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Lawmakers' cuts to human services are inhumane

Health cuts may go deep | March 28, story

Slashing human services is inhumane

The very fact that the proposals detailed in this article are even seeing the light of day marks a new low point in the degree of disconnect our elected officials have with their constituents.

To actually consider cutting out funding for hospice care for our terminally ill citizens is inconceivable. They would be consigning that patient to die in significant pain (hospice provides nursing care to terminally ill patients in addition to psychological support) and possibly all alone with no one there at such a sensitive moment. And we are a civilized nation?

Eliminating higher staffing levels in nursing homes would increase the amount of money eventually spent on their residents. It has been well documented that poor nurse-to-patient staffing ratios lead to increased bedsores, which cause infection, medication errors and falls. All of these lead to prolonged hospitalizations. Hospitalizations double or triple the cost of caring for patients, not to mention possibly jeopardizing their lives.

Our Department of Children and Families, which under the best of circumstances has underwhelmed us with its ability to protect our children at present staffing levels, would cease to function altogether with the proposed budget cuts. Can we risk losing another child in our foster care or be responsible for placing a child in an abusive home situation? That is what would (not could) happen if their staffing were reduced.

I suggest that all of us, whether this affects us personally or not, bombard our legislators with letters and phone calls and demand that these insane proposals be abandoned immediately. You can contact lawmakers through

Our children, elderly and sick neighbors do not deserve to suffer the injustices that would result from these budget cuts.

Diana Rao, Tampa

Health cuts may go deep | March 28, story

Our leaders should

be serving all of us

So the Florida Legislature is considering cutting services to the oldest, poorest, sickest and the youngest of our citizens rather than ending billions of dollars of tax exemptions for businesses (possible large campaign donors). After all, why should Joe Moneybags have to pay taxes when he has been getting a free ride for so long?

The people elected to office in this state are supposed to be working for every resident, not just the ones with money and influence. They seem to forget that they needed the old and poor to get elected in the first place. It is high time that leaders at the state and federal level stop sucking up to big business and take care of all their constituents for a change.

As of late, people are very much aware and in tune with state and national politics. Hopefully some good changes in government are coming soon.

Jim Cocca, Homosassa

The cost of tax cuts

Recent letters and editorials have complained about state programs facing budget cuts.

I am not taking issue with the desire to save programs. I am pointing out that most if not all of these cuts are in response to the recent voter-approved budget cut amendment.

My point is simple: If you want programs that are important to you to remain uncut, then you must pay for them! You cannot have tax cuts required by constitutional amendments, and more tax cuts probable with pending constitutional amendments on the upcoming ballot, without seeing such cuts to programs.

How important a program is, and how much good a program does, will not save it from across-the-board cuts. We should be careful what we wish for when we vote for tax cuts, because we may get it — along with program cuts.

This issue should be discussed along with the program cuts. Tax cuts are not "free."

James F. Smith Jr., Tierra Verde

Remembering man of spring | March 23, story

Remember the Lang legacy

Congratulations to Melanie Ave and Curtis Krueger on their fine article about Al Lang, the man who brought Major League Baseball's spring training to St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg certainly owes Al Lang a great debt. Beginning with the St. Louis Browns in 1914, St. Petersburg has seen nine major league teams play here through today's Rays. He made our city the "Spring Training Capital of the World." Baseball has genuinely added to the quality of life for many locals and tourists alike.

It was indeed sad to see the end of spring training at Al Lang Field last week. Whatever the future may hold for the stadium, the city owes it to Al to continue to commemorate his name and memory in some prominent manner.

Hopefully the current debate over the Rays' proposal will not spoil Lang's wonderful baseball legacy to our city. One way we can all honor Lang and his accomplishments is to continue to treasure his great baseball legacy regardless of our views on the Rays' proposal.

Will Michaels, president, St. Petersburg Preservation, St. Petersburg

No sale on Rays' sail

The sail covering the Rays' proposed new stadium is an experiment at best. I doubt it has been used in a comparable climate when humidity is even more of a problem than 95-degree heat. Claims that it will be just like Atlanta are not true, as Atlanta does not have the oppressive humidity. As we know from court cases, you can find experts on opposite sides of every issue. Unless the sail has been proven to work in a stadium in the same climate, the Rays' climatologist's opinion is just that, not a fact.

Floridians spend little time walking city streets in August. They go from air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned houses, with little tolerance to exposing themselves to oppressive heat and humidity. If fans are not willing to sit in 90-degree heat and humidity, the team will fail and we will be left with a white elephant desecrating our waterfront. Who would pay for removing it?

If the Rays believe that outdoor baseball is appropriate in Florida, they should try their experiment inland, not on a valuable piece of waterfront land. Tear the roof and some of the sides off the dome at Tropicana Field and try the sail experiment there.

Harold H. Dean, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (retired), St. Petersburg

Cheney's bad attitude

Could Vice President Dick Cheney really be saying "So" to the fact that roughly 66 percent of the American people disagree with the current war in Iraq?

This is the worst possible thing that the people of a free and democratic state can hear from their second-highest elected official. We cannot stand for such indifference. I will remind the vice president that he is to serve the people of this nation, not to disregard their opinion as he has.

The duty of our officials is to serve this nation. This cannot be forgotten.

Ryan Boergers, St. Petersburg

Lawmakers' cuts to human services are inhumane 03/30/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:08pm]
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