Shelter's changes are encouraging, editorial | Nov. 29
I disagree with the thrust of your editorial. The Humane Society launched a review and found that animals had been euthanized without approval and in violation of standard shelter procedures.
Also, why is it that board president Jack Geller would not tell the St. Petersburg Times how many animals were killed or for what reasons? Why the supreme secrecy?
It seems to me that every effort is being made to camouflage the realities at the Humane Society of Pinellas. It's obvious that too many of the staffers and volunteers have been plainly put out of countenance by the inhumane incidents at the shelter. It can't be rationalized away that easily.
There is outrage at the drumbeat of deceit over the extermination of healthy, intelligent animals. Healthy animals have a right to exist. Only animals documented as vicious or terminally ill should be euthanized.
I suspect that innocent animals are being killed for cost-cutting reasons.
If true, that must stop because funding for new shelters and current ones can be forthcoming if the public becomes fully aware of the situation. When it comes to beloved animals, people see with their hearts and will fund their care and maintenance.
Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg
Society does kill dogs, letter | Nov. 26
Stop attacking shelter
I am so sick and tired of hearing all the negative publicity about the Humane Society of Pinellas. The people there are not the ones killing animals; the people in our society are the ones killing the animals.
If people would be more responsible and have their animals spayed and neutered, there would not be a need to put so many thousands of animals to death each day in our country. Besides, what this shelter does is no different than what others are doing.
Take more positive actions. Help a less fortunate person pay to have his pet spayed or neutered. Take in a stray. Or better yet, adopt an animal from the Humane Society of Pinellas or any other shelter.
Belinda Blease, Largo
County to get less from penny tax Nov. 10.
It's only taxes, they think
Your headline creator and your staff writer have misconstrued the facts of the situation. The county will not "get less" Penny for Pinellas money; it will simply have less of it to spend on other "budgeted" items because county "guesstimates" appear to be at least $25-million below "expected costs." And let's face it - history tells us the final costs will exceed "expected costs" by at least another 10 to 15 percent.
The county will not get less PFP tax money; it will just spend more than budgeted for the jail expansion. The 24 cities will get less PFP money because the county is going to "need more than originally planned." (I've heard that song before.)
A more significant factor, however, was imparted in the last sentence: "Since then (the inception of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax), the county and municipalities have come to rely on the revenue for road, recreation and building projects."
I ask: What are gasoline taxes for? Road projects. When there is no PFP tax money (refer to next March, please), will there be no city or county tax money allocated for community recreation projects? What county and city "building projects" are so critical that county and city taxes cannot be properly allocated in long-range budget planning?
There seems to be a thought process in county and city (and federal and state) governments: "Hey, that's not real money we're spending - it's only taxes." From my bottom-end-of-the-totem-pole viewpoint, it does seem like real money because it is tax money that I must budget for. Read that bit again ... that I must budget for.
R.J. Radford, Clearwater
Approve the Penny
I want to encourage people to vote for the Penny for Pinellas on March 13. I feel very strongly about improving what is already a terrific library system. I utilize the Palm Harbor Library frequently. The library is the best around. It can only get better if the Penny for Pinellas is approved.
The programs at the library for adults and children are wonderful. Think what can be done with more money: possibly longer hours, Sunday library hours, more parking, additional programs and, of course, more money for books, etc. Please don't forget to vote and approve the Penny for Pinellas.
Marilyn Satinoff, Palm Harbor
Adjuncts need a union
In the last 10 years, the number of part-time teachers (called adjuncts) seems to have increased dramatically in the community colleges of Florida.
This no doubt has reduced the operating costs for our community colleges. However, having adjunct teachers with few benefits inevitably leads to low morale, high turnover, less experienced teachers and, therefore, a poorer educational at community colleges.
I have recently heard that some community colleges are now using nearly 70 percent adjunct teachers and that St. Petersburg College is one of them. The teachers at SPC also have never had any union representation. I think that is a contributing factor in low morale for the school's part-time teachers. I suspect this is a statewide problem.
The Florida Association of Community Colleges, founded in 1949, represents community college teachers and institutions in Tallahassee. Although this organization mainly acts as a lobbyist for the state's 28 community colleges, its mission statement clearly would allow it to do something to help those teachers who lack union representation.
I think it is time for the association to act to help teachers. The best way to do that would be to make the use of its member schools' intercampus mail by union representatives allowable and mandatory. This would no doubt increase union membership. That, I think, would clearly be the best way to improve the working conditions and morale for the state's community college teachers.
Bob Snow, Clearwater