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Friday letters: Amendment 4 would give public a say in development

Amendment 4: a (bad) sign of the times in Florida | Sept, 22, commentary

Public deserves a say in development

On Sept. 15 you reported that the Tampa Bay area ranks among the nation's worst in economic recovery, and the state of Florida includes six of the weakest metro areas in the country economically.

This is not surprising, since Florida ranks among the worst of the states in the boom and bust economic cycle because of our overreliance on building and construction for jobs. Local governments in Florida have, because of their continued approvals of nearly all development, encouraged this dangerous cycle. Local elected officials, beholden to large developers due to campaign contributions, simply cannot say "no" to new developments no matter how bad they are.

One answer to this problem is the passage of Amendment 4, which we will vote on in November.

Amendment 4 gives the voters a seat at the table when these developers request more development-related land use changes.

We already have plenty of land designated for every development purpose in our current land use plans, in addition to plenty of vacant foreclosed housing. So if a land speculator proposes to build a strip mall on residential land, voters will vote on it in the next general election. Today only the developers, their lobbyists and the elected officials have seats at the table, and look at where it has gotten us.

Who do you trust with development decisions that affect our communities, property values and quality of life — yourselves and your neighbors or politicians and land speculators and out of state developers who meet behind closed doors to decide these matters?

Vote Yes on Amendment 4 to give the voters a say in opposing the gross overdevelopment we see today resulting in a housing bust, which has devalued all of our homes. It will prevent us being the worst in the nation in economic recovery.

Rebecca Falkenberry, St. Petersburg

Amendment 4: a (bad) sign of the times in Florida | Sept, 22, commentary

Where to put the blame

Randy Schultz makes some interesting points. They are, however, not arguments for defeating Amendment 4. If a county or city growth management plan was carefully crafted in the first place, it should not require frequent changes. And if any changes are needed in such a rush that they require a special ballot, the public should be made aware that their representatives and the developers or others requesting changes are tagging the taxpayers with the bill.

James D. Hand, Homosassa

Health care opponents

Bent on destruction

It is almost unbelievable to me to see that far-right Republicans are still trying to attack the health care bill that was signed into law earlier this year. The bill was clearly a huge step forward, and the only people voting against it were the same sorts who opposed Medicare and Social Security.

Is more health reform needed? Bring it on. There are a number of areas where the reform bill came up short. But don't ask the voters to listen to fringe politicians whose blind hatred of President Barack Obama makes them oppose anything he does, and who offer not a single solution to anything.

The naysayers, haters and tea partiers don't belong in public office. These people don't want to improve the health care system. They want to blow it up or tear it down. Isn't that what terrorists do — destroy everything while offering no ideas of their own?

Let's hope the electorate brings a dose of common sense to the polls in November.

Scott Cochran, Tampa

A foolish fight against health care | Sept. 20, editorial

Misguided opposition

Thank you for finally calling attention to the stand on health care reform that has been taken by Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Pam Bondi. To say that they will fight against health care reform for the state of Florida is absolutely crazy.

Yes, health care reform does have its flaws. But these will be taken care of as it becomes a reality in this country. We have waited a long time, and just because it was a Democratic president and Congress that finally made it a reality is no reason to oppose it. You are right, as this is a very foolish fight! This editorial should have been on the front page of the paper.

Barbara Wise, Palm Harbor

Repeal effort deserves applause | Sept. 22, letter

Many are uninformed

The letter writer loves to give us poll numbers by Rasmussen, suggesting 61 percent of Americans favor repeal of the health insurance bill.

Another poll, by the Associated Press, indicates most Americans do not even know what's in it (Few clearly grasp new health care measure, Sept. 22). They listen to right-wing talking heads and make up their minds without knowing the facts.

I believe in single-payer health insurance for all Americans. It is time for the health companies and their lobby groups to fess up to the real scam on taxpayers. Hospitals and doctors overbill patients, negotiate the cost downward as much as 70 percent, and take advantage of people without insurance who have to pay the full bill. In essence, the poor and over-65 crowd have coverage, the people lucky enough to have health coverage are covered, but the unlucky crowd with, for example, part-time jobs, are caught in the middle.

The richest nation on earth can and should provide basic health insurance. The care given to us should not be based on profits that companies must show to shareholders.

John K. Orr, St. Petersburg

Insurers, blaming reform, cut new kid-only plans | Sept. 22, story

Repeal their exemption

On Wednesday it was reported that major health insurance corporations were no longer issuing new medical health coverage policies for children.

I feel this is one more reason for the Democratic Party to introduce simple straightforward legislation today, not tomorrow, repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. This grants the health insurance industry exemption to the Federal Antitrust Act (with exemption addendums in later years covering state antitrust laws).

The McCarran-Ferguson Act has given the health insurance industry monolithic rights to set their own rules, regulations and to fix rates charged to the public.

The introduction of legislation repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act may not pass before the upcoming elections but will show the public the Democratic Party is backing up their slogan about real change and concern for the good and welfare of the public. If the Republicans vote to stop the repeal it will also show that they are for their puppet masters, the corporations, and not the people they were elected to represent.

Adolph F. Panella Jr., Valrico

Arms make the difference | Sept, 21, letter

Questionable connection

The letter writer posited that the obvious reason crime was down was the increased sales of firearms and increased licensing of concealed carry permits since the 2008 election.

But crime has been decreasing steadily for a decade now, so there is no definitive evidence to suggest that the two are related.

Gabriel Hulett, Clearwater

Friday letters: Amendment 4 would give public a say in development

09/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 6:54pm]
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