Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: The pitfalls of privatizing services

Nonprofit chief gets $1.2M | Dec. 28

The pitfalls of privatizing services

In the rush to privatize everything from aftercare for juvenile delinquents to charter schools to prison health care, the governor and legislators need to realize that one of the seamy undersides of the practice is that many "nonprofit" agencies yield huge profits for their executives. Less surprising is that some of these executives will turn out to have very close ties with politicians.

Our legislators were sent to Tallahassee to protect our pocketbooks, and it is clear that they are failing to do that due to blind ideology. "Private" isn't always better; that's why the civil service was invented.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Nonprofit chief gets $1.2M | Dec. 28

Foundation's commitment

While the Times article concerning the pay of the CEO of the Henry & Rilla White Foundation was factual, our board felt there was some critical information absent from the story that should be shared with your readers to appreciate the total picture.

First, the CEO's pay and benefits cited in the article reflect 25 years of service, not just the two years referenced. Perhaps the board could have handled this differently and spread the compensation over more years to reduce the yearly payout, but the fact is, everything we did was legal and appropriate and consistent with industry standards. Also, funding did not come just from state juvenile justice contracts, as the foundation also serves adults and provides other non-Department of Juvenile Justice services on a contractual basis.

Second, DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters' comments would suggest that direct services to youth and their families were compromised. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of our state-funded programs are assigned contract monitors who conduct on-site reviews on a regular basis. Every program is subject to an annual quality assurance review, and a number of our programs have achieved the highest scores in the state. Independent audits are completed yearly, and all of our programs are nationally accredited.

Third, the secretary's plan to end community-based contracts is a clear attempt to save state jobs at the expense of private sector jobs. The private sector in juvenile justice has historically performed as well or better than state employees at less cost, not more. Also, we handle more seriously delinquent youth than state juvenile probation officers and we serve a much higher percentage of African-American youth than the state has over the past five years.

The foundation stands by its long-term commitment to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Horace Moody, treasurer, Henry & Rilla White Foundation, Tallahassee

New Year's celebrations

Put the guns away

Whatever one's position on guns, everyone should agree that firing a weapon into the air in celebration of a sports victory, the Fourth of July or New Year's is an act of idiocy. After the bullets go up, they come down. Every year people far away are killed or injured by these bullets.

Jim Stillman, Lutz

Five ways health care will change during 2013 | Dec. 27

Better habits, outcomes

This article points out that the rise in health care costs will slow. Due to the economy, consumers will be judicious in their consumption of health care.

That may be part of the truth, but perhaps we consumers are seeking healthier choices in our diet and lifestyle. Perhaps after years of depending on the health care system, we are accepting responsibility for our own well-being.

Medications have a purpose, but they are not always the answer — there are side effects, and as more medications are added the risks grow. Hospitals offer emergency care and save lives, but they are also sources of infection and medical error. The less we look to this system and the more we look inward, the more affordable health care will be.

Rita Sewell, St. Petersburg

Russian ban on adoptions by U.S. hits home Dec. 28

U.S. children in need

It is sad to see that people involved with the adoption process are possibly going to lose out on the gift of a child. It is even sadder that they are traveling halfway around the world to adopt a child.

There are more than 250,000 children who enter foster care in the United States every year. We do not need to outsource adoption. There are children here who need and want your love as well.

Bill Castle, St. Petersburg

Budget impasse looms larger | Dec. 28

Means-test Social Security

The Democratic leadership must suggest significant reductions to Social Security in order to avoid the "fiscal cliff." The first step is to realize that Social Security is an insurance program, not an entitlement. Just like other insurance, one should be pleased if it is not needed. After all, rational people don't drive their cars into trees or set their houses on fire just to collect on the premiums they paid for many years.

Social Security payments should be made based the need of the recipient by calculating the percentage of the individual's post-retirement income represented by Social Security. Treating Social Security as the insurance program it is will result in the significant reductions in spending demanded by the Republicans without raising taxes.

David Tarbox, Clearwater


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18