Good work at New Beginnings is being punished

Times’ crusade against New Beginnings


Good work is being punished.

Let me see if I have this straight. Pastor Tom Atchison of New Beginnings takes in drug addicts, criminals and sex offenders — basically the unemployable dregs of society whom no other institution will care for — and gives them free room and board, and probably clothing too.

In return he asks the men to pay for their costly care by working a few hours a week at jobs in the community for (at most) pocket money. Nobody is compelled to stay at his homeless shelter and as I understand it nobody is prevented from finding additional employment to earn a few dollars if they so choose. And while in Atchison’s care they are gaining basic job skills, and building a record of steady employment and sobriety that can help them to return to normal society.

From what you have written about Atchison himself, he appears to be an honorable man who definitely is not getting rich out of doing a nasty job that I’m sure no editor at the Tampa Bay Times would want to tackle.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The Times has depicted this man as some sort of latter-day Fagin, exploiting people for personal gain. Thanks to you, Atchison already has lost many of the major sponsors who provided work for these indigents. It’s only a matter of time before his funds and his support dry up and New Beginnings disappears. At which point the drug addicts, criminals and sex offenders will be back sleeping on the streets of Tampa with nothing to do but feed their anti-social pastimes through criminal activity.

Normally I admire the Times for its crusades that are meant to root out the evil in society, and I feel that your past Pulitzers have been justly deserved. But this time you are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Brandon Jones, Clearwater

Letter to the editor at The Tampa Bay Times published on 12/19/2014


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