Panhandling rules stricter | July 19
Punishing homeless is pointless
The ordinances recently passed by Tampa's City Council make homelessness illegal by making behaviors intrinsically linked with homelessness illegal. Aside from the cruelty of this stance, the new laws are unenforceable. People cannot be arrested without alternative services being available, such as free storage of belongings, sufficient shelter beds and places for people to be for free during the day.
Why did the City Council pass rules the police cannot actually enforce? I believe that it's at least in part so council members can appear to be doing something about homelessness when they are not.
I applaud council member Mary Mulhern for speaking on behalf of the homeless, "our neighbors." The highlight of her remarks was the following: "We have no commitment from the city of Tampa to do anything other than put these people in jail. At this point, we don't have a strategy, we don't have a plan, we don't have any property."
Putting people in jail will not solve the problem, and it may be more expensive than maintaining new shelters and services.
Jessica Prescott, Tampa
Sustenance for children and society July 19 editorial
Government must help
Kudos to the Pinellas County School Board for partnering with the YMCA to provide free hot dinners at schools for needy families. This effort stands in stark contrast to the Republican-led efforts in the U.S. House to cut to the bone funding for food stamps for the neediest Americans, especially children.
A recent letter writer asserted, "It is not a federal government function to feed the less fortunate," maintaining that it is a societal responsibility that can better be done "through our houses of worship, directly or through charities." I maintain that it is precisely a federal government function, if not its primary function, to feed, clothe, house, heal and educate the less fortunate.
The Republican efforts to deprive our most needy of the means to meet basic needs is mean-spirited and disingenuous, under the guise of "fiscal responsibility." Their professed concern for our nation's well-being cries out for an infusion of conscience and caring for the all the members of our society they were elected to serve.
Morry Bornstein, Seminole
Lottery winner moving on up | July 19
A right to privacy
When did you turn into a trashy spy newspaper? What happened to your integrity? You left that woman nothing!
Any hope for peace and security she may seek is practically nil.
I too am an 83-year-old woman. I buy two lottery tickets every week, but I'm now scared to death that I wouldn't stand a chance of surviving your public exposure if I won.
Kay Grandolfo, St. Petersburg
'Stand your ground' law
Smacks of the Wild West
"Shoot first and ask questions later" is a more appropriate name for Florida's terribly ill-conceived law. People have always been permitted to defend themselves from attack, but now, rather than retreating from confrontation if they can, they can simply start shooting if they "believe" they are going to be attacked.
This gunslinger law right out of the Wild West must be repealed and sanity returned to our law.
Paul Carlucci, Valrico
Profits at BofA jump 70% in quarter | July 18
Gouge customers, reap cash
Seems like every other day we read about one or more of the nation's "too big to fail" banks thwarting consumer mortgage relief or gouging customers with unfounded fees. Now this. They pay financial penalties to government regulators that are more like a slap on the wrist, a cost of doing business. All this skulduggery and nobody ever goes to jail.
Joe King, New Port Richey
Top of their game | July 21
A success all around
I had the privilege of volunteering at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa over the past eight days.
Participants were impressed by the cleanliness of downtown Tampa and the quality of the sporting venues, the Convention Center and the Marriott and Embassy Suites hotels.
They were extremely appreciative of the volunteer efforts.
They were very competitive. If you won a medal, you were going to wear it until you got home.
Spouses were loving, supportive and tough. And the support animals (dogs) were just astounding!
Well done, Tampa Bay. This was a national event you should be proud of.
Ron Heimburger, Riverview
Aid for poor given back | July 20
How horrible to read that the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County returned $2.4 million that the needy children of our county were entitled to. You can be sure the incompetent bureaucrats responsible for this mismanagement would not have let this happen if their own families were involved. They should be summarily fired and replaced with individuals who are dedicated to serving the needs the next generation.
George Meyers, St. Pete Beach