Aiding the poor shouldn't make you rich | April 19, Robyn Blumner column
Hospitals must pay for skilled leaders
Robyn Blumner's assertion that local CEOs of not-for-profit hospitals are overpaid is patently absurd. Perhaps Blumner doesn't comprehend that the hospitals are not charities. Their tax-exempt status is granted because these hospitals provide endless and vital medical care to indigent patients and virtually anyone who arrives at their doors who cannot pay.
Nearly all of the major hospitals in the United States are, in fact, not-for-profit. From Massachusetts General to Johns Hopkins to Duke Medical Center, state-of-the-art care and medical research are performed at the not-for-profit hospitals in this country. And it is big business. They have the awesome responsibility of providing for the health of their entire community, and through their research, the entire country.
Locally, the not-for-profit hospitals are multibillion-dollar businesses. The CEOs of these institutions have a huge responsibility running what many consider to be the most complex of businesses. Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco's not-for-profit hospitals provided inpatient services last year to more than 225,000 Tampa Bay residents. A similar number of people received outpatient services at these hospitals. They further provided emergency room medical care to another 650,000 residents.
All of the hospitals require a high degree of leadership to manage the magnitude and responsibility of caring for our community's health. The boards of these hospitals all use national compensation consultants to assure that the salaries paid their leaders are in line with industry standards. To pay less than market rate for the talent required to run such institutions would only compromise the effectiveness of the hospital systems, and quite frankly, industry consultants would tell you that they wouldn't be able to fill the positions.
Blumner demonstrates remarkable naivete in asserting that the standard should be the pay of a Supreme Court justice. The real standard is what people who have the capability to run a large hospital system are paid in the nation and the region.
Alan Bomstein, board member, BayCare Health System, Dunedin
Develop, bulldoze, fill, pave; repeat | April 19
Institute is a nonpartisan advocate of the free market
Diane Roberts' recent column lamenting what she perceives as Florida's excessive growth unfairly characterized the James Madison Institute as "a Tallahassee think tank of laissez-faire fetishists and Ayn Randistas."
On the contrary, JMI — now in its 22nd year as a nonpartisan advocate of free-market principles — supports ideals championed by our nation's founders: limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.
JMI is not antigovernment. Rather, it merely wants all levels of government to focus on their core missions while leaving most other matters to individuals and the private sector.
Whether government or the marketplace should "manage" growth is fair game for debate. If the answer is government, as Roberts believes, then why not have growth "managed" by local elected officials — those closest to the people — rather than by unelected bureaucrats in distant Tallahassee?
Roberts also misrepresented a February study written by JMI senior fellow Randall Holcombe, a distinguished professor of economics at Florida State University. The study actually addresses a serious environmental problem: Florida has acquired more conservation lands than it has been able to manage properly. The study finds there's reason to believe that private contractors could manage some tracts better, more efficiently, and more cheaply, as proposed in legislation providing for the pilot project. The study offers no other substantive ideas in the way of growth management or any other public policy, contrary to what Roberts implies.
For the sake of the environment, why not give private management of conservation lands a try?
Bob McClure, president/CEO, the James Madison Institute, Tallahassee
Develop, bulldoze, fill, pave; repeat | April 19
Put the state first
Kudos to Diane Roberts for her article on developers. Sen. Mike Bennett and Rep. Chris Dorworth, in an attempt to abolish the Department of Community Affairs, want only to sweeten their own contractor and real estate broker pots … totally devoid of conscience!
Developers are selling our beloved state right down the river without a moment's thought to repercussions 5 or 10 years down the pike.
Shame on Rep. Jimmy Patronis and other legislators who are endorsing development. What are you thinking? We, the voters, put you in office and are now watching you with a most critical eye.
We we elected you, but you're doing your constituents dirty. See how long you stay in office. Show us by your actions that you truly care for your state and put it first, before your yawning wallets. Stop the development!
Myrna B. O'Sullivan, Dunedin
Conservatives in the wilderness | April 19, Perspective story
Conservative guru David Frum opines that in order for Republicans to regain the public trust and regain viability they must "provide examples of effective governance at the state level." If that were true, the Republican Party would soon be dead in Florida. However, it is clearly not true in Florida.
So long as the Republicans promise to lower taxes and claim to be good Christians, Florida voters will re-elect them no matter how poorly they govern.
Ed Bradley, Lithia
National health care
One plan for all
I will go along with any national health plan that President Barack Obama and Congress come up with, but unless Congress and all the politicians are on the same plan, leave my Medicare and supplemental insurance to me. As long as we senior citizens have same health insurance as those making the policy, all will be fair.
Hopefully this word will spread and those we elect to office won't get better health coverage than us. Let's just have one plan that fits all, including those who make these decisions. Then there would be no complaints.
Jack Rains, Largo
Search for the guns
Neighborhood marches and rallies, increased police activity, "cash for tips." These are all good ways to try to get guns under control.
But how about starting a campaign encouraging parents to make unannounced searches for guns in their homes, their storage areas, in the cars used by their children. Those guns must be hidden somewhere.
Len Wilson, St. Petersburg