Arresting homeless no solution | July 1, editorial
Policies with charity and justice
Can we make life any more miserable for our Tampa neighbors who are homeless? Rather than focusing on the city's mission and addressing the core issues, our elected officials offer a flawed plan — more ordinances providing tighter controls on our homeless neighbors.
A serious disconnect exists with the city's mission and the City Council's proposed ordinances. The city of Tampa speaks to working constantly to improve the overall quality of life in our community — committed to public safety, strong neighborhoods and economic growth — and that these goals are reflected in our daily decisions. If true, what would explain the City Council's proposed ordinances that further restrict and erode the last shreds of dignity of our most vulnerable citizens?
With the exception of City Council member Mary Mulhern, missing in their deliberations and proposed ordinances is any sense of the role of charity and justice for those struggling with being homeless. Charity has to do with benevolence or generosity. It results from people's good will, and there is no apparent lack of charity available in our community. However, charity does little to change the underlying problem of wider social and political systems that sustain injustice.
Justice on the other hand results from social structures that guarantee moral rights, which speaks to fairness and reflect what people deserve. A reshaping of our charitable community to one that includes justice, including humane, safe shelter from Florida's elements, is the task of our elected officials. Long overdue, justice, rather than more ordinances, is clearly the mandate ahead for our elected city and county elected officials in order to protect the most basic rights of our voiceless Tampa neighbors struggling with homelessness.
Michael Doyle, Tampa
Who will watch the watchers? July 5, editorial
Assume the worst
This editorial was right on.
After learning from whistle-blower Edward Snowden of the massive warrantless spying on citizens by our government by way of Verizon, I asked my Internet/TV/phone supplier, Bright House, if they also were turning my emails and phone records over to the feds. Their lame response was that there was no federal warrant listed as part of my specific account. When I pressed the customer service person on my records being turned over as part of an overall warrant, she refused to respond. So, my assumption is that Bright House is also part of the government's spying program.
I have adopted the defensive attitude that my government can't be trusted and is eavesdropping on my every phone call, email and the contents of every file on my computer.
I wonder what further revelations will reveal about how uncaring our government has become about our Constitution and the privacy that it guarantees.
David Brown, Sun City Center
Antibullying law expands | July 5
Rights and minors
The purpose of bullying is to cause physical or emotional pain. The bully expects to do so with impunity. The immature bullies consider it fun to torture others.
Sometimes bullying causes death.
Minors should not have unbridled freedom of speech, just as they do not have the right to keep and bear arms. Nor can they vote. Minors do not have the wisdom to be trusted with potentially dangerous rights.
Daniel Vogel, Tampa
Opponents, not enemies | July 4, letter
The writer tells us "a marriage, in the legitimate sense of the term, only applies to two people of the opposite sex."
And we know this how? History? Historically, the more powerful the man, the more wives he had. One man, one wife was the level of the peasant.
Marriage between slaves meant nothing; and women's rights were a long time coming. Were those who promoted the inferiority of blacks and women to white men, as our forefathers did, merely differing reasonably? We fought a Civil War to answer the first part of that.
Times change; customs evolve. Those who can't keep up compose definitions to suit themselves.
Donald Rourke, Tampa
Pills killing more women | July 3
Dangers of alcohol
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were well over 10,000 alcohol-related automobile deaths in 2010, while alcohol-related illnesses claimed over 15,000 lives in the same year.
Painkillers save literally millions of people from lives made unbearable by severe chronic conditions. I am certain there are unscrupulous doctors and addicts, but the chart you printed ignores a drug, alcohol, that requires you only be of legal age while it depicts a heavily regulated medicine as villainous.
Chris Curley, Sun City Center
Health mandate delayed | July 3
Medicare for all
News of the difficulties in implementation of the Affordable Care Act should surprise few. Blind obstructionism eventually gets results. Nor should the elation of Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford be considered newsworthy. When your own position is morally bankrupt, it is easy to understand the zeal to find any opportunity to justify an unjustifiable perspective. If the Republican Party had any interest in realizing the many benefits of the ACA, I am certain that bipartisan solutions could have been found. But that was never their interest.
The only sensible, long-term solution is essentially cradle-to-grave Medicare. In reality there is little, if any, reason that the principal provision of health insurance should be an employer responsibility. It has been amply demonstrated that only a single-payer system has the power and capacity to control health care costs.
But of course such a solution undermines the real reason for our current health care system: political "contributions," disproportionately to the Republican Party, by Big Pharma, corporate hospital chains and the health insurance industry. Electoral success easily trumps the health and well-being of the citizenry.
Steve Allison, Temple Terrace