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
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
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