefick, St. Petersburg
A selfish crusade
Remind me never to use Richard Catalano as my attorney. Anyone who thinks blasting their low-frequency speakers at ear-deafening decibel levels while driving is okay either lacks common sense or totally disregards the rights of others.
Unfortunately, because of people like him, laws have to be passed to regulate what should be just good manners and consideration for the other person. It's a creed that says my right to enjoy myself is more important than yours, so if imposing my noise on you bothers you, tough luck.
Judy Ellis is right. Low-frequency vibrations from boomboxes can affect biorhythms and are a threat to public health and safety. From a safety standpoint, just imagine trying to hear the siren of an ambulance, a fire truck or a police car as your boombox booms. Or imagine not hearing a motorcycle pulling into your blind spot as you change lanes.
Catalano's "fight" is for the selfish pursuit of his own interests and those of others who try to "ugly-up" the world with noise and bad behavior. Noise ordinances serve a useful purpose. They are enforceable and need to remain on the books.
Frank H. Moos, New Port Richey
Don't use tax money
I couldn't believe it when I read the letter to the editor a couple of days ago. After doing some reading, it looks like the writer was right. Rick Scott is trying to buy the Governor's Mansion, spending millions to do it with really irritating, infantile ads. Bill McCollum is being outspent and overrun. When Rick Scott has spent $24 million, the taxpayers are supposed to kick in the money that Bill McCollum needs to keep in the advertising race.
Are you serious? With all the parts of our infrastructure in Florida that need cash desperately, we're going to give money to this cause? Campaign ads? That's ridiculous. How can this be stopped?
Maybe Gov. Charlie Crist can add a referendum to amend the state Constitution to do something about this. Scott shouldn't be able to buy the job, but the people of Florida shouldn't have to keep McCollum a viable candidate if he can't do it himself.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Limit their spending
When children play marbles the one with the most marbles wins the game. Are politics being played in a similar fashion: Whoever has the most cash wins the election?
Money should not be a factor in determining the best person to be elected. If government limits the amount of spending for each person, instead of fundraising affairs and abhorrent advertising, candidates could concentrate on studying the issues and forming solutions for the problems they would be facing. The richest person running or the person who receives the most contributions should not determine the outcome. This is especially true when the contributor expects favors for his donation.
Government can level the playing field when limited spending is allowed for each candidate.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole
More stimulus needed
The deficit hysteria among Florida and national Republicans is not only slowing the recovery, but may actually cause a second recession.
The deficit hawks won the day in 1937-38, resulting in big spending cuts, which caused the 1938 recession. I'm reminded of the quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," which is what Republicans are attempting to do.
Also, short-term stimulus policies — such as extending jobless benefits, saving the jobs of police officers, firefighters and teachers, giving tax breaks to small businesses, and directly aiding states to protect vital services — are not at odds with long-term deficit reduction as many are claiming.
Many economists, including Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for fiscal responsibility, say that a fairly serious injection of funds — say $300 billion over the next two years — could be paired with twice as much deficit reduction in the three years following the spending.
We need a second stimulus package now to accelerate the recovery and avoid a second recession.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Extension of jobless aid and U.S. aid to Pakistan
A major portion of the infrastructure of America is its workers. Why are lawmakers vehemently arguing over extending unemployment benefits for a $34 million investment in our infrastructure when America is investing $7.5 billion over five years in Pakistan's infrastructure?
Rose Vaile, Spring Hill
Cut military costs
American taxpayers are concerned about the tax burden we carry. Where are those tax dollars going? Do we need a supersized military? Why does the military need so many futuristic weapons?
The defense budget is nearly $700 billion a year, with 20 percent of that going to the Middle East, where analysts say conflict will continue for years. When the United States and Soviet Union competed for superiority, whiz-bang weapons had a purpose — to stay ahead of a Cold War enemy. Today the United States is not racing with anybody, so why spend so much on weapons that will be outmoded in a few years?
Of course, military medical bills need to be paid. But how many new fighter planes and high-speed ships do we need? Those drones flying over the Middle East seem to be very effective and far less expensive than stealth aircraft.
Congress should reduce the defense budget and use those savings to help rebuild the U.S. economy.
Robert Wesolowski, The Villages
Postal rate increase
Still a bargain
Mailing a letter is a deal at twice the price!
Where else can you hand an envelope to someone and have it "hand-delivered" to someone a couple thousand miles away for a half a buck?
With the Internet gobbling up more and more potential mailings, the postal service has to stay in business. And no, I am not a postal service employee.
Ron Greider, St. Petersburg