Monday, December 11, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Group home system cries out for reform

In God's Name | Oct. 28

State system cries out for reform

The Times' series "In God's Name," which provides in-depth coverage of the decades-long history of abuse by operators of unregulated Florida group homes and military-style boarding schools, is heart-wrenching. And the fact that these practices likely continue to this day is outrageous.

I can't fathom anyone mistreating children to such a severe degree, especially in the name of religion. That's blasphemy.

The hellish brutality which these boys and girls suffered at the hands of self-professed men and women of God is inexcusable and should not be ignored.

Meting out barbaric abuse, creating emotional distress, and inflicting anguishing punishment is antithetical to every accepted practice in dealing with troubled children. Turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the pain of these children is shameful.

The Legislature's motivation in exempting certain group home operators from state standards and licensure was wrong in 1984, and inaction would be wrong today. Florida should not be known as a state where some children are safe but others are subjected to such cruelties.

Protection of the vulnerable and defenseless is the most important role of a caring community. The cries of countless degraded and damaged children should motivate a chorus of concern to reform our system of supervision over these facilities.

Jack Levine, 4Generations Institute, Tallahassee

Attach conditions to aid to Israel Oct. 28, Bill Maxwell column

Israel shares our values

I have no problem with U.S. aid being tied to American values and interests. The clergy cited in this column want Israel singled out for "well documented human rights abuses against Palestinians."

Israel is a democratic state, with a 20 percent Arab minority that has members in parliament and a sitting member of the Supreme Court.

Israel protects all religions' rights to operate openly and educates its women freely. It has no prohibitions against gays and hosts large gay pride parades. It has offered to negotiate peace treaties with its neighbors (Egypt and Jordan being in effect). Israel's army goes out of its way to prevent nonmilitary deaths and injuries during battle.

As for the Palestinians, their leaders have said that when a Palestinian state is formed, it will be free of Jews. Selling land to Jews is punishable by jail or death. Palestinians state in their charter that Israel must be wiped off the map.

Palestinian children are sent as homicide bombers, and then parks are named for them and money given to their survivors. Palestinians openly kill gay citizens and routinely carry out "honor" killings. Their schools teach hatred of Jews and Christians.

And yet, Bill Maxwell and these 15 clergy choose to attack Israel. Let the comparisons begin. Let the foreign aid go to those who have American values. What will the Palestinians do for money then?

E. Michael Reisman, Tampa

Look at Egypt, Pakistan

I suggest that the "respected American Christian leaders" start by requesting Congress apply those same rules to our aid to Egypt and Pakistan. These are the countries that hid Osama bin Laden, stormed our embassies and burned our flag.

John Rinde, Largo

This election, women voters, is about trust Oct. 28, Robyn Blumner column

Admitting a mistake

Robyn Blumner's claim that Mitt Romney wants us to pay no attention to his 47 percent misunderstanding is incorrect. He actually went on national TV and said he was completely wrong to have said that. Now, in any relationship, isn't it best to have someone who can do that when they make a mistake?

Has our president in the last four years ever admitted being wrong or taken real responsibility for any problems? Or has he instead blamed everyone and anything but himself? Is that a person you can trust?

Eric Greenbaum, Tampa

Campaign 2012

Leave my sign alone

My Obama sign was torn down again. Do the vandals who attempt to deny my right to vote and support the candidate of my choice have any appreciation for the Constitution of the United States?

I have served my country all of my adult life as an Army officer and an intelligence officer. I spent seven months in an Army hospital recovering from wounds received in Vietnam. I was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. This doesn't give me a special status, but at least it should vouch for my love of country and my search for the "more perfect union."

Leave my sign alone.

Anthony Nelson, St. Petersburg

Medicare: no complaints

I'm tired of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates extolling the wonders of private insurance over Medicare. I've been on Medicare for two years and have had no problem. Billing is handled quickly and accurately, and the Medicare website is useful. I've heard no complaints from my doctors.

My supplementary policy from one of the largest private medical insurers is another story. It often plays games to delay payment and is endlessly frustrating to my doctors. Now, this paragon of the free market wants me to choose all new doctors and labs because it couldn't come to an agreement with my current health care providers (i.e., squeeze more profit out of them).

I say phooey. I choose Medicare over Romneycare, whatever that is.

Jack Reed, Palm Harbor

Amendment 8

Remove the bigotry

Amendment 8 conforms the Florida Constitution to the U.S. Constitution. Anyone who claims the people of Florida need more separation between church and state than what is contained in the U.S. Constitution has an agenda that goes well beyond Amendment 8.

More troubling, however, is that those opposing Amendment 8 know that the current provision they are extolling was a blatantly bigoted and discriminatory provision adopted in the late 1800s. It is offensive to see writers extol the alleged virtues of the current Florida Constitution when they and all your readers should know it is still tainted with its bigoted, discriminatory history.

All Amendment 8 does is remove the bigotry and leave everyone in Florida with the same constitutional protections our forefathers felt were appropriate when balancing church and state.

Joseph D. Magri, Belleair


Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorialApplication process needs fixingThere is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application p...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17

Friday’s letters: Allegations from distant past have political tinge

Published: 11/30/17