1. Opinion

There is no easy solution to help traumatized teens

Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
A plan by a Hillsborough County Juvenile Justice Advisory board would allow problem foster children to be housed in this secure facility on East Columbus Drive. [LUIS SANTANA | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 5

There is just no easy answer

What traumatized kids need | Column, Oct. 1

In Roy Miller’s column, he rightfully condemns the notion that traumatized hard-to-place teenagers in the child welfare system should be locked up.

However, even as long-range solutions are being studied following his recommendation of forming a statewide work group, something needs to change. As a long-time guardian ad litem and former CEO of a child welfare case management agency in another state, I know full well what is broken and which proposed alternatives to a lock-down facility are totally unrealistic.

One popular suggestion is to recruit more foster families. Is it realistic to think that there are a number of families out there who are willing to take an oppositional teenager who has been traumatized by a lifetime of neglect into their home? In general, foster families currently receive only minimal training in how to handle children who have suffered neglect or abuse. Even if some families can be found, who will pay for the intensive parenting support that is needed to help a traumatized teenager respond to the care of his/her new family?

Those proposing a lock-down alternative for the supposed small number of hard-to-manage teens should be mindful that any lock-down facility should not merely be a euphemism for a jail. In my work as a guardian, I have visited a number of the existing non-lock-down local group homes and have found them lacking in anything that resembles a family-type atmosphere that supports and nurtures children.

However, with reluctance, I do support the notion of some short-term lock-down facilities as long as they are staffed by highly trained individuals who understand trauma and are committed to providing an accepting and supportive philosophy of child management. But let’s be clear, it can only be tolerated as a short-term band aid.

Richard Horowitz, Palm Harbor

An inexpensive solution

Clean up their Act | Editorial, Sept. 29

I was delighted to read your editorial’s recommendation that the state should restore the Statewide Advocacy Council. I was a member of a local council for years and had done investigations of patient complaints in mental health treatment facilities.

Our council members were so dismayed to learn that the state had cancelled the program. Council members were all volunteers, receiving only minimal mileage reimbursement. The entire state program cost was less than $500,000, which was mainly administrative staff salaries. What a huge mistake to cancel the program. Mental health patients lost an advocacy protection.

Rosann Toshich, Spring Hill

A label for many, not one

Public opinion will direct impeachment path | Column, Sept. 29

President Donald Trump [PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS | AP]

Toward the end of her column, Peggy Noonan says, “It is infuriating that members of America’s leadership so often show themselves to the world as self-enriching. ... In the 21st century our political figures and their families too often look like scrounging grifters — Americans with connections who can be hired, who leverage connections to fame for profit.”

Then she mentions Hunter Biden. Excuse me! What about the whole Trump family, including the president himself?

Witness the Trump Hotel, Mar-a-Lago, his golf club in Ireland, all touted by the president himself. To the best of my knowledge, his children are profiting from using his name in businesses that he still profits from. Let’s put the label where it belongs.

Alice Smith, St. Petersburg

A nullification campaign

Actor William Shatner as Captain Kirk on the classic TV series "Star Trek," 1967 Tribune file photo; President Donald Trump, Associated Press, Evan Vucci; Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg, Times files [Provided]

Trump makes Captain Queeg look like Captain Kirk | Column, Sept. 29

Hypocritical sanctimony and amateur psychoanalysis undermine, rather than advance, the Democrats’ election nullification campaign. Leonard Pitts’ screed exceeds even the new norm of declaring guilt before the first witness has spoken or the first document has been read, let alone challenged by the accused. That’s Vladimir Putin’s concept of justice, not ours. The true peril to our republic comes from the rampant undermining of our standards and procedures in order to slay the alleged dragon. These traditions will be hard to repair, even if the effort dubiously succeeds. Patriots should be concerned about open access to diplomatic conversations (a principle established by George Washington), leaky congressional committees, repurposing the whistle blower statute, questioning the personal integrity of officials in the intelligence agencies and Justice Department, our peculiarly partisan interest in the possible political ramifications of foreign interactions by Donald Trump, and no one else, and keeping the executive, legislative and judicial branches (and the media) engaged with these serial accusations, and little else. A cynic might wish for a Boy Scout Pence versus Mrs. Marx contest in 2020, but that’s not what really matters, is it?

Pat Byrne, Largo

Others will follow his lead

President unleashes his fury | Oct. 3

President Donald Trump has demonstrated time and again a flagrant disregard for the law of the United States. In doing so, he is actively setting the precedent that any sitting president can carry themselves the way that he has. This then means that a given president, whether conservative or progressive, could extend their power with total disregard for the checks and balances of our republic established centuries ago by our forefathers. I urge our Florida members of Congress to seek the deserved impeachment of President Trump. I hope and trust that my elected officials will make the right decision and not simply follow party lines in order to save face with their peers; moreover, their actions should represent the people and serve to affirm the integrity of the appropriate legal process of the legislative branch of our nation.

Maryssa Kane, Tampa


  1.  Bill Day --
  2. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Even Oklahoma, a state not famous for progressive reform, has done more than Florida to fix sentencing inequities, Carl Hiaasen writes.
  3. In this photo from June 28, 2019, a Coalition for Life St. Louis member waves to a Planned Parenthood staff member. ROBERT COHEN  |  AP
    Florida law already requires that parents be notified prior to an abortion, writes senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida.
  4. Students say the Pledge of Allegiance as thousands gather at a candlelight vigil for several students killed in the Saugus High School shooting in Central Park, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. CAROLYN COLE  |  AP
    We doctors treat diseases, but what of the epidemic of gun violence, writes a St. Petersburg doctor.
  5. Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association members protest outside of the school board building in Tampa in December 2017. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the location of what is believed to be a former African-American cemetery next to the parking lot of Frank Crum Staffing located at 100 S. Missouri Ave. in Clearwater.  The empty lot is part of the former Clearwater Heights neighborhood which featured Bethany CME church and Williams Elementary School.   Photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.  JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times
    Tampa Bay’s lost cemeteries are part of our collective history.
  7. A business man and woman holding a sign depicting their political party preference. SHARON DOMINICK  |
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  8. Leonard Pitts undefined
    Don’t wall ourselves off from contradictory opinions, writes Leonard Pitts.
  9. President Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Nov. 2016 in Bedminster, N.J.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  10. (left to right) Nupar Godbole, medical student at USF, and Tiffany Damm, medical student at UCF, take part in a papaya workshop at the University of South Florida Medical Students for Choice Second Annual Florida Regional Conference held in the Morsani College of Medicine on February 24, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. Some of the instruments used in abortions, like the manual vacuum aspirator, are used in an exercise with a papaya, to simulate an abortion. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.