Regarding “Gun law debate heating up in Legislature” (Metro, March 3): Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, thinks it is “critical that the Legislature take a look at” Florida Statute Chapter 776, “Justifiable Use of Force,” often misquoted as “Stand your ground.” She opines we must “re-evaluate” the statute, “to allow our young people to walk the streets doing those things that young people do and not having to worry about being killed as a result of it.”
In St. Petersburg on Feb. 27, two “young people,” age 19 and 20, carjacked a 91-year- old lady. On Feb. 1, a pair of young people pistol-whipped and robbed a bike-riding couple on the Pinellas Trail, knocking out the woman’s teeth with the gun. “Wilding” by young people at the Florida State Fair caused an upheaval in policy.
Until some young people acquire sense, I shall carry legally everywhere I am able, and I expect my legislators in Tallahassee to continue to do the right thing to protect the law-abiding citizens from violent youths in our community.
Donna Marie Kostreva
Taxpayers pay taxes
Regarding the March 2 article “Unemployed remain determined to work despite challenge” (front page): The fourth sentence says unemployment benefits are funded “by employers, not taxpayers.” Those funds come from taxes. The employers who fund it fund it through payroll taxes. More than 95 percent of employers are small businesses. How is it possible that a tax paid by someone or some entity is not paid by taxpayers?
What the writer probably meant is that the benefits aren’t funded by individual taxpayers, although that isn’t totally accurate, either, since many employers may be self-employed or have S corporations and pay the payroll tax themselves. But to be safe, when writing about benefits that are a result of taxable things, journalists and editors can be assured that taxpayers are paying for it.
As an employer, I’m not opposed to paying the taxes for those who benefit from it. As a taxpayer, I take exception to characterizing a tax that I pay as not funded by taxpayers. All that said, I sincerely wish all those actively seeking employment the best.
Finding equal footing
Women most assuredly are entitled to equal opportunity as much in the military as in civilian life. But one only has to look at the Olympics to have proof of the indisputable fact that even highly trained world-class women athletes simply cannot compete on the same level as men.
Now, let’s pretend that the man who won was your son in battle, and the woman was in his platoon and they needed to escape an enemy. Two choices: Leave her behind, or slow down and risk capture.
Women can contribute in so many ways in the military, but often their skills are not considered important enough to contribute to promotions and accolades. What needs to change in the military is that the things that women can do as well as or better than men should be made as important to their careers as combat experience is to men’s careers.
The uphill battle
Joe Henderson succinctly described the dilemma Florida’s teachers face in being evaluated via a nonsensical formula that does not take into account the innumerable outside factors cumulatively affecting today’s educators (“Teacher eval plainly gibberish,” Metro). If the politicians and bureaucrats were in the trenches with teachers daily, their eyes would be opened to the nearly insurmountable challenges posed in educating the youths of today. The myriad of variant home situations is the tip of the iceberg. Factor in sophisticated and ever-changing technology shaping students’ lives, and an educator’s uphill battle has just begun. Now plug that battle into a ridiculously complicated formula that has little to do with teacher evaluation and the value-added model (VAM) appears!
Henderson is correct when he states the one and only solution is to hit the delete key and go back to the drawing board. But before the first stroke is penned concerning a new evaluative system for teachers, remember what is being measured and, more importantly, all of the variables factored into the formula.