Hometown heroes At a time when nonprofits are struggling to serve their constituencies, Jeff and Penny Vinik are proving not only to be a source of substantial funding but are actually helping to make us all better in fulfilling our missions.
I recently attended a meeting organized by the Lightning Foundation, where those of us lucky enough to have benefitted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s amazing “Community Heroes” program were encouraged to meet and to see how we may effectively collaborate. It was an amazing group of nonprofits and individuals with hearts and missions big enough to fill the Forum.
I sincerely thank the Viniks for their willingness to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, neglected children, wounded warriors, cancer survivors and so many others. They lead by example, and we all benefit. Although I may not know a puck from a goalie, rest assured, the Lightning is my hometown team
MacDonald Training Center, Tampa
Tax-exempt status Sharon Calvert’s letter “Appoint special counsel” (Your Views, May 20) was interesting and reasonable if one does not trust the inspector general, who has already completed the work a special counsel would do, and if one does not trust the president of the United States, who has already insisted that in the future all applications for tax exemption under 501(C)(4) status will be dealt with fairly no matter whether they come from progressive or regressive corporations. The president has ensured that by receiving the resignation of the acting director of the IRS.
It seems to me that the organization Calvert founded, the Tampa Tea Party, probably should not expect to be given tax-exempt status under 501(C)(4) because the Tampa Tea Party is essentially a political organization, not a social welfare one.
The legislation going back to 1913 makes a distinction between social welfare organizations, which may be tax exempt, and political organizations, which are not.
The Koch brothers and other big funders push hard to get tax-exempt status for their organizations like the Tampa Tea Party because to those with huge incomes it makes a lot of difference. For small donors, tax exempt-status means very little.
Obstacles for veterans I’d like to address the honorable mayors in Pinellas County. I am an avid walker, walking between 3 miles and 20 miles each day. For the most part our county and cities are a great place to walk and explore. But with Memorial Day upon us, I must speak to a concern that I have come upon during my walks.
For the most part, the sidewalks, where they exist, are satisfactory. However, there are many places where bushes, hedges or trees block the way. I am able to go around or duck, but what about our veterans in wheelchairs or power chairs? I can only imagine their challenges trying to navigate around these obstacles. I believe we owe those who have served our country and the residents of our great country the ability to get from place to place without these obstacles in their way. God bless our veterans.
At home in Tampa On March 28 I came home from work to find that my house in Tampa had been burglarized. I called 911. An officer responded and requested a finger-print tech. And so began what seemed like a “lost cause” to locate two stolen laptops, $40 of garage-sale change, eight silver dollars from my grandfather, and the guy who did it. They combed the property and via that simple search found a balled-up strip of duct tape in my garbage. It contained his prints. He has been arrested and my laptops returned. He is facing 15 years as a serial thief.
Then, in early May, I was notified by my Orlando property manager that a vacant rental property had been burglarized. The stove, refrigerator and a stacked washer/dryer were taken. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded. The deputy advised the property manager that there was too much “overspray” to get prints from the window and no clear prints on the door knobs, and it was turned over to the Property Crimes division. No one attempted to schedule a specialist to come and search for further prints. The model number and serial number for two of the appliances have been provided. But from the onset, the expectation was that there was no reason to pursue this. Should I mention that this house is in a low-income area of Orlando?
I’ve been attempting to register my unhappiness regarding the lack of initiative, but even the “Contact Us” link for OCSO does not work. Tampa PD, you guys rock! Orange County Sheriff’s Office, is anybody home?
C. Amy Palmer