As a cog, Bayfront just along for the ride | Jan. 14
Bayfront Health fulfilling promise
This is a time of great change in health care — including the consolidation of hospitals and health systems throughout the country — and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg has been part of it by joining a new parent company, as was noted in a recent business column by Robert Trigaux.
Unfortunately, the column failed to note the direct benefits of new ownership to the community. In the nine months since the ownership change, we have invested more than $20 million into a facility that had been capital-starved. That includes $7.5 million for equipment in surgical services and $1.5 million for a new MRI machine. This is just part of $100 million in capital that our new owners committed to invest in Bayfront over five years.
With our new resources, we also have been able to offer merit raises and market-based compensation adjustments to employees, which will help improve the stability of our workforce.
In addition, we have established a network with six other hospitals that is making the advanced care facilities at Bayfront more accessible to patients in the region.
Local government is benefitting as well since Bayfront will now be paying property and sales taxes for the first time, strengthening the city's ability to provide important services to the community. In addition, the hospital now has the resources to participate more fully in the life of the community with sponsorships and memberships in civic organizations.
The commitments that our parent company has made to both Bayfront and the community have been honored and will continue as promised. And while corporate structures may change, one thing has remained and will remain consistent at Bayfront — the dedication of the physicians, associates and volunteers at our hospital to providing excellent care to our patients in the communities we live and serve.
Kathryn Gillette, CEO, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg
Working as planned
The general opinion, with regard to the $63 million dollar Florida unemployment benefits website, is that it fails in every way to fulfill its function. The Legislature passed laws to funnel the jobless to the website where they are stymied at every turn to collect benefits they are entitled to and for which the employed are mandated to pay into, while our leadership fiddles away unconcerned. It would appear part of Gov. Rick Scott's "Let's get to work" campaign includes, "How dare you be unemployed in my state." It is the opinion of this humble reader that the website is working perfectly as intended.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Turn off your phone | Letter, Jan. 17
My jaw dropped reading the last line from this letter: "It is sad that this young man lost his life. But all he had to do was to put his cellphone away. And he chose not to."
Really? That is your logic, don't text or die? What about the man who had a deadly weapon a movie theater? What about his responsibility to put away his gun? The logic of this reader is frightening and displays this fetish that people have with guns.
Philip Ryan, Land O'Lakes
You recently published commentary of "Who needs a gun at a movie theater?" The knee-jerk reaction was, "Nobody." I would suggest that on July 20, 2012, at a midnight showing of a Batman film at a theatre in Aurora, Colo., the audience might have disagreed with you. That was when James Holmes came in through an exit door and killed twelve people. Had someone such as Curtis Reeves been attending that show, do you believe that the casualty rate would have been quite so high before the shooter was taken down by a retired police officer who was packing heat? I think not!
So my answer to your question of "Who needs a gun at a movie theater" is everyone.
Mel Yudofsky, Sun City Center
When did we become so angry? John Romano, Jan. 16
Why we're mad
When did we become so angry? When we invested in two wars and cut benefits to the warriors, when we bailed out the banks and Wall Street and lost our good jobs, homes and retirement. When we work two jobs to make ends meet and get called slackers by pundit news for needing government assistance. When Congress votes tax breaks for the rich and unemployed lose benefits. When politicians get incentive to buy health care and we don't. When the "right to bear arms" convolutes into "carry" everywhere and "stand your ground" becomes the only answer to an argument.
Angry? I don't think we've seen angry yet. But I'm sure it's coming if things continue the way they are.
Johnny Schnaiter, Pinellas Park
Execution called "agonizing" | Jan. 17
Dennis McGuire raped and murdered a 22 year old young woman who was eight months pregnant. His attorneys attempted to block his execution by arguing that the method to be used could cause him "agony and terror". One definition of justice is "fairly judging and punishing criminals." Dennis McGuire received justice. My question to anyone who is "outraged or appalled" by the circumstances of his death is, "What about the circumstances of Joy Stewart's death?"
James Williams, Tierra Verde
Benign data collection
Despite all the ink spilled analyzing President Barack Obama's speech regarding the National Security Agency's surveillance activities, nary a word has been devoted to his assurances that not one American's privacy has been intentionally breached by that agency.
Contrast this assertion with the known fact that Internet providers, social networking sites and credit card companies routinely collect and store the communication and shopping habits of their customers for the purposes of commercial gain. The NSA's collection and storage of metadata for the purpose of national security seems relatively benign.
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center