Not much to ask
I have a picture on a wall in my office of a young Iraqi woman displaying the peace sign with her index finger marked in purple, a sign that she has voted. The picture was taken when Iraqis were first allowed to freely vote in that country because of the sacrifices of young Americans who gave their lives for her right to do so. It also conveys to me the threats of terrorism this young woman had to confront to make it to the polls. I also always take it seriously to vote in every election because of my recognition of this right that was given to me because of men and women that have sacrificed throughout our American history to provide me that right.
So, I am always flummoxed when I read the suggestion that Florida suppresses voter turnout as I read in the Tribune’s recent article “Voter directive generates voters squawks” regarding the new directive that voters will need to return their absentee ballots by mail or to the supervisor of elections office. I want to remind Floridians that there are states in the U.S. that have no early voting provisions and where you need an excuse to absentee vote. Florida, on the other hand, allows early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, provisional voting and voting on Election Day. This is hardly suppression of voting for those who take the responsibility of voting earnestly.
May I suggest that voters can simply place the correct postage on their absentee ballots and walk the few feet to their mailbox and raise the flag. Not much to ask for the right to vote in this free nation of ours.
Land O’ Lakes
Every couple of weeks we read somewhere that Social Security is running out of money and has to be fixed. Same thing for Medicare. For several years now President Obama and his administration have been trying to figure out how to save money by reducing benefits for active and retired military and for veterans.
Why is it that we never hear anything about welfare running out of money or anything about ways to reduce the cost of welfare by reducing benefits?
Lester E. Scates
I recently parked on Kennedy Boulevard near Franklin Street in Tampa after 6 p.m. I got a ticket at 7:28 p.m. I may be the last one to get the word, but I thought parking in downtown Tampa after 6 p.m. was free. I called Tampa Parking Division and was told “it depends.” Really? There is no signage, and because “it depends,” there is no plan to post signage. I was told that if I had parked on the north side of Kennedy versus the south side, it was free. Really? My appeal was denied because I should have “interacted with the pay station” to find out if it was free or not.
Why the public has not been informed to communicate with the pay station after 6 p.m. escapes me.
My message to the person in the Parking Division, which has failed to communicate with the public, is that whether they are paid or not should “depend.”
I was sad to read in your paper about the Valenti sisters and their diagnosis of juvenile arthritis (“Wesley Chapel sisters named honorees for run,” Nov. 29). It seems odd that both of them were afflicted with the joint pain and exhaustion at the same time. As a veterinarian I am familiar with the disease in dogs, and I am also familiar with how the disease was first discovered more than 30 years ago in Lyme, Conn. Large numbers of children in the Lyme, Conn., area were being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. Upon further investigation they discovered that the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which was spread by tick bites, caused Lyme disease and that it responded to antibiotics. The arthritis was then “cured” in patients who were in the early stages of the disease with drugs such as Doxycycline.
The article also states that the children’s mother has arthritis as well. I suspect hers is probably due to osteoarthritis, but Lyme disease can affect people of any age. The article does state that the children have seen many doctors over the past 16 months. Florida is not usually considered a hotbed for Lyme disease or the ticks that carry it, but if the family has a history of traveling north a few weeks or months before the arthritis developed, Lyme disease may be something they need to consider.
The writer is a professor of veterinary science technology at the State University of New York at Canton.
The Tribune article “Last resort motels home to many of Bay area’s poor”(Dec. 1) exposes the filthy, vermin-infested living conditions Hillsborough County authorities have subsidized for the poor to occupy. It is beyond deplorable and profoundly unconscionable that county authorities have provided a lack of leadership and a profound insensitivity that allows “the least of those” to live in squalor.
If the county administrator, Mike Merrill, together with the county commission, is unable to supply the necessary leadership, then they should all be fired. Where were those workers whose job it was to report substandard housing? Would that the citizens of this county rise up in righteous indignation to protest this gross injustice.
James N. Holmes
There were 248,665 absentee ballots cast in Pinellas County in the 2012 General Election, of which 105,142 were received at drop-off locations. An editorial Nov. 29 incorrectly reported the total number of absentee ballots.