A happy ending | May 4
Texting should be primary offense
Once again, Florida legislators have not only made fools of themselves, but actually put the public on notice that they can continue to drive and text and not be concerned about being pulled over for violating a law.
What is with these people? Do they really believe innocent lives are not being threatened? The very idea of having to commit some other vehicular infraction before the texting comes into play is ludicrous: Do they not know how fast the driver can conceal the phone in the process of being pulled over?
I was involved in an accident caused by a woman who was texting and not concentrating on the road. Fortunately, the car protected against bodily injury, but damage to my vehicle was extensive. Many people are not so lucky.
To ban texting while driving is a win-win situation for those off and on the roads.
Elaine Jerrold, St. Petersburg
Vote for April's Letter of the Month at www.tampabay.com/opinion
A happy ending | May 4
Not a record to be proud of
Upbeat ending? Really?
The Republican-led Legislature has again figuratively (possibly literally) thumbed its nose at the people of Florida. A definition of insanity is to regularly repeat a course of action which has previously failed. Re-electing the Republicans in the House is therefore insanity.
Just where is the upbeat ending? In the failure of the House to take $51 billion in federal money to insure more than 1 million Florida residents, while ignoring the fact that the uninsured cost Floridians millions in emergency room care?
The ideologue who is speaker of the House has caused the future pain and even deaths of uninsured Floridians simply because of his disdain for our president and for Obamacare, which, by the way, is the law of the land. In order to make his case he lied about the federal government's nonexistent past failures to live up to its word. To put salt on a wound, he had to admit that his family received Medicaid for his ill brother. What is good for the speaker and his family is a weakness on the part of uninsured Florida families? As far as I can see, Will Weatherford's only claim on the speakership is a politically powerful father-in-law.
Or is the upbeat ending the corporate welfare it bestowed on Duke/Progress Energy for years? Do they really feel that the correct thing to do is to have Floridians underwrite the power company's incompetence in nuclear energy? We should remember the Legislature every time we pay Duke our nonrefundable and undocumented fee.
That is not all. The "ethics" renovation is a farce. More money will flow to already overfunded campaigns.
The correct answer to the voting rights bill would have been to completely delete the bill passed in 2011, not to pick and choose which rights the people will have returned to them.
I guess we can thank the Legislature for not passing the parent trigger bill (barely), and the governor for vetoing the one-size-fits-all alimony bill.
We should be grateful that the session lasts only two months. What damage this group could have done with more time.
I sincerely sympathize with and thank those legislators who tried to vote to support the people who elected them rather than supporting special interests. We appreciate your efforts.
Mary Louise Ambrose, Belleair Bluffs
Taxpayers are due a refund
Given Speaker Will Weatherford's position that the working poor of Florida do not deserve public assistance in attaining insurance/affordable health care, the only question remaining is when he plans to write a check to cover taxpayer-funded health care his own family accepted for the treatment of his sibling many years ago. News accounts put the level of assistance accepted many years ago as over $100,000, so once compound interest is included, Weatherford and his family owe the taxpayers something upwards of $500,000. When can we taxpayers expect repayment?
Dave O'Brien, Belleair Bluffs
Scott vetoes alimony bill | May 2
As bitter, divorced lawmakers vow to continue debating post-divorce spouse and child support, some of us would prefer they turn attention to finding ways to encourage people to stay married.
I am not advocating saving marriages marked by beating or cheating but rather the many marriages that end because one party does not want to deal with the pressures and routine of family life. Current no-fault divorce laws allow one spouse to end a marriage, even with children, at any time for no reason and regardless of the sacrifices made or agreements that the dumped spouse relied on in making life-altering decisions. These include the decision to have children, invest money, incur debt and make his or her home and career in a particular place rather than seek more attractive opportunities elsewhere.
To say that a dumped, disadvantaged spouse is entitled to no compensation for a shattered life is unfair. To expect a dumped spouse to continue supporting one who leaves the marriage for no reason other than "personal happiness" is equally unfair. This is especially true when one spouse wants to work to improve the marriage but the other refuses.
Relying on another party's promises is the essence of a contract. The courts should consider who wants out of the marriage and why. If people are determined to leave partners who honored the marriage contract, the court should not reward them for breaking their promises and shirking their obligations. Commitment to the original marriage and family should be looked on with favor when deciding where children will live and how to distribute assets and financial support. If you don't want to be held to marriage vows, don't get married.
Susan Green, Plant City
Serial sliming at school | May 3
Spectacle of disrespect
When did education turn respect into disrespect?
At Claywell Elementary School, one first-grade class "earned the right" to dump green slime on the principal and assistant principal because they won a contest for highest attendance at "family night." The other first-graders "got to watch" (a privilege?) and the winning teacher joined in, dumping a tub of slime on the principal (the kids only got to dump a cup).
As a retired public school teacher, I find it inconceivable that 1) such a travesty would even be suggested or considered as a "reward," 2) any teacher would participate in such activity, 3) any administrator, superintendent, or school board would permit such unprofessional conduct, or 4) any parent would allow a child to engage in such disrespect.
Judith Allen, Sun City Center