This is in response to the Letter of the Day by John Mannone, “An idea from abroad for Florida roads” (July 14). He says Florida should issue toll stickers to visitors to our state to help maintain our roads. They already pay taxes for roads we Floridians use when we go to their states and use their roads.
We don’t need to open that can of worms. How would you like to take a trip up North and have to first purchase a toll sticker for almost every state you will be driving through?
Robert Van Istendal
This is in response to the Tribune’s endorsement for the Group 8 judicial contest in Hillsborough County. I agree that all three candidates would be “capable” judges. I was a county commissioner when two of the candidates were assistant county attorneys and served honorably.
During my career as a public official I had the privilege of observing the character and demeanor of many outstanding judges. It is my sincere opinion that Carl Hinson has those qualities that are necessary for becoming an outstanding judge. He is committed to justice and to the importance of fairness to both sides of every issue before the courts. Hinson has had a successful legal practice for 27 years. He is well respected by his peers in the legal community. In a recent poll conducted by the Hillsborough County Bar Association, he received the highest percentage (97.4 percent) of positive votes of all the judicial candidates (except for the incumbent judge who is running for re-election).
Hinson has endorsements from some currently elected officials: Bob Henriquez, David Gee, Charles Miranda, Frank Chillura and Mike Sparkman. He also has endorsements from former officials such as Dennis Alvarez (retired chief judge), John Grant, Jack Lamb and many others throughout our community. Some candidates would make “capable” judges, but Hinson would be an outstanding judge.
Regarding “Our picks in judicial races in Pinellas and Pasco counties” (Our Views, July 14): I have the legal experience, demeanor and work ethic required to be a circuit court judge. I have been in courtrooms for over 13 years. I started as a prosecutor, participating in everything from misdemeanor to murder trials, spending substantial time in the Domestic Violence Unit, and gaining jury trial experience and non-jury trial experience.
As a senior assistant attorney general, I handled appeals from the lower courts, argued before the Second District Court of Appeal and successfully defended the constitutionality of the Sexually Violent Predator Act to the Florida Supreme Court. I have been a business owner for nearly eight years, and am a board-certified attorney in marital and family law — only 6 percent of attorneys are board-certified in any area of practice. I also am a Florida Supreme Court-certified family law mediator. In order to gain board certification, colleagues I practice with reviewed my courtroom skills anonymously, the judges I appear before reviewed my courtroom skills anonymously, and I passed a rigorous written examination regarding the law and procedure which had a passage rate of about 25 percent.
I have served my community and legal community for years. I am a guardian ad litem, vice chair of the PACE Center for Girls-Pasco, immediate past president of the West Pasco Bar Association and immediate past chair of the grievance committee that investigates attorneys alleged to have acted unethically or unprofessionally. I am supported by many members of my community and attorneys practicing varied areas of law.
I have worked from the age of 14, working multiple jobs at the same time to put myself through college and law school. I will bring this same tireless work ethic to serve you.
I intend to bring integrity, efficiency and respect to the courtroom.
Amanda Colón, Esq.
New Port Richey
Since the National Rifle Association is intent on arming everybody and anybody with the excuse that our government may decide to take away something that they deem abominable, we could end up like Iraq or Syria and other countries with rebels on the loose with their weapons. We have neighborhoods where drive-by shootings are common. An employee becomes unhappy or is fired, so he shoots whomever he feels caused his problem. A student feels nobody likes him or her and decides to shoot up the school to get even. And on and on.
We have an Army, Air Force, Navy, the Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard that are professionally trained to defend us. Please tell me why any civilian needs an assault weapon or any high-powered weapon.
I hope this newspaper will publish before each election the names of every person running who receives even one cent from the NRA. I want to know so I can vote against every one of them.
Nora S. Wilhide
Sun City Center
Secure the borders
We don’t need immigration reform. We need immigration enforcement.
Need for campsites
I’d like to respond to the letter by George Apthorp (“Protect sanctity of parks,” Your Views, July 13). I do understand the need to protect vital environmental areas in our state. However, providing camping opportunities is a way to generate income to facilitate this protection. It’s also a very needed way to educate our citizens and visitors about the unique and spectacular natural settings in Florida.
If you are a Florida citizen who enjoys camping, you know that the prime time to camp in Florida is also the prime time for the snowbird season. Getting a campsite anywhere in Florida during this time is almost impossible unless you have made reservations far in advance. The more camping spaces that are available, the more we can get people into the outdoors and educate them about how very special Florida is.
President Obama says we need to level the playing field. Well, the playing field was leveled at the time of the Great Depression: Everyone pretty much had nothing. Subsequently, workers stratified themselves according to their work ethic. They also began paying into Social Security and Medicare to provide funding for their retirement and health care.
Now we are told those “entitlements” are going broke. Has anyone ever heard that welfare is going broke?
I would agree with Mr. Obama that the playing field isn’t level. It’s the working people and retirees who are on the downhill edge.