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Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
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Letters to the editor: Ballot language

Ballot language I'm no Einstein or rocket scientist but don't consider myself a dumbbell, either. I have read and reread some of the amendments we will be voting on and still am unable to understand some of the language, whose only purpose can be to confuse the voter. While the federal campaigns are certainly of vital interest, how we vote on these amendments may have a greater effect on Florida voters. Knowing the propensity for the average voter to cast a yes vote for almost any amendment on the ballot, thinking if they are on the ballot they must be good, I encourage voters to truly study these amendments, and if they don't fully understand them to cast a no vote. Special interest groups are behind most of the amendments. Whether Democrat, Republican or independent, I urge you to join me and vote no on all amendments. Let's make those sponsoring these amendments in the future state in a clear and concise manner their purpose. Bert Horwitz
Sebring By the people Regarding "A threat to our courts" (Views, Oct. 28): The article attacked Amendment 5 on the Nov. 6 ballot that would give the Florida Senate the authority to confirm appointments by the governor to the Florida Supreme Court. This truly would be a check and balance that reflects greatly upon the principles upon which our republic was founded. Any criticism or action against practicing attorneys is met with a unified defense or objection to any reform. Their argument that built-in "protections," such as the Judicial Qualifications Commission, protect the voter is balderdash. This issue is larger than that. Many judges have practiced "judicial fiat" like people visit their dentist — quite often. Judicial fiat is the one fear Thomas Jefferson expressed more than once about the future of America and the continual existence of the republic as intended by the Founders. Our nation began as a republic based upon our Declaration of Independence, which guarantees the people certain "inalienable rights," and the Constitution and Bill of Rights further reinforced these principles. The Founders provided no evidence whatsoever that they intended to give state supreme courts absolute supremacy over laws passed by duly elected representatives of the people — only that courts issue an opinion as to whether or not a law was constitutional. I believe having the Florida Senate, comprised of people who are elected by voters, involved in the appointment process for state Supreme Court justices is a good change. It is in keeping in concert with governance by the people. Maybe it would stop justices who have a partisan view from being appointed to the state Supreme Court. It obviously would be a great check and balance on a powerful institution. David Heckman Valrico The power of Congress Regarding "Settling for less" (Your Views, Oct. 27): Keith Poot faults President Obama because he did not achieve a perfect legislative agenda during his presidency. Admittedly, Obama is not nearly a legislative wizard as Lyndon Johnson was during a good part of his administration. Poot seems to forget the condition of the country when Obama took office in 2009. It would be unfair to expect miracles given what he faced. It would be fair to point out that the health reforms should have been postponed until the economy was straightened out. Obama also probably overspent in an attempt to fix the mess he inherited from the prior Bush administration. It would be unfair to expect Obama to have leaped all the legislative hurdles the Republicans in Congress imposed on him. Poot seems to forget that Congress is composed of two houses. Moreover, it takes a 60-vote majority to get anything passed in the Senate if the opposition really wants to obstruct your agenda. Congress is set up to move slowly. We do not have a parliamentary system like England. Congress does what it wills, and no president can force it to act. Leonard Martino Tampa Relocating the Rays I think it is very interesting that the Tampa Bay Rays get to have discussions with people from Hillsborough County. If the Rays build a stadium in Hillsborough it will decrease my ride. I usually get there in a little more than 45 minutes, but if a stadium is built here, I would arrive in 15. I have noticed the very low attendance. I think it would be best for the Rays to move to Hillsborough, not just for my sake but for the Rays, too, because Hillsborough has many sponsorship and business opportunities. St. Petersburg does not have as many sponsorship opportunities. Those opportunities will mean more boxes are sold and more Rays' fans show up. Hillsborough is not pressing the issue. I hope Hillsborough gets serious because there are many Rays fans in Tampa. Ben Johnson Tampa
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