SCOPA's not an advocacy group, but . . .
If you haven't already, read Ernest Hooper's Saturday column about Nancy Hamilton
and read my Letter to the Editor, below.
To the Editor, St. Petersburg Times:
Ernest Hooper's column "Don't let addicts be victims yet again" (Times, Feb 28) moves me to say "Amen" in agreement with Nancy Hamilton, whom he quotes as saying "I think people will realize we are our brothers' keepers. If we don't take care of our communities and the people who live in them, we don't have anything."
The concern goes well beyond the addicts that Hamilton and Hooper were talking about. The additional cuts that Florida legislators and county commissioners are threatening will hurt not only addiction services, but all manner of health and human services just at a time when the economic collapse, loss of jobs and income, drastically increases the need for those very services, not just in the abstract, but in our communities.
The closing of the Smithfield Foods plant moves 760 workers into the unemployed category, automatically putting more than 1,000 children into the at-risk category for abuse and neglect. Those families are our neighbors. That is only the tip of the iceberg in our community. Do we recognize that we must help them through sharing human services, counseling, mentoring, and meaningful education?
I don't see our legislators and commissioners seeking ways to increase the resources needed for "keeping" our brothers, our sisters, our children. Instead, I see them calling for easing construction permits and lowering environmental controls, in a foolish attempt to resuscitate the bubble of "development" that helped to cause the crash in the first place.
Our legislators and commissioners talk only of further cuts as if all our state and community resources are gone. That is only in their minds. Most of us still have houses, automobiles and incomes. In order to save our communities we are willing to pay taxes to ensure that those who have real needs the jobless, the homeless, the disabled, the mentally ill, the addicts, and especially the children get the services they need. We do want those taxes to be fair, however and even progressive, so that those who have more should pay more.
--Alvin W. Wolfe