Legislators to voters: Hey, talk to the hand | March 24, John Romano column
Politics is cesspool of corruption
In one of his final columns before retiring, esteemed former Times columnist Howard Troxler referred to the Florida Legislature as the "whores of Babylon." He could not have been more correct.
That the Florida Legislature does not represent the general will of the people, as John Romano laments, should not come as a surprise to anyone. Government has long ceased to govern for the overall good and well-being of the general population and has instead become a cesspool of corruption based on self-enrichment and the buying and selling of access and favor.
When our democratic republic was founded, our forefathers feared a government ruled by the wealthy and privileged few and so endowed us with a government represented from the bottom up by ordinary working Americans. Today that is sadly gone.
Of all the issues we face in Florida and the nation, the biggest one — the one if only we could solve it would lead to solving the rest — is the corruption of our government by the billions of dollars of special interest money. And this problem is far greater than the quaint phrase "campaign finance reform."
Until such time comes that we eliminate the exchange of money and favor in politics, we the people will no longer be represented by a government by, of and for the people.
Len Keller, Seminole
Bring back state car checks
The Legislature eliminated the requirement for annual vehicle inspections years ago when people, including me, complained about the inconvenience. Also, then-Gov. Jeb Bush supported elimination because Florida had met federal emission standards and, he said, there was no longer a reason to force Floridians to sit in lines at inspection stations. The inspections checked, in addition to exhaust fumes, brakes, headlights, turn signals and horn.
Nearly every day, I see braking vehicles with no brake lights, turning cars without working turn signals, loud mufflers and headlights that are either aimed poorly or simply not working.
I dislike the burden of inspections, but we need them back.
Jim Stillman, Lutz
Remark close on rates of insured March 18
Exploding the myth
If anyone is still under the delusion that the Tampa Bay Times' PolitiFact Florida is an unbiased examination of political questions, one sentence in this article illustrates the true agenda and explodes that myth.
In a column discussing rates of the uninsured in Florida, the writer asks: "So how does a Democratic leader — whose role is to attack the Republican Scott — respond?" Really? A Democrat's role is to attack Republicans? Not to try to find common ground and come up with workable solutions for the good of the citizens? No. According to this unbiased, impartial writer, the Democratic Party's role is to attack Republicans. So much for credibility.
Ted Milios, Hudson
Eroding the rights of 'Roe' March 23, editorial
Respect for the living
Would the abortionists encourage pulling the plug if we applied that same standard of viability and living on their own to Alzheimer's, stroke or advanced cancer patients?
We don't have an honest discussion in this country about abortion because we're too timid to address political correctness and its corrosive effects on society. The feminist lobby, although sometimes necessary, sacrifices unborn babies at the altar of gender equality. Roe vs. Wade may be legal, but is it always ethical?
John Dautovic, Largo
House votes to close pensions to new employees | March 23
Pension system doing fine
House Speaker Will Weatherford has done a fine job again of fooling the taxpayers of Florida. He said that Florida should be spending money on education and health care instead of "things like a broken pension system." But that's not true.
I had the chance to be in Tallahassee last week, where I heard from Ash Williams, who leads the Florida Retirement System investment team. Florida's trust fund is extremely healthy and making money even as it pays pensions. A major reason the investments do so well is long-range planning. If Weatherford stops this pension system, he will undermine the success of the retirement system.
Florida had problems in the 1990s, which is why the Legislature developed the current system. It is certainly not broken now.
Susan Darovec, Bradenton
Keep tobacco from kids
I just returned home from Washington, D.C., where I met with Rep. C.W. Bill Young's office to request that he oppose efforts by the cigar industry to exempt certain cigars from basic Food and Drug Administration oversight.
Each day almost 3,000 children try smoking a cigar for the first time. Cigars are addictive and can cause cancer even if the user doesn't inhale. As a parent, I believe we must do everything we can to keep Big Tobacco as far away from our kids as possible.
That's why it's so important that Young do the right thing and oppose a sweetheart deal for the cigar industry.
Heather Goethe, Madeira Beach
Diploma plan steers around tough exams March 24
The Florida Legislature proposes three varieties of diplomas for seniors who cannot pass the standards that were made law in 2010. "Lawmakers insist there will still only be one standard diploma offered in Florida. It will just come in three varieties."
This is classic doublespeak. Or as my grandson might say, "Huh?"
Norm Bungard, St. Petersburg