I've worked for the Department of Children and Families, and I know how broken that system is `"Swallowed by the cracks," April 16`. Caseworkers are overwhelmed with too many cases to manage — the average when I was there was 60 to 80, or potentially over 100-plus kids under state review per caseworker — and work long hours for very little money. In fact, the average salary for protective services work was under $30,000, even though a four-year college degree is required.
They are on call 24/7. Training is also inconsistent, so two caseworkers may approach the exact same situation totally differently, with no guidelines. DCF doesn't pay, and it's a thankless job, so the jobs are often hard to fill and hard to keep filled. The result of not enough workers and too many cases is exactly what happened here.
It isn't acceptable to allow a home inspection to last `only` 10 minutes before deeming someone qualified to be the temporary custodian of a child; it isn't acceptable as a caseworker to start working on a case that involves a child and then let it go; it isn't acceptable that a mother who is a fugitive from the law can dump her child on a plane to Florida with nothing. But the agency sworn to protect children says they can't do anything!
Crack it open
If you cracked open a Bible every now and then you would find that it strongly discourages favoritism `Happytown™, April 16`, so good Christians (and Jews) would be opposed to beating up everyone — assault and battery laws are already on the books — and not simply be opposed to the beating up of homosexuals (with favoritism shown through additional special legislation applicable to that subgroup of the population).
Not about the crazies
I was at the Tea Party and you shouldn't focus on the handful of nut bags that would have taken the opportunity to promote their craziness whether it was a Tea Party or a damn Muppets convention; shit, go to the convenience store and scan over it once before you pull out your weapon and you'll find at least one loony tune in there `"Tea-bagging Orlando," Bloggytown, April 17`.
Anyways, the Tea Party was about stopping the unnecessary growth of big government, it wasn't Republican/Democrat. I'd like to give my $450 back from my tax break so I don't have to live with the thought that I contributed in any way to the trillions of dollars `of debt` we've thrown on the backs of my little fallopian swim team. And the whole racist thing is so Garafalo.
Breath of fresh air
Since taking office in January, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has prioritized renewable energy, put the brakes on the Bush administration's full-steam-ahead approach to destructive oil shale development and canceled oil and gas leases on the edge of Utah national parks and historic sites on nearby public land.
Yet Salazar's measured approach has provoked a backlash by the oil and gas industry that enjoyed a privileged status during the eight years of the Bush administration. Secretary Salazar's understanding that he is a steward of our public lands and not the servant of the oil industry is a breath of fresh air. Secretary Salazar should continue the agency's shift from giving the oil industry what it wants to insisting on balance on lands that belong to everyone.
Frank Soley, via the Internet
The NoMi District
It seems to have been my general experience here in Orlando that the North Mills section is where the more serious local music lovers tend to gravitate towards, and are easier to find without all the more trendy wannabes who swarm downtown hanging around them. Plus, I feel much safer on North Mills `"Orange You Glad Fest," Beatdown, April 21`.
This fest should be a good one in spite of its asinine name.
That old magic
In reference to Seth Kubersky's interview with magician David Copperfield `Live Active Cultures, Jan. 29`: Kubersky should have asked Copperfield what it was like to work with Jamie Lee Curtis in the classic Terror Train. Copperfield played a magician. Talk about typecasting!
Wes Pierce, Orlandoletters@orlandoweekly.com