Letters to the Editors
More adult businesses? Tell officials to say no
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 13, 2002
Editor: Here we go again, playing Pasco politics. Our county commissioners are contemplating adding more blight to the Pasco community. We already have 13 of these adult businesses to darken our image. Now there is a proposal to add 16 more. Of course, they will settle for half that amount as a favor to the residents.
It would seem that this would be a no-brainer. If it were anywhere else, the constituents would be first and foremost in the minds of our elected individuals. This wouldn't even be up for consideration, in as much as it would lower property values, debase the area and chase a bunch of legitimate businesses away. But this is Pasco and Hudson (or is it Hudsin?), so who cares?
I hope that all residents who care about their community get on the phone or pick up a pen and let their representatives know what they think of this. They are all in the phone book.
Think about the impact on family's foster kids
Foster parents Steven and Corinna Gourlay are threatened by a lawsuit. The Forest Lake Estates Neighborhood Association claims accepting state money for foster care breaks a no-business rule.
The Gourlays care for five foster children, ages 2 to 14, as well as four other children. The Gourlays, a single-income family, receive approximately $13.52 per foster child per day. This is to help cover expenses that occur in a 30-day month.
The association sued.
Donald R. Peyton, representing the association, states, "I understand they aren't doing it for free or out of love, that it's a business."
I work as a counselor specializing in children and their families.
Only the most heinous of circumstances would remove a child from his or her home. Reasons include sexual molestation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment. There's a long waiting list, and few children find themselves in a small, loving home with a family atmosphere.
Foster kids have the burden of coping with real pain, even though their coping skills lack full development. They can harbor feelings of anger, mistrust, abandonment, hopelessness and lack of self-worth.
To some extent, these feelings will exist throughout their lives. To what extent depends on their strength to cope. Strength is developed over time utilizing a nurturing, if not loving, home environment, a supportive community, proper education and counseling, if required.
Without these tools, substitutes can include narcotic warmth, alcohol numbness, acceptance through sexual promiscuity and self-mutilation.
Lifetime consequences can include various poor work skills, limited education, drug and alcohol abuse, inability to function in society and poor parenting skills that might lead to continuing the cycle of abuse.
I urge the association to choose carefully its next move. Each association member holds direct impact over these children.
History can pinpoint pivotal moments, seemingly insignificant, that shape futures. If any child loses hope, you have lost that child.
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