Health care centers put up barrier | Sept. 12
Why hinder health care?
As a taxpayer, I have to question the decision by the Florida Department of Health to construct barriers to the Affordable Health Care Act. In addition to the fact that previous health care representatives have called the tactic "cruel and irresponsible," it has also been noted that this action would "significantly compromise a multitude of needy Floridians from getting critical health care."
What is going on in Tallahassee and in the Republican Party of Florida, for that matter? The GOP seems bound and determined to shrink the size of government by shrinking the number of Floridians able to cast a vote. Die quietly, and please do so before the next election cycle, is a disturbing political model. It remains to be seen what effect this will have. But it is not the compassionate conservatism of the past. This is a new game and the stakes are life and death.
Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg
Health care centers put up barrier | Sept. 12 Obamacare not perfect
Well, I see the Times is again banging the drum for Obamacare. But I wonder whether the Times would mind explaining why, if Obamacare is such a good thing, Congress has exempted itself, its family members, and staff from it?
Perhaps we should also be informed as to why there have been so many waivers granted, and thousands more applications for waivers? Even the unions want out, and that does not bode well for Obama, nor for the Democrats.
One of the cornerstones of our republic is inscribed over the U.S. Supreme Court building: "Equal Justice Under Law."
If the Obamacare law is not applied equally, we do not have equal justice under law. What we would have is something right out of George Orwell's Animal Farm, where "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Will cash tempt teachers? | Sept. 8
Well-deserved pay raise
Congratulations to the Pinellas schools superintendent and the School Board for recognizing the importance of raising the base salary for beginning teachers to $40,000. By attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent, we will help more students succeed. It is also important to note that this was accomplished in a most effective way, by reallocating funds from within the district's budget.
The community has overwhelmingly supported paying teachers more, as evidenced by the tax referendum passed in previous years. Previously it took an alarming 10 years for any teacher to progress from a starting salary of $37,000 to $40,000. In fact, according to the current teacher pay scale, the largest raises don't occur until teachers enter their 25th year of teaching.
Adding to the base salary at the beginning of a teacher's career and using the referendum dollars to further enhance those salaries will go a long way to ensure that the talent we want to attract will stay for the long term.
Jim Myers, St. Petersburg
County okays charging stormwater fee Sept. 11
Thanks for nothing
Pinellas County charging a fee for stormwater is a travesty.
I have lived in my home for the past 37 years along with my neighbors, and in the beginning never had flooding on my property. I have never increased the size of my foundation. But I have watched the county allow the leveling of trees and free-standing properties to build offices, factories, etc., without giving a thought to me or my neighbors.
All the building in our area has caused flooding on our street every time it rains. For 20-plus years we have asked the county to make changes so the stormwater has an outlet off our street and off our properties. The county has responded to our requests with disdain.
Now the county is telling us we need to pay a stormwater fee. Is this right? I think not, but apparently this is not a democracy. They, the county, can dictate what will be done to us, like it or not.
Marge Maciha, Largo
Keep the pressure on charter schools Sept. 13
It's all about money
Charter schools receive a fraction of the funding that traditional public schools do, so where is the rest of the money going to come from?
Does the Times believe it is actually possible to provide an education for less money than a public school receives? If so, maybe we should all be paying less taxes.
The Times is right about one thing: the controversy of charter schools vs. public schools certainly is about money. It's about the money traditional public schools are losing each time a student opts for a charter school. It's about competition. When my neighborhood public school is not going to educate or provide a safe environment to my standards then I have the choice, provided to me by the state of Florida, to choose another school.
No parent is forced to send their child to a charter school and pay its fees. It is about choice — a choice the Hillsborough County School Board would love to see go away, effectively ending the need for them to compete for anything.
C. Abbate, Brandon
A nameless desire for solidarity | Sept. 9
A beacon for downtown
I read with interest the article about the desire to unify the downtown area that is home to All Children's Hospital, USF, the Poynter Institute, marine research and other facilities.
I had the opportunity to be on the committee that submitted the name for Jannus Landing many years ago, and thought I might make a suggestion for this effort.
With the geographical location bordering on Tampa Bay and considering the educational, marine and hospital facilities, I would like to submit Beacon's Point as a possible name.
There could be a Beacon's Park or Beacon's Field and signage with a lighthouse-inspired design or mile markers to help people navigate the area. A Lighthouse Beacon, strategically located, could light the way to health care, higher learning, marine research, and all things that enhance and enlighten this area of St. Petersburg.
Mavis Wallace, St. Petersburg