Wednesday, April 25, 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


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18