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Wednesday's letters: Learning, not building, matters

Plan at USF Poly: a campus that will turn heads | Oct. 3

Learning, not building, matters

This campus will turn heads, that's for sure. But aren't schools and universities there to fill the heads of students with information? Students attend college to get an education, and that happens inside the building.

To invest all this money on just the exterior of this learning facility is crazy. The money needs to be spent on quality professors, books, computers and so on.

The video alone of this proposed building cost $140,000. The architectural firm gets $7.44 million.

To me, the computer model of this university is, well, ugly. It looks like something from outer space.

Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg

Soldier found not guilty in Iraq killing Oct. 2

Questionable standards

A U.S. Army soldier, Pfc. Carl T. Stovall, shot a Hungarian civilian worker near Baghdad and was brought to trial at Fort Hood, Texas. The Times reported that he was found not guilty by reason of "lack of mental responsibility."

The item also noted that an Army psychiatrist testified that Stovall "is a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and drug and alcohol abuse" and that he suffered a brain injury in high school.

I think that it is significant that our military accepted an enlistee with these issues, and that he was expected to handle weapons. Does anyone else notice a problem here in enlistment standards?

Fred Prince, Tampa

Mayor's legacy: fewer playgrounds Oct. 3, editorial

City has plenty of parks

Under the council-manager form of government, the council sets policy and the manager directs city staff in how to effect policy. It takes three or more council members to agree to move forward on an issue.

As the editorial established in the second to last paragraph, the city staff director reported "to the council the city's 34 playgrounds in 2005 exceeded the city's stated goal of having one playground within 1 mile of every resident." The city website currently lists 107 city park facilities. That number is hardly indicative of underserving citizens with healthy and convenient choices.

These times of declining property values and tax revenues demand cuts to the city operating budget. Taxpayers are demanding less government.

The editorial's undertone seemed to diminish Mayor Frank Hibbard's record of contributions, but he has garnered the support of the council and city manager for an impressive number of initiatives.

Nick Fritsch, Clearwater

U.S. Postal Service

Don't let it go private

Benjamin Franklin was our first postmaster, and the post office is one of the oldest and most venerated institutions of the republic. Through 235 years of political and technological change, the post office has survived and provided stunningly efficient and low-cost service. For 44 cents you can send a letter to Alaska or points closer.

What do you think will be the cost of that transaction if Republicans in Congress succeed in privatizing the U.S. Postal Service? No more birthday cards for the grandma who doesn't have Internet.

The post office crisis is a phony concoction by the 2006 Congress, the same bunch who allowed private pension funds to be squandered on CEO pay hikes and public pensions on casino-style market speculation.

Susan Greenbaum, Temple Terrace

Health care reforms are working Oct. 3, editorial

Prices are going up

This editorial states that "another health care reform bright spot is news that premiums for Medicare Advantage insurance plans will tick down an average of 4 percent, and insurers project enrollments will increase 10 percent."

The "tick down" you refer to is the premium that Medicare pays the Advantage insurance companies. Seniors see no effect.

On the contrary, seniors will see a sizable "tick up." I just received my Advantage plan comparison between 2011 and 2012. My 2012 plan will cost me far more than my 2011 plan.

All of my co-pays have increased, and many of them are substantial increases. Also, my HMO maximum cost has increased from $4,750 to $5,900.

The Advantage plans have been fantastic plans; however, it is obvious the forthcoming changes in national health care will be the end of these great plans for seniors.

Robert K. Reader, Clearwater

Missed chance at reform

Let's let the Supreme Court decide how "thin" the legal arguments opposing individual insurance purchase requirements are. As the mandate is unprecedented, one might also call the proponents' arguments for it "thin."

As always, what isn't said in the editorial is more revealing than what is. Missing is your opinion on the impact of the law on hiring. We lack your views of its effects on whether employers offer health insurance benefits at all, absorb the new premiums, or variously share the pain with employees and dependents.

I believe we should have created a catastrophic insurance pool, amalgamated Medicare and Medicaid, phased in price sensitivity, and then, incrementally expanded eligibility, eventually to 100 percent.

Instead, we cobbled together some of the best ideas (medical homes, affordable care organizations), and some of the worst (employer-based private insurance and insulation of consumer and provider to pricing). The emperor is neither dressed, as you would have it, nor naked, as conservatives believe, but he is sartorially challenged.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Chris Christie? A big mistake Oct. 3, commentary

Incriminating evidence

The photograph above Michael Kinsley's column was absolutely astounding. As a person of weight myself, I was not amazed by the ample figure of the New Jersey governor and possible presidential candidate, but that he appeared to have his arm around the president of the United States. Was that not the political death knell for Florida's former governor?

I am stunned that the people of New Jersey have not initiated impeachment proceedings!

Sally F. Martin, Tampa

Wednesday's letters: Learning, not building, matters 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:31pm]
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