Disabled being forced out story, April 8
Governor shows his true motives
Gov. Rick Scott's emergency order, cutting reimbursement for service providers for disabled citizens by 15 to 40 percent, is just one more example of the moral vacuum in which Scott and his Republican-led Legislature live. Their No. 1 priority is to make people who are already suffering suffer more.
Far more important to Gov. Scott and his tea party fanatics are corporate tax cuts so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As the CEO of Columbia/HCA, Scott's motto was cheat, steal and defraud on a daily basis.
Operate the government like you did as a CEO? No thank you.
"Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" — U.S. Army counsel Joseph Welch to Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Michael Carr, Clearwater
Disabled being forced out story, April 8
Perhaps Scott could join show?
I read with great angst how Gov. Rick Scott's sudden, emergency budget cuts are negatively impacting disabled Pinellas County citizens and their caregivers. How much longer are we going to have to put up with his soulless, corporate-style governing?
In the same section, I saw that Mephistopheles is playing at a Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.
It's the story of an ambitious person (Faust) who surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success — the proverbial "deal with the devil."
I have the perfect stand-in for Faust's demonic antagonist character; he lives in Tallahassee, has a really weird, uncomfortable stare and a bald dome.
Steve Allbritton, Palm Harbor
Two fire chiefs put on leave story, April 2
Chiefs' dismissals raise questions
Yet another group of swell-headed politicians has declared open season on public employees. Judging from the information in Times stories, the East Lake Fire Commission voted to part ways with its chief and deputy chief for reasons it has failed to substantiate.
No reason at all was given for sending Chief Steve Rogers out the door, other than his salary of $92,000. As a former journalist, I covered the East Lake fire department for seven years and Chief Rogers was the public information officer. I have not worked with a more professional or dedicated public official. He is an innocent victim, and sadly, this affects not only him, but the wife and two children he supports.
I worked with Chief Jeff Malzone for fewer years, but he was always professional and seemed to be greatly concerned about what was best for the department. The reasons listed for firing him are nearly as suspect:
• Save money, eliminate the chief's position? Then why are you talking about replacing him with former Chief Tom May? Will he work for free? Buying out Chief Malzone's contract also could cost a small fortune.
• New ideas, not the "same old, same old"? Once again, bringing back May will be returning to even older ideas. How nice for former Chief May that he can vote to open up a position for himself. Was all this commission maneuvering done in the sunshine?
• Doesn't follow the commission's direction? If I lived in East Lake, I would rather have professional fire officials making decisions that affect my safety. To save money, I would work to reduce or eliminate fire commission positions and pay.
Slapping longtime, dedicated public employees to the curb — particularly without vigorously pursuing other alternatives for saving money — is no way to manage. Only one commissioner, David Root, voted against placing Malzone and Rogers on administrative leave pending a parting of ways.
"We will walk out of this door with our heads held high and a smile on our face," Stacy Rogers said just before commissioners voted to take action against her husband. "And that, Mr. Ferreri, or any other member of this commission, you can never take away from us."
Theresa Blackwell, Safety Harbor
Alex Sink would have been better
It is blatantly obvious that Gov. Rick Scott is insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate, by his reckless slashing of the funds to those agencies that provide care to the disabled. Let us remember though, that "the people" elected him.
My hunch is that Alex Sink would never have resorted to such draconian measures.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Zipline idea draws fervid opposition | story, April 6
Official's remark shows disrespect
As one of the speakers at the Sand Key Civic Association on Monday evening, I take great umbrage at county official Paul Cozzi's comments.
"Some of the criticism seemed a bit misguided," Cozzi said. "There was some exaggeration there. I had to wonder if some of the speakers had actually been to the park."
On Monday evening, in a room with standing room only, Mr. Cozzi, five Pinellas County commissioners and four Clearwater City Council members heard what local residents think of the proposed zipline for beautiful Sand Key Park. They neither like it nor want it.
These residents are representative of a much greater segment of county residents than the county commissioners realize. We don't like it when our county officials rant about their constituents where we are unable to respond.
I can assure you, Mr. Cozzi, I visit Sand Key Park, and I do it frequently.
I would ask Mr. Cozzi, what about the exaggeration of promoter Dev Pathik in saying his coveted zipline project is an "eco-friendly and educational ride" and not the amusement ride it really is?
Second point: Every one of the speakers stated that they use the park "often." Are Mr. Cozzi's editorial comments suggesting that these Pinellas residents publicly gave false statements?
Third point: The speakers are either Sand Key residents or residents of Pinellas County. As director of Parks and Conservation, Cozzi should be vitally interested in and respectful of the comments of Pinellas County residents.
I have to wonder if Mr. Cozzi or any of the commissioners regularly visit Sand Key Park. And, if yes, how often? About 1.3 million visitors like Sand Key Park the way it is now.
Wasn't the reason to prohibit the public from off-trail areas to protect and restore these landscapes and protect the wildlife within these tracts from the intrusion of human activities? How, then, does a zipline do this?
How did this zipline business get so far, so fast? County residents will be asking this.
This issue will only get bigger and the county government will, in the end, be on the wrong side should it continue on the zipline path. The sound you may be hearing is the digging in of our heels.
Terry Anne Suchma, Clearwater