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Letters to the Editor

Published Jul. 8, 2016

Nonprofit gone, CEO pay remains | July 2

Privatizing services fails

Thanks to Steve Contorno for reporting on what happened to Hillsborough Kids Inc. after its state contract for child protection and foster care was taken away from it in 2012. That kind of thing has been happening all over the state ever since Gov. Jeb Bush privatized foster care and related services in 1998.

There is a lot more to the story. Hillsborough Kids Inc. is only one of many corporate providers that have failed in the 21st century privatization that Bush imposed upon Florida's child welfare system.

Along with other local citizens who served on the district board that supervised all those public services of the Department of Health and Human Services in the 20th century, I was perplexed when Bush suddenly abolished the citizen boards and privatized all those services, controlling them with private contracts run by the office of the governor. Not only did many of those contractors, called CBCs, fail throughout the state, but their failures were reflected in administrative failures at the state level. In 15 years, the Department of Children and Families has itself seen more than six secretaries.

Privatizing services has not helped. Since 2000, Florida has dropped to last or nearly last place in most health and human services measures.

Alvin Wolfe, Lutz

Park's orangutan makes getaway | July 2

Coverage could have been better

The Times' coverage of the recent orangutan escape at Busch Gardens left much to be desired. The reporting methodology of contacting park guests through social media ensured that only the loudest voices were heard. As with all social media platforms, the loudest voices are not always entirely accurate.

Additionally, the Times' Twitter feed reported that the park was being evacuated, leaving readers with the impression that all guests were forced to exit the park, rather than only certain areas being closed off. Considering this story broke nationally fairly quickly, I would expect a more careful account of the facts from a local media outlet, particularly one that should be more familiar with the park.

Ryan Pearson, Tampa