What the Constitution says
I can’t keep Trump off the 2024 ballot | Column, Sept. 8
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s column regarding the 14th Amendment says historians question whether Section 3 was meant to be a permanent standard — to bar from office anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” America. Let’s be clear, there is no such thing as a one-time-use-only amendment unless the amendment itself specifies that. Or it is repealed by another amendment. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was meant to ensure the freed slaves had the same rights as everyone else. Yet it has been used often and for much more than its original purpose. Raffensperger also believes the voters’ choice should be sacrosanct. Well, the founders didn’t believe that. That’s why they set up the Electoral College. You can’t stop voters from voting for someone. So, if the voters elected me for president, the Electoral College is supposed to say, Mr. Johnson is not qualified, and then elect someone who is. What if the voters elected someone who is younger than 35, or not a citizen, we should allow that? The Constitution and its amendments set the standard for who can serve as president. We can’t ignore these standards just because it would reinforce the grievances of those who see the system as rigged and corrupt.
Russ A. Johnson, Hudson
State should step in
Army Corps won’t budge on erosion | Sept. 9
The stalemate between Pinellas County and the Army Corps of Engineers preventing coastline renourishment is another example of perplexing problems that Florida’s governor and Legislature are failing to address. The Sand Key renourishment project has secured less than half of the required 461 easements. Full compliance will be “all but impossible,” and so the impasse. When the private sector cannot take collective action among themselves to solve a dispute, it is government’s responsibility to seek a mutual resolution.
The beaches are public goods that belong to all Floridians, and should be regulated for the benefit of all. Surely effective policies could be formulated that address both private and public uses while guaranteeing the public access needed for this project. Now with stronger hurricanes, such coastline protection and management is even more urgent and vital. So what do we hear from our governor and Legislature? Crickets! The governor now evidently has other priorities. Our Legislature spent its last session preempting local government regulations that protected renters and homeowners against landlords and insurance companies. Now when it comes to getting involved to actually help local government, it is unwilling and/or incompetent to do so.
Robert White, Valrico
Dropping the ball
Biden impeachment probe | Sept. 13
The Biden impeachment probe has put Kevin McCarthy’s job as speaker of the House in peril. This reminds me of variety shows I saw as a kid of a person on a unicycle juggling multiple balls in the air. I never saw one ball drop. However, if McCarthy drops just one ball his speakership will be history. To win over critics and secure the gavel, McCarthy and his allies made a series of concessions to conservatives. One major concession was to restore the ability of any one member to offer what’s known as a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair — a move that can trigger a House floor vote to oust the speaker.
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George Chase, St. Pete Beach
This is the choice
Biden impeachment probe | Sept. 13
When former President Bill Clinton’s tenure in the White House was called into question, Hillary Clinton, in defense of her husband’s record, is reported to have said: “What didn’t you like, peace or prosperity?” With inflation under control, low unemployment, 13 million jobs added to the economy and an end to America’s longest war, can the same not be said to those, especially Democrats, who are less than laudatory when assessing President Joe Biden’s first term in office?
There’s no escaping the reality that the president may be entering the autumn of his life, but whether or not he deserves a second term should be a function of his character, fidelity to the Constitution and successful governance, not an awkward gait or other common signs of aging.
Biden, who is fond of quoting his late father’s life lessons, shared a parental pearl of wisdom in an effort to draw contrast with his likely opponent in 2024: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.” The alternative in this instance is, in my view, a demonstrable seditionist, Donald Trump.
Jane Larkin, Tampa