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Sunday's letters: King holiday should be a day of serenity and service

Find common ground to mark King holiday | June 15, editorial

A day of service will honor King

My hope is for St. Petersburg to have the best Martin Luther King Jr. parade in the country and the largest day of service honoring Dr. King's legacy.

President Ronald Reagan signed the King holiday into law in 1983. In 1986, St. Petersburg and other cities across this nation began celebrations, and now the city boasts one of the nation's largest parades. Kudos to the organizers.

In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed legislation by Rep. John Lewis that "challenged all Americans to transform the holiday into a Day of Service." This legislation was to honor the legacy of a man who spent his life serving others and sacrificed his life helping sanitation workers in Memphis. "A day on, not a day off" was created. Cities across America like Philadelphia have lived the challenge. This year 75,000 people turned out on MLK Day and completed 1,200 public service projects.

In January I challenged the community to leave the MLK breakfast and multiply like loaves of bread to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and do public service, regardless of color or creed.

Let's end a tradition that starts beautiful and ends ugly. We parade and end the day with debauchery, police line King Street to "manage the chaos," and residents along King Street lock their doors to avoid the madness. It is not the fault of the parade organizers, but the aftermath is inextricably tied to the parade. Stop the chaos on the King Day of Service. Just say no. We desecrate King's legacy, the legislative intent and the serenity of observance by tolerating the chaos.

St. Petersburg can be a leader by creating Florida's largest MLK Day of Service. An appropriation from the Legislature when combined with corporate and private support will stimulate a glorious start. A community council will hire students and project coordinators to educate the community, create an action plan and implement it on the day.

Stop the chaos after the parade or move it to Saturday. Create serenity and service to honor MLK on his birthday.

Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg

A Romney victory, if only he'd admit it July 1, Robyn Blumner column

What about tort reform?

As a physician who has practiced medicine in Ontario and Florida, I am not completely at odds with Robyn Blumner's desire for universal health care and what it should cover. Although the average person in Ontario pays much more tax, he generally doesn't have to worry about obtaining care for, or being bankrupted by, having a life-threatening illness. Who would look askance at anyone who espouses this ideal? What I do question is whether the people claiming to want to bring it about really understand its limitations and what must happen at the same time due to its consequences.

You cannot have a medical system where the government largely controls health care, where there is very limited or no private health insurance, and where hospitals do not make money without the tort reform needed to deal with the inevitable limiting of health care due to the lack of resources from what is perceived as government underfunding.

To my mind and experience, anyone who talks about universal health care without at the same time talking about tort reform shows that they have no idea what they're talking about.

Howard Glicksman, M.D., Spring Hill

Blackest Friday | July 1

Irresponsible management

Jan Sullivan's firing from Walmart for violating a company policy of touching a customer seems unfair in the context of her reaching to avoid falling after being pushed by that same customer.

I wonder what the Walmart policy is regarding a manager who assigns a 4-foot-11 73-year-old to a security role, essentially guarding an entrance, during the busiest days in the store's entire year.

A responsible manager assigns the staff to tasks, maximizing the employees' skills for the benefit of the company. It is both irresponsible and counterproductive to assign someone a task for which he or she is not qualified. It was poor judgment by management to assign Sullivan to perform store security. To classify her firing as "misconduct" is simply an artifice to avoid paying unemployment benefits.

William H. Patterson, Treasure Island

CBO data refute Romney's claim that health law raises debt | July 1, PolitiFact

Romney is accurate

PolitiFact says based on CBO estimates, the new health care law will not add billions to the deficit, so Mitt Romney's statement that it will is false. An article in the Perspective section about covering the poor says that the real financial impact will not be the individual mandate but the massive expansion of Medicaid. The same article states that health care costs now consume 54 percent of the budget in Massachusetts where a similar program has been tried.

Chief Justice John Roberts said two significant things in his rambling opinion that made this thing law. One, the federal government can tax for this. Two, states don't have to expand their Medicaid roles for it. That means either more federal taxes or, because that is unpopular and loses elections, more federal borrowing to send to the states for Medicaid. Of course this will add billions to the deficit.

Romney is quite accurate. People do need health care. We just need more private-sector jobs providing it, not unsustainable government borrowing providing it.

Claude Hensley, Clearwater

Affordable Care Act

Lincoln's lessons lost

The party of Lincoln appears to have no valued voice in the Florida governor's office or the federal Congress. Lincoln did not say laws should be changed by ignoring them. He did say: "The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." He did not say public interests should be managed by those who choose not to enforce existing laws. He did famously say: "Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." He did not say the interests of all were reflected in the exclusive interests of the wealthy. He did say: "These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people."

Considering Rick Scott's decision not to enforce the Affordable Care Act, it is difficult to discern a place for the will of the people. Florida public policy is blazingly dominated by the ideological preferences of the governor.

James Paul, Tampa

Sunday's letters: King holiday should be a day of serenity and service 07/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 7, 2012 4:31am]
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