Saturday, June 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Coalition must make smart choices

Aid for poor given back | July 20

Coalition must make smart choices

The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County recently hit the headlines when it was learned that the agency returned $2.4 million in unspent funding to the state. The executive director said they just couldn't handle the workload to provide services that could have benefited many children in Pinellas. When there are hundreds of kids sitting on a waiting list for services and hundreds of parents worrying about the kids, we need to utilize every possible resource. To return $2.4 million earmarked for kids in Pinellas County is unconscionable. No excuses can take away the fact that kids and families remain unserved.

Child care services were limited by the coalition when it decided to exclude services for 9- to 12-year-olds in order to focus efforts on younger children. These after-school kids are left to fend for themselves, and parents are left without help. Needless to say, children from low-income families most need the after-school enrichment programs that this funding could have provided.

The Florida Office of Early Learning made the right decision to divide Pinellas' unspent money between Hillsborough and Miami-Dade County. Perhaps it's time the Early Learning Coalition revisit operations and especially the decision to limit services for eligible school-age children. The coalition board, which holds fiduciary and oversight responsibility, needs to take a closer look to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Larry Pintacuda, CEO, Florida Afterschool Network, Tallahassee

Scott slow to review taxing districts | July 11

Special districts' special role

As Gov. Rick Scott continues his in-depth review of special districts across the state, the Florida Association of Special Districts looks forward to continuing to provide information regarding the transparent and highly efficient operation of its member districts and the unparalleled services they provide to their communities and residents.

Special districts provide limited-purpose government on a local level. From mosquito and fire control to community development, all special districts provide unique services and remain accountable and accessible to the citizens they serve.

Independent special districts, like all cities and counties, are governed by Florida's Sunshine Laws. They are required to prepare financial statements, which are then reviewed by an independent auditor and submitted to the Florida auditor general. The vast majority of independent special districts are governed by board members who are elected by area residents or landowners.

Unlike a city or county where residents pay for services to an area from which they receive no benefit, only those residents who benefit from special district services or infrastructure pay for them. Special districts possess the knowledge, experience and resources to meet these needs in an efficient, accountable and transparent manner.

O'Neal Bardin Jr., president, Florida Association of Special Districts, Palm Beach Gardens

Defendant in child porn case travels widely July 21

Time to face the judge

Just when I think I've heard it all. Michael Meister is allowed to travel as often as he wants but is not well enough to stand trial for possessing and distributing child porn? All of which he has never denied doing. The judge, state prosecutor and the U.S. attorney should all be ashamed for letting this travesty get this far.

This man feels sorry for himself (because he was caught, I'm sure) and his family. I have to wonder how he feels about the innocent children and their families' lives he played a part in ruining. If he truly wants forgiveness, he needs to face the judge and take his punishment like a man. I am disgusted.

Valorie Perez, Oldsmar

Mosaic pumps water to dilute waste | July 21

A cascade of insanity

From the perspective of a citizen who is always asked to conserve water during our annual shortages, I find the allowing of Mosaic to withdraw up to 70 million gallons of water a day to dilute polluted water utterly insane. Give me a break! I was under the impression that Department of Environmental Protection rules were written to protect us and our resources.

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole

Great exploitations

This is a great lesson in practical ecology. This situation with Mosaic points out how a company is actually using a resource that belongs to the people of Florida for its own gain. How much does Mosaic pay out of its profits for the water it uses? How much does it pay for sinkholes it causes? How much does it pay for the effects of the pollution it puts into streams? We can consider many other industries that exploit our commonly held resources for private gain in the same way. The private sector makes money but often doesn't pay the costs of doing so. We do.

Gregory Byrd, Clearwater

Big Three don't measure up | July 21, letter to editor

Detroit's real problem

In response to the letter writer who used the Camry to highlight why he believes Detroit failed, that is not only absurd but misses the point. Detroit is in trouble from corruption and mismanagement, not because of the Japanese cars. When you mismanage the general fund and have no accountability for the actions of the municipal government year after year, implosion finally happens.

Stephen Burchett, Seffner

Immigration reform

Make employers pay

Hasn't Congress already addressed amnesty with respect to the 11 million-plus undocumented immigrants? I'm talking about the amnesty to employers of undocumented immigrants who were able to exploit these workers for decades.

We need to insist that Congress finally address this "crime" with equal accountability and justice. I propose that all 11 million-plus undocumented immigrants document each employer who engaged their services "illegally." Then Congress can insist that these employers bear some of the costs relating to a fair and reasonable "pathway to citizenship" for these hard-working individuals who have already been contributing to our economy and society. Now that would truly be comprehensive immigration reform!

Cynthia C. Fargo, New Port Richey


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18