Hoping for a miracle
Barring an unforeseen miracle, our Tampa Family Justice Center (FJC) will close its doors soon. Lacking critical, consistent public and private funding, this vital community resource is unfortunately is on its last financial leg.
Public/private funding aside, most agree our center more than meets its original objectives and our community's growing need for unduplicated domestic violence prevention services. In its 2007 report, "The President's FJC Initiative Best Practices," the U.S. Department of Justice identified 10 components for a successful FJC. With the exception of strong, consistent support from local elected officials and other local and state government policymakers, our center exceeds these best practices.
Other than its initial federal funding, FJC has somehow survived since 2006 with sheer grit and determination, unwavering in delivering its mission that help is available and that domestic violence simply will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, grit and determination is not a sustainable financial model for any of the 80-plus FJCs worldwide.
Lacking $170,000 for fiscal year 2012-13, emergency sheltering will soon be our only response to domestic violence for our vulnerable Tampa neighbors. Will a single elected county/city leader boldly step up to dramatically change the support provided FJC? Will they ensure FJC continues to leave an invaluable legacy for generations of Tampa families, or do we callously let its light flicker out, silencing the voices for the voiceless victims and allowing the doors of our community asset to close?
TampaQuestions for board
Based on the Hillsborough School Board's proposed operating budget for 2013/2014 as displayed in the July 26 Tribune, the following questions should be asked at the public hearing on July 30th.
First, the total sources of revenues for the year are $2.052 billion, while total expenditures are $2.146 billion - or a deficit of $94 million. Why can't the school system operate during the year within the amount of funds available to it during the year? Second, the budget proposes to cover the deficit by using prior years' "Fund/Net Assets Balances." What is the nature of these balances, and what was their original budgeted purpose - covering budget deficits, no matter what their cause?
Third, if future budgets use these "Fund/Net Assets Balances" at the same rate, they will be exhausted in about six years; what then? More taxes or budget cuts? Fourth, the section about the proposed school capital outlay uses the term "lease-purchase agreement." This raises the larger question about "debt." What debts does the school system already have, and will those debts increase or decrease as a result of this proposed budget? And by how much?
Your decision to print the political cartoon "Late-term abortion should be banned" (Views, July 21) crosses the line from responsible journalism to offensive stupidity. There is not, now or ever, a procedure called "late-term abortion." The definition of a term pregnancy is 38 to 42 weeks. Ending a pregnancy when it is completed is called a birth. If this is a crime, dare to take me to jail! Continuing to use this term that was made up by anti-abortion activists does nothing but continue the inflammatory and confusing language that has done nothing to solve this contentious political issue.
If we, as a nation, are ever going to come to some agreement on what should be legal, we have to be speaking the same language. In medical terms, any pregnancy that ends prior to the third trimester is an abortion. There are spontaneous abortions, complete and incomplete abortions, inevitable abortions, and therapeutic abortions.
Elective abortions, which are illegal after viability, are the procedures that are in contention. However, the procedures for ending a pregnancy, either voluntarily or because of a problem such as a fetal death, are the same. If our lawmakers are not careful in crafting legislation, we can end up with dead mothers and babies. This year saw the death of a woman who did not receive treatment for her miscarriage because of the failure of the Irish legislature to write laws that would permit her doctors to provide life-saving care without fear of prosecution.
There is plenty of inflammatory speech out there about abortion. This language has been used to incite violence. The Tribune should not contribute to it.
TampaThe writer is a certified nurse midwife.