Requests on race an 'open secret' | Nov. 11
America built on respect for all
Reading this article, I had a mixture of feelings: anger, disappointment, frustration.
I am a European who spends half the year here, and I love this country and its people.
But how can it happen that still nowadays such a distinction is made on the basis of skin color? I blame the hospital management for following this request.
Let us not forget that the United States is strong because there are people of different colors, languages, education, etc., and all have only one thing in mind: respect for the country and its Constitution.
On Monday, American citizens honored veterans — those who served, those still on duty, and those who lost their lives in service of their beloved country. These soldiers gave their lives, and nobody asked whether they were white or black.
Liette Majerus, St. Petersburg
When will the cries of children be heard? Nov. 10, John Romano column
Support for oversight
As a past protective services social worker, I am appalled by the number of child deaths in Florida. The job of a child welfare worker is demanding and difficult; it requires diligence, focus, understanding of family dynamics and child development, and communication skills. These workers should be professionals who are educated, trained, supported and well-supervised.
The court system should also provide consistent and knowledgeable oversight as these children are followed through the system. New or revised risk assessment instruments will not make a difference; only increased funding from our Legislature will. Hopefully, Gov. Rick Scott will not pursue his stated plan to cut more millions from the agencies that are responsible for protecting these vulnerable citizens in his relentless pursuit of shrinking the state workforce.
Judy Moore, Lutz
Protect the children
According to John Romano's recent column, we need to do a better job protecting our children from being abused and possibly killed. As he states, "The number of children who have died in Florida this year because of abuse or neglect is both horrifying and shockingly routine."
As he points out, the Department of Children and Families and the Florida Legislature need to do more to help these children. Is there anything more important than our children?
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, but every month should be child abuse prevention month.
It is my fervent hope that the leaders of DCF and the Legislature will have the gumption to work together to solve this crisis so that all our children will have a future.
Gerard Vernot, Land O'Lakes
State speed limit may rise to 75 mph | Nov. 13
How fast is too fast?
Interstate 75 is not Germany's autobahn, although the last couple of times I drove on it, in either direction, it appeared to be.
On my way to Sarasota and upon return I put my car in the left lane, put the cruise control on 75, 5 mph over the speed limit, and headed to my destination. Dozens of cars flashed their lights behind me, gave me a special sign with their middle finger, and sped by, often at speeds in the 80 to 95 mph range.
The good news is that alcohol-related fatalities and unbelted-driver deaths have dropped in the past decade in the United States. The bad: Speeding fatalities are on the rise. In 2010, 10,530 people died in crashes that were linked to speeding; since 2000, speeding-related deaths are up 7 percent.
John Osterweil, Tampa
Stores hope buyers gobble sales | Nov. 12
No rest for the workers
The money hoarders strike again. Thanksgiving is a day that families get together and give thanks for what we have. It is on a Thursday, which used to give many average workers a four-day weekend to spend with loved ones.
Corporate greed took that away with the invention of Black Friday, offering big sales to save us money. Now they want to take the holiday away by opening on Thanksgiving Day to get more of our money.
How many families will not have a Thanksgiving dinner because mom or dad has to go to work? The sad thing is that no matter how much money the retailers make, it will never be enough.
Harry Liaros, South Pasadena
A line in the sand | Nov. 10
Complying with the law
I have been an Anna Maria property owner for 57 years and a resident for the past 12. The first goal in our comprehensive plan's land use section is, "Ensure that the single-family residential character of the city of Anna Maria is maintained and protected … while maximizing the enjoyment of man-made resources by the citizens and minimizing the threat to health, safety, and welfare posed by hazards, nuisances, incompatible land uses, and environmental degradation."
I spent three terms on the City Commission working with numerous others arriving at the comprehensive plan of 2007. We are what we are by design. Those who object to our ongoing efforts to comply with our plan, as we are obliged to do under Florida law, have numerous other beach communities to choose from.
Duke Miller, Anna Maria
Flood insurance reform act gives relief to policyholders | Nov. 11, commentary
Not much relief here
It is hard to see the "relief" in the proposal presented by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis. The core of his proposal is presented in the following 22 words: "cap annual NFIP premiums to no more than the appraised value of the structure at the time of purchase divided by 30," with no additional detail.
I went to a website and entered data for a fictional 1,800-square-foot structure in the St. Petersburg area. The site calculated $324,403 to build this reasonably sized structure.
Using this as the appraised value at the time of purchase and dividing by 30 yields an annual flood insurance premium of $10,813.43 under the formula proposed by Bilirakis. I do not see the "relief" provided by this proposal for those of us wishing to live in modest homes within flood zones of our beloved city.
Dick Kane, St. Pete Beach