Elia unaware of girl's death | April 3
Too many excuses from the top
From Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia, to General Motors' CEO Mary Barra, to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel come the repeated, sad excuses that they didn't know and that something is not working.
It is inexcusable and appalling that the only defense that these highly paid executives have is that these loved ones have died due to their on-the-job ignorance. Elia didn't know about Isabella Herrera's death for nine months. Barra, a 32-year GM employee, pleads ignorance at a congressional hearing into vehicle deaths.
In the aftermath of the Fort Hood killings, Hagel was quoted as saying, "Something is not working." With tragic strikes on three U.S. bases by our own veterans, inadequate treatment of vets with posttraumatic stress disorder are failing these honored American heroes.
A report last month stated that 1,892 vets had committed suicide since Jan. 1. That amounts to 22 deaths a day. How many times do suicidal people want to take innocent people out with them? A cry for help could not be any louder and clearer.
If it were Elia's, Barra's or Hagel's loved ones who died senselessly, how calmly and nonchalantly would they give the same excuses?
Brian England, Tampa
Rich donors to gain sway | April 3
Since the decision by the Supreme Court designating "corporations as people" has been in effect, not one corporation or "person" has been charged with any crime.
General Motors has hidden the problem with their ignition on one of their cars for 10 years. Not one "person" at GM has been held responsible for the deaths that have occurred from the secrecy kept about the ignition problem.
If corporations are "people," then someone from the corporation should be charged with these deaths. No amount of money can replace the loved ones who have been lost.
Delphine Graber, St. Petersburg
Bishop's home is modest by comparison April 3
Take away the tax break
This article says Bishop Robert Lynch's home "is assessed at $492,236. … tax-free." Tax-free? Why am I being required to subsidize the bishop's home, or anything related to the Catholic Church — or any church? Tax the churches. It's only fair.
Joe Reinhardt, Pinellas Park
Florida child welfare overhaul clears key panel | April 3
Vigilance against abuse
In the past month the media has been saturated with the horrific news of 477 child abuse and neglect deaths in Florida over a six-year period. On April 1, Child Abuse Prevention Month kicked off at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa. On March 28, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County held a Child Safety Summit, bringing 113 child advocates together to develop a campaign to end preventable child death in the Tampa Bay area. Media coverage of both events was minimal. We, as a community — including media — need to march down this path together.
In Tampa Bay, only one-quarter of the children who died from child abuse and neglect were known to the Department of Children and Families. Nearly three-quarters of children under the age of 5 are dying from three preventable causes: unsafe sleep, abusive head trauma and drowning.
All three of these are preventable. Education and training of our citizens can eliminate this needless loss of life. We need to instill a sense of responsibility in everyone to report any suspicion of child abuse. We need all citizens — and media — to hear and respond to a "call to action" for the prevention of child death and the education of our community.
Kelley Parris, executive director, Children's Board of Hillsborough County, Tampa
'Warning shot' bill passes in Senate | April 4
What goes up …
Am I the only person who sees a problem with someone firing a warning shot? Where is the person who feels threatened going to fire the shot? My guess would be into the air just like all those idiots who do that on the Fourth of July. So now we will all have to wear bulletproof helmets year round. Let's hear it for our NRA-controlled legislators.
David Lovejoy, Palm Harbor
The real face of poverty | April 3, commentary
Where is the father?
Leonard Pitts' passionate article about a woman in Scottsdale, Ariz., who locked her children in her car so she could go to a job interview left me unsettled. The picture of the tear-faced woman was heartbreaking. I could feel Pitts' anger. His statement about "putting a face on poverty" led me to believe he was looking for someone to blame. Was it the mother who used poor judgment? Our government? Our welfare system? The fact that the woman was jailed and lost her children?
Then it occurred to me that the article did not mention the children's father. Where is he? Is he supporting his children? If not, why not? If Pitts wants to put a "face on poverty," I suggest it's the father's face.
I understand this is a far-reaching problem in our society, the depth of which we'll probably never totally understand, but I believe the degradation of the family unit is an integral part of the problem.
Barbara Walker, Clearwater
Scott cuts into car tag fees, Crist | April 3
Pay now or pay later
Gov. Rick Scott is reducing vehicle tag fees by $25. According to Florida Department of Transportation there are about 15 million registered vehicles in state. That means a whopping $375 million that the state will have to acquire from other sources.
While the average two-car family will save $50 per year, imagine what the savings will be for the rental/fleet companies. Once again the burden will fall on Joe Taxpayer to make up any shortfall.
Tim Walendzik, Tarpon Springs
Obama declares victory in health care enrollment | April 2
Consider the source
The president, holder of the "Lie of the Year" title, has told the world that there are now 7.1 million enrollees signed up for Obamacare. Does he expect anyone to believe him?
Thomas Varnum, North Redington Beach