Saturday, January 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Goodwill working to improve safety

Real perils in drive to privatize | Jan. 31, editorial

Goodwill aims to enhance safety

We are deeply saddened by the two crimes involving residents at the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center. Goodwill exists to serve the community, and we take that responsibility seriously. We have successfully operated re-entry centers for offenders since 1967 and this is the first time incidents such as these have occurred.

Goodwill welcomes regular inspections and continually works with the Department of Corrections to enhance public safety. In that spirit, we have instituted changes at the Largo center to make it even safer for the local community and more effective for the people served.

We are increasing overall staffing and hiring an additional substance abuse counselor. We are transporting some clients to nearby jobs and arranging for day labor employers to come to the center to hire clients. When conducting on-site job checks, staff will now meet individually with each client and supervisor instead of verifying work attendance collectively with the employer.

Community re-entry programs provide a valuable service by helping people with criminal backgrounds reintegrate successfully into the community. When offenders complete our program they have a job, an average of $1,200 in savings and they've attended life skills classes and received help to earn their GEDs. They have also paid fines and restitution. They are much better equipped to succeed than someone released from prison into the community with $50 and a bus ticket.

There is a growing need for re-entry programs. Goodwill is drawing upon our 46 years of experience to make this program even better and safer for the people in this community.

Oscar J. Horton, chair, Goodwill Industries-Suncoast Inc., Tampa

Boy Scouts | Jan. 31, cartoon

Not a business model

The Chan Lowe cartoon illustrating the "Tolerance and the Boy Scouts" editorial is spot-on for offering the worst advice and making the biggest mistake in decisionmaking on ethical matters.

Listening carefully to corporate sponsors — whose job is to contrive and create every deceptive psychological ploy to entice children, teenagers and susceptible adults to "need" their product — is not worthy of a merit badge.

Scouting teaches that critical life-impacting decisions are not made on a business model but on a Bible model. The core values of Scouting are not "old prejudices based on ignorance" or "irrational bias," nor are they for sale to corporate sponsors, media venues, politicians or even a newly elected president.

Dr. John B. Harrison, St. Petersburg

Discrimination remains

While the Boy Scouts are considering removing their discrimination against gays, why not go one step further and remove their discrimination against atheists and other non-Christians?

Frank Prahl, St. Petersburg

Town prays for hostage's safety | Feb. 1

A matter of priorities

It's disappointing to see the amount of press given the radio DJs on the front page while real news about a 5-year-old hostage in Alabama is relegated to the third page. After Sandy Hook, news about another shooter and more kindergarteners is more important and far more interesting than Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

Doug Palys, St. Petersburg

Ads fire wildly at Hagel on defense | Jan. 31

Independent thinker

Chuck Hagel is a man who speaks for himself and not for any political party, which is anathema to members of Congress who oppose his views on Iran, Iraq and especially on Israel.

Imagine Hagel having to apologize for referring to the Israeli lobby as the Jewish lobby. A deja vu with President Jimmy Carter and others who dare criticize or impugn any government of Israel.

Hagel should maintain his course and not metamorphose into an Israeli sheep.

Arthur Hebert, Largo

Gun rights, gun control far apart, hearing shows | Jan. 31

Rights, limits can coexist

Strengthening gun sale regulations will not take away Americans' rights to own guns.

I do not own a gun. However, I grew up around guns. My father taught me how to safely use a rifle and a revolver. If people want to target shoot, fine. But do it in a safe venue and with a gun made for that purpose. I am not a hunter. If a person needs to hunt animals to put food on the table, I have no problem with that. Use a hunting rifle.

Other than for military and law enforcement purposes, there is no valid reason to have assault weapons on the open market. I have heard it argued that maybe, someday, in some imagined future, we will need them to protect ourselves from our government. I have heard it argued that somehow in the dark of night an assault weapon is needed to spray bullets at an intruder. (What are these people going to do? Sleep with an AK-47 tucked into bed with them?) These are irrational arguments. No one, especially our legislators, should accept this kind of reasoning.

Yes, there are many areas we need to improve to keep our streets, homes and people safe. However, banning the sales of assault weapons and requiring a current background check on every gun buyer is a minimal first step toward making America safe again.

Tell your congressional representatives you want assault weapons banned nationwide and mandatory background checks on every guy buyer.

Sandy Ericson, Clearwater

For the manufacturers

I am not a gun enthusiast. I'm not sure where I stand on the Second Amendment, as its intent for an on-the-spot militia seems outdated by police, the military and the reserves. However, I am for honesty, and I see little of it from the NRA.

The NRA is quick to say we don't need more gun laws, we just need to enforce the ones we already have. Since they have bought the congressmen, written the legislation, and influenced the reduction of the ATF to a paper tiger organization, it makes it easy to blame the lack of enforcement as the flaw. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When the majority of its own members are against assault weapons and for background checks, whom are they representing? Logically it would seem that they are a front for the gun manufacturers more than enthusiasts.

Steve Freedman, Treasure Island


Saturdayís letters: Itís not the word, itís the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14Itís not the word; itís the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trumpís prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Fridayís letters: Help for boaters against modern-day Ďpiratesí

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know thereís no better way to enjoy our stateís spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursdayís letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trumpís extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesdayís letters: St. Petersburgís culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Yearís weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesdayís letters: Trumpís accomplishments unheralded

Tuesdayís letters: Trumpís accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Mondayís letters: Donít be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Donít be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sundayís letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturdayís letters: A wall of towers isnít progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isnít progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Fridayís letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinsonís experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18