Six leaders to watch | Jan. 1, editorial
Female leaders stepping forward
This lead editorial lists four women and two men who are growing in their roles as community leaders. Our community, our nation and our whole society are ever so slowly taking advantage of the leadership abilities of women.
Many years ago, during an Elderhostel seminar in Israel, my wife heard an American participant say to a male lecturer: "I notice that all the lecturers are Ph.D.'s and at least half are women. That seems unusual to us." The reply was: "We're a small country. We can't afford to waste the skills and talents of half the population."
Neither, in a large country, can we afford to overlook the skills and leadership talents of half of our people — as General Motors, duPont and a growing number of industrial, military, educational, religious and governmental bodies are coming to understand, and as this editorial implied.
Nelson R. Eldred, Tampa
Campaign cash rules tilt toward high rollers Dec. 31
Money pollutes politics
I read with dismay Steve Bousquet's good column describing the huge funds being donated by business interests to Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign.
In the first place, it's sad to see us descend to the cynical state where the man with the most money — not the best man — wins. And $3,600 an hour spent to re-elect Scott, who is routinely featured on national TV as a joke? Are these good businessmen generously pouring money into the coffers of the man most likely to serve the good of the people? Or are they just crass opportunists, looking for quid pro quo?
Money should not be in the picture at all, but it is. So thinking and caring people must get out there and work to persuade people to vote for the best candidate, not the richest. We really do not want to be in a country ruled by the rich for the rich.
Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg
The human faces of flood law mess Jan. 2, editorial
Foreclosure crisis looms
I encourage all readers, not just those directly affected by the Biggert-Waters Act, to write our senators and representatives to take immediate action to remedy this mess. I live in flood zone A. I have made all my payments for mortgage and insurance on time for the past 20 years. We are at the point in life where we want to sell our home and move on. With the increases in flood insurance, no one is interested in buying my home.
If this flood insurance mess is not corrected immediately, Florida will be hit with another round of empty homes in foreclosure, mine included. If I can't sell I will have no other option but to just walk away. I am sure I am not the only one thinking about making that decision. What other options do we have? If this happens, it will affect all homeowners in Florida. Write Congress. Email Congress. Call Congress. Insist they fix this. If they do not, vote them out of office as they will have clearly demonstrated they care not for Floridians.
Jay Pritchard, St. Petersburg
Reforms target military pensions Jan. 1
Cut the budget elsewhere
How can we as a nation think of reducing any benefit given to our military? Our "leaders" put on such a big show of their affection and concern for our fighting men and women when it is politically favorable to do so, and then break a promise. There are so many other places to find the money needed. One good place would be to reduce the benefits and pensions of Congress, which are way out of proportion to most working people. In addition, we could stop sending billions of dollars to countries that hate us and want us dead.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a horrible toll. So many of our veterans return with lost arms and legs, and some with deep mental problems. We as a nation should be doing all we can to provide for these veterans and their families instead of finding ways to cut their benefits.
Louis Beneduce, Spring Hill
Foster care's full circle Dec. 28, Sue Carlton column
A source of inspiration
This column stirred a great emotional surge of appreciation for the dedication of Ashley Rhodes-Courter and her entire family.
For more than 14 years, half of her young life, Rhodes-Courter has given voice to her challenges as a foster child and her accomplishments as an adopted daughter, author, guardian ad litem and inspirational child advocate.
Now, Rhodes-Courter and her husband, Erick Smith, have become both natural and adoptive parents of two sons. Sue Carlton shares this family's three-generation family story with sensitivity and style.
I'm confident that the column will spark interest in community members in becoming foster and adoptive parents, guardians ad litem and vocal child advocates.
Jack Levine, founder, 4Generations Institute, Tallahassee
Federal judge scraps state's drug testing for welfare | Jan. 1
Using tax money properly
I don't agree with U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven's decision to scrap the state's welfare drug testing requirement. I think if applicants for welfare want me to "volunteer" my money to assist them, they should "volunteer" to be drug tested. I want to know that my tax money is being used for the purpose of keeping them well.
Allowing my money to be used for drugs is not assisting in keeping anyone well and squanders the good intentions of the program.
Jan Malinowski, Beverly Hills
Learning from attack in Benghazi Jan. 2, editorial
Stay clear of danger
The lesson from Benghazi should be that diplomats and their entourage not be installed in unstable, war-torn regions and that they be removed when hostile action is the least bit imminent.
It will be interesting to see if our political leaders heed that lesson.
Tom S. Brown, Pinellas Park