Why not put greeters at hurricane shelters? | Jan. 3, commentary
Walmart rushed aid to Louisiana
The commentary from the New York Times was a cheap shot at Walmart. The writer forgets that the first trucks into New Orleans with supplies after Katrina were Walmart trucks. And I venture to guess that had Walmart been in charge of the gulf oil spill that nary a drop of crude would have reached the beaches.
My understanding is that when there is an emergency, Walmart puts all the people who can make things happen in the same room at desks facing each other. These are responsible people who know about inventory, traffic, expediting, liaison and so on. Decisions are made within minutes and the needed supplies are on the way.
I would far rather have a Walmart-like operation responsible for getting supplies to me in an emergency than some bureaucrat who doesn't have a clue of what it actually takes to get the job done.
Gov. Rick Scott made the right choice in appointing a Walmart executive to be in charge of Florida's Division of Emergency Management. I hope that all of his other appointments are of the same caliber.
David Brown, Sun City Center
Hold parents accountable | Jan. 1, letter
Charge parents for cost
of children's misdeeds
Amen to the letter that said parents should be held accountable for a child's bad behavior. I've been speaking out on this subject for 40 years, starting with a letter to the editor concerning a 5-year-old killing a 4-year-old with a gun found on the night stand in their parents' room.
I was roundly opposed by other letter contributors, but years later the issue came to the floor of the Texas Legislature in the form of a bill to fine parents for not locking their weapons away. It was narrowly defeated.
Parents should be charged for every single cost associated with their child: going to jail, having the law called because they misbehaved in some way, or because their child was suspended from school for an infraction of the rules. If parents can't pay, they should do community service like picking up litter, sweeping sidewalks, planting flower beds, and so forth.
Put the responsibility on the parent. If we don't start today teaching our children how to be responsible for their actions, within a generation we won't have a decent country in which to live.
Kay Kelly, Clearwater
Activism absent | Dec. 27, letter
Global health concerns
The letter writer raised an important issue, the lack of activism in today's world. As a medical student, I am dismayed by the lack of passion I see among my colleagues, and people in general, to serve as an activist for important global health issues.
Tuberculosis provides an illustration. Most of us don't worry about it because it has been mostly eradicated in the developed world. However, it still affects millions worldwide, and the relatively new, multi-drug-resistant strain of TB is spreading quickly.
TB is an entirely preventable and treatable disease, and yet millions are dying around the world from it. What is the reason? The very people who are suffering and dying from the disease are those living in the poorest parts of the world. Because it no longer affects the developed countries, it is no longer considered a problem.
It is exactly issues like this that need the voice of activism. The poor around the world go unheard every day, and it is up to us to speak for them.
Where is the passion of the activists of the '60s and '70s? Breaking away "from the rest of the crowd" as an activist is what is so dearly needed in today's world.
Robyn Schickler, Tampa
Like it was in the '60s | Dec. 31, letter
The letter writer who concurred with Haley Barbour's statement, "I just don't remember it as being that bad," regarding the civil rights era is like someone saying that being a prisoner of war isn't that bad either, as long as you're not the prisoner.
I can also remember integration in the '60s, but it wasn't about blacks and whites playing together in idyllic small towns. It was about people being beaten, hosed down and murdered.
The letter's rose-colored, insular viewpoint is probably part of why we're still dealing with race relations today.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Hardly the Sunshine State
Perhaps the only way Florida can join the solar power movement (that we're about 40 years behind joining) is to pass a special law prohibiting oil companies from making contributions to politicians.
We're the "Sunshine State"? And we have how many solar energy fields? It's pitiful, pathetic malfeasance. Instead of leading on solar as we should have, we lead in what? Sham pain pill clinics? Oxycodone overdoses? Medicare fraud?
What bright visionaries we must have filling our governmental offices. One hand asleep at the wheel, the other dipping in the till up to the shoulder.
Daniel Duda, Clearwater
Cost of doing business too high | Jan. 3, letter
People, not resources
How appropriate that the author of this letter provides the perspective of a human resource officer who is frustrated by the need to provide a living wage, health care and retirement security for employees. The solution, we are told, is to further erode what little security is provided to wage earners in our country.
In my parents' day, these offices were called personnel departments — because an employee is a person, not a human resource like coal or timber. Capitalism has always been based on a social contract that ties the prosperity of the working and middle class people to the prosperity of the wealthiest among us. Over the past few decades, this contract has been systematically dismantled while those privileged few defend their tyranny under the guise of freedom and capitalism.
American capitalism prospers when American people are treated with compassion and dignity — and it suffers when we are treated as a resource to be exploited.
Jack Coletti, St. Petersburg
Plans under assault
President Barack Obama is stealthily destroying Medicare Advantage plans. The mainstream media is shielding him by deliberately underplaying the story.
Many of us seniors have chosen the optional Medicare Advantage plans as our Medicare coverage. These plans give better and less expensive coverage because they use free market competition between insurance companies and accept the limitation of "in-plan" providers. Most include Medigap and Part D drug coverage.
Obama budgeted an increase to them of just 3 percent in 2009 and zero thereafter. Benefits are accordingly being decreased. The plans will be dead in a few years.
Then we must go back to basic Medicare run by bureaucrats with no competition. Are you retirees prepared to add the premium costs of Medigap and Plan D drug coverage to your budgets?
Ron Rowand, Clearwater