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Palm Coast Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 7 years ago

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 2.24.2011

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+ Medicaid cuts by the state would harm elderly
Dear Editor:
I am outraged by a proposal before the Florida Senate to substantially modify Florida’s Medicaid program and possibly withdraw from the federal Medicaid program. Such a move would come at the expense of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens — the poor elderly.

Florida receives billions of dollars from the federal government to provide medical services to Florida’s poorest citizens. If Florida opts out of the Medicaid program, it would mean loss of all federal funds for payment of medical care for people on Medicaid, which includes many elderly people.

Federal dollars currently account for more than one-half of Florida’s Medicaid budget. Those federal dollars help pay for doctors, pharmacies, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and many others services used by the elderly.

Supporters of the Senate bill and its author, Sen. Joe Negron, contend that the state would save $1 billion in the first year and more than $4 billion over the next three years without reducing benefits.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Karen Woodall, interim executive director of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, an organization that focuses on issues for low and middle-income families, calls such a suggestion absurd.

“If they’re going to raise all physicians to 100% of Medicare,” she said, “they’re not going to be able to have savings unless they’re whacking the heck out of benefits.”

I completely agree. Maybe the state should focus more on reducing Medicaid fraud and abuse to bring down costs. That’s where the real problem lies.

Scott A. Selis
Ormond Beach
Selis practices law in Palm Coast.

+ Resident opposes ‘gift’ housing program
Dear Editor:
In your article, “Program to help neighborhoods,” I was shocked to see my taxpayer money going to not only rehab but subsidize home purchases here in Palm Coast!

As a taxpayer who has always lived within her means and saved for her home down payment, I want to go on record as being against both this city and federal “gift” program for housing!

Why Mr. Holmen could afford a home in Saint Croix, but now needs $20,000 of my taxpayer money for a home in Palm Coast is beyond me.

As far as I am concerned, it is evidence of the Obama administration’s agenda to redistribute wealth, and I am totally against it. All Palm Coast taxpayers should look at this program and ask if this is the type of housing that is so in need that  you think we must go into debt for it? (The U.S. has no money, so this is a program creating more debt).

Palm Coast should get out of the rehab business and let the free market work.

If you saved for the down payment on your home, like I did, you are just a chump like me! The government now rewards those who didn’t.

Lynn Tobin
Palm Coast

+ Prayer for streets is answer to Flagler’s problems
Dear Editor:
I am blowing the trumpet.

The Lord has need of you to transform Flagler County through prayer evangelism. Together we can transform the spiritual climate of Flagler County by prayer. Prayer changes things.

In 1996, the city of Newark, N.J., was ranked as the most dangerous city in the U.S. In January 2008, the city launched the Adopt-A-Street program, and through prayer evangelism the climate over the city changed. Incidences of violence dropped by 80%, and no murders occurred in the city for 43 days.

Moreover, the founder of Facebook gave $100 million to the Newark school system and Bill Gates matched the donation.

The Adopt-A-Street program is currently taking place in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Tampa, Fort Meyers and Palatka.

We have problems no man can resolve, yet God encourages us to pray.

We can pray against violence, theft, poverty, divorce, foreclosure, witchcraft, road rage, depression, afflictions, selfishness, prostitution, use and sale of street drugs, domestic violence, discrimination, sexual immorality, bullying, bankruptcy, alcohol, sickness and all manner of diseases.

You are needed to win our county for Christ through prayer evangelism, by the Adopt-a-Street program.

Pray for those that live, work, worship, fellowship and are educated on the approximately 3,000 streets of Flagler County.

Joshua 6:1b to 7a declares: “Shout! for the Lord has given you the city and all that is in it to be devoted to the Lord.”

Ann Garnette
Palm Coast

+ Let Florida drill for oil; others will, if we don’t
Dear Editor:
Flagler County has the highest unemployment rate in Florida. I live beachside in Flagler Beach. Since Citizens Insurance came in to help, our insurance beachside has tripled. People without jobs can’t afford to stay. Houses are foreclosed, and values have tumbled.

If our state had allowed us to drill for oil, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

The Florida taxpayers told Charlie Crist and Alex Sink we didn’t like their ideas in the November election. They turned our property insurance into a costly bureaucratic nightmare that we can no longer afford, and refused to use our resources to help our economy.

Now they are lobbying to prevent Florida from ever using its resources. They want a constitutional amendment that will forever prevent Florida from drilling for oil and are lobbying to get that put on the ballot.

If Florida had drilled for oil years ago, our state would have plenty of money and jobs. Our gas and energy bills would be much cheaper, and we would not be held hostage by the Middle East. Instead, Cuba is going to drill for oil in these same waters. Their rigs will be much closer to our shores than the BP rig was from the Gulf Coast. Our rigs would have been inspected. We will have no control over Cuba’s.

Thanks to Charlie and people like Alex, others will be taking advantage of this same oil resource. We will get none of the benefits but all of the problems. The taxpayers told them no once, by voting them out. They should stay out.

They should not use their connections to lobby against the taxpayers and try to force their ideas on us again at our expense.

If they think anyone doesn’t know their feelings on this issue they can write an opinion piece in the paper; just like I did.

Jean Sbertoli
Flagler Beach

CITY HALL DEBATE CONTINUES

+ The time for City Hall is now
Dear Editor:
Should Palm Coast have a City Hall? Yes.

When should we build our City Hall? Now is the time.

I’m a retired design/construction engineer with more than 40 years’ experience from a major chemical company. It takes leaders/managers with (guts) to make tough decisions when the economy is down.

In tough economic times, that is when to build. Why? Look at our real estate values. If you have the money, now is the time for action because you get more for your dollar, and you are creating jobs. Most businesses have reduced their employees to stay in business in tough times. Some businesses will bid low just to break even and not lose their business and employees.

The economy affects all types of businesses, from architects to suppliers of concrete and furniture. Yes, our leaders are using tax dollars, but guess what? That’s the only kind of dollars they have, and they do not propose to raise our taxes.

Our leaders need to develop a well-thought-out bidding plan. All departments need to submit space plans for now, for five years, 10 years and maybe 20 years. It’s hard to look too far in the future, but planning for building what we need now and how to expand that facility should pay good dividends for all the citizens of Palm Coast. All bidders must submit proposals that include cost-saving options.

Citizens of Palm Coast, now is the time to build our City Hall. It will never get any cheaper.

Robert Branin
Palm Coast

+ City Hall plan is ‘ridiculous’
Dear Editor:
It looks like this City Hall fiasco is not going to go away. The City Council is getting in deeper and deeper, flouting their responsibility to the citizens of Palm Coast and making one bad decision after another.

Taking ridiculous to the extreme, we have the following:

To obtain accurate numbers on the cost of building a new City Hall, the city needs professional help, according to City Manager Jim Landon.

Therefore, the City Council expects to choose a construction management firm from among those who are invited to submit a resume of their qualifications.

The chosen construction management firm will then provide plans and cost estimates for a potential City Hall at little or no cost to the city. The detailed plans for previous City Hall building turned by the voters cost the city $200,000.

The compensate the selected firm for its pro bono plan, the City Council will promise the firm will get the work when the new City Hall is built.

So now, we have the situation in which the City Council, having proposed constructing a new City Hall at a cost of $22 million, sees this proposal soundly defeated in a public referendum. It then decides to build a smaller $10 million version while avoiding the need for voter approval by scraping up money needed for the new project by borrowing from other funds on hand or owed to the city.

Finally, to avoid having to use its own funds to draw up a set of plans and cost estimate, the City Council plans to award the project to a builder as quid pro quo to pay for the new set of plans and cost estimates.

So how smart is that?

Pete Hull
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Mr. Hull, it seems like a smart plan to me.

We won’t know whether City Hall would make financial sense until we get better information from a construction management firm, which will provide that information at little to no cost. I don’t see any risk in gathering more information.

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