Floridians may pass amendments on pot and abortion, but what will the Legislature do? | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that proposed constitutional amendments regarding abortion access and recreational marijuana can appear on the November ballot.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that proposed constitutional amendments regarding abortion access and recreational marijuana can appear on the November ballot. [ CARLINE JEAN | South Florida Sun-Sentinel ]
Published April 3

Wait and see

Fla. Supreme Court issues rulings on abortion, pot | April 2

So we get to vote on pot and abortion in November. Then, if these two amendments pass, we will have to wait and see how Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature thwart the will of the people, again.

Emiliano Quindiagan, St. Petersburg

Unintended effects

Fla. Supreme Court issues rulings on abortion, pot | April 2

I fear that the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana could jeopardize the well-being of Florida’s 875,000 medical cannabis patients. The elderly and vulnerable could be denied access to their medication if currently licensed providers direct their efforts and resources toward the recreational market, ignoring the less profitable medical products. Florida could experience a shortage of available products due to the high demand created by making marijuana available to every adult. This has happened in other states.

Requiring dispensaries to: (1) hold back supply for medical patients, (2) ensure the affordability of medical products by requiring that a reasonable percentage of all products sold continue to go to medical patients and (3) provide “medical only” lines to avoid forcing medical patients with chronic illnesses from standing in long lines behind spring break college students, would be reasonable. The dispensaries, who have the most to gain from recreational marijuana, and the Florida Legislature must work together to protect the state’s vulnerable medical marijuana patients from this proposed change to the Florida Constitution.

Aaron Bloom, Tampa

As the wind blows

Florida’s cannabis amendment balances freedom and regulation | Column, March 28

Apparently, the authors of this column don’t understand how wind works. I live in a suburban neighborhood where medical marijuana is used. The smell carries with the wind into my yard, garage and open windows. The smell is offensive and consequently I am not able to barbecue in my back yard, swim in my pool or have my grandkids outside because of the smell. The neighbors who indulge don’t care since their sense of smell died years ago. If voters approve this constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana, this problem is going to get worse. Banning marijuana in “public” places is not going to have much effect.

Rob Bennett, Valrico

Not a coward

A third-party vote is the coward’s way out | Column. March 31

Mona Charen’s column about third-party votes is part of the problem in this country. We really don’t have much of a choice. I have been an independent voter my whole life. I don’t feel represented by either party. But in her opinion, if I don’t vote for President Joe Biden I am wasting my vote and taking the coward’s way out. I’ve got news for anyone who cares. My vote counts just like yours, and I don’t see me voting for Biden or former President Donald Trump. I feel a vote for either party is business as usual, and that’s a business we need to stop.

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Art Darnell, Largo

We need those workers

Tough migrant bill sought | March 23

While the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore reminded many in our area of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge disaster in 1980, the men who fell from the bridge brought to my mind an issue that came up in 2022 when Pinellas County Deputy Michael Hartwick was killed while working a traffic detail. He was struck by a forklift driven by an undocumented worker who, like those in Maryland, was an immigrant from Central America.

So much of the narrative regarding the immigration debate is devoted to our “wide-open borders,” while little attention is paid to how many U.S. employers, like the construction company repairing Interstate 275 the night Deputy Hartwick was killed, are dependent on immigrant workers. Missing is any acknowledgement of U.S. employers’ dependence on foreign-born workers. Last year, according to a report by the nonprofit Center for American Progress, undocumented workers accounted for 23% of construction laborers in the United States.

An honest immigration debate, free of hyperbole and xenophobia, would acknowledge the heavy reliance our nation has on an immigrant workforce. But this an election year, so look for more hysteria about our “border crisis.”

Joseph Brown, Tampa

What immigrants bring

Trump allies in Congress back deportation, pardon plans | March 31

The Republican plans to deport immigrants and reduce the number of people coming into the country will have a detrimental effect on our economy. The New York Times has reported that the U.S. economic recovery from the pandemic has been stronger than many countries, citing the influx of immigrants as the reason. This has helped to “replenish the work force, a key to meeting labor demands as birth rate declines and older people retire.” I wish the Republicans would stop denying reality and deal with cold, hard facts.

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg

A way to pay

Put Hillsborough teacher pay on the ballot | Editorial, March 31

Do teachers deserve more pay? Of course they do. Florida is almost the worst place to live if you’re a teacher. However, taxing home owners yet again, is not always the correct solution. Property taxes have increased every year for homeowners for paying for things that politicians deem worthwhile. Home owners are being taxed to death and are tired of being the first place politicians go to for more taxes. However, if you look at another source, “sin” taxes, most people generally vote in favor of them. I recommend increased taxes for tobacco products including vapes, alcohol and, if passed in November, recreational marijuana, to pay for an increase in teacher pay. Teachers can then hold their heads up high and be proud that their pay increase came from all the people who drink, use tobacco and use marijuana.

Alan Roberts, Largo

Enjoy the day

American happiness just hit a new low, except for one group | Column, March 30

It would seem Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z-ers aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy. Sure, there’s plenty of fodder for the negative grist mill: inflation, political rancor, etc. But take some advice from a Baby Boomer: Look up from your smart phone, it’s spring time in Florida. The pollen’s almost gone and the weather’s darned near perfect. Take a walk. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Quick, take a selfie! Enjoy the moment because before you know it, it’ll be too hot, too humid, and the election season will be never-ending.

Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg

Why we’re happy

American happiness just hit a new low, except for one group | Column, March 30

I think that those of us older than 60 are happy because most of us could join unions, protecting our salaries and jobs. Many of us have pensions. We have Social Security and Medicare, knowing they will be around throughout our lifetimes. We attended college at affordable rates, thanks to government-supported colleges. We attended strong public schools, not schools financially bled to serve private interests. For the most part, national candidates for office throughout our lives have seen the nation in positive terms, not told that we are a crime-ridden cesspool waiting for a savior. Conservative politics over the past 20 years have stripped these benefits from future generations — generations complicit in the dismantling and ignorant of the damage being done by the people they support. They are their own worst enemies.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Car dealers and EVs

How local EV growth compares to Florida, rest of US | March 31

The automotive landscape is swiftly embracing electric vehicles (EVs) due to environmental concerns and technological advancements. Alongside this shift, there’s a critical need for adequate charging infrastructure.

Dealerships play a pivotal role in addressing this challenge by providing charging stations at their premises. This move not only aligns with EV sustainability but also enhances customer experience, propelling the adoption of electric mobility.

“Range anxiety” is a significant hurdle in EV adoption. Dealerships offering charging stations alleviate this fear, reassuring customers that recharging is convenient, thus promoting confidence in EV ownership.

Moreover, installing charging infrastructure at dealerships enhances brand differentiation in a competitive market. Improved customer experience leads to higher customer retention and attraction, fostering brand loyalty.

Integrating charging stations also aligns with broader sustainability goals. Dealerships can power these stations using renewable energy sources, reducing their carbon footprint and promoting clean energy initiatives.

Despite logistical challenges, such as regulatory hurdles and installation processes, the long-term benefits of fostering EV adoption outweigh these obstacles. Collaboration with utility providers, government agencies, and EV manufacturers can streamline processes and ensure compatibility with existing infrastructure.

Incorporating charging stations into dealership networks is crucial for accelerating EV adoption. It addresses range anxiety, enhances customer experience, differentiates brands, and contributes to sustainability goals. It’s not just a strategic business move but a commitment to shaping a greener, more sustainable automotive future.

Phil Roder, Albany, Georgia