Thursday, August 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15

Insurer’s focus: repairs, not fees

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole. Although a home maintains its sinkhole history, the sinkhole issue will have been addressed. This preserves the dwelling for current and future owners.

Instead of simply writing checks to policyholders and their attorneys, we have demanded that sinkhole repairs be completed. We firmly believe that restoration of the property benefits the policyholder, neighbors and their community by maintaining property values.

A Tampa Bay Times article significantly mischaracterizes Citizens’ actions in a sinkhole dispute with residents of Cloverplace, a condominium complex in Pinellas County.

Contrary to homeowners and their attorney, Citizens has been ready to make any repairs necessary if sinkhole damage has occurred. To date, however, there has been no sinkhole inspection of the properties in dispute.

In an effort to bring closure, Citizens in August 2017 offered to pay for an engineer, chosen by Cloverplace plaintiffs, to test the site. We further agreed to be bound by that engineer’s findings and pay for all repairs, up to policy limits, from sinkhole activity discovered by those tests. Finally, we agreed to reasonable attorney fees. The offer was rejected by Corless Barfield Trial Group, which represents the policyholders.

This matter has not been resolved because Corless wants Citizens to write a check upfront for attorney fees and to the condo association without requiring repairs be made whether or not sinkhole activity is found. It would be totally irresponsible for Citizens to authorize payments for losses that have never been confirmed. Doing so would run counter to our fiduciary responsibility to our policyholders who need these funds when verified losses occur. For these reasons, we will be appealing the verdict.

Repairs, not attorney fees, should be the top priority.

Barry J. Gilway, president/CEO and executive director, Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Legislature to public schools: Here’s 47 cents
March 16, editorial

Recipe for failure

Public schools have been the main pillar upon which our democracy is built. They have traditionally taken in all children — even those who fail at private schools. With open arms they accept and celebrate the differences our diverse society presents to them. They are what has been cooking our melting pot for centuries.

Legislatures controlled by Democrats find these ideas noble and work to fund schools. Legislatures controlled by Republicans seem to see this as a liberal plot and seek to defund public schools. They are quick to fund all manner of private schools, which often have little or no oversight from the state. And they continue to spread the myth that public schools in general are failing while they go right on siphoning public money to private schools (what a Catch-22).

Tom Reid, Seminole

Using youths in personal agenda | March 13, letter

Wealth on both sides

Is anyone surprised that those of the right-wing persuasion see a bogeyman in Tom Steyer? I hope they see with equal clarity the menace known as the Koch brothers — Charles and David. Their insidious influence on our body politic has gone on for decades. They have spent millions if not billions to influence elections across the United States, even down to some local offices.

It’s no longer amusing to hear those of mostly GOP orientation decry the few wealthy voices on the left while turning a blind eye to their own benefactors.

Suzanne Skubick, Palm Harbor

Constitution Revision Commission

End greyhound racing

Next week the Constitution Revision Commission will decide whether or not to place a phase-out of greyhound racing before voters in November. This issue is a personal one, having been involved with greyhound adoption and seeing firsthand how this industry treats dogs.

Dog racing is riddled with deaths, injuries and a major decline in revenue according to state records, so let it go. Let voters decide whether or not to hold on to this archaic industry responsible for so many lives lost. The time is now to rid our state of this vile and dying industry.

Carla Wilson, Winter Springs

Put gun limits on ballot

Most of the proposals under active consideration do not need the Constitution Revision Commission to see the light of day. They are supported by the government officials who appointed the members and who have the power to see that those issues are considered.

However, the issue of gun control needs the CRC desperately. Gun control is the issue of the day and commissioners must find a way to put it on the ballot.

The proposals to protect age limits and waiting periods from a constitutional challenge, and to ban assault weapons are welcome. However, we need more. We need to have meaningful background checks and mandatory waiting periods; we need to stop gun show and internet sale exemptions; and we need to ban AR-15-type weapons and restrict magazine clip size.

Mimi Osiason, Tampa

Don’t add to clutter | March 16, commentary

Channel for voter input

I feel that there needs to be a viable alternative for citizens to address issues that the Legislature refuses to deal with. Many states have a provision for voter initiative that produces laws that can be amended rather than changing the Constitution. Florida needs to move in this direction.

Raymond Keller, Tarpon Springs


Thursday’s letters: Cigars are bad for your health

Tobacco rules don’t suit premium cigars | Editorial, Aug. 13Xyxyx xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxxxThe argument made in this editorial to exempt the premium cigar industry from FDA scrutiny is, in essence: They are not cheap, they are not fruit-flavored,...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10

Jacqueline Road being misusedI have issued complaints to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, traffic division and also a letter to the sheriff and have had very little positive response.We have an issue on Jacqueline Road with speeding vehicles and...
Published: 08/06/18

Monday’s letters: Enough with praise for Pier sculpture

Aerial art to billow at Pier | Aug. 3Pier art: boon or boondoggle?Well, finally! The Janet Echelman sculpture project has been approved. The dust has settled and now, at the cost of $2.8 million an over-priced, glorified flag will be flapping ove...
Published: 08/03/18