Poorest poor hits record high | Nov. 3
Pull together to prevent hunger
How many people go hungry on a regular basis in Hillsborough County? A good estimate would be at least 82,000. That is the number of people who live in extreme poverty (living on less that 50 percent of the official poverty rate).
Who is going hungry? The largest group by far is children; more than half. Other groups include people on disability income, the working poor, farmworkers, the elderly and people who are homeless.
What happens to our neighbors who are hungry? Children experience fatigue, headaches, irritability and frequent colds. It interferes with their ability to learn from an early age. Hunger among workers results in lost knowledge, brainpower and productivity. Hunger and malnutrition make chronic and acute diseases worse, speed degenerative diseases among the elderly, and raise health care costs.
For Hillsborough County to be a quality community, a foundation stone is that all of us have access to the nutritious, affordable food we need to live normal, healthy lives. This is firmly within our ability as a community to achieve. We have an abundance of resources, food, human responsiveness to incentive and good will. Let's hold up this vision as we recreate our society.
The Rev. Warren Clark, Temple Terrace
Scammers take Florida for a ride | Oct. 31, editorial
I promise I'm not biased, but as a chiropractor in his second year at Stetson Law School I'd be surprised if you took my word for it. In the PIP game you may have to "ask Gary" to find someone more likely to be biased than me.
Fortunately, the auto insurance argument fails the moment we open our eyes. Is it possible they believe that the propaganda regarding their faltering industry can stand up in light of the billions spent saturating our TVs, highways and newspapers with ads to compete for our premium dollars?
They "promise" us they're losing money but refuse to open their books to prove it. It's looking like we're just foolish enough to take their word for it and finally allow PIP reform. It's more likely that our current Legislature is openly and solely influenced by lobbying money, and I'll give you one guess which "collapsing" business is able to far outspend the rest in purchasing votes.
Is it possible to believe that a year after PIP reform, when our premiums have not decreased, that the insurance industry might "promise" us again that they're still not making a profit? Will we continue to believe them?
To the legislators who haven't been paid for yet, please mandate in this PIP reform that our premiums "must" decrease by 30 to 40 percent for 10 years. Let's not just depend on a "promise."
David Sandefur, Seminole
County official should stick to his own job Nov. 3, editorial
Lack of response
From this headline, I thought you were writing about Pinellas County Administrator Robert LaSala.
The Times' article on the run-down Largo home said that 5,117 phone calls were directed to the county on housing complaints in the past year.
If any good has come of this debacle, it is that county citizens have been alerted that some of the other county commissioners, and LaSala, are deaf to the taxpayers' problems.
Philip Tropea, Palm Harbor
Bookkeeper pleads guilty to theft, avoids prison | Nov. 3
Numbers don't add up
Let's look at this report carefully, because we all remember the saying from our youth that "crime doesn't pay."
This thief stole "more than $580,000." The agreement is to pay back $300,000. Well, there's a profit of $280,000 right there.
But there's more. Payback is at the rate of $200 a month. Do the arithmetic and you get 1,500 months — 125 years!
Grand theft and official misconduct yields a petty payoff, no time in prison, and just "two years of community control and 20 years of probation."
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
Small amount; big rewards
The Senate is starting consideration of foreign aid appropriations for fiscal year 2012. This bill, which funds critical, lifesaving foreign assistance, is in danger.
When it goes to the floor many senators will offer dangerous amendments to slash funding. The House version of the foreign aid bill is already a dramatic $5 billion lower than the Senate version, and 20 percent below the 2010 level.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has said, "I will tell you that the real problem in America's spending is not foreign aid. … Foreign aid is important; if it's done right, it spreads America's influence around the world in a positive way."
Let's hope our senator speaks out to keep these budgets from falling prey to the political fervor in Congress. Foreign assistance is less than 1 percent of our nation's budget.
Ken Schatz, Tampa
Buckhorn and Scott calling for convention cash | Nov. 2
Let the parties pay
Gov. Rick Scott is calling for the federal government to pay $55 million for the cost of security for the GOP convention in Tampa in 2012. Is this the same governor who is calling for smaller government and smaller deficits?
The real issue is that taxpayers should not pay for any costs for conventions. The parties raise millions of dollars of "soft money." Let them spend it on their conventions and not expect a bailout from the federal government.
Charles J. Rutz, Clearwater
Debit card victory for customers | Nov. 3, editorial
Politicians take note
I find it refreshing that the banks have abandoned their efforts to charge to use debit cards. Your editorial stated that people voted with their feet by abandoning these banks. Maybe the politicians should take note. People are fed up with them, too.
Phil Du Bois, St. Petersburg