Put a stop to cruel tethering of dogs, editorial | Nov. 14
Time for Hillsborough to step up
Hillsborough County commissioners have an opportunity to be a hero to many innocent pets that suffer from owner neglect and ignorance. Tethering a pet anywhere is inhumane, cruel and dangerous. Florida's heat and our past few winters have been particularly harsh, and pets have suffered needlessly. Commissioners, the country is watching. You can help put a stop to this cruel practice. Progress has been made in communities across the U.S. Will you be a part of it? Will you be heroes or will you be zeros?
Dawn Ladd, Seminole
If not for dogs, then for people
The tethering of dogs is not only cruel but also poses a risk to the community as dogs that are tethered become agitated with "pent up" energy that causes neurotic behaviors that may (and often does) lead to aggressive behaviors toward other animals, and humans in particular. The tethering of dogs is also not as secure an alternative as a well-constructed fence. Dogs, of course, may circumvent fencing, but they are not as predisposed to aggressive behavior as their tethered counterparts. I have witnessed many dogs break free of tethers and attempt to attack an individual who was caught off guard.
Suzanne Holliday, Plant City
Making the Internet work for all students, editorial | Nov. 12
Help libraries to help jobless
Andrew Carnegie did not buy encyclopedias for individuals, he built libraries for the people. It is certainly good that Bill Gates is making a part of his fortune available to help the unemployed gain access to the Internet. However, the money spent on individual computers in people's homes would have been better spent on providing funding to county library cooperatives that would allow for these facilities (that already have computer access) to be open 18 hours a day, seven days a week. As it stands now, many libraries in Pinellas have to close midday Saturdays or are not open at all Sundays due to a likely lack of funds. The jobless do not need a computer at home. They need access to computers to obtain a job. Far more people can be assisted in this manner by having public facilities already in place made available for a longer period of time throughout the week.
Furthermore, if Mr. Gates were truly interested in helping the jobless, he might consider shifting the manufacture of his products to the United States. This action would, of course, cut into his personal and Microsoft's billions in wealth, but it would do something concrete to fix the jobless situation.
Stuart McKinney, Gulfport
State targets accident fraud | Nov. 10
Curb advertising excesses
Gov. Rick Scott is right to target the clinics, doctors and the fraud involved with illegal staged crashes that raise everyone's rates for insurance in Florida. This is a good start, but it does not finish the job. It's time to rein in the attorneys and clinics that advertise 24 hours a day on TV, radio and billboards for the "free money" that they say they will get the "victim". Having a fender bender should not be like winning the lottery.
Brian MacKay, Riverview
Man with sales plan for helping homeless, column | Nov. 12
New paper is a positive step
I say kudos to Bill Sharpe, creator and publisher of the upcoming newspaper/tabloid, the Tampa Epoch, a potential boost for the homeless. From my vantage point, his motives seem purely altruistic, moral and not meant to achieve personal financial gain.
Think about it; he is giving away the first 25 to each homeless vendor to hopefully earn a meager $25, and charging them only a quarter per paper thereafter.
I honestly don't see the Epoch as competition to any local media giant's precious circulation in the bay area. In fact, this periodical will include profiles of the homeless, and its details of social agencies in the bay area can only serve as a positive step in order to educate those willing to better learn their plight.
Mike Merino, Tampa
Having parents become partners | Nov. 13
Parent buy-in worth the cost
Hooray for Pinellas County Schools for instituting the bold step of visiting the homes of at-risk students. It is a refreshing departure from the legalistic, testing-based approach to improving achievement that education has come to depend on. Increasing parental involvement has consistently been linked to positive gains. Meeting economically disadvantaged parents at home addresses constraints on their participation due to transportation limitations, inflexible work schedules, child care and other issues, and offers them an opportunity to engage in the process.
Programs for increasing parental involvement in education that use an incentive system have been very successful in a number of developing nations. Programs such as PROGRESA/Oportunidades in Mexico, and Bolsa Escola in Brazil have increased school attendance significantly in those countries. Generally referred to as Conditional Cash Transfer programs, parents receive an economic incentive for being involved in their child's education. Considering the well-documented economic impact of low achievement, the associated social issues and the ineffectiveness of current efforts, perhaps it is time to consider what can be learned from developing nations. If a $25 Walmart gift certificate produces a sustainable partnership between schools and parents, it constitutes a great bargain.
Grant Smith, St. Petersburg
Paterno was caught in the middle, letter Nov. 14
Legendary coach let us down
Joe Paterno did what was necessary by law. As a coach with a reputation for moral integrity, he should have pushed for a complete investigation by all legal authorities. I have a hard time believing anyone could feel sorry for Paterno. Children were abused and raped on Paterno's watch. He was harder on players who missed a team meeting than on a trusted coach who abused children for years.
We should be doing whatever we can to help all of these children and any children who have been abused. I don't feel sorry for Joe Paterno. He made some seriously bad choices and ignored children being abused.
Robert O'Brien, Holiday
Final chapter | Nov. 15
A system without justice
How unprofessional of your newspaper to put Oba Chandler's picture on the front page and make a murderer look like a normal person of interest. Even sadder is the "justice" system, or should I say "no-justice system," that allowed a sadistic murderer of three people to live this long. Both the victims' family and taxpayers endured this burden. What is missing in our no-justice system that allows these miscarriages of justice to happen?
Jeff Mikres, Palm Harbor