It's time to get serious about city's reputation | Sept. 26, Bill Maxwell column
Council member serves city well
It is not often that I disagree with Bill Maxwell, but his undisguised attack on St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton calls for a response.
The claim that complaints about Choice Foods to Newton would be a waste of time has no basis in fact; it is an unnecessary slur on the hard-working councilman. What would Maxwell suggest the city do? Send in a SWAT team to break up a generally law-abiding crowd? What would the aftermath do to the city's reputation?
Maxwell goes on to claim that Newton "lacks a sense of social capital." This could not be further from the truth. For the past four years, Newton has stood out as a beacon of hope for his mainly poor district. In these uncertain economic times, just keeping their heads above water is a challenge to his constituents.
Robert W. Schultz, St. Petersburg
I'm just not the retiring type Sept. 18, Bill Maxwell column
Three cheers for Bill Maxwell. Retirement isn't for everyone and, as Maxwell says, "retirement is a state of mind."
Retirement is a serious matter — especially here in Florida. For most of us who came here from somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line, we were looking for a place with amenable weather. But there was something even more important: our activities and our friends. Up north, 90 percent of them were working and 10 percent were retired. Here in Florida, the numbers are reversed. That opens up an immense number of opportunities.
It boils down to a person's desire to continue being productive, to continue to make a difference, to continue learning. Here in Florida, we have lots of opportunities. Almost every college or university has associated with it a lifelong learning organization. These programs are meaningful and cause us to return home each day with a spring in our step.
In answer to the question Maxwell is asked, "Is retirement all you thought it would be?" our answer is a resounding "yes."
Bob Stoffels, St. Petersburg
Social Security and Medicare
Self-serving politicians are all about reducing programs that serve the middle and lower classes, but they aren't doing anything to overhaul their own medical or retirement systems.
Like many others, I had to work 20-plus years before I was eligible to retire. Why do those who serve as our representatives only have to serve a short time in Congress to receive a huge retirement? And why do we have to continue to fund security for former presidents to run around the country fundraising and promoting books?
Charles R. Prevatte, Dade City
Health care math | Sept. 28
Insurers drive up costs
Health care costs will continue to rise. The simple reason is found in the article's last paragraph. Insurance companies' profits in first quarter averaged 46 percent higher than expected.
President Barack Obama's health plan increased coverage but did nothing to contain costs. Premiums will rise because insurance companies know they can get away with it.
Politicians' votes on measures that may contain costs are bought and paid for by the insurance lobby, and we the people are helpless to stop it.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
The latest fabrication
House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican talking heads have apparently reached the point of being unable to speak about any Democratic initiative without using the frightening term "job killer." Clean air? Job killer. Marginal tax increases on the rich? Job killer. Health insurance? Job killer. Regulation of the financial industry? Job killer. Unions? Job killer. Any shred of business regulation? Job killer.
Just like previous Republican tactics designed to mislead and incite public fear, the term "job killer" will eventually take its place with other Republican fabrications such as "death panels" and the 2010 Lie of the Year, "government takeover of health care." It's hard to believe such rhetoric is the work of so-called patriots and moralists.
Nick Stewart, New Port Richey
All Children's Hospital
Above and beyond
My stepdaughter recently had surgery at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. I felt like I had stepped into another world. Our family has been to many hospitals, but All Children's is so above and beyond it is almost not describable.
The care and compassion we felt was so incredible that I will no longer use any hospital that is close to my home when it comes to the health of our children.
For the first time, we felt like we were not taking up someone's time and bothering them. It is amazing that the staff from one hospital can be so much better than any other hospital that we have been to.
As far as we are concerned, if you work in a hospital because it is a paycheck and not your passion, find something else to do — because your lack of concern, lack of caring, lack of personality, lack of bedside manner, and lack of ability to perform the job the way they do at All Children's is detrimental to the healing process.
Michael Petrilla, Bradenton
GOP sends in the clowns | Sept. 27, Daniel Ruth column
Sarcasm can be funny. Distasteful ridicule is not. Daniel Ruth, the Times' version of Bertram Scudder, obviously doesn't know the difference.
Likening Rick Perry to Jethro Bodine is undignified and ineffective. It only hastens Ruth's trip down the path of irrelevance. The rest of his venomous diatribe isn't much better.
And what about fair and balanced? I don't recall similar columns from the author about Ted Knight (Joe Biden), or maybe likening Hillary Clinton to Roseanne Barr or the president to Lamont Sanford.
Come on, Mr. Ruth. If you're striving to leave us in stitches, bring your "A" game.
Robert Woltil, Largo
A date to remember
Constitution Day, Sept. 17, has come and gone again for the 224th time now, yet tea partiers didn't seem to be around and about in their 18th century costumes.
Perhaps they didn't know? So what else don't they know?
John Crandall, Pinellas Park