Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Put a stop to 'drive-by' lawsuits

House Bill 727

Put an end to 'drive-by' lawsuits

I have defended businesses for almost 15 years against a handful of law firms that abuse the Americans with Disabilities Act by filing lawsuits by the hundreds against unsuspecting hoteliers, restaurateurs and other local businesses.

This month, I filed HB 727 relating to places of public accommodation. This bill gives the ADA back to the people for whom it was written: Americans with disabilities. In the Senate, Sens. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, and Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, are introducing SB 1398, which increases the accessibility of places of public accommodation for Floridians with disabilities by incentivizing businesses to become more compliant with the ADA. It provides businesses with the necessary resources to self-evaluate their premises for ADA compliance. It also gives courts a tool to deny claims for attorneys' fees and costs for "drive-by" ADA lawsuits.

Congress enacted the ADA in 1992. It provides that all places of public accommodation must be accessible to people with disabilities. Since 2012, nearly 6,000 ADA compliance lawsuits have been filed in Florida. Over 1,000 of those were filed by single person.

The ADA is a good law with a good purpose. However, its purpose has been frustrated by a handful of law firms perverting a good law for their own monetary gain. In the end, only Congress can fix the ADA's flaws, but this bill will cut down on the abuses while preserving truly valid ADA claims. HB 727 takes a big step forward for Florida's disability and business communities.

Florida Rep. Tom Leek, District 25, R-Daytona Beach

Trump plan adds $54B for military | Feb. 28

Go after defense waste

President Donald Trump wants to increase defense spending by $54 billion by taking funding from the State Department, EPA and other discretionary spending accounts. Not only is this wrongheaded for any number of reasons, it ignores a recent independent study of Defense Department operations (which the department commissioned but then attempted to bury) that estimated some $25 billion in Pentagon spending each year was wasteful.

Adding $54 billion to the Pentagon's already bloated budget without first addressing the Pentagon's glaring administrative shortcomings will only compound its seemingly intractable abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Stick to entertainment | Feb. 28, letter

If the shoe fits

The letter writer says that celebrities having no "experience with war or terrorism or politics" should stick to entertainment. That is precisely the problem with Donald Trump. He has no experience with war or terrorism or politics.

George Bickner, Largo

In harm's way | Feb. 27

Keep up with this danger

Thank you for the three long articles that focused on gun deaths among kids. Perhaps you could post a map of Florida each time a child is involved in a gun death, with a gun or some other symbol at each town or city with a child-related gun death. That might help bring the danger home to Floridians.

Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa

Reeves' story disputed | March 2

Options other than guns

My feelings about the "stand your ground" law are just that — feelings. But as a person who stays fit and can take "care of myself," I still pack protection at certain times.

And if Curtis Reeves had obeyed the rules of the theater and not packed his "killing machine" but instead had packed a mace gun, like I do, he would have been safe and not the widow maker he is today.

William Dixon, Odessa

U.S. 'must put its own citizens first' | March 1

Failed to take responsibility

Whether he likes it or not, as commander in chief President Donald Trump is ultimately responsible for the ill-fated military operation that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and a number of civilians, including children. But instead of accepting responsibility and expressing regret and remorse about being instrumental in bringing about this loss of life, he blames "my respected generals" and his predecessor in the Oval Office.

If that weren't bad enough, he puts the fallen soldier's widow on display in his speech before Congress, exploiting her grief and tears for his political gain.

Bill Grothmann, Tampa

Widow deserved equal play

It was unfair to bury information inside your newspaper after President Donald Trump paid such a beautiful tribute to the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL during his speech to Congress.

By comparison, the Times prominently displayed on its front page that the father of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens essentially blamed the president for his son's death in a Jan. 28 anti-terrorism raid in Yemen.

Don't both of them deserve equal time in your newspaper? Doesn't the widow of a fallen American soldier — whose husband was honored in such a prominent and historically significant fashion during a major address to Congress — deserve similar treatment by the Times?

Did the Times even consider placing on its front page at least a mention of the protracted applause given Carryn Owens? It was heartfelt and emotionally wrenching, very powerful and moving.

Very few of us can ever know the grief suffered by a spouse or a parent who loses someone in defense of their country. We can only honor them the best we can.

But the Times failed in that regard and did a disservice to Sgt. Owens and his grieving widow.

Mike Kersmarki, Tampa


Wednesday’s letters: First day of school brings a frightening new world

Goodbye for now | Aug. 14First day of schoola scary time nowMonday morning we took our youngest child to start her school life proper. It was bittersweet and tugged on my heart strings for many reasons, but one was that her first day of kindergar...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10

Jacqueline Road being misusedI have issued complaints to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, traffic division and also a letter to the sheriff and have had very little positive response.We have an issue on Jacqueline Road with speeding vehicles and...
Published: 08/06/18

Monday’s letters: Enough with praise for Pier sculpture

Aerial art to billow at Pier | Aug. 3Pier art: boon or boondoggle?Well, finally! The Janet Echelman sculpture project has been approved. The dust has settled and now, at the cost of $2.8 million an over-priced, glorified flag will be flapping ove...
Published: 08/03/18