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Saturday, Jul 26, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Permanent alimony: slavery

Published:

Permanent slavery

I am an attorney with 29 years’ experience practicing primarily family law, so I think I speak from more experience and first-hand knowledge than Jerry Reiss shows in his opinion piece “Alimony measure would kill 30 years of progress” (Other Views, Sept. 6). His opinion is backward thinking. Permanent alimony is an archaic form of involuntary servitude (i.e., the definition of slavery, where one person must work for another getting nothing in return for life after divorce) which should have been considered inclusively abolished also by the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in 1865.

The alimony reform bill passed last year by a 2 to 1 margin in the Florida Legislature because it was right. For Gov. Rick Scott to veto it at the last possible moment because he was troubled by its retroactive effect — well, I suppose he would have had Abe Lincoln only abolish slavery “prospectively” since it wouldn’t have been fair to the slave owners who’d already invested in their slaves and come to depend on them to make them do their own work. What convoluted reasoning!

Marriage does not make an adult female (or male) disabled from self-support. Any reasonably healthy adult should be just as able to support themselves as all other adults, and if the marriage is over, then both sides can be required to “put on their big girl or big boy pants” and act like adults and support themselves thereafter without the “helpless act” I see portrayed in alimony claims.

Once, not so long ago, we recognized that allowing dependency does no one any good, and comprehensive welfare reform was passed that has since been eroded and diminished to ineffectiveness to buy votes. That doesn’t mean the idea was wrong, and alimony reform isn’t wrong, either. Where in anyone’s marriage vows does it say either promises to pay the other alimony forever after if the couple divorces?

Equitable distribution of marital assets and debts is a concept most people understand, but alimony? No, its an archaic concept from when women were considered helpless, and that train left the station long ago. Get rid of it, and maybe the divorce rate will drop as both parties might work a bit harder to hold their marriage together and act like partners instead of dependents.

Jim Kramer

Tampa

Criminals and skin color

The Sept. 6 article “Tampa forum seeks to curb black-on-black crime rate” (Metro) seems to be shortsighted. The most recent rampage by Charlie Christopher Bates (four rapes, robbery, home invasions and more) further illustrates that blacks are not being selective in their crimes. Other ethnic groups have been targeted by blacks as well, way out of proportion to Tampa’s demographics.

What does Michelle Patty mean when she says “It’s almost taboo to talk black-on black crime”? Doesn’t she understand that the color of one’s (perpetrator) skin does not matter to the victims? It does not give me much comfort knowing that she is only concerned with black victims.

Paul Cotter

Tampa

Expand vision

As reported in The St. Petersburg Tribune, the city of St. Petersburg is starting to focus on Central Avenue (“City OK’s Central Avenue corridor,” Sept. 6). Although this is long overdue, there is a real contradiction in their plans. Although the budget is in the multimillions of dollars and the ultimate goal is to get people to stop and shop, just how does a rapid transit bus line fit in? Shouldn’t we be creating an aesthetic and pleasurable ride to the beaches from downtown St. Pete instead of whisking people past the multimillion-dollar improvements along the grand avenue?

The rapid transit bus line belongs on U.S. 19 from the main bus terminal in St. Pete (not Williams Park) to Clearwater. The light rail proposal for this route has really been dealt a blow with the Rays likely leaving Pinellas County for Tampa. What we need, with this information now public, is a plan to get people across the bay on a public ferry from The Pier in St. Pete to the street car line in Tampa.

We also should be looking into connecting this ferry line in St. Pete to a real street car, similar to Tampa’s, that would get our visitors to the beaches and back in world-class style. The trolley buses being used today belong at the beaches, not in the city. It’s time to tweak the plans and expand your vision to one of Tampa Bay — not just this side of the bay.

Ivylyn Harrel

St Petersburg

Innocent lives at risk

The issue of Syria using chemical weapons has been made complicated, but it really is simple. Our president wants to strike Syria with Tomahawk missiles that will kill innocent women and children to prove to the world that we will not allow the killing of innocent women and children.

Gerald Cerveny Sr.

Tampa

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