Sunday, February 25, 2018
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:

Trump’s ideas: Raise age limit, arm some teachers | Feb. 23The myth of the ‘good guy’ tacticOnce again we hear the same statement made by the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, that has been made by President Donald Trump as well as numerous conser...
Published: 02/25/18

Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18