Flood insurance will empty homes
I own a home in Ballentrae off State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes. I just received a letter from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Apparently Pasco is changing its flood zones due to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stating the Anclote River watershed is the cause.
I'm not sure if anyone is aware of the foreclosure issue in Pasco or the entire state, or the fact that adding flood insurance will simply drive mortgage payments through the roof because many homeowners' policies are escrowed. I have lived here since 2000 and have never seen one iota of a flood in Ballantrae, and I have seen some pretty bad storms in 2000 and 2001. Nor, do I even know where the Anclote River watershed is?
This will definitely drive me into foreclosure, if I am required to pay flood insurance, as I am currently trying to keep up with property taxes, homeowner association fees and increasing insurance premiums. This would be the last straw and I am sure I am not alone. I am getting to the point of just walking away from my home, and moving my family out of Florida.
Bill Gilligan, Land O'Lakes
To SunWest: Be wise, build green
Day after day I read letters from Southwest Florida Water Management District, SunWest and concerned citizens. I also read the rest of the paper. We are in a severe drought. You would think part of the on going discussions would gravitate towards building a green development — water efficiency, energy efficiency and state-of-the-art design strategies for a smaller foot print that will provide immediate and measurable results for the citizens and our utilities already under stress.
I have not yet heard anything about building on the coast. Two words for that: hurricanes, insurance. Building homes there will continue to increase my property insurance. Shouldn't these buildings be required to build beyond standards?
While I have not studied if such a deal is better or worse, if Bob Carpenter of SunWest is serious about "environmental quality and economic opportunities" then put your money where your mouth is and build to LEED standards.
Colleen Mackin, Executive Director Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, U.S. Green Building Council
Use stimulus cash to fix reservoir
What to do with our stimulus money? Gov. Charlie Christ, do you have any idea what is going on with our lack of water?
Tampa Bay Water is no longer able to pull water out of the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers. They are not permitted to pump more than 90 million gallons a day from the underground aquifer. So, why have the officials acknowledged they are likely to exceed the limit?
In addition to all of these problems, our reservoir at maximum capacity is 1.5 billion gallons. Our current level is now 700 million gallons! Tampa Bay Water has acknowledged that there are cracks in the reservoir walls.
Not only the people, but our wildlife have suffered from this overgrowth. Due to the draining of the aquifer, our lake levels have diminished (some lakes have even vanished). This has endangered our lake-dependent wildlife.
Possibly we could use some of our stimulus money to repair the cracks in the reservoir. In addition, we need to seriously address the water shortage. More growth is not the solution. There are many of us who depend on wells for our water supply. Draining the aquifer cuts off our ability to draw water from our wells.
Let us decide on the real needs of our state before we spend any of our stimulus money.
Helga Ungerer, Dade City
Let's use stimulus funds carefully
It is interesting to see the governor's wish list for the stimulus funds. He wants to pour money down that old drain of training. Is he too young to remember the CETA program of the 1970s?
The acronym stood for Comprehensive Education and Training Act. Many persons were trained in entry-level jobs or jobs that were so specialized that the skills could not be translated into anything useful. Public agencies got many staffers free by giving training positions to the CETA clients. Then the agencies had to practically be forced to hire these trainees into actual career-service funded positions. These skills were not useful in the private sector — such as determining eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamps.
Then the local advisory boards decided to train persons for the then new cable television industry. Surprisingly enough, there was only one provider of such training, or "sole source provider" as they are known. Of course, this is "good ole boy" stuff.
We need to be really vigilant and careful of spending and using stimulus funds. We can restart the economy or simply feed in to the good ole boy network, wherein only the rich get richer and nothing really gets accomplished.
R. Smith, Port Richey
County hospitals are like fresh air
The American Lung Association of Florida Gulfcoast Area is pleased to hear that Pasco County's hospitals will become smoke-free campuses later this year.
The American Lung Association was founded in 1904, and for over 100 years we have been fighting to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. The negative affects of secondhand smoke on lung health have been well-documented. It is involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers, lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.
Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).
Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.
Secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700 to 69,600 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.
A study found that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke were 25 percent more likely to have coronary heart diseases compared to nonsmokers not exposed to smoke.
For these and many other reasons, the American Lung Association believes that it is vitally important to protect all people, especially those ill enough to be hospitalized, from secondhand smoke. We applaud the efforts of the Pasco County Health Department and the hospitals in Pasco County for taking such an active interest this particular issue, and will support their endeavor to make more places in their communities smoke-free.
Michael Hoffman, Advisory Board President
Darla Worley Livesay, Executive Director
American Lung Association in Florida Gulfcoast Area
Bank bailout has wrong target | Feb. 24 letter
Make taxpayers bailout priority
I agree with the letter writer. I have written in the past stating the same sentiment. I feel the bailout should go to the taxpayer, and not the banks and other industries that have caused the economic down turn.
Please don't think that I feel that all of the taxpayers are blameless in the issues that face them, I don't. However, the bailouts have helped a very small percentage of the affected people. If the funds would come to the taxpayer, a lot more would benefit from a smaller amount of money. What's more, the government could tax the funds given to the people, thus making the taxpayer bailout cost much less than one to the banks.
More of the industries feeling the crunch would see accounts paid off, and banks would have money to lend. Pay off your mortgage, credit cards, car notes, and other bills, and how much more would you have to spend or save every month? Just being able to pay off a mortgage will infuse the economy with more money than it has seen since this mess started. This would boost the economy from the bottom up as our president has said needs to be done.
Jack Wright, Zephyrhills