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  1. Letters to the Editor

Letters: Good work at New Beginnings is being punished

Published Dec. 19, 2014

Times' crusade against New Beginnings

Good work is being punished

Let me see if I have this straight. Pastor Tom Atchison of New Beginnings takes in drug addicts, criminals and sex offenders — basically the unemployable dregs of society whom no other institution will care for — and gives them free room and board, and probably clothing too.

In return he asks the men to pay for their costly care by working a few hours a week at jobs in the community for (at most) pocket money. Nobody is compelled to stay at his homeless shelter and as I understand it nobody is prevented from finding additional employment to earn a few dollars if they so choose. And while in Atchison's care they are gaining basic job skills, and building a record of steady employment and sobriety that can help them to return to normal society.

From what you have written about Atchison himself, he appears to be an honorable man who definitely is not getting rich out of doing a nasty job that I'm sure no editor at the Tampa Bay Times would want to tackle.

What's wrong with this picture?

The Times has depicted this man as some sort of latter-day Fagin, exploiting people for personal gain. Thanks to you, Atchison already has lost many of the major sponsors who provided work for these indigents. It's only a matter of time before his funds and his support dry up and New Beginnings disappears. At which point the drug addicts, criminals and sex offenders will be back sleeping on the streets of Tampa with nothing to do but feed their anti-social pastimes through criminal activity.

Normally I admire the Times for its crusades that are meant to root out the evil in society, and I feel that your past Pulitzers have been justly deserved. But this time you are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Brandon Jones, Clearwater

How to mend what divides us Dec. 14, column

A torrent of money, lies

It was refreshing to see a clear explanation of the origin of modern obstructionism and its prophet Newt Gingrich. Two elements of our current political dysfunctionality, not included in Darryl Paulson's article, were the infusion of big money influence and the cascade of misinformation and outright lies poured over the voting public. Until the American people rein in these glaring flaws in the system and allow the voting public unbiased, honest information and access into the political fray; our system of representation will remain broken. The Founding Fathers envisioned a citizen government, but today, if a citizen does not have access to big money, they can't fully participate within the political process and only professional politicians and their progeny will rule us. This entrenched political class is far too cozy with selfish special interests and our form of government will continue to serve the few and ignore the interests of the many.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

On packed streets, peril is fact of life Dec. 15, story

What increases danger

I hope all readers will understand from an article like this that a traffic intersection is not dangerous because it has a high number of accidents.

A high number of accidents often occurs simply because the intersection, as the article states, has a high volume of traffic. Rather, an intersection is dangerous when the number of accidents per vehicle is high, which can occur at any intersection. If the Times would report this kind of statistic, readers would then gain some truly useful information about local traffic and our safety.

Dan Chesnut, St. Petersburg

Rubio seizes moment to lead the outrage Dec. 18, story

Not speaking for people

"I don't care if the polls say that 90 percent of people believe we should normalize relations in Cuba. . . ." Once again the junior senator from Florida demonstrates that he is not quite ready for prime time. Inasmuch as the United States has a representative form of government, as an elected representative of the people he certainly should care what 90 percent of people believe. I believe that the democracy he hopes for his homeland is much more likely to come with this policy shift than from the policy that has not worked in 50 years.

Sally Martin, Tampa

Jeb's work life invites scrutiny Dec. 16, Robert Trigaux column

Obama was given a pass

So Robert Trigaux thinks that Jeb Bush's background and business dealings need scrutiny now that he is considering a run for president?

I'd like to know where Mr. Trigaux and the rest of the media were when a virtually unknown young first-time senator from Illinois decided to run for president. Did they explore his background, administrative experience, business dealings and known associates. After all, they were able to find that Mitt Romney had tied his dog to the roof of his car while going on vacation many years ago.

It seems disingenuous for the liberal media to put the backgrounds of Republicans under a microscope while they essentially gave Barack Obama a pass. To paraphrase a famous Nancy Pelosi statement, "Let's elect him to find out his background, beliefs and abilities."

Joe Wareham, Tierra Verde

Get teachers to love learning | Dec. 17, letter

Leave teaching to teachers

Juliana Menke's letter to the editor regarding an article written on Dec. 12 regarding school testing was right on point.

In her letter, she says there is no doubt that "exercise, creative teaching, and opportunities to experiment draw students into the thrill of discovery," and a love of learning, whereas "repetitive testing bores and discourages students and teachers."

Additionally, a return to leaving education to the educators as opposed to legislators will encourage rather than discourage our young people to pursue a career in teaching.

Bernadette Menz, Safety Harbor

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