Alimony bill draws fire | April 4
Bill will result in more welfare
It is simply false to claim that the Senate alimony bill is pro-family. The bill makes it much more difficult to make a claim for alimony in any marriage. This is not fair to any spouse who has modified his or her earning ability to care for the wage-earning spouse or to care for children.
If we want to encourage marriage, we need to encourage spouses to order their own affairs in a permanent union. If the permanent union fails, then trial court judges need to be empowered to make reasoned decisions as to which spouse should receive what income and for what time period.
The Senate bill places many burdens on the spouse claiming alimony. There are time limitations; limitations on the amounts of alimony that can be claimed; and burden of proof requirements. In a short-term marriage, defined in the bill, incredibly, as 11 years or less, a spouse can presumptively not receive any alimony. Permanent alimony is presumptively eliminated even if one spouse has a permanently handicapped ability to earn due to his or her household role in the family.
This legislation will result in many new welfare recipients. Shame on the Florida Senate.
Mark Sessums, Lakeland
Alimony bill draws fire | April 4
Walk away and start over
I strongly support the legislation to abolish permanent alimony. At the conclusion of a divorce, both parties should walk away in an equitable manner. Prior to the marriage they were individuals with separate lives; during marriage they merged; and upon divorce they should be allowed to return to their separate lives.
One should not leave the marriage permanently tethered to the other. One should not reap the benefits of a free lifetime of alimony, while the other spends a lifetime wearing a financial yoke. By providing permanent alimony, Florida's law today does just that.
The current law rewards one spouse at the expense of the other. It took two people to make the marriage, and two people to make the divorce. In Florida, a no-fault divorce state, the permanent alimony provision certainly runs counter to the fairness and equality that is the spirit of the law, punishing the person forced to make lifetime alimony payments. It's not fair. It's not right. It needs to change.
Elvina Bergmann, St. Pete Beach
Rays' impact up for debate | March 31
Soaking up the funds
This article states: "Sports franchises also drain an economy by soaking up taxpayer money that could go to other city services or tax relief — both of which stimulate economic activity."
Just the day before, the Times ran an article headlined "Fire units idled by cash crunch" on 1B.
Feeding the insatiable greed of Major League Baseball really can have unhappy consequences for essential activities in our area.
Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo
Yellow lights end too fast? | April 4
Count down to red
Slowing down the yellow lights is a negative solution, especially when we wish to improve traffic flow to reduce energy consumption. Far better is the example set by those who introduced pedestrian countdown lights at many corners.
Even if your attention is momentarily diverted by an image of an immense garbage truck getting bigger and bigger in your rearview mirror, merely checking the numbers on the pedestrian countdown device provides the driver with necessary information to stop safely and lawfully.
Maybe yellow traffic lights that were designed a hundred years ago (or so) need to be redesigned to allow the same information to the motoring public.
Hal Cusick, Tierra Verde
A chained price index helpful April 9, commentary
Everyone should pitch in
I am a senior citizen, a Vietnam veteran, and live on a fixed income of Social Security and combat disability. I am also a registered Democrat, voted for Barack Obama twice, and live pretty much month to month.
That said, I wish to pledge my support for the change in the way the consumer price index is calculated. If we are ever to get our fiscal house in order, all of us should make a sacrifice, however painful, however small. This country has done so in the past and, in my opinion, must do so now. Maybe it's time to change our selfishness and begin to once again give until it hurts in order to save the Republic.
Robert Brian Palin, Tampa
Cafes brace for the end | April 6
Try something useful
The most disturbing part of the story on Internet cafes was the justification for the existence of these cafes. The story quotes senior citizens who claim that it "keeps them alive" or "keeps my mind busy." It is a sad state that staring at a computer screen and clicking a mouse is the way to use their "golden years."
May I suggest some other activities to keep busy? How about volunteering at your local church, temple, or synagogue? How about volunteering at a local school to read to children? How about going to the library and reading a book? How about starting or joining a bridge club? How about volunteering for your local political party, civic organization, or charity?
Please do not waste a lifetime of wisdom and experience staring at a computer game.
Richard Feigel, St. Petersburg
Let the seniors play
Apparently for the state of Florida and the Tampa Bay Times, it's okay to spend money at dog tracks, horse tracks and casinos, but don't go to Internet cafes.
A simple solution is to tax and regulate Internet cafes, meaning more jobs and state revenue and also keeping senior citizens from going to the park and feeding the pigeons. Heaven forbid they should do what they want, not what someone else feels they should.
Melvin J. Perez, Tampa