Letters to the Editor for April 1


Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2008 at 5:02 p.m.

Braddy's homeless research reeks of hate-mongering

City Commissioner Ed Braddy has proclaimed that, after doing a public records search, he has discovered that there are 1,000 convicted felons in the homeless community in Gainesville. He then accused homeless advocates of misrepresenting the public safety hazards presented by homeless people.

One of these "1,000 convicted felons" comes to my house twice a week to make sandwiches for the Home Van. He was convicted of a non-violent felony years ago, after leaving Florida's foster care system. He has been clean and sober for many years but still has a hard time getting a job or housing because he's a convicted felon. He's one of many homeless people who paid their debt to society long ago, but are still being punished.

Commissioner Braddy's flamboyant statistic is meaningless because it gives us no details and no context. How many of the felonies committed by homeless people are violent felonies and how many are nonviolent? How many years ago did these felonies occur? How many relate to untreated addictions and mental illness? How many of these convicted felons are people who were declared felons after being convicted of three misdemeanors.

A few years ago the Florida Legislature passed a law declaring that three misdemeanors equal a felony. So, a convicted felon may be someone who was arrested three times for trespassing in the park, someone who was in possession of a crack pipe or someone who robbed a bank.

Braddy's action is a tragedy for our homeless community. We are a town already in the grip of NIMBY (not in my back yard) hysteria and he has thrown gasoline on the flames. How are we going to site services for homeless people now? It is already unbelievably difficult to do so. What is it going to be like now?

Braddy's action reeks of intellectual dishonesty and hate-mongering.

Arupa Freeman,

Gainesville

Don't eliminate CMS

The week of March 31-April 4 is Children's Week in Tallahassee and will be highlighted by decorations in the Capitol Rotunda made by children.

There will be beautifully drawn pictures, colorful handprints and streamers celebrating the accomplishments of our children. It is ironic that this year while we are celebrating Children's Week, our legislators will be working to cut funding for children's health services by over $17 million.

The House is proposing eliminating programs within Children's Medical Services (CMS) which deal with such diseases as sickle cell anemia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, metabolic disorders, congenital heart disease, prematurity and basic treatment for children with chronic disease.

CMS is and has been the last resort for children with chronic disease in the state for over 30 years. If these reductions remain, CMS will be devastated. Children who have relied on CMS for their treatment will be without medical support.

No system of care outside of the CMS Network can or will provide these services. This action by the Legislature against our most vulnerable citizens is an outrage.

Today, the Children's Cabinet will be meeting in this same capitol. I certainly hope the cabinet addresses this crisis by giving the chair, our lieutenant governor and the entire Florida Legislature a clear message: We must value our children and continue to provide for their needs through CMS.

If we don't have the courage to do so, let's let our children know where they really stand on the state's priority list. Rather than celebrating Children's Week, let's cancel it.

R. L. Bucciarelli, M.D.

Member, Florida Chapter

American Academy of Pediatrics

Gainesville

What Gitmo atrocities?

On March 21 Cindy Hill wrote about atrocities being committed in Guantanamo! Someone tell me what atrocities? Have we seen any videos of detainees being shot behind the head with their hands tied behind their backs? Have we beheaded anyone? What about the atrocities that are and have been committed against our military in Iraq?

Wake up people. Get your heads out of the sand. These people want to kill all non-Muslims. They will stop at nothing. They are here in this country and if we let our guard down they will attack us.

Be thankful that you can protest what your government does without the fear of being killed. You can go to the church of your choice. You can convert to Islam if you wish and we won't kill you.

Read Page 7A of the March 21 Sun and see what Osama bin Laden is urging.

Anthony John Spatafore,

Starke

We can find a solution to the mortgage dilemma

The housing problems our country now faces can be traced to four sources: the local government, the home buyers, the builders and the loan companies.

The government has the authority and responsibility to regulate the type of homes to be built when the builders apply for a permit. The home builders bear some responsibility because they prefer to build larger homes which give them larger profits. Therefore they will apply for permits to build larger homes.

The home buyers bear responsibility by being willing to buy a home that is often larger than they need, requiring a larger loan. Often the home buyer has little choice since most of the homes being built are large and expensive.

The mortgage companies also are responsible for allowing home buyers to negotiate large loans on expensive homes.

It is not in the best interest of the loan companies to foreclose on mortgages when home owners are unable to make the monthly payments. If they do so, they end up with a home for sale which prospective buyers are unable to afford.

It becomes a lose-lose situation. The loan company gets no revenue from the mortgager and the mortgager has no home. It seems that the prudent thing to do would be to allow the home buyer to remain in the home and negotiate a delayed payment option.

Fred Lussky,

Gainesville

Evaluating county funding

With all due respect to Ron Cunningham, he misrepresented the content of my March 23 letter in his column that appeared on the same day.

My point was not necessarily that the $1.4 million in question should have been earmarked for the pet shelter, but rather that the use of that money to enhance the existing park complex in Jonesville is not a wise choice, given the lean budgetary times we find ourselves in.

Even though the park doesn't benefit me personally, I do see the wider community benefit. The question is, where do we get the best bang for the buck? I assert that funding services for people who can already afford them is not the best way to maximize the county's budget.

Further, the choice between funding the park and funding the animal shelter is a false one. Funding opportunities must be evaluated in concert.

All those who cheer the $1.4 million allocated to the park must realize that choice necessarily means there is $1.4 million less available to fund other county services.

I just can't believe that funding Jonesville park is easier than cutting funds to critical county services or programs that would benefit the truly needy in our communities or finding new ways to generate revenue.

Teresa Kauf,

Gainesville

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