Lead on, Sen. Rubio
Beleaguered Marco Rubio has my support for fighting to accomplish something that should have been done years ago - the passing and enforcement of comprehensive immigration reform.
I understand there are extremes on each side of the issue. Some would have border security shoot on sight and be happy to have the Army round up and remove 11 million people tomorrow. Others are loathe to enforce the laws we have now, consider checking voter eligibility to be discrimination, and are more than happy to give people here illegally better education, medical and welfare benefits than our own citizens receive. As bad as those alternatives, doing nothing may be worse. Keeping the status quo will only allow distrust, economic uncertainty and disregard for the rule of law to grow.
For many conservatives, the bottom line is that to be an illegal is, well, illegal. It is an affront to all who desire to or came to this country the right way. On the other hand, we Americans are far from guiltless on this issue. We have all looked the other way when local businesses saved us money by employing inexpensive labor. Our lack of enforcement over the years belies our outrage over undocumented immigrants. With our insufficient reform during the Reagan administration and our dithering over the decades since, we have fed expectations to a weary and anxious underclass in our midst.
Don't let this be a partisan issue. We need statesmanship and compromise to reach a national consensus on border security, immigration and on immigrants in our land. Lead on, Senator Rubio!
Stop the carnage
Joe Henderson's column on June 22, "Fireworks exemption is a farce" (Metro), is right on when he writes that the fireworks industry has made a mockery of Florida Statute 791, which prohibits the use of any exploding fireworks in urban neighborhoods. Our state legislators have allowed fireworks in neighborhoods and won't take action to strengthen the law.
The fireworks industry lobbies and contributes large sums of money to politicians to prevent any needed changes to the law both at the state and local political level.
There were recommendations submitted to the Legislature by a "Consumer Fireworks Task Force," created by the Legislature, that would have made a tremendous improvement in the illegal carnage that takes place in urban neighborhoods during the week before and after Jan. 1 and July 4. Those recommendations still sit in a "committee" and have never been brought to the floor of the Legislature.
When the Legislature created the task force it included a "poison pill" that prohibits any local jurisdictions from passing any legislation that would restrict the sales of fireworks until the Legislature acts on the recommendations of the task force. Their recommendations have languished in "committee" for more than three years.
I read in the Tribune a couple weeks ago that Gov. Rick Scott "fired" a sheriff for not enforcing a state law. Based on that criteria, every sheriff and police chief in the state should be "fired" for not enforcing state Statute 791, the fireworks law.
Lately I've been receiving letters, telephone calls and emails from attorneys in the Tampa Bay area soliciting me to file a claim against BP regarding the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As you know, the BP fund was set up to help people and companies genuinely hurt by the incident, such as businesses that suffered lost revenues, and to pay for the resulting cleanup. None of this affected my Tampa Bay-area-based business, family or friends in any way whatsoever. Nevertheless, unscrupulous attorneys are hounding people to file claims, regardless if they are legitimate or fabricated.
Even as secretary of my Masonic Lodge, I have received solicitations for the lodge to file a claim, all of which I shred into the garbage. Interesting, not everyone feels this way, and many people are jumping on the bandwagon by making fallacious claims. Frankly, I'm not sure which is worse - the parasitic lawyers or the people going along for the ride and cashing in on something they do not deserve. I guess bunko is now an acceptable form of behavior in the 21st century.
A part of life
When I read the front-page article in the Tribune "Religion, insurance mandate conflict" (June 23), I wanted to side with Thomas Beckwith, but in reality he certainly isn't the only person who pays money that may go to things that he doesn't like. As an atheist homeowner, my ad valorem taxes go to supply that multimillion-dollar church on the corner with fire and police protection. I don't like it, but I accept it as part of living in this society. In my view, Beckwith wants special rights because of his religious beliefs. If Beckwith wants me to respect his religious beliefs, he needs to respect that others may not share his beliefs. This is a question of women's rights, and Beckwith should have no say in that.