Regarding the commentary “Scott’s veto helped only divorce attorneys:” The fight to reform Florida’s alimony laws goes on despite Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of it. As a family law attorney, I agree there need to be revisions to the current laws in our state, just not to the extent that the group now known as “Family Law Reform” is proposing.
Those who are working to get a revised bill passed next year need to come to terms with one thing: Compromise is key. Family Law Reform and those who support its efforts should use the expertise of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. They did not do so this year, and they failed. Collaboration is the best way to come up with an alimony bill that is fair to everyone in light of the changing economic environment for both husbands and wives.
The portion of the original bill that was most unfair was the retroactive provision. It was particularly unfair to women and alimony recipients, who mobilized in protest. In addition, constitutional scholars questioned the legality of the retroactive provisions. The U.S. Constitution prohibits states from making laws that impair existing contracts, which the retroactive portion of bill would have done.
Having spent my career as a family law attorney in South Florida, it is evident that some changes to alimony laws are necessary, and working with the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is the key to implementation of a reasonable and workable bill that protects both payers and payees.
Editor’s note: Barry Finkel is a former chairman of the Family Law Section of the Broward County Bar Association.
Martin had right to stand his ground
Regarding the George Zimmerman trial: As a lifelong, gun-owning conservative I strongly support the Second Amendment as well as Florida’s “stand your ground” law. I am not very supportive of pot-smoking young people who have disciplinary problems in school.
However, George Zimmerman knew, as a captain in his neighborhood crime watch, (and was specifically instructed by the 911 operator) to call in suspicious activities and take no action on his own. Young Trayvon Martin was innocently minding his own business when he was confronted by the burly Zimmerman. If anyone had the right to use “stand your ground,” it was Mr. Martin. He may have thought that to save his life he needed to be aggressive, and so took a punch at Mr. Zimmerman. Sadly, he was armed only with candy and an iced tea.
Contrary to Crimewatch policy, Mr. Zimmerman carried a deadly weapon and, without any warning such as firing into the ground, shot Martin dead. This shooting is not justified under the “stand your ground” law.
T.J. Cunningham also a humorist
Your recent “A deep and lasting friendship” about T.J. Cunningham and Calvin Hightower, the former Air Force pilot, reminds me of something that should go down in history about T.J.
When I began the practice of law in Martin County in 1956, there were no black lawyers in the county. Hence, T.J. and his brother Malcolm were frequently hired by black Martin County litigants, and when I became a judge I saw them in my court regularly. When Willie Gary came to town, all that changed, leading to T.J.’s comment that he “was going to burn a watermelon on Willie’s front lawn.”
T.J. and his brother were pioneers in many ways, with Malcolm being the serious one and T.J. the humorist.
C. PFEIFFER TROWBRIDGE
Editor’s note: C. Pfeiffer Trowbridge is a former Martin County circuit court judge.
How do our allies handle immigrants?
Regarding the Senate debate on the immigration bill: Why not run a series of articles laying out the immigration policies of some of our allies to see how we compare?
A Vietnam vet friend of mine who is unemployed and a “drifter” by choice has decided to go to Germany, where he claims that the government will allow him to live permanently. He says he will be allowed to stay because he has a guaranteed source of income (Social Security and some VA disability income) and because at 67 he is no threat to the current workforce in Germany.
If all the illegal immigrants we have here had a similar means of support from a source other than the generous American taxpayers, there might not be as much fervor against their remaining, once properly documented. Just a thought, but what are the policies in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and Australia?
West Palm Beach
Single-payer plan would lower costs
With regards to the article “High price of routine care pushes U.S. bills skyward” and the Randy Schultz column (“Health care system getting price examination”): This is another great example of how a single-payer plan would be the more fiscally conservative way of keeping health care costs down.
With a single-payer plan, the government would be able to negotiate for all Americans how much each medical procedure should cost. Most other countries already do this, which is why, as one can easily see from the article, how much less other countries are paying for health care procedures. The current system is nothing more than a shell game between the insurance companies and the hospitals, with the American public paying the costs. Yes, capitalism is one of the ways that makes our country great, but it does not work in all areas.
Blame politician, not state trooper
Frank Cerabino’s column “Trooper loses job for being nice guy,” is nothing short of amazing.
What’s amazing is that there is actually someone on our planet as incredibly stupid as state Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, appears to be. Do his constituents know who they sent to Tallahassee? We can only hope that the state rescinds the $10 ticket, issues the proper $251 ticket along with the driver license points and reinstates Charles Swindle.
Editor’s note: A hearing officer has recommending reinstating Mr. Swindle.
Clinton was asleep on Benghazi issue
Regarding the Benghazi controversy: If I could draw, I would send in the following editorial cartoon:
Panel 1: Caption “2008.” Hillary Rodham Clinton behind a podium saying, “Who would you want to answer the phone at 3 a.m.” Poster on wall: “Hillary for president.”
Panel 2: Caption “Benghazi”, foreground nightstand with phone ringing off the hook and a clock showing 3 a.m. Background: Back of a woman asleep in bed.
Palm Beach Gardens
U.S. should not intervene in Syria
Nicholas Burns in his Hot Topic commentary “Victory looms for Iran, Hezbollah” advocates U.S. intervention in Syria, but acknowledges President Barack Obama’s reluctance to dive into another Middle East quagmire.
Since the Vichy French government was driven out in World War II, one Syrian family or another has seized and held power in Damascus. As Mr. Burns goes on to say, only a miracle would lead the warring Syrian parties to agree now. He is therefore inconsistent in thinking there may be no alternative than for the U.S. to arm the rebels.
As he notes, Syrians have suffered at the hands of a brutal regime, and millions more have lost their homes and hope. It is those millions of refugees who have fled to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon who deserve the principled American leadership Mr. Burns advocates. Furthermore, by attacking Bashar Assad’s military bases to drive him from power, Washington would have to deal with the inevitable mess that would be left.
Charter head could offer priceless lessons
We should all give a round of applause for South Tech Preparatory Academy (“Ex-principal accused of theft to lead new charter”). Just because Priscilla Maloney was accused of being a thief does not mean that she cannot help shape young minds to aspire to greatness. My only suggestion is that they bolt down anything of value. I also suggest that the school offer classes on how to beat the system: Ponzi Schemes 101, Ins and Outs of White Collar Crime, and How to Scam the Taxpayer with Impunity.