Saturday, July 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10

Challenges in foster care system

No young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how this was allowed, and apologies fall short.

On Jan. 24, Eckerd Connects became aware of allegations of youth being left unsupervised in the community by YFA workers. Eckerd Connects immediately reported the incident to the appropriate authorities. It appears the practice of leaving teenage youth essentially unsupervised in the community by YFA staff was not an isolated incident. YFA’s contract for Circuit 13 has been terminated.

Eckerd Connects requires that all youth be taken to the schools in which they are enrolled. If a youth refuses to attend school, the expectation is for case managers to provide supervision at appropriate locations while working with the school truancy officer, judiciary and Eckerd to resolve the issue. Eckerd Connects is taking steps to understand why these protocols were not followed and address the underlying issues that facilitated potentially damaging actions carried out by one of our partner agencies.

Hillsborough County has long faced challenges with our foster care system. As a Times article in April 2017 highlighted, the county’s "lead child welfare agency is shortchanged almost $6 million in state funds this year while roughly $44 million goes to other agencies across Florida to look after foster children they do not have, state records show." Despite serving 700 more children than Miami, our community’s system receives $20 million less in core funding from the state.

To be clear: This is not about throwing more money at a problem. It is about having an equitable share of state resources to care for our children; to support our foster parents and kinship care; and to invest in effective measures to address the underlying issues we face.

This unfortunate news serves as both a reminder and an opportunity for the community, legislators and other stakeholders to rally behind our community and all the agencies that make up the system of care in Hillsborough County.

Dennis Hardiman, Eckerd Connects, chairman; Joseph W. Clark, Eckerd Connects Community Alternatives, Hillsborough board chair; V. Raymond Ferrara, Eckerd Connects Community Alternatives, Pasco and Pinellas board chair

Rays moving in historic direction | Feb. 10

Don’t let the city down

The announcement of the Rays leaving St. Petersburg has been a long time coming. City forefathers would be jumping in their graves learning the Rays will be breaking their contract with St. Petersburg.

My grandfather, and thousands of others, worked tirelessly to bring major-league baseball to our city, and the cost of the team leaving is huge.

I am asking city officials, especially Mayor Rick Kriseman, to be strong in negotiating terms with the Rays for breaking our contract. If we do not receive the minimum financial/contractual obligations the Rays owe the city, it will be a severe blow. Please remember the men and women who fought to get them here, and their legacies.

Please be a strong leader for them, and us as residents of St. Petersburg.

Greg Foster, St. Petersburg

Nightmare in the making

At any given time of the day, getting from Pinellas County to Tampa is a nightmare. The Gandy Bridge exits into stop-and-go traffic, clogged no matter what time of day. While the Howard Franklin Bridge has more lanes, it bottlenecks once past the airport exit and continues for miles. Getting off at Kennedy Boulevard would mean stop-and-go traffic that’s already a joke, and the Courtney Campbell Causeway would also feed into that traffic to get to Kennedy.

Ybor City is not a feasible site for a stadium — nobody can get there. Really, it’s just another power grab by Hillsborough County to make Pinellas County their orphan. By the way, you can stop calling them the Tampa Bay Rays — unless you’re playing in the bay itself, there’s no city or town named "Tampa Bay."

Debi Ford, St. Petersburg

Taxpayers to be fleeced

Career politicians Bob Buckhorn and Ken Hagan will not be around when it is time for the taxpayers to ante up, should this folly get that far. Facts are facts: The Rays’ attendance is lousy and will only marginally increase with a new location.

The blunders (maybe lies) of Mayor Dick Greco and his administration will be repeated by Buckhorn and Hagan, which will continue to leave the taxpayers in serious debt for two stadiums whose ownership groups are woeful. The Bucs averaged actual attendance of less than 52,000 per game in 2017 for a stadium that seats 65,000-plus. The Rays were less than 13,000 for home games.

Wake up taxpayers, you are about to get fleeced again.

Dick Powers, Tampa

A few benefit; most don’t

I will continue to be adamant (for more reasons than space will allow) that Tampa does not and should not house another professional sports team. It is beyond my comprehension to have such things stuffed down the throats of the majority of citizens (who will certainly be the losers) for the benefit of the privileged few (who will certainly be the winners), if the Tampa Bay Rays get crammed into the 14 acres currently being promoted, or for that matter any other Tampa location.

And as I have professed before, I do not want one red cent of my tax dollars to go for the support of this dilemma.

Stay in St. Petersburg or go elsewhere.

Dennis Trosky, Tampa

Practical problems

None of the enraptured Ybor City stadium advocates seem to address the most astounding and obvious flaw in building a baseball stadium on this site: There will be no place to park. And exactly how do these beguiled and unrealistic promoters think that 30,000 to 40,000 baseball fans will be able to get to the stadium in the first place?

Terrence Gourdine, Clearwater


Monday’s letters: More reaction to Trump

Trump sides with Putin over U.S.A. | July 17 editorialVoters will have to protect national securityThe American intelligence agencies are in unanimous agreement that Russia involved itself in the 2016 election, all to benefit the candidacy of Dona...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Sunday’s letters: What to do about the National Flood Insurance Program

Time’s running out on flood insurance | Column, July 18Kill the flood insurance programThe Republican ethos (Sen. Marco Rubio) is that government should not interfere in markets and that privatization should be implemented whenever possible. That...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Saturday’s letters:

Time for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. Can America afford a soci...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Friday’s letters: Trump’s excuses about Helsinki

Trump got tripped up | July 18 A dangerous mix-up for a president President Donald Trump would have us believe that he misspoke when he stood on the world stage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed belief in Putin rather than the un...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18

Thursday’s letters: Watch what Trump does ... and what he says

Trump sides with Putinover U.S.A. | Editorial, July 17 Watch what he does — and what he says, too Anyone who still takes issue with the allegation that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president need only look at his shameful and ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Leave fireworks to the professionals

Nobody is scaring birds with fireworks | Editorial, July 16Leave fireworksto the professionalsThe situation with fireworks has gotten completely out of control. I was at Curtis Hixon Park on the Fourth of July, and numerous people were exploding ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18

Monday’s letters: Make investment in the Rays an actual investment with an actual return

Paying for ballpark will take teamwork | Editorial, July 12An actual return on investmentMuch attention has been given to the cost of the proposed Rays stadium in Ybor City and who will foot the bill. The three-legged stool of the Rays, the busin...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/16/18

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18