Senators blast voting law | Jan. 28
Voting in Florida isn't difficult
What's the big deal on Florida's new voting law? When I first starting voting, there was no absentee voting or early voting, and everyone voted on the same day. We have come a long way since then. Why complain when there are still six to eight days of early voting, plus absentee voting, in addition to the actual voting day? That seems to be more than enough time to cast your ballot.
Also, why complain about people having to prove that they are qualified to vote? Provisional ballots are still an available means of voting where there are any questions on eligibility. Complaints about the voting law are just political hogwash.
Dayle Stevens, Largo
Senators blast voting law | Jan. 28
A silly Syria comparison
Sens. Bill Nelson and Dick Durbin found that the new voter rules in Florida mean the state is guilty of restricting voter access. Durbin went on to say that "there are people literally fighting and dying for the right to vote." In Florida, the law limits early voting to eight days, requires third-party groups to follow specific rules to register voters, and says voters must update their legal residence. How Durbin can compare that to Syria is beyond me.
William Cooper, Dunedin
Officials seek new abortion hurdles | Jan. 28
Don't limit women's rights
Our state politicians spend too much time shoving their beliefs and family values on the citizens of Florida. Reps. Mike Horner, Rachel Burgin and Daniel Davis would be better served spending their time and efforts on improving the state foster care system.
As for the doctors, another bill apparently expects them to become mind-readers as to why an abortion is wanted or needed. We already have a shortage of OB-GYNs, and this will make it worse.
The bill infringes on women's rights and family planning. That's not the legislators' job and not their business.
Annette Dearing, Clearwater
Government in bedroom
So Reps. Rachel Burgin, Scott Plakton and Daniel Davis are working hard to put more government restrictions on women's lives. And I will bet that in their campaigns they say they want to make government smaller — so it fits in our bedrooms.
I suspect that they all claim to be "pro-life," but are they working equally hard to make sure that all pregnant women have access to health care, good nutrition and environmental protections to help ensure that those fetuses they claim to want to "protect" have a decent chance of being born healthy? And are those representatives working equally hard to ensure that once every child is born, it has access to good health care, good nutrition, a good education, and a clean and healthy environment?
Pamela Muller, St. Petersburg
Drug treatment saves lives, money Jan. 27, letter
Incarceration has a role
I'm all for the treatment of addiction as opposed to lengthy incarceration terms. But the reality of addiction is that it causes destruction that reaches far beyond the individual health of the addict. Addicts rarely have a place to live of their own, jobs, and most importantly are incapable of caring for anyone or anything other than their addiction.
They wreak the most havoc, emotionally and financially, on the lives of anyone close to them: family, friends and especially their own children. For many addicts, incarceration is a necessary intervention; it's the only way they will stop using, and should not be eliminated.
Treatment and recovery programs in our local jails must be intensified instead of reduced. Addicts should be diverted from long-term prison sentences. But local incarceration is a crucial element for the safety of our communities.
M.A. Russell, St. Petersburg
Squatters on the loose
An article in my recent homeowner's association newsletter was entitled, "The Stranger Next Door." My neighborhood, along with many others, is subject to staggering foreclosures/vacant properties. One day a truck pulled up to a vacant house, unloaded its cargo, and an unwanted guest moved in. When the owner discovered the intruder, he called police only to be told he had to go through an expensive, legal eviction process.
Now the homeowner's association is asking residents to report any house they think might be unoccupied so that arrangements can be made to have it monitored.
What has this got to do with eviction? This is unlawful trespass. Depending upon where property is located, laws prohibit entering without permission. Unlawful trespass can result in criminal charges or civil lawsuit for damages or injunction.
As long as epidemic homelessness abounds in Florida, abandoned, unoccupied and/or foreclosed homes will continue to be a threat in decent, law-abiding communities.
Sandy Jarrell, Tampa
Texting-driving ban has strong support Jan. 28
Ban phone use altogether
A ban on texting while driving is a move in the right direction, but it does not do enough. Cellphone use should be prohibited entirely while driving.
As a retired police officer, I have seen my share of dead and maimed bodies caused by cellphone usage while driving. In 2009 there were 5,500 people killed and 450,000 more injured by distracted drivers. Using a cellphone, even with a hands-free device, makes you twice as likely to have an accident than drunken driving.
I personally have been driven into twice by people using cellphones and as a pedestrian have actually been hit by a person pulling out of a parking lot while talking on a cellphone. Please write, call or email your legislators to insist this bill be passed.
Mark F. Vinette, Gulfport
Our Republican leaders say the no texting while driving bill is doomed because it is an infringement on personal liberty. It matters not how many people are injured or killed because of this practice.
How strange it is that these same Republican leaders think that making it more difficult to vote or to take away a woman's right to choose is not an infringement on these same liberties.
Richard Gurczinski, St. Petersburg