Go slow on Bayfront marriage | Feb. 11, editorial
Partnership carefully considered
Bayfront Medical Center, privately owned and operated, sits on public land. As a result, it enjoys a strong relationship with the city of St. Petersburg. This relationship will continue to be well served under new ownership when Bayfront partners with Health Management Associates to own and operate the hospital, in clinical affiliation with Shands.
The Times points to problems with HCA as reason to pause on Bayfront's partnership, although HCA has nothing to do with Health Management or Bayfront. To suggest that unrelated happenings at HCA indicate what will happen at Bayfront is unfair.
Recommending delay of a new lease undermines thorough work with the city and ignores the process and credibility of Bayfront's board, including their unanimous decision to proceed after a deep dive into Health Management's culture, practices and pending litigation revealed a solid track record that exceeds expectations.
The editorial labels our more than two-year process to partner rushed. A competitive market and constant change give good reason to move forward, but that pace in no way compromises the diligence with which our partnership has been created.
The Times casts Bayfront's partnership in controversy, without acknowledgement of the promise it holds. From creation of a foundation for health access, education and research; to an infusion of resources that will keep Bayfront its best — this is a forward-looking step many others are likely to follow. Collaborations between public, private, not-for-profit and investor-owned organizations are a reality of the shifting future of health care as indicated by partnerships between USF and HCA and Sarasota Memorial and BayCare.
Bayfront's partnership is transformational and carefully crafted to include protections that secure the interests of all involved. Health Management is committing hundreds of millions of dollars with the clear intent to elevate care. This intent is backed up with contractual agreements that require strict adherence to the principles, philosophies and practices that distinguish Bayfront now — and will continue to define our care far into the future.
Kanika Tomalin, vice president, strategic planning and public affairs, Bayfront Health System, St. Petersburg
Let's weigh in on Christie | Feb. 8, commentary
Christie's solid record
Connie Schultz openly states that she's not a fan of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It's a free country, and she's entitled to her opinion. However, to bring the issue of weight into the equation to question his ability to govern is off base.
Christie knows how to govern, stand up to the special interest groups, and do what's best for his state — not for the big political donors.
Our current president, vice president, Harry Reid and a host of others are slim of stature, perhaps so that they'll fit easily into the hip pockets of the special interest groups to whom they are beholden at the expense of the taxpayers.
What this country needs is more people like Christie. Another president in our nation's history was a large man, and a special bathtub was installed in the White House to accommodate him. It was never considered that his size affected his ability to lead this country. That tub is part of the collection of the Smithsonian museums in Washington.
Lose the smoke screen, Ms. Schultz, it's too transparent. It exposes your ulterior motive, which is to attack the very policies our country needs to lead us out of this welfare-state mentality we're stuck with now.
Debi Ford, St. Petersburg
Rein in power on strikes | Feb. 9, editorial
I do not understand the fuss made by some members of Congress over the use of drones to kill our enemies. If a terrorist is an American citizen and belongs to a foreign terrorist group, he is a traitor and an enemy combatant. Are we not at war with terrorist organizations? I hope that our men and women in Afghanistan are not dying in vain.
Rick Torres, Bayonet Point
Take fight to the enemy
Perhaps, as you say, "this is too much discretion in the hands of the nation's president," but given the widespread acceptance of National Security Agency data-mining as necessary for national security, I do not see this as fundamentally different in that both are designed to fight America's sworn enemies.
Lest we forget, al-Qaida declared war on America and several of our key allies in 1994, seeking to destroy our way of life and to kill Americans any way they could. If you join that loose organization, you are effectively switching sides.
We have been safe from attacks since 2001 largely due to these and similar measures. When Anwar al-Awlaki was killed, he was as much an enemy of America as if he had donned a German uniform in 1944, except these guys do not wear uniforms nor do they adhere to anything we might call the "rules of war."
So while I appreciate and approve congressional oversight, some judicial oversight and media oversight of these programs in the future, to give up our only effective weapon against people who are our sworn enemies, or to put too much oversight on it, is a bit naive. It is always about balance and effectiveness.
Paul Pliester, St. Petersburg
With drones, the Times echoes Capt. Renault from Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Really? Just off the top of my head, I can cite at least one example of this administration's executive overreach in virtually every Cabinet department.
If drones open journalists' eyes, I'll join Victor Laszlo in saying: "Welcome back to the fight."
Pat Byrne, Largo
It's showtime for Scott at state fair Feb. 8
First we see Gov. Rick Scott touted as a "hero" to teachers because of his turnaround on education funding. Now we have Scott saying: "Know what's so neat about our state? We have so much history. We just need to learn to brag about it a little more."
What's next? A headline proclaiming "Gov. Scott loves anthropology"?
Brent Weisman, Temple Terrace