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The handicapped love, fear and react just as we all do

Editor: I read the letter from T. K. Charlesworth (June 21) six times because something just wasn't right. I am not acquainted with anyone connected with this problem, but the underlying bias and ignorance against anyone with a handicap came through loud and clear. His idea that the parents of Stephanie looked fresh and rested because the school system "temporarily relieved them of their responsibility of dealing with their daughter's handicap" is utterly rude and prejudicial both to Stephanie and her parents.

Every other child who attends school temporarily relieves their parents for the hours that school is in session. Should Stephanie be any different? Because a person has a handicap does not diminish the rights he or she has as a human being. That we have to make concessions for them is no more than right. Because their child is handicapped does it mean that the parents should be punished by having to bear the responsibility 24 hours a day, or does Stephanie have the right to go to school and learn as much as she possibly can and be social with others?

As for the bus driver, yes, every job is fraught with tensions, but as an adult it is never acceptable to yell and berate anyone, most especially this fragile child. I couldn't conceive treating someone entrusted to my care in that manner. Maybe a rotation in duties to relieve stress and a few seminars in psychology and behavior control would be helpful to those who come in contact with the students with special needs. Screaming at someone only creates fear and hostility and escalates a possibly already bad situation.

Please, sir, do not entertain the notion that handicapped people are not equal human beings who do not love, fear and react just like the rest of us. I should know. I myself am handicapped and a teacher.

Rose M. Campbell, Hudson

Don't cut Medicare, Medicaid

Editor: With the impending move in Congress to slash Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it is reassuring to know that our dedicated U.S. representative, Karen Thurman, will do all she can to avoid or minimize the needless suffering that will occur when and if this part of the Republican plan succeeds.

With the final action taking place in Congress on balancing the budget, we can expect hurtful cuts in some entitlement programs. While there is a reluctance to touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will undoubtedly feel the ax. Current budget deficit problems are not due to growth in entitlements, but to massive defense spending and unprincipled tax cuts for the wealthy made in the 1980's.

There is no need to cut Medicare and Medicaid since these health-care entitlement programs are growing at a slower rate than health-care costs in the private sector. Medicare can be made more cost effective by some minor adjustments. But the overall problem of health-care costs can only be resolved by a national health care program where all health care costs can be managed and controlled and adequate health care services can be provided to all Americans at affordable costs. The vast majority of American voters indicated they want a program of health care. It is up to the members of Congress, Republicans included, to respond to the needs and desires of the people rather than to the special interests.

Philip Mishkin, Port Richey

U.S. 19 lights not user-friendly

Editor: Re: Traffic lights on U.S. 19.

For years everyone has been complaining about drivers, young and older, of course. There is no simple solution, like slower drivers should stay in the right lane, commuters in the middle and nut cases in the left.

One factor still remains. The lights are not "user friendly"; because of erratic timing, they do not allow a smooth flow. Perhaps the Pasco County Sheriff's Office could check out the situation. It won't eliminate, but it may alleviate, some traffic.

Paula Dunne, Hudson

Belated thanks for helping sick teen

Editor: This is a long-overdue letter of thanks to people and businesses in the communities of Pasco and Hernando counties.

Way back in November and December, I asked for help from the community. A benefit was being put on for a young teen named David. He had a brain tumor, and life-saving operations were needed.

This is a public thank you to all individuals who opened their hearts and businesses to our cause.

Perhaps you let me post a flier in your store window and gave a raffle prize donation, or you supplied food and other items we needed.

With your help and support we reached our goal. It's encouraging to live in an area where people worked together for a success in a time when newspaper articles are often less than positive. As of May 4, all is now well.

Chris Mamoliti

David Magnet Medical Fund

New Port Richey

Thoughts on a penny tax for schools

Editor: I will be voting no to raise the sales tax rate for schools. If the state needs money for schools, I vote that it reinstate commercial fishing. The $20-million-plus that will be used to compensate the fishermen would go a long way toward improving the schools and other important issues Florida needs. The general population would not listen to the impact the net ban would have. Now that the facts are coming in, Gov. Lawton Chiles and the voters of Florida should rethink this amendment and overrule it.

Since the ban was started by the state and by Karl Wickstrom from Florida Sportsman, let them come up with the money for Florida schools and for the commercial fisherman.

Julie Potter, New Port Richey

Editor: I am writing about the one-cent sales tax that is being asked for by the Pasco County School Board. My children and grandchildren are all grown, but I believe we need to support the tax.

Our county is growing by leaps and bounds, and we must provide education for the children. Education is our future. If we don't pay for it now, we will pay down the road with more prisons. Vote YES on Sept. 12.

Allene Bailey, Zephyrhills

Editor: As a local businessman and former educator, I want to take this opportunity to encourage the passage of "A Penny Sales Tax for Schools." Although it is difficult to encourage a new tax, the reality of our current school funding situation necessitates this one.

Our county is growing rapidly, and we need to be prepared to meet the building needs the increased student population will demand. The sales tax will give our county the financial ability to meet the needs and not endure the problems associated with double sessions and inadequately equipped schools.

Any tax is difficult to swallow; however, the penny sales tax is palatable because it is tied specifically to school construction, is of limited duration (five years) and affects all residents equally.

Join me on Sept. 12 in voting for "A Penny Sales Tax for Schools."

Jerry McCarthy, Lutz

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