Thursday, November 23, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: On medical pot, Legislature must do its job

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Calls grow for special session on medical pot May 16

Unfinished job on medical pot

There are two words we as parents need to hear: special session. From the outside looking in at the Florida Legislature, you see failure and shortsightedness. The hard part is to imagine what the lawmakers must see from the inside looking out, considering that 71 percent of Florida voters approved the medical marijuana amendment and we still don't have access.

It is sad for me as a mother, it is sad for my family, but most importantly it is sad for my son. Gabe had his first seizure at 6 months old. He was diagnosed with a type of epilepsy that causes tonic seizures. Since then, we have tried everything to relieve him, from every "cocktail" available to shots to extensive diet changes, and have come up with nothing.

Floridians with epilepsy, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases who could use medical marijuana to treat their pain are still suffering because our legislators couldn't come to an agreement. The Florida Department of Health now is tasked with coming up with rules governing the production and distribution of medical marijuana by July 3, with implementation by October.

A better solution is for the Legislature to come back for a special session as soon as possible to pass proper legislation that meets the will of the voters and brings relief to the tens of thousands of Florida patients who could benefit from medical cannabis.

Brandi Costa, Tampa

Veto bill that seals criminal records | May 15, editorial

Potential dangers

It's incomprehensible that anyone thinks sealing criminal records is a good idea. Even if the accused was found not guilty or if the charges were dropped, these are serious accusations that can't be ignored and hidden. Don't parents have a right to know who's watching their children at a day care center? Doesn't a consumer have a right to know who might be working around their home or business? SB 118 may help protect those falsely accused but it also shields potentially dangerous people from public scrutiny. Gov. Rick Scott should veto this onerous bill.

Anthony Edl, Odessa

Arrest doesn't mean guilt

SB 118 requires automatic expungement of all criminal arrest records that do not result in a conviction or finding of guilt against an accused person. Arrest information is often damaging to a person; many employers, landlords and other entities do not know that an arrest alone is just an accusation, not a criminal conviction. Accused citizens frequently lose jobs, housing, training and other opportunities because of background checks that reveal arrests. Unfortunately, arrests are often interpreted as a finding of guilt.

Opponents of this bill, including this paper, continue to confuse an arrest with some type of guilt. Not only is this contrary to the constitutional presumption of the innocence, but it also ignores the fact that in the Pinellas-Pasco 6th Judicial Circuit, almost one-third of the felony arrests are dropped by the State Attorney's Office after they have conducted a sworn investigation.

The governor should sign this bill to protect citizens from the stigma of an arrest that does not result in a conviction.

Bob Dillinger, Clearwater

The writer is the Pinellas-Pasco public defender.

Comments

Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/22/17