July 1, 2006 Letters Letters Civics Education Kudos to Alan Bookman, Rep. Curtis Richardson, Sen. Ron Klein, and all the concerned citizens of Florida for their support of civics education.Before I became an attorney, I was a social studies teacher in Florida middle schools for several years. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education, I went confidently to my first interview for a teaching position. Imagine my shock when the principal told me: “Social studies isn’t important. Can you coach?” Unfortunately, I came to discover that this was a routine question in interviews for social studies teachers.Later when I was working as a social studies teacher, I was saddened to learn that the period for social studies classes was the standard time period to distribute yearbooks, have assemblies, and disseminate flyers on cheerleading. While all those things have their value, I was never able to persuade the school administrators that learning about the Constitution was at least equally important.In this post-911 world, there is a more urgent need than ever for civics education. Thank you for seeing the value in this and helping Florida’s children become effective citizens. Janet Allard Wilkerson Jacksonville Mr. Ethics On Monday, May 26, 2006, I lost a great friend, the Judicial Qualifications Commission lost a great advisor, and the Florida Bar lost one of its most valuable members. Thomas Cook MacDonald, Jr., was the long-time general counsel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission. The obituary in the Tampa Tribune referred to him as “Mr. Ethics.” The St. Petersburg Times stated, “He made it right when Florida judges do wrong.”Some judges disliked Mr. MacDonald because of the strong stands he took concerning violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. These judges misunderstood the mission of the commission. That mission is to protect the public from bad judges and to protect good judges from themselves. Mr. MacDonald worked tirelessly to achieve both of these goals. His tough stand in many instances reflected the will of the commission or was necessary to maintain confidence in the judiciary.Behind the scenes Tom strived as hard to ensure judges were not subjected to baseless charges as he did to see corrective measures were taken when the code of conduct was violated. It’s through his efforts that members of the Florida judiciary continue to be held in such high esteem.It is not only the Bar and I who have lost a great compassionate friend, but also the members of the judiciary who have sustained an immeasurable loss.Judge James R. Wolf Chair, Judicial Qualifications Commission July 1, 2006 Letters Page Remembered Longtime Madison County attorney Ernest Page, Jr., passed away recently. At the time of his death, Page was a practicing attorney logging 58 total years of practice.A graduate of UF law school, he was the past president of the Third Circuit Bar Association, former attorney for Madison County, and North Florida Community College (f.k.a., North Florida Junior College). He served as counsel to Tri-County Electric Cooperative for 40 years, a tenure that was a record for representation of electric cooperatives. He is survived by his son, Ernest Page III, and grandson, Ernest Page IV, both of whom are assistant state attorneys in the Third Judicial Circuit.Greg Parker Perry Joint and Several Liability Having read attorney Joe Little’s letter in the May 15 News, I felt I should make my own contribution and state my view of the issues involving the most recent legislation eliminating joint and several liability in tort actions.The real issues behind the legislation have nothing to do with “right,” “fairness,” or “equity.” The real issue is as it has always been: money. And that singular issue involves insurance companies “capturing” (a more polite term for a more disreputable activity) Florida legislators to compel them to push for legislation favorable to them economically. There is no basis upon which a “fairness” argument can be made when applied to innocent injured parties. Any legislator who attempts to make a fairness argument of this legislation as it affects innocent injured persons is either stupid or thinks the public is.I would submit an anecdotal offering of the following: A few years ago during a meeting of “bigwigs” when I was then an “in house” managing attorney for a large insurance company, I had the temerity to question their position that Florida’s (then) joint and several liability was unjust and unfair, I proposed to them the following scenario:“Suppose your 12-year-old grandchild (all three had one) was standing on a street corner at an intersection controlled by a traffic light. Two vehicles collide in the intersection and one careens off and runs over your grandchild who suffers injuries resulting in her being a cripple requiring continued medical care the rest of her life and has incurred $100,000 in medical bills. It is without dispute that your grandchild is not in any way negligent. Consider that the jury awards $1 million in damages, and upon conflicting testimony as to which vehicle had a green or a yellow light, the jury found the vehicle with unlimited resources and/or insurance to be 10 percent negligent and the owner of the 10-year-old vehicle with no liability insurance or assets to be 90 percent negligent. Would it be fair that your grandchild, a wholly innocent bystander, receive only $100,000 for her injuries?”Of course, they could not make a response without revealing the effect on them personally.As the old adage says: Right and fairness and one’s view of what is right or fair depends upon whose bull is being gored. Insurance companies and their mentors consider only money. “Right” or “fairness” has nothing to do with it. It is intellectual hypocrisy (and in our case professional hypocrisies) to argue it involves anything but money. What is determined by legislation to be “right” or “fair” on this subject depends upon what legislators your viewpoint controls (or owns).Millard C. Glancy Coral Springs
Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga today asked his top order batsmen to fire against a dominant India, urging them not to throw their wickets in the second One-Day International at Pallekele on Thursday.Sri Lanka were positioned nicely in the first ODI at 139 for one but lost nine wickets for just 77 runs to be all out for a modest 216.”To get to a big total we need the top four batsmen to fire. One or two of them must make a big score. Thats what we have seen in the past 10-15 years. If a player gets a century then we can put up a good total between 280-300,” Tharanga said at the pre-match press conference. (Team India demolishing Sri Lanka on the field, exploring island off it)”What I expect from the batsmen is once they have settled in, they should bat the entire innings and take us to a decent total. If you look at the past results we have been in good positions in the first 20-25 overs. From there onwards only we have lost the grip as batsmen played irresponsible shots,” the skipper added.Reuters PhotoThere was much hue and cry after their crushing defeat on Sunday and Tharanga sought to placate the angry fans apart from rejecting rumours of a dressing room rift.”It was our bad luck we could not win the first ODI. But all the players are in good spirits because we have been preparing for this series well ahead of time. I have faith in the players that for the second ODI they will come up with a much better performance.advertisement”Every time the fans have been behind us when we won or lost. As a team all I can say is that we go out 100 percent to win the match. None of the 15 players in the squad go out to lose a match. We expect their support because that is the one that gives us strength and encouragement to perform well,” said the 32-year-old.Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal was left out of the playing eleven in the series-opener, triggering speculation that it was a divided dressing room. Asked about Chandimal’s return to the ODI line-up, Tharanga replied, “We have not come to a final conclusion with the team but there certainly will be changes.”In addition to Tharanga, interim coach Nic Pothas was also present in the press conference on Wednesday to issue a statement. Reportedly, Sri Lanka Cricket took objection to his stance of ‘too many cooks’ in the post-match conference in Dambulla.”It should be stated that I am very happy with everything that’s going on within our four walls in the change room. And just to clarify things I am very happy with the situation with the Board that has been hugely supportive of everything that I do and the players do. They continue to support us. Certainly I have no issues there,” said Pothas.The skipper also dismissed suggestions that paceman Lasith Malinga is way past his best. “Every cricketer goes through this phase. He has returned to ODI cricket after being out for about 18 months. But since his return he has been unable to produce those match winning performances mainly because catches have been dropped off his bowling. But his presence in the team is a big boon to the young fast bowlers who can learn a lot from him,” he said.Sri Lanka can still seal automatic qualification for the 2019 ODI World Cup if they win two matches in this series. It will be a tough ask against a rampant Indian side, even if the hosts have an eye on what West Indies are doing on their England tour.”As a team we go to each match to win. We are not thinking too far but taking match by match. Tomorrow’s contest is vital for us because we lost the first. To qualify for the 2019 World Cup we have to win two matches of the current series. All the players in the squad are aware of it. Our main aim is to win every match,” said Tharanga.”West indies are also trying to win and increase their points in the standings. We know what is expected from us but if we think too much it will affect our performances. So we are taking it match by match,” he signed off.