Not all equal in face of camera | May 23
Police need attitude adjustment
I couldn't disagree more with Chief Chuck Harmon that police officers running red lights isn't a "big deal." It only takes one to kill someone — maybe the officer, or a member of his/her family.
Perhaps the community would feel happier about its police force if its members were treated like those of Hillsborough: Fine them like any other citizen and forget about other disciplinary measures.
One official stated, in effect, that he hasn't time for such trivia. This attitude, that traffic violations are trivial, has permeated our police department as long as I've lived here, and it's disastrous.
Eileen O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg
Teachers' lax standards | May 22, letter
A lot has changed since '50s
Letter writer Richard Dimberio said: What happened between the '50s, when a graduate of a public school was prepared for either industry or higher education, and now? Industry and higher education have changed greatly since the 1950s. I didn't receive a very strong high school education and graduated in 1977. Fortunately, I enjoy learning and have two master's degrees, but obtaining my bachelor's degree was a bit rocky as I was underprepared. I find it hard to believe that Dimberio thinks his education from the '50s was as inclusive as education today. One thing schools had "back in the day" were more vocational options, and this is something that is needed today as not everyone is college material.
It's not that children are "too dumb to teach." Parents have opted to allow technology to babysit their children. Families are busy running their children to this game and that practice. Children watch DVDs attached to the headrests of their parents' cars instead of engaging in meaningful conversations, or everyone at the dinner table is texting instead of learning how to relate face to face. Technology and current parenting practices weigh heavily when accounting for children's inability to write a decent essay or comprehend what they read.
Educating students in the 1950s and '60s was different. Administration had more control over discipline. Parents didn't rush in bearing their rights and claiming their children never lie.
On the other hand, children were promoted from grade to grade whether they could read or not, and that was not a good thing. It was called social promotion. Schools today are trying to make sure students can read and write and comprehend before moving on to the next level.
Alison Meyer, St. Petersburg
Work for the money | May 24, letter
Tagging, not begging
I am writing in response to a letter from Maryjane Schmidt, who complains about young people asking for money outside supermarkets. We refer to the practice as "tagging." My sons attend a large public high school and participate in athletics. The school does not pay for much, as the budget doesn't allow for it. It is up to the booster clubs and players to raise the money to pay for team necessities. For example, our school provides two jerseys and one pair of pants for the baseball team. The booster club pays for the hat, socks and belt, as well as field rental, batting cage maintenance, baseballs and other equipment. In addition to "tagging," our booster club and players have had carwashes, hosted golf tournaments, worked Threshers games and city events at Coachman Park, sold cups, T-shirts, banners and program ads, worked numerous concession stands, and the list goes on.
Athletics provide lessons in teamwork, time management, discipline and perseverance. Boosters provide what the school cannot. The only way to do that is through fundraising.
Anna Gilman, Clearwater
Children's Board of Hillsborough County
Panacek is an asset
I am surprised and saddened to read the articles about the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.
I have had the privilege to work alongside Luanne Panacek for several years and have continually been impressed by her knowledge, insight, cutting-edge ideas and leadership.
As a member of the Policy Group for Florida's Families and Children, an organization that she chairs, I have personally witnessed her ability to lead a group of leaders, which is challenging at best. She does so with grace and strength, balancing the diverse interests, and shows respect for each member.
The Children's Board has a solid reputation of respect statewide and has pioneered many projects that others have followed. This is due, in large part, to the leadership of Luanne Panacek.
It is my hope that the community and the board recognizes the incredible asset that you have.
Phyllis Kalifeh, president and CEO, Children's Forum, Tallahassee
Scott's small talk leaves Spaniards tusk-tusking | May 25
One big metaphor
With all the humorists at the Tampa Bay Times, one would think your writers would have recognized that the King Juan Carlos-Gov. Rick Scott elephant story was not a gaffe by Scott but an intelligent and well-thought-out metaphor:
That he who tries to kill the elephant, the symbol of the GOP, will fall upon a bleak future, or break a hip, whichever is worse.
Thomas West, New Port Richey
Polytech looks worse up close May 24, editorial
Haridopolos in crosshairs
I was pleased to read the Times' endorsement of former Gov. Bob Graham's opinion that the Legislature's sudden creation of a new university, Florida Polytechnic University, violates the Florida constitutional amendment approved by voters just a few years ago. Because the Board of Governors is the party legally hurt by this folly perpetrated by Sen. JD Alexander and approved by Gov. Rick Scott, any member of that board could and should ask a court to "stop this nonsense," as you so well put it.
I want to add one thing that the editorial left out. Senate President Mike Haridopolos should definitely be one of those named in the legal complaint. He appointed Alexander chairman of the budget committee and kept him in office after it was well documented that he was using that office to force other senators to go along with his scheme.
I believe that the damage done to the state university system and thus to the state of Florida will be the major legacy of Haridopolos' term as Senate president.
Alvin W. Wolfe, Lutz