Readers voice themselves on topics like food stamps, HOA rules

Today it's your turn...

Dear Beth: I was disappointed with your article on food stamps. Many people may not have the option of cooking three meals a day or even one due to the lack of a stove or an appliance that doesn't work. Some have hot plates or microwaves and if their electricity is shut-off, they have nothing. You are right in regards to everyone not having the option of going to WalMart. Many rely on public transportation, and if they are disabled their options are few. Have you tried feeding your family on this budget for a week? — Anonymous

Actually, Anonymous, the grocery list I used for the column is pretty similar to my family's own shopping list. I even posted some of the recipes I use and sample meal plans on my blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/bethkassabblog. If a family doesn't have electricity or basic appliances, then they have more immediate concerns than giving their diet a healthy makeover. Families in need can contact a local organization for assistance by dialing 211, United Way's emergency help line.

Dear Beth: I am diabetic, so I don't have a choice on eating a lot of processed foods if I want to maintain healthy sugar levels. We received food stamps last year for just one quarter. We received $358 for a family of 3 adults. I supplemented it by going to the farmers market to buy my fresh fruits, vegetables and bread. By being careful, planning meals and watching the ads from the grocery stores, I was able to stretch it past the 3 months. Thankfully, business has picked up and we have not needed to apply again, but I am grateful for the hand-up when we needed it most. I would also like to say that I maintained my weight loss and all the other numbers associated with diabetes testing. I, for one, know it can be done. — Corinne

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad to hear business has picked up. Also good news: There's a push underway in Florida to encourage more vendors at farmer's markets to accept food stamps.

Dear Beth: Of course Homeowners Associations are "dictatorships". What else do you call a community where people are not free? People who have nothing better to do with their leisure time are constantly meddling in the affairs of others, and they also tremendously enjoy having power over other people's lives. It gives them a boost they never had before. These are basically mean-spirited individuals whose egos are more important to them than neighbors. — Frances

Frances, typically the people suffering under a dictatorship don't have the freedom to move in or out whenever they choose.

Dear Beth, I'm so tired of reading articles where the HOA is always the bad guy. I live in a community with an HOA. I'm also on the Architectural Review Board. Residents are not happy when they want to go against the rules and are turned down. They don't realize the can of worms that can be opened by allowing one person to break a rule. When we bought into our community, we were given the rules and accepted the fact they must be followed. — Ann

Well said, Ann.

Dear Beth, Articles like this are a disgrace. St. Augustine grass is a major contributor to the destruction of Florida's waterways. Try writing about that, a real story, next time. — Scott

You must have missed Ann's note. My column wasn't about the environment, but that HOA's are too often vilified for simply enforcing the rules everyone has agreed to. There's no doubt we all spend too much time, water and fertilizer on our grass. When I xeriscape, I plan to follow the rules.

Subject: Column on Orange County charter questions

Thanks. — Donald

Donald, It's not often I receive messages that are both so brief and polite. You're welcome. And if you live in Longwood, Casselberry or Oviedo, there will be local charter questions on your ballot too. Check out my guide to those at OrlandoSentinel.com/bethkassabblog.

bkassab@tribune.com or 407-420-5448

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