Governor's budget ax targets Hillsborough prison | Jan. 13
Short-term cuts costly in the long run
As volunteers, my wife and I teach the transition class at Hillsborough Corrections Institution in Riverview. This is a 100-hour course that inmates who are within 90 days of ending their sentence are mandated to attend. The curriculum prepares them for life on the outside. It includes defining proper values and principles, problem-solving, decisionmaking, avoiding drugs and alcohol, finding and keeping employment, and learning how to build a healthy self-image.
Most of these female inmates have been incarcerated previously. Without proper education and support, these women are sure to return to prison life. Overall, it will cost the state and society far more if these prisons offering character-based programs are shut down. The inmates assigned to our classes are scared and in fear of failing again once they are released. They again are returning to the families and environment that brought them to prison in the first place. The transition class gives them hope for survival and better insight into the future challenges that face them.
These faith- and character-based prisons provide hope for inmates to become productive citizens, reducing recidivism. Shutting down these facilities for short-term economic reasons will cost the state far more over the long run.
Bob Scher, Wimauma
Board okays $50,000 raise, contract extension for CEO | Jan. 13
Reasons given for big raise at TIA don't hold up
It is disturbing that in a region that continues to struggle economically that rather than create an additional job for one full-time person or put the money into promoting the region, Tampa airport CEO Joe Lopano is heaped with praise and awarded a hefty $50,000 raise. Let's review the two main justifications by those backing the raise.
The four additional flights a week to Havana are essentially restricted to U.S. citizens and limited to families visiting relatives and taking household durables and gifts to their families.
The second heralded triumph, the Edelweiss direct service of one to two flights a week to Switzerland, is heavily subsidized. Edelweiss has no affiliation with any global airline frequent travel alliance, which is critical for most business travelers.
Zurich is hardly considered a significant hub in Europe. Comments about "luring high-fare business passengers out of Central Florida" are likely just hype. Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, SAS would fit this profile and what most business travelers use, even if it means driving to Orlando.
Tom Tilley, St. Petersburg
Bain's gain, town's loss | Jan. 13
Legal, yes; ethical, no
Is what Bain did to the businesses they bought, destroyed, and took millions from legal? Clearly, yes. Is it ethical? Clearly, no. This election is not about socialism vs. capitalism. It is about whether we will accept this unethical form of capitalism practiced by Bain and companies like it.
Should someone like Mitt Romney — who inherited a fortune, increased that fortune at the expense of those who worked for the businesses his company destroyed, oversaw sending jobs overseas, and who now says that those who are not wealthy like him are simply jealous — be elected president of the United States?
Most people in this country believe it to be an ethical country. Few people in this country want to destroy capitalism. Most of us want an ethical form of capitalism where those who work are rewarded fairly and are able to take pride in a job well done. No one should be allowed to make millions of dollars the way Bain and similar companies have been allowed to do.
We must tell Romney and those who support him that we are not jealous of him. Rather, we hold his unethical behavior in disdain.
Mary Louise Ambrose, Belleair Bluffs
Saving money and lives
As we begin a new year and a new legislative session, Floridians should know that our state is noncompliant with federal government recommendations on newborn screening.
Imagine a simple test given at birth that can identify a rare disease for which there's a treatment that will not only prevent infants from dying but in some cases can cure them. This simple test exists and has been recommended by the secretary of Health and Human Services, but Florida hasn't implemented the screenings.
Severe combined immune deficiency, better known as "Bubble Boy Disease," is the lack of T and B cells, which are necessary to fight off infections. SCID affects approximately one in every 32,000 babies born. It's estimated there will be seven to 10 babies born with SCID per year in Florida alone. Of those, at least half of them will be on Medicaid.
The treatment for SCID is a bone marrow transplant, which is most successful if given within the first three months of life. If we can detect this condition before it starts wreaking havoc on the body, the cost to treat a child is $50,000. The cost to treat a child who isn't diagnosed at birth is millions of dollars.
Government says it needs to find ways to cut costs to Medicaid. Here's one way.
Heather Smith, Lakeland
GOP would be wise not to diss Ron Paul's base Jan. 7
Ease off the slang
"Diss" is a slang term for disrespect, but is it good journalism? That word seems more appropriate for a Rolling Stone article. Otherwise you might as well print, "GOP should not diss Ron Paul's peeps."
David Homan, Tampa