Bill may ease rules in 30 fields | March 16
Deregulation would be a disaster
The recent proposed legislation to deregulate professions like community association managers would be a disaster for Floridians. The Division of Business and Professional Regulation already does little except issue licenses — the disciplinary results for the division are meager. We need the entire disciplinary process to be moved to the Regulatory Council so that regular people, not bureaucrats, will be able to hand down disciplinary actions.
I wrote to senators and representatives on this issue. Mia Jones, representative for District 14, responded, and one sentence told me everything I need to know about who is really pushing this bill: "Our committee heard from numerous lobbyists and professionals who made very solid arguments both for and against deregulating in the various areas." Of course the lobbyists and professionals are for deregulating — it gives the fox the keys to the henhouse.
Wake up, Tallahassee. Citizens who pay for the services of professionals need your help, not your ignorance.
Debra Ford, Tierra Verde
Keep prison open, advocates plead March 22
Beacon of redemption
I am a mentor and teacher at the one prison in Florida that should remain open as the model of rehabilitation for other prisons. That beacon of light, with a recidivism rate of only 6.7 percent, is the Hillsborough Correctional Institute in Riverview. (The average rate is 30 percent.)
Lives get changed for the better. Souls find God and are forever changed. It is a real change, as evidenced by the good results when these women return to the world.
Sixty-five excellent courses are taught by volunteers and various religious and self-improvement groups, and a variety of religious services are held each week by volunteers.
There are beautiful souls that have been formed — truly! I say this based on my 40 years of teaching at both the high school and college level. The inmates want to learn and to change. They see a better life by seeing the volunteers and hearing them share their lives with them.
Since this is truly the only faith-based prison for women, it should remain open. The men have two faith-based prisons; the women have only HCI. The recidivism rate alone is a money-saver.
Anne McGuire, Sun City Center
Libya not a threat to U.S.
I cannot understand why the United States is attacking Libya and I cannot understand why the Times is not condemning an attack upon a country that is not a threat to this country.
There was an attack upon the Libyan government. What was that government supposed to do — sit back and let it happen? It defended itself and now the United States has itself involved in one more attempt at nation-building. How many American lives will now be lost and for what national security purpose?
Gerald Colen, Seminole
Into another morass?
I am concerned that we are getting involved in yet another Middle Eastern dispute.
Who are the "rebels" that we are now supporting to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi? They seem to be very well armed; who provided them with these high-tech weapons? Is this another case of supporting rebels as the lesser of two evils, only to have it backfire, as did our support of the Taliban in Afghanistan?
Why do we steer clear of supporting some uprisings and let the people of certain regions figure out their own futures, but become quickly and violently involved in others? Why is it that our taxes are being used to support another military conflict that is so reminiscent of the ousting of Saddam Hussein in Iraq? We know how well that went, and we know how much we are paying for it still.
This is not what I voted for when I supported the only candidate who promised to end our involvement in the Middle Eastern conflicts. Americans cannot afford yet another long, unproductive conflict — economically, militarily or emotionally.
Anita Jimenez, Ruskin
It does good work
I read with interest the recent Times articles on the Salvation Army. I have been a volunteer for 11 years and see firsthand what a blessing it is to our community. Yes, it gets government funds, but these are tightly controlled.
I wish the writers would have spent a week volunteering in one of the service centers to see the impact the Salvation Army has on our community. Where else can 80 to 120 people come every night for dinner when the pantry is bare?
Jo Babcock, Port Richey
My wife and I, lifelong Salvationists, have served in four countries, two of them in the Third World. We were saddened by your series of articles whose only purpose seemed to be to hurt the Salvation Army.
The Army has had an unblemished ministry for 131 years in this country, yet your editorial of November saying the "Army's image was tarnished" took tens of thousands of dollars away from the neediest, homeless and hungry in the Tampa Bay area just as our kettles were to go out.
You may have the facts straight, but the spirit in which you presented them was not. You have done a great disservice to the Salvation Army and the public that generously supports us. But we have a secret weapon: All of the Salvationists and friends will pray that the Lord will make this right in spite of your effort to do damage. But even to folks who hurt us we say, "God bless you."
David A. Baxendale, Clearwater
America's health aid saves others, helps us March 21, commentary
Danger at our doorstep
Sandra Gonzales Gompf rightfully points to our world without borders when it comes to disease transmission. As an international gateway, Florida is especially vulnerable, and the time to act is now, not after drug-resistant TB or other hard-to-stop diseases gain a foothold in the United States.
Today, on World TB Day, local TB clinics, including Hillsborough County's, are holding education and outreach events. It's time for us all to learn how cost effective it is to prevent and treat simple cases of TB. Congress needs to learn as well, then act to preserve full funding for the programs that have already been so successful, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Linda Schatz, Tampa