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Letters to the Editors

Court fight over ticket a waste of media coverage


© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

Editor: Re: Couple lose speeding case, Oct. 15 Times:

Ted and Shirley Knowles got their photo and story published twice for whining and taking their traffic citation (65 mph in a 55 mph zone) to court for speeding in Lawtey. I would think the Times reporter and photographer had more useful news to cover than to accompany the speeders to court in Starke.

I could empathize with the Knowleses if they were unsuspecting victims of the well-known Lawtey speed trap, but after being forewarned, they should have set their cruise control on 25, 35, 45 and certainly, 55 mph, while driving in Lawtey and Waldo.

The judge found them guilty of speeding. When they appeal to a higher court, win or lose, I hope it doesn't earn another photo and feature article.
-- Michael Cockill, Weeki Wachee

Speeding couple can't choose when the law is enforced

Editor: Re: Couple lose speeding case, Oct. 15 Times:

Speeding in Lawtey. Aw, shucks! Ain't it awful! Speed trap. Lurking cop. Fined for speeding. Terrible! It ain't fair to fine the Knowleses, law-abiding, upright, self-righteous front-pew residents of Spring Hill. If the couple returned home to find it ransacked, what would they do? They'd call the cops! They'd say "Catch them dirty thieves. They ought to be in jail!" And from that day forth, they'd want a police vehicle to be visible on their street.

I was raised on an Iowa farm. Integrity and honesty were taught at mother's knee. When I did something wrong, I took the consequences; weak excuses did not work. Fifty years ago cops caught speeders. Nobody called the news media to whine about mistreatment.

Many seniors are self-righteous to the core, today. I read the article and couldn't compose myself. I wept and wrung my hands for the Knowleses.

I have an idea. I'll throw some crying towels in my Cadillac and speed through Lawtey! Alert the media!

Officer Cates is my kind of guy.
-- Don Hollrah, Hudson

In Lawtey, law applied according to potential dollars, not justice

Editor: Re: Couple lose speeding case, Oct. 15 Times:

Staff writer Jamie Jones followed this case of alleged police entrapment in the town of Lawtey until the dispute was resolved. As a retired New York City police officer, I could have told her to save time, gas and wear and tear on her car to travel to the murky town of Lawtey, where the law is dealt around traffic court and where traffic violations are the bread and butter of most officials.

The town (village) has two full-time officers who receive most of their pay from the proceeds of traffic violations. One of the two officers is an assistant police chief. No judge in his right mind is going to rule against the assistant police chief under these circumstances (guilty or innocent) because that action will undermine the police authority in dealing with would-be violators and future innocent motorists.

I worked as an officer for 21 years and issued about 30 tickets during my whole career (including three moving violations). Assistant Chief Cates has issued thousands of tickets during an eight-year span.

Lawtey is nothing compared to the size and population of New York, but in New York we have better things to do, such as fighting crime and domestic disputes.

The scales of justice are measured by how many dollars a traffic ticket is worth in Florida. It is easier to walk away free when you are accused of drug dealing than when you commit a traffic violation. The cards are stacked against you in this situation.
-- Luis B. Rosario, Spring Hill

According to Times, dog event outweighs rodeo, barbecue

Editor: Re: Competition serves as doggy dress rehearsal, Oct. 14 Times:

I have been reading the Times as far back as I can remember. And God knows I have read some articles about some pretty boring and insignificant events in Pasco and Hernando counties.

Last weekend, the 5th annual Hernando Rodeo and barbecue was held in Brooksville. This was a significant event. The barbecue was KCBS-sanctioned event. Many people worked hard to compete in this annual event.

Where was the coverage in the Times? Maybe you were too busy covering important stuff like the doggy rehearsal.
-- Tom Balletta, New Port Richey

Medicaid rejection fits county's pattern of refusal

Editor: Re: Unemployment not enough to qualify for Medicaid, Oct. 10 letter to the editor:

I am not surprised Katherine Jensen did not receive help in Hernando County for Medicaid, or any other help she needs.

She should apply in a different county. My daughter went to Pasco County to apply for food stamps and housing and received it. She was turned down in Hernando County for the same. Friends of ours went to Tampa to apply for the same reason.

I complained to our local senator about it and asked other questions. I received a very sarcastic letter in return.George A. DiFranco Sr., Spring Hill
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