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Saturday, Nov 01, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Distorted picture

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Distorted picture

Your political cartoon Dec. 28 (“The Growing Inequality Gap”) was critical because not all households are benefiting from the current rise in stock market values.

A previous written article a few weeks ago made the same point in more detail. That is a limited view and paints a very distorted picture. No mention or equal concern was shown for the stock-owning households that took large losses when the market previously plummeted.

Fact: The S&P 500 stock index finally in 2013 climbed back to the level from which it dropped in the year 2000. Other stock indexes show a similar history. More to the point, those families that are not sharing in the recent stock market gains are largely those who also didn’t share in those long-term losses.

Further, a big percentage of stock-owning households had invested retirement funds in the stock market before the long-term decline. A focus on the impact of that decline for them is equally relevant.

We in Florida, with our large retiree population, were all affected by those earlier stock market losses.

Now, we all, including non-stockholding households, will benefit as our many retirees spend more because of the recent market recovery.

Wayne Plaster

Tampa

Florida ‘justice’

The article on Florida’s death penalty by a professor at DePaul University argues that it should be abolished because Florida has the highest number of people exonerated while on death row (“Florida a classic reason to scrap death penalty,” Other Views, Dec. 28).

I don’t object to the death penalty for those who commit murder. My objection is to a criminal justice system that, as a Florida prosecutor said in 2009, “... is not greatly concerned whether someone actually committed the crime. ...”

The DePaul professor cites a case of a Florida death row inmate scheduled to be executed this month after 38 years on death row. I don’t know whether that inmate is guilty or not, but I am very familiar with another case of a man who has also been on Florida’s death row for 38 years who is clearly innocent both by the evidence and by common sense.

Regrettably, our judicial system has little concern for either once a conviction has occurred.

In this case, literally hundreds of ordinary people who have looked at the facts — both known to the jury and uncovered since — have the common sense to realize that he is innocent and that the judicial system is making a serious moral error by keeping him on death row.

Common sense tells them that a business owner would not plan to kill six people in his own store on Christmas Eve and then allow two of them to escape.

Common sense tells you that if you want to blame a gang of robbers for the crime, you don’t wipe all the fingerprints from the weapons after going to great lengths to get their fingerprints on the guns.

Common sense says that no one would shoot himself in the stomach with a large-caliber weapon and expect to survive.

If this is what passes for “justice” in Florida, then Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, who have both been apprised of this absurdity, must either try to correct it, or they should resign from office.

Ray McEachern

Land O’ Lakes

Learn from Pasco

Last month Pasco County announced a new website for its library system. As part of this, Pasco announced that the site would be effectively shut down for customers from Dec. 4 until Dec. 26.

Well, the bugs weren’t worked out by the 26th, but most were by Dec. 28, only two days later, when customers found a new website vastly improved from the previous one, easy to log into and navigate, and with lots of new information.

Our federal government should take a lesson from this — namely, know what you want to accomplish with a new website, don’t make unrealistic promises and deliver close to being on time.

Granted, the Pasco library system is much smaller than the government, but the lessons are the same

Way to go, Pasco!

John Foss

Lutz

Oops

After seeing your Sunday photo of the absurd Captain Cannabis promoting the legalization of marijuana (“Medical marijuana supporters rally in northwest Hillsborough,” Metro), I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over who might come out to vote (for all the wrong reasons) in the mid-terms if this issue is on the ballot.

Do I want this character electing my government officials? No. But I’m now wary of entering any discussions on the pros and cons of cannabis after trying to take part in one heated debate using my “auto-correcting” Kindle Fire. I wrote, “I certainly agree with legalizing cannabis but only for use by the terminally ill.” It got auto-“corrected” and posted as “I certainly agree with legalizing CANNIBALS but only for use by the terminally ill.”

At least no one on that pro-cannabis site has contacted me again.

Meg Scott

Plant City

Reducing exposure

In your editorial for goals in 2014 (“These goals needn’t be a stretch in 2014,” Dec. 29, Our Views) perhaps this is a solution to the flood insurance problem:

Suppose the federal government limited its coverage on flood insurance to something like $100,000 or $200,000 per policy?

This could then encourage insurance companies to provide flood insurance policies for any additional insurance the owner wants or needs to protect the property.

The net effect of this should be to reduce the federal government’s current exposure for insuring flood damage, and to lower the premium rate that would have been charged by insurance companies since their exposure now is only the excess of the coverage provided by the federal government.

Jerome Schine

Temple Terrace

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