Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Kinship caregivers get shut out

Children's Board of Hillsborough County

Kinship caregiver programs cut

I am writing to express my deep distress at learning that the Children's Board of Hillsborough County has cut all programs that serve the hundreds of children raised by grandparents and other relatives (kinship care) in Hillsborough County. Kinship caregivers are raising more and more children who would have been placed in the much more expensive foster care system. Now those children may once again fall through the cracks.

The Children's Board knows that grandparents and other relatives get little or no financial support for raising children (versus foster parents). It funded several excellent programs in the past to help fill in the gap for the devoted and often very needy grandparents raising these children. Now the board has cut all of these programs.

I am director of the Florida Kinship Center, which has provided two lifesaving programs to kinship caregivers in past 12 years, funded by the Children's Board. Both of these programs serve families of children who fit the Children's Board's supposed mission of serving children from birth to 8 years old.

I mourn for the kinship caregivers in Hillsborough County who will no longer have services available to them.

Anne Strozier, director, Florida Kinship Center, Tampa

Florida budget

Political bait and switch

In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott and his tea party-aligned allies in the Florida Legislature imposed devastating cuts to our public schools, falsely claiming they were necessary to balance the budget, while handing out millions in tax breaks to special interests.

At the time, Scott defended these actions by saying that school districts would have to figure out how to do better with less. He apparently hopes Floridians have a short memory, because he's singing a decidedly different refrain in 2012.

After replacing just a fraction of the funds he cut last year in the new 2012 budget, Scott wants Floridians to believe he has increased funding for public education. Don't be fooled. Returning a fraction of the education funding slashed last year is a political bait and switch.

Scott is using this year's nominal boost in education to burnish his sagging public image, but the fact is that it will do little to reverse the damage that he has already done to our public schools.

Mark Ferrulo, St. Petersburg

Stockholders deserve a say in PAC spending April 9, commentary

Union members left out

Richard Meyer advocates that stockholders have more control over which PAC should get corporate money. Needless to say, to try to make every stockholder's voice heard in that decision would be an insurmountable task before the first dollar would even get to a PAC.

If Meyer thinks stockholders should share in this decision, why shouldn't union members have the same privilege? After all, the money unions spend on ads, TV spots, campaign literature and a myriad of other items represents enormous amounts of union dues.

Not every union member is a member by choice; some are required to join and pay dues. Union members are certainly more disenfranchised than stockholders.

Rodney Lauten, Odessa

Rubio pursues a middle ground | April 9

Tactical political move

So Sen. Marco Rubio, who has supported all the GOP's hard-line positions, has now decided to move to the center. Does he seriously believe in his newfound gospel on immigration, or has he been reading the polls showing the country is fed up with right-wing extremism?

He is smarter than his fellow tea party travelers who would prefer to go down with the ship rather than change their views. I believe Rubio is indelibly scarred with the GOP's hard-line positions and he cannot see the human side of issues such as immigration, women's rights, gay rights and many other social issues. A tiger never loses his stripes.

A.P. Gibbs, Dade City

Voting law an issue in race | April 8

Not hard to understand

You report that state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, does not understand why groups like the League of Women Voters have stopped collecting voting registration signatures. What is hard to understand about being personally liable for a huge fine if you cannot turn in a form within just 48 hours? Registration drives I have worked on were usually on weekends. Is it difficult to imagine the office being closed on Monday? What if the new voter signs the form on Friday? How about a health or other emergency that might make me miss the deadline?

What was Glorioso thinking when he agreed to a 48-hour deadline? I do not like being afraid to make it easier for my fellow citizens to register to vote. What is hard to understand about that?

June Bedford, Seminole

Do your homework | April 9, letter

Required reading

In response to the letter writer who wanted Justice Antonin Scalia to read the pages of President Barack Obama's health care bill, I think a similar demand should have been made of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said, "We need to pass it to see what's in it." I wonder why she didn't read it.

Chuck Marshall, Riverview

Poet of politics | April 8

Manhandling the muse

This article seems to be conflicted about whether mixing poetry and politics is desirable. But there is a good reason why the list of lasting "political" poems is very short: Political poetry tends to sing to the choir, and therefore reeks of smugness, the flip side of sentimentality.

What contributes most to this unfortunate urge to manhandle the muse is the peculiar belief, common among artists of all sorts, that they possess, along with special creativity, a store of special wisdom. Hence the itch to editorialize in verse.

Now a poet may be wise, and politicians have been poets, but the ability to discriminate between one idiom and another as to the appropriate arena for unique types of discourse is a skill calling for almost heroic restraint and humility, traits not normally associated with either poets or politicians (for good reason).

R.B. Johnson, Indian Rocks Beach


Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18