Letters to the Editor for May 1, 2011
Published: Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 5:56 p.m.
To lawmakers: Think about the little guy
I have been employed by institutions belonging to the Florida Retirement System for almost 29 years. I have received numerous statements that my retirement benefits and the DROP plan are part of my benefits package, and that I should consider this when asking for a raise. My pay does not consist of my salary alone, but includes these benefits.
I could have worked in the private sector, but I chose to forego the big bucks for a modest salary with the promise of a state retirement and DROP. Now, as I am preparing to cash in on this promise, the rug is being pulled out from under me.
DROP does not cost the state a cent. The retirement system has kept salaries down with the promise of a nest egg as a reward for faithful service.
I ask legislators to think of the little guys who have served the state well.
No way to break the cycle of drug abuse
In his April 27 Speaking Out, Sen. Steve Oelrich fails to acknowledge that drug addiction is a recognized illness and should be treated as such. Denying needy families welfare help due to a positive drug test result fails to break the cycle of drug use, something Oelrich claims SB 556 would do.
Instead, SB 556 punishes those who suffer from an addiction by denying them help that might, potentially, help them break the cycle. There is very little in the way of addiction help in most communities.
If an applicant who is addicted fails to pass a mandated drug test, Oelrich states that person is ineligible to receive benefits for one year. Exactly how that will help “break the cycle of drug abuse” is unclear. The bill is punitive only, with no retributive aspect.
W. B. Mutch,
What are the limits of the state's power?
Those who feel that the government can and should have power to reach into a woman's life and body and force her to have a baby she does not want miss the obvious point: That this same government could and might have the power to reach into a woman's life and body and force her not to have a baby she does want.
Constitutionally, the issue of the government's power is the same. The fact that one end is desired while the other is not makes no difference legally. It is a matter of the government's power over women's lives and bodies.
Private prisons only in it for the profit
As a correctional officer at Florida State Prison, I am committed to protecting our community from the state's most violent felons. My job is not easy but I don't complain. I don't ask for special favors, only respect.
Quite a few politicians in Tallahassee think closing prisons and turning them over to a private company is a good way to save money. These companies will do what they have to do to make money, even if this means laying off people or cutting corners on security.
These companies put profit over anything else. They only want to house inmates who do not cost extra (i.e. healthy inmates), they do not want the inmates who require ongoing medical and/or mental treatments or who are disciplinary problems.
They provide a lot less training for their officers, and in some cases do not even require them to have a certification.
A pattern of assault on public servants
When the heroic, but ailing, first responders to the attack on 9/11 receive the federal health care assistance they have earned — having satisfied U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns that they were not terrorists in some deep disguise — I hope none of them are people of color, and have to show him their long-form birth certificates as well.
This pattern of assault upon public servants, from the highest office in the land through our teachers and guardians of public safety, should be remembered at the ballot box, if the Florida Legislature does not succeed in abolishing that too.
State budget cuts will ruin local economy
Am I to believe that Gov. Rick Scott's platform is to create jobs and reduce taxes? If so, does the Republican-controlled Legislature realize what its final budget will do to the local economy by requiring public employees to start paying 3 percent a year toward their pension costs?
According to various items I have noted in The Sun, at least 80 percent of state workers make under $40,000 per year. If so, the Legislature has severely impacted the Gainesville economy, as untold number of dollars will no longer be infused into local businesses that are supported by state workers, who are your neighbors and mine.
Story on pit bull shooting unclear
The article about the pit bull shooting was met with derision by many people who claimed to know that it was misleading and inaccurate.
The owner implies that the police deliberately entered a completely fenced-in yard without any need to do so, that the pit bull never attacked the police dog and that the officer shot the pit bull because he was afraid he might attack, even though he was the most gentle, friendly dog ever.
I ask you to obtain the sworn statements of the police officers at the scene and to evaluate them against the facts.
It won't change my mind that pit bulls should be phased out as a breed, along with all other large and dangerous dogs.
And what planet is The Donald from?
Now that President Obama has released his birth certificate, it's time that Donald Trump made his available, because there's a strong indication he was born on another planet.
A March 31 Sun story reported: “State lawmakers are pushing bills that would increase property insurance rates, utility bills and more.” Republican politicians are the mafia soldiers of corporations, insurance, banks, military-industrial interests and the rich that own them all.
Nader G. Vakili,
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