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Published Sep. 10, 2009

AARP letter delivers a blast- Sept. 6 article

AARP owes U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite a letter of apology for their senior representative's remarks viscously attacking the congresswoman and her efforts in explaining health care reform. Has anyone at AARP actually read the 1,000 plus pages of this bill? Probably not.

Let's back up for a minute and look at what AARP hasn't done for its 40 million members: only provides one auto insurer in Florida (Hartford), which has higher rates than the top five; doesn't provide home insurance protection with anyone; and the supplemental health groups can be beaten by BENCO Insurance agents with the same companies that AARP supports.

AARP has lost its way with the mission, vision and value of its organization. We seniors across the country need help now more than ever and AARP prefers lambasting our elected leaders. Rep. Brown-Waite is most likely the most dedicated and respected member of Congress and AARP has attacked her with energy that should be used for constructive issues.

The members of AARP need to focus on AARP and push for reform throughout its internal broken executive administration. Yes AARP, like many others, I am a proponent of Rep. Brown-Waite and her agenda. We are folks lucky enough to have her representing us.

William T. Simpson, Spring Hill

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AARP strayed from its purpose

How can AARP possibly remain a neutral player in regard to the health care debate when they are in the health care insurance business?

Over the years, I have been bombarded by AARP selling their various services. Originally, they offered help for seniors with the many problems of aging. As an AARP member, I now find them offensive and intrusive.

Yolanda Melkun, Hudson

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AARP is a tool of the White House

And so it begins. The well-orchestrated attacks against those doing the most damage to the administration's disaster of House Health Care Bill 3200 by Lori Parham, AARP's Florida director. It was difficult to tell if Ms. Parham's feeble attempt to paint U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's position and disseminated information as erroneous and misleading was with tongue in cheek or simply sycophantic babble - word for word -out of the administration's playbook.

The AARP campaign to establish itself as a neutral player in the health care debate is laughable at best, and at worst is deception of the highest order in that it has been well established that the AARP's president was and still is an ardent supporter and contributor to President Barack Obama. Since when are cuts in Medicare payments for services considered savings?

It begs the question: Won't such cuts severely curtail availability to already beleaguered Medicare-accepting doctors and diagnostic services such as MRI's and CAT Scans?

Ms. Parham references a disputed report from to buttress her own and the administration's parroted and misconstrued positions.

Richard M. DeCarlo, Wesley Chapel

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Light is needed on power pricing

On Feb. 26, I met with the following management of Withlacoochee Electric, and its partner/supplier of product, Seminole Electric. The purpose was to address the apparent disconnect between natural gas pricing (a component part of your electrical cost), and the fuel adjustment line item on ratepayer's utility bills. Representing Withlacoochee were David Lambert, manager member relations, and Duane Vann, assistant general manager.

My concerns were and are for the thousands of Withlacoochee utility customers with numerous financial challenges who are getting no pricing relief, in spite of the fact the component part (natural gas) pricing, is the lowest its been since 2002.

In 2004, Withlacoochee raised the fuel cost adjustment rate to $29.66 per 1,000 kilowatt hours, and after a series of eight to nine price increases, customers ended up paying $57.29 per 1,000 hours in December 2008. Now with natural gas pricing at $2.73 a thousand (week ending Sept. 4), the lowest its been since 2002, our capital credit partners at Withlacoochee refuse to do what appears to be a price justified" adjustment.

After the meeting in February, I asked David Lambert to agree to a moderated public debate regarding the apparent disconnect. His response: "I'm currently working on several other projects with other members that require a significant amount of my time. One of my many duties at the cooperative is to manage our charitable foundation Operation Round-up. Since the economic decline we are now seeing a substantial increase in the amount of people that requesting assistance from the program. Due to my heavy work load, I must respectfully decline your request".

I think it's time for Operation Round Down. I believe it's time we had a public, media-moderated town hall meeting to discuss these matters and others. The cooperative's Web site says, "our energy, our future, a dialogue with America." Here's the cooperative's chance to have a dialogue with one American. I hope it won't pass up the opportunity.

James Gries, Weeki Wachee