Mental illness raised no flags | Sept. 18
Programs for mentally ill needed
There was an eye-opening article by Steve Forbes in Forbes magazine earlier in the year (and still available online) recalling that 50 or so years ago there were federal programs to care for the severely mentally ill. This included mental hospitals as well as outpatient treatment.
The same reality was referred to by a psychiatrist being interviewed on PBS last week, again pointing out that there is no logic behind rampage killing by schizophrenics and others severely out of touch with reality.
In the absence of these programs, disturbed individuals have no place to go but the streets, and society occasionally pays the price.
Mark E. Reinecke, M.D., St. Petersburg
Missing in action | Sept. 19, editorial
Picture tells the story
I have lived in St. Petersburg for over 18 years, and if there's one thing I can't understand it's all of the wasted newspaper and other media space spent on pointing fingers at who or what is responsible for the failure of our local baseball team to attract an audience large enough to be financially self-supporting. Tens of thousands of words have been written by the Times blaming St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's ineptitude, the poor location of Tropicana Field, its inappropriate design, the economy, and the unfair contractual arrangement between the Rays and the taxpayers.
But none of these words speak quite as loudly and quite as clearly as the picture of 637 empty seats surrounding the 13 lonely Rays fans on page 10A of the Times: "We are the citizens and the taxpayers of St. Petersburg, and we are not interested in supporting a professional baseball team."
We do not need another statistical study, nor more articles lambasting Foster. And we certainly don't need more political posturing from the City Council. Take another look at those empty seats, people. They have all the information you'll ever need.
Philip A. Bellefleur, St. Petersburg
Slow down insurance rate hikes Sept. 18, editorial
Florida's silent senators
As Florida braces for "Hurricane" Biggert-Waters, Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are AWOL. Nelson is too busy grabbing pythons in the Everglades. Rubio is too busy raising campaign funds for a possible presidential run.
Louisiana's two senators, David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, took part in and asked questions at a Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee hearing on the Biggert-Waters act.
Implementation of this act is going to devastate 80,000 Pinellas County policyholders. Many folks on fixed incomes who have flood policies will not be able to afford their premiums. This will cascade into falling home values, abandoned properties and closing businesses.
We need our Florida senators to gather a sense of urgency and get to work. Stop or postpone implementation of this terrible act.
David Prior, St. Petersburg
Governor welcomes health care law's jobs Sept. 19
Did I miss something? I was puzzled when Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn welcomed the GOP convention with open arms, but I chalked that up to being polite and hospitable.
I was dubious when I read that he was a headliner in Attorney General Pam Bondi's ill-fated, tone-deaf kickoff campaign fundraiser.
However, in light of Buckhorn's lavish praise of Gov. Rick Scott despite all the damage the governor has done to the state, I must have missed the announcement that the mayor has switched political parties.
Jeff Thofner, Tampa
Political animals | Sept. 15
The images by John Pendygraft that accompanied this article were exquisite, made all the more poignant by Craig Pittman's telling narrative.
Shame on those in the Florida Legislature and associated agencies who are unwilling to make decisions that support land and water preservation initiatives that would sustain endangered species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles.
Terrie Nolinske, Tampa
Artistry at work
Sunday's Perspective article had the most amazing photographs by John Pendygraft. I want to thank him for the patience it took to capture these animals the way he did. He is a true artist.
A. Scott, St. Petersburg
Clearing Obamacare hurdles Sept. 15, Robyn Blumner column
While I join Robyn Blumner in supporting the goal of universal coverage, the issue is not the intentions of the Affordable Care Act but rather its utterly incompetent and inefficient means.
Instead of focusing on harder questions of increasing system capacity and reducing cost per unit of care, Obamacare makes massive promises but does not take into account human behavior or incentives. It is a cataclysm of top-down, unintelligent mangling of our admittedly broken health care system. It is the equivalent of lowering a Ford engine into a GM truck.
John V. Linton, Tampa
GOP leads House vote to cut back food stamps | Sept. 20
Cut foreign aid first
Someone help me make sense of this. The Republicans want to eliminate benefits for nearly 4 million Americans to reduce dependence on government programs. Aren't the billions of dollars in aid America sends to other countries a "government program"? Maybe the Republicans should start there first instead of constantly trying to bring American citizens to their knees.
Danny Herzog, Pinellas Park