Stripped of dignity at airport security | April 21, commentary
No reason for a rough, invasive patdown
In the past year I have flown from Tampa to New York's LaGuardia Airport, twice, and to Miami, and flown from Barcelona to Tampa.
Each time I was subjected to Transportation Security Administration patdowns because of a total knee replacement. I never had a problem in Tampa except when I asked to use the new scanner. Only once was it working or available on the line I was directed to, even though I asked for it ahead of time.
A few days ago in Atlanta, after arriving from Barcelona, I asked to go through the scanner as I suffer from painful arthritis and have a balance problem. It wasn't working, and the one that was working was on the other side of the terminal.
This resulted in the most rough, invasive patdown I have ever had. I have bruises on my thighs from the probing of the 300-pound-plus agent, who when I mentioned my balance problem told me to "brace myself for the next part." She offered me a private patdown, which I declined; imagine what she could have done in private.
This is totally unacceptable. I'm flying with my son and 13-year-old grandson to New York City in July, and this time if the scanner is "not working" I will request a supervisor and refuse the patdown, insisting on the scanner. I will not have my grandson subjected to seeing his 72-year-old grandmother groped in this manner.
Kathleen Miller, Clearwater
Let's not break our social contract | April 17, Robyn Blumner column
Not expecting support
I resent having my status as a Republican "liberally" defined by Robyn Blumner. Let me clarify what Republican, relative to the subject of retirement, means to me.
If I spend my entire working life saving a portion of every paycheck for my retirement, just maybe I'll have enough, between my savings and my Social Security benefit, to live frugally for the rest of my life. If I'm fortunate enough to have loving family members to help me if necessary, all the better.
However, if the above plan failed to materialize through no fault of my own, then and only then — after I'd tried my best— would I seek financial assistance from the government. Either way, in the Republican household of my youth, I was not raised to ever expect a government entity to solely support my needs in retirement.
Ultimately, though, I would always want to be among the first to help anyone who, after doing the best he could to support himself, found himself in financial need.
Anita M. Knapp, St. Petersburg
Spending that saves money
As the Legislature approaches May 6, the last day of the session, leaders will need to resolve the huge budget gap for community substance abuse and mental health care funding.
The governor's budget essentially maintains the level of funding for these services, and the House budget also maintains the current levels of funding. However, the Senate eliminates 60 percent or $174 million in adult community mental health and 27 percent or $33 million from adult community substance abuse services.
The Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Association of Counties among others have adopted resolutions that support no cuts to community substance abuse and mental health services. These organizations realize the significant impact the Senate's reductions will have on law enforcement and the quality of life in Florida's communities.
Long-standing relationships that have reduced criminal justice and health care costs would end for over 140,000 adults currently served by these programs.
Frank C. Rabbito, Miami
Likely school cuts: $60M, 400 jobs | April 20
Heavy administrative costs
When I lived in Fairfax, Va., once per year the Washington Post published the entire work force payroll for the Fairfax County School System. The paper listed the superintendent all the way through the janitorial service by name and salary.
It was interesting to note the disparity between the administrative salaries and those of the teachers. The administrative side of the ledger was always on the heavy side.
Take a look at the upper end of the budget and reduce employees and payroll there first; then move the dollars to the teacher side. The county will save; the teachers will make more; and the students will benefit.
Fred Coughlin, Safety Harbor
Feds join call to deal with pill abuse | April 20
FDA only adds to problem
Can government bureaucrats be trusted to make rational decisions? In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration asked that a mild narcotic pain medication, Darvoset, no longer be manufactured.
Darvoset had been successfully used for over 50 years for mild to moderate pain. The FDA's rationale was that Darvoset had been linked to heart arrhythmia in a small percentage of patients. The FDA said Darvoset was not needed and there were other pain medications available.
But a growing number of patients are finding that there really is no replacement for Darvoset. The FDA-suggested replacements either leave the patients too impaired to function, do not work as well, or cause problems for patients with other medical problems.
Charles Palmer Jr., Lutz
You might want to read this to the end | April 21, Howard Troxler column
Troxler will be missed
I was stunned to read Howard Troxler's column. I am so accustomed to relishing this warrior's relentless attacks on bloated, self-serving politicians that it never occurred to me that he is mortal, like the rest of us.
It will take me from now till June to reconcile myself to a Times without him, but I can only hope that he enjoys putting up jam and walking the dog as much as he enjoyed protecting us from the worst of state government. Notwithstanding the eloquence of Daniel Ruth, I am unlikely to see the equal of this wonderful pit bull in my lifetime. Kudos to an old warrior.
Howard W. Hartley Jr., St. Petersburg
Cut through the madness
Howard always made our day better because he knows how to cut through the madness that our political world has become. We will miss his evenhanded thoughts that he shared with honesty and courage. Is there a way for him to only semi-retire?
Tom Reid, Seminole
This could be the last straw
I hope Troxler is kidding and not "retiring" or whatever term you may wish to use for his departure from the Times. The paper grows smaller and smaller. The news is less and less. At least we have one very talented columnist, and we won't even have him soon. It is as though we are being weaned from even wanting to read a newspaper. Troxler's loss may be the final straw.
Patti Bridges, St. Petersburg