Support women's rights measure
The United Nations Association-Tampa Bay Chapter has launched an initiative calling on our local elected mayors, city council members and county commissioners to publicly declare their support for the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This convention is the only international human rights treaty to focus exclusively on the rights of women. It embodies the emerging tradition of gender equality for which the United States has become a leading legal, political and cultural champion.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Senate has yet to hold a vote on convention ratification. The U.N. General Assembly passed the convention in 1979 and President Jimmy Carter signed it in July 1980. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of ratification twice, once in 1998 and again in 2002.
But parochial motives have led opponents to assert false claims about the impacts on the United States should the convention be ratified. Ratifying the convention will provide a context to identify and address egregious violations of women's rights around the world, across our nation and in the Tampa Bay area. Nonetheless, it most certainly does not, in spirit or in reality, undermine national sovereignty.
The U.S. Senate has chosen not to make ratification a priority. Therefore, the time has come for a bottom-up mobilization of public support for ratification. It's time for our elected leaders in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to issue public declarations in support of the convention and call for a full Senate vote in favor of ratification.
Mark Amen, president, United Nations Association-Tampa Bay Chapter, Tampa
Clinton's identity crisis Sept. 10, Daniel Ruth column
Daniel Ruth's column comparing Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon was the most ugly, deceptive, hateful opinion piece I have ever read in a newspaper that I have always respected. He gives her no credit whatsoever for all her years of public service and the fact that her life has been dedicated to helping the underprivileged.
His column left me nauseated. I have lost all respect for him.
Elizabeth L. Henry, Seminole
10 Florida school districts seek state incentive for student uniforms Sept. 3, Gradebook blog
The fact that no charter schools have applied for standard school attire funding is not due to apathy or lack of need for this funding by charter schools in Florida, but an unfortunate glitch that occurred in this year's legislation.
According to the Department of Education, only if a school district adopted a districtwide uniform policy could charter schools be eligible for the funds. Since Hillsborough County does not have a districtwide policy, we at Pepin Academies were unable to participate. We know this is an unfortunate situation the Legislature did not intend to create and will look to amend during next year's session.
We know firsthand the positive effects of having standard student attire in place. We see it from many angles, including the reduction in school bullying and the uniform learning environment it creates. Standard student attire is essential to creating a positive environment for our students.
Dr. Craig Butz, principal, Pepin Academies, Tampa
Bondi makes right call on rape kits Sept. 12, editorial
Late to the problem
As a retired violent crimes detective from a large Northern city, I agree that the backlog of unprocessed rape kits is terrible. However, Attorney General Pam Bondi is behind the rest of the country in asking for funds to assist the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with this problem. As a former prosecutor, she should have been aware of this problem for years. She has failed to address it, preferring to waste her time and taxpayer dollars on "more pressing issues" like same-sex marriages.
Federal funds have been available for almost two decades through grant funding to help states eliminate their backlog of untested rape kits.
Having spent some time with "cold case" units with two county sheriff's offices, I am aware how little funding has been spent to assist the FDLE labs and how important their services are to law enforcement and the citizens of this state.
While it is commendable for Bondi to finally recognize the problem, this should have been taken care of years ago. Florida's victims have been shortchanged by their elected lead law enforcement officer.
Paul Carroll, Homosassa
Scott's tab to taxpayers Sept. 11, Paula Dockery column
Does Paula Dockery have any purpose in life other than being a paid shill for the Tampa Bay Times' obsession with attacking anything related to Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party? I might have missed a few, but every one of her columns that I have read is simply a bash-fest of Republicans and the governor. In this column, she pretends to be incredulous that Scott would use taxpayer money to pay for the seven frivolous lawsuits filed by Steve Andrews, a serial Scott harasser. She asks a bunch of leading questions about why taxpayers are footing the bill when she already knows the answers. And the answers aren't friendly to her agenda.
As a former office holder, Dockery is well aware that government officials have to have certain protections against any wacko who decides to make it his mission in life to make an official's life miserable by filing multiple lawsuits. Public liability for those lawsuits is one of those protections.
She makes the unsupported statement that "the governor and some of his staff willfully and knowingly violated the law," even though she knows that the governor admitted no culpability. Scott conceded to the settlement to get it behind him so he can go about his job of being governor. Unfortunately, we know this is a fantasy, because Dockery, Andrews and the Times will never let up.
Ted Milios, Hudson