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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Florida is looking like a place to flee
Letters to the Editor
Published March 9, 2008
Sadly, the Medicaid program and public schools are being dealt another blow with more budget cuts. This would not be necessary if the Republican-led Legislature had not cut the intangibles tax and otherwise been consumed with cutting revenues instead of making smart decisions to increase funding for much-needed services.
Florida has experienced the perfect storm of incompetence in state government these past eight or nine years. Term limits caused more experienced legislators to be booted out, and their seats were filled with ideologues more interested in interfering with people's private lives than in sound government.
Then we had Gov. Jeb Bush and his privatization schemes. Unfunded mandates passed on to the counties caused a big rise in property taxes. Nothing effective was done about rising insurance rates. The final blow was the decision to move up the primary so Democratic voters were disenfranchised.
I've lived in Florida for almost 40 years and I never thought I'd leave, but this crowd in Tallahassee is making me consider that possibility.
Judith Groner, Lecanto
Financial fixes for the state
In my opinion, the solution to our state's financial problems requires two steps:
First, the governor is embracing a false hope by signing the gaming pact with the Indian casinos. He is saying to the poorest and least educated and to our children that you can solve your financial problems by gambling - a Trojan horse if there ever was one. The lottery must also be eliminated.
Second, we must institute a flat-rate, nongraduated income tax. Sales taxes are unfair, as they fall hardest on those least able to afford them.
The problem is that neither the governor nor most of the legislators have the guts or honesty to admit the obvious to the citizens. Don't hold your breath waiting.
Dave Mitchell, Seminole
So unhappy they have sued March 2, Perspective story
Planning and protection
What part about Save Our Homes do Ida and Stan Chamberlin not understand? The Save Our Homes amendment of 1992 is not called "Save Our Second Homes." The purpose of the amendment was to protect people's primary homesteads from the uncontrollable forces of higher taxes due to inflation of property taxes caused by carpetbagging opportunists.
The adage "Timing is everything" applies here. I wish I had had the foresight to purchase stock in McDonald's Corp. years ago so that I too could experience a financial advantage.
My husband and I purchased a homestead many years ago that we could afford through prudent budgeting, based on factors known to us at the time. I resent the "Johnny-come-latelys" who are causing great expense to our community's water, roads, schools, police and fire rescue services and who caused property values to soar by their speculative purchases of their McMansions. To expect me to try to budget a much larger expense for taxes due to the consequence of these latecomers' insatiable quest for Florida property is just as unfair as seizure through eminent domain.
Carol Moran, St. Petersburg
One planet, one child March 2
A simplistic solution
Robyn Blumner's column suggests that we can solve the problem of population "the easy way. ... The easy way is to return to sustainability through planned parenthood - making one-child households a cultural imperative everywhere."
One might ask whether this policy is creating problems for the Chinese, as suggested by an article in another section of the same issue of the St. Petersburg Times (Lustful men, other Chinese challenges).
In many industrial countries, there is an aging population that is dependent on immigration for a vibrant work force. For a variety of reasons, families in advanced countries tend to have fewer children without a cultural imperative. In Third World countries, families tend to have more children for reasons that include high rates of mortality and the idea that more children can provide economic security.
Most of the world's serious problems have to do with war, corrupt government, AIDS, an ill-advised corn-ethanol program, poor government density planning and a host of other issues that will not be solved by a one-child cultural imperative. Many who live in these devastatingly dangerous areas are helped by funds and courageous workers from religious groups whom Blumner dismisses as the problem because they "continue to encourage reckless reproduction levels with many condemning birth control and abortion."
For the many people of faith who care for the less fortunate and believe abortion is the taking of innocent life, this entire article is offensive. Robyn Blumner seems very concerned about the environment and natural beauty, but she misses the point when she sees the solution in such a stark, simplistic way.
Bill Magoulis, Tarpon Springs
One planet, one child March 2
Too many people
As long as our elected officials and community leaders, and their big-business buddies, see increasing business profits only in terms of increasing potential customers, this country will continue to foster any program, any religious edict, any cultural custom, that encourages people to have more children -and will fight, tooth and nail, any program that reduces family size. Our income tax code, with its deductions for every minor child, is only one example of the way our federal elected officials reward families for having more children.
These purveyors of programs to increase the population do a great job of selling their message, to the less well-educated or those of strong religious beliefs, by wrapping it in moral and religious philosophy, while they, themselves, recognize that, in order to live in financial comfort and to provide for their future well being, it is necessary to limit family size.
The only solution to our global problems of pollution and global warming, as well as loss of wildlife habitat and species, is to reduce the number of people on this planet. Anything else is a temporary, stopgap measure with little, if any, long-term effect.
M. Diane Hodson, St. Petersburg
A source of pride
Last Sunday, I took a long break between a double shift at work with the city of Tampa, in the USF main campus library. I went to the second floor periodicals department.
Before I sat down to read, I wanted to check my e-mail. I sat at a table with four young African-American young men, who each were at a computer. The young men were not playing a video game. They were not looking at forbidden Web sites. The young men were working together as a team studying what sounded like physics, solving some equations and working theories.
As an African-American who graduated from Rutgers in New Jersey, I was beaming with pride to see these young men fulfilling the dreams of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two of the young men appeared to be football players and the other two, just regular students. I wanted to go over and tell them how proud I was and how proud their parents would be to know that they were doing what they were supposed to be doing - learning and getting an education.