Arresting homeless isn't answer | July 29, editorial
Clearwater aims to help homeless
It is ironic that the Tampa Bay Times criticizes the city of Clearwater when a June 2011 editorial lauded St. Petersburg and Safe Harbor for doing what Clearwater now proposes.
Clearwater's ordinances are very similar to St. Petersburg's. It is not the city's intent to arrest the homeless, but to explain to them that there are programs like Safe Harbor and Pinellas Hope open to provide food, shelter and counseling. Moreover, the outdoor lodging ordinance clearly states that the city will not cite someone who is willing to move to a shelter space, and the city is aware that it cannot enforce the ordinance if there is no available shelter space.
It should also be noted that same earlier editorial praised Mayor Bill Foster for "prudently waiting to enforce the city's no-sleeping ordinance until space in Safe Harbor's outside courtyard is available." It further said that Robert Marbut, the same consultant used by the city of Clearwater, helped "design incentives that prod people to voluntarily help themselves, giving them more and better amenities as they adopt healthy and productive lifestyles."
Clearwater, like many cities, has come to realize that the programs of the past have not worked. It desires to help people break the bond of homelessness through an option like Safe Harbor or Pinellas Hope. In its proposed budget for 2012-13, the city is anticipating funding contributions to homeless programs at $225,000 because it has seen the success of these new programs.
George N. Cretekos, Clearwater mayor
Medicaid expansion won't solve problem July 28, letter
Market mechanisms fail
Instead of proposing solutions to rising health care costs, this letter ends with a vague platitude about freedom and government downsizing leading to greater prosperity, allowing more people to buy better health insurance, thereby lowering medical costs.
Why hasn't the free market come up with solutions that trounce Medicare and Medicaid already? We have the least regulated health care system of any rich nation, yet we have the highest costs.
We need to accept the reality that government administration of major aspects of health care is inevitable. Why? Because we know that market mechanisms that enable people to be thrifty and make good choices when buying tennis rackets fall apart in a doctor's office. None of us has the expertise to reasonably shop around for advanced medical care, especially under duress.
Obamacare may be flawed, but at least it is a real-world attempt to fix the system.
Robert Clark, Tampa
Why do so many doctors refuse to treat the sick and poor? The answer is that they don't get paid enough. Medicaid pays, just not enough for the doctors who refuse to accept it. Is there another developed country in the world where the doctor can deny health care based on the patient's ability to pay enough?
Sure sounds to me like the medical profession is rationing health care. If they don't get paid enough, they simply refuse treatment.
John Lythgoe, Dunedin
The opportunity gap | July 19, commentary
Mind the gap
Kudos to David Brooks for acknowledging the growing gap between the rich and middle class/poor in our country. A thousand boos for not acknowledging the vital part the conservative movement and apologists like Brooks have played in creating that gap.
Where was he when Ronald Reagan made big government the problem? Where was he when Reagan and George W. Bush ran up big, then huge, deficits? Where was he when Bush and Congress cut taxes for the rich and ran two wars and a new drug plan off-budget, squandering the surplus?
Now Brooks urges liberals to get "morally tough" with single mothers and conservatives to accept "tax increases or benefit cuts." He hasn't changed: an ounce of compassion and a pound of punishment for the middle class and poor. Government, defender of the middle class against the power of the rich and their corporations, is still the problem for Brooks and conservatives. Where is Teddy Roosevelt, progressive Republican president, when we need him?
Rev. Dr. Harold M. Brockus, St. Petersburg
Health care work heading overseas | July 30
Outsourcing our well-being
Corporate greed knows no bounds. Now we are moving nursing functions to Third World countries, all in the name of "cost savings" of approximately 30 percent. May I suggest that we tax these corporations for eliminating jobs and creating more U.S. unemployment?
Open enrollment for insurance carriers begins in about two months, and consumers need to be aware that their health and well-being is managed from thousand of miles away and by someone who may not be easily understood.
Baerbel R. Dagon, Tampa
Truth in short supply
November is a few months away. Meanwhile the TV stations are broadcasting multiple negative "ads" about the candidates. Some ads are false, such as Finland receiving stimulus funds as stated by PolitiFact.com.
Both parties are spending obscene amounts of money saturating the airwaves with misinformation. Shouldn't the TV stations pull ads that are false and misleading?
Voting is a privilege, and people should be encouraged to cast ballots. However, the saturation of negativity is turning people off.
Lois Hawkins, Dunedin
Infamous to some, but not to jury pool July 31
It's amazing that approximately 40 percent of the locally registered voters in the Dontae Morris jury pool don't recognize a person or name that has been in the local newspaper and on TV multiple times. I wonder how these registered voters get their information — forwarded emails?
Stan Owens, Ruskin