Budget cuts hurt ones most in need
Why, when cuts are made at the local level, do they cut programs that help the children and the needy? Today, when most folks have to work, not for luxuries, but for bare necessities, and have to leave their children unattended, the very programs that are being cut are needed more than ever.
Drugs are running rampant and we cut funding (to drug abuse treatment programs), thus those who need the help are out of luck.
Mental health services for youth are being cut, even though many more are in need today than ever before due to children being left to fend for themselves. Does this make sense?
If the budget is cut that helps the homeless, they will return to the streets and crime will increase.
None of these budget cuts will do anything except cause more problems. We have uncollected tax dollars for half-finished properties, and instead of fining these individuals or foreclosing on their property, we cut needed services to our needy. We have money for new parks and ball fields and other recreation facilities, but none to help those who really need our help.
Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater
Re: Standoff in Dunedin ends peacefully after hundreds stranded | story, April 1
Patience averted further trouble
To Sheriff Jim Coats: As a member of the Mental Health Coalition of Pinellas County, I would like to commend the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for its patience and training in averting a suicidal individual from a potentially lethal outcome in this incident.
It is our understanding that at least three sheriff's deputies responding to this incident were trained in a cooperative program between law enforcement and mental health providers, advocates and consumers to sensitize law enforcement further to challenges with people exhibiting dangerous mental health symptoms.
Although we realize that other residents were inconvenienced, but protected, at least this incident ended in having the individual put down his gun and agree to treatment after hours of intervention by the Sheriff's Office.
Thank you for assuring the safety of all residents of Pinellas County and your commitment to the special populations of acutely mentally ill clients that are a danger to themselves or others. Hopefully, your foresight in training will further the positive results that are reflected in this incident.
Thomas C. Wedekind, executive director, Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services Inc.
Re: County clears way
for Lowe's in Tarpon
story, April 9
Planners' advice always ignored
It seems to me that the Pinellas County Commission doesn't give a rat's rear end what county planners have to say on any issue that comes before them. I can't begin to count the number of times that this County Commission has rejected the recommendations of its own staff.
Why on earth are we paying these people to do a job that seems to be a waste of time and taxpayers' money? Remember budget cuts?
John Thurmond, Ozona
Re: Make a difference
for just one horse
guest column, March 12
Donations help buy lots of hay
I wish to thank the readers of the St. Petersburg Times.
Floridians who read Largo police Chief Lester Aradi's guest column emphasizing the critical shortage of hay for horses stepped up in a major way. We received enough donations at www.fairfieldequine.com to enable us to purchase and deliver 1,000 bales of high-quality compressed hay to equine rescue organizations.
As a direct result, one of them was able to take in and care for a herd of 44 relinquished and starving horses.
Your generosity went a long way to meet a severe need. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sara Gruen, North Carolina