The right to counsel
It always fascinates me to hear people criticize attorneys. They tell lawyer jokes, and everyone laughs. However, it’s those same people who lawyer up the minute they feel they’ve been wronged. In saying that, they have every right to do this. Our system of justice is the best in the world, bar none. Imagine if you or a loved one is hurt or killed in an accident or wrongfully accused of a crime and arrested. Now imagine there are no lawyers. Not so funny now is it? You can’t work and support your family if you’re sentenced to prison for a crime you didn’t commit, and you lose everything.
The recent attack on attorney Richard Escobar is a classic example of this superficial mindset. Curtis Reeves, like everyone accused of a crime, has the right to counsel. It’s called the Sixth Amendment. Escobar has a sworn duty to provide a vigorous and competent defense for his client. That is exactly what he is doing.
Ours is an adversarial system, and the prosecution will be doing everything it can, within the bounds of ethics, to obtain a conviction. Ultimately, the jury will decide. The verdict will grant justice whether you agree with it or not. So go ahead and make fun of lawyers. Tell your jokes and laugh it up. The time may come when you need one. It won’t be so funny then.
Regarding “Hurricane Obamacare taking toll on Tampa area’s health care” (Other Views, Aug. 20): My husband and I are senior citizens. Until last year, our health insurance’s Part B and D were increased yearly. Last year our premiums actually went down slightly. Whether or not that has anything to do with Obamacare or not, I do not know. I do know, however, that Chris Hudson, the author of “Hurricane Obamacare,” must come from the dark ages if he thinks males should not have to pay for maternity care through their insurance premiums. Who on Earth does he think gets the females pregnant?
Many males do not support their children to the extent needed. At least through insurance premiums, the mothers of their children get some help with medical care.
Right on target
Douglas MacKinnon’s column “Media bias against the military wrongly tarnishes soldier’s heroism” (Metro, Aug. 19) is right on target and long overdue. He tells it like it is to the discomfort of the armchair quarterbacks and the would-be politically correct. The article also should have chastised the media for its disgusting ongoing bias against law enforcement. I appreciate these troops and their efforts to keep us safe, and I applaud the Trib’s courage in publishing the article.
Where’s the proof?
Regarding the couple who was escorted out of Maggie Mae’s restaurant, I would ask: What documents did they have to show that their dogs were service dogs?
According to WFLA’s report, the ADA says businesses can ask what disability the person has and what service the dog performs. I find it hard to believe these dogs are service dogs, and how can they help if they are in a stroller? I have seen too many people with little lap dogs they say are service dogs because they don’t want to leave them home alone. People who do this are spoiling it for those who really do need their dogs because of a disability.
Florida’s ‘Cultural Coast’
A few weeks ago, I ran across some 1950s Florida tourism postcards selling the “Florida glow” earned by beaches and perpetual sun. I realized that even though Florida has changed so much since then, especially here in the Tampa Bay area, not much has changed about how we promote Florida to visitors — the addition of our impressive collection of theme parks notwithstanding.
Many other states and countries recognize and capitalize on the growing market of cultural tourism, and this new tourist — the “cultural tourist”— stays longer, spends more money and is searching out the arts and entertainment available at their destinations. The initial draw may be February in the subtropics, but the cultural tourist will travel in search of a more complete, more fulfilling experience, patronizing museums, theaters and historic locations.
As a long-time promoter and patron of the arts, I’ve been fortunate to see the Tampa Bay area develop into an impressive cultural hub that includes the Dali Museum, Mahaffey Theater, Ruth Eckerd, the Palladium, the Chihuly, the Ringling Museum, Florida Orchestra, American Stage, Jobsite Theater, the Straz Center and the Tampa Theatre. This list goes on and on.
I am proud of the density of the region’s artistic assets. We are Florida’s “Cultural Coast,” a distinction that sets us apart and can launch us into the very competitive international market of cultural tourism. We can move forward from the old “sun and beaches” paradigm and begin to market the whole picture of what we have to offer: sun, fun, beaches, theater, music, dance, comedy, renowned speakers and a dynamic selection of exceptional museums.
We must begin to think collectively and globally and market ourselves successfully and internationally as Florida’s Cultural Coast. We have made the investments necessary to get ourselves to this point; now we need to come together in a united campaign. All boats will rise with the tide.
Now is the time for all the convention and visitor bureaus of the Tampa Bay region to pool resources and invest in a tourism campaign that unites all the performing arts assets that so enrich the experience of coming to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton and the countless other valuable communities in our area.
The writer is president and CEO of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.