Saturday, March 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Flood claim maps can mislead

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No fair deal in lowland | Nov. 4

Flood claim maps can mislead

This article about flooding in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg raises the issue of how misleading the statistics are in the flood insurance program.

Our house is shown on the map as one of those with repeated losses. In fact, the paperwork provided by FEMA shows two losses about 30 years ago totaling less than $5,000 combined. One was for the no-name storm of June 18, 1982, in the amount of $1,086.61, and the other was for Aug. 31, 1985, in the amount of $3,739.40.

We bought the house five years later, in 1990. Since then, a low-level Florida room on the back of the house was replaced by an elevated living room, and the front carport was replaced with a two-car garage and new entrance. We have had no flooding or losses since owning the house. We get about 6 inches of water at the street end of the driveway during some downpours. Nonetheless, our house appears with a bad boy marker on the flood history map.

Richard E. Oliver, St. Petersburg

No fair deal in lowland | Nov. 4

Paying for federal failure

Thank you for the excellent article showing the truth about flood insurance. The facts reveal the catastrophic losses that FEMA has incurred are largely the result of the failure of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adequately maintain a system of dikes in New Orleans. Those losses should be funded by the Corps, not by a small number of homeowners across the country.

The Biggert-Waters Act was written by people either ignorant of the issues or who have hidden agendas. For any Florida politician to have voted for a bill involving flood insurance without completely understanding it is unconscionable.

I am fine with paying for flood insurance based on actual risk of loss, but not in subsidizing failures by governmental agencies. I am furious that FEMA officials try to sway public sentiment against waterfront communities by making false statements. Clearly, your article underscores that historic flood insurance premiums are too high, and are certainly not subsidized.

Other ways FEMA is stealthily raising money is by requiring policies based on replacement costs that sometimes far exceed the actual costs, so they get higher premiums, and by the federal government forcing lenders to require flood insurance on every structure. I have commercial clients who have been required to purchase flood insurance on leaky old storage sheds that are useful only in storing garden tools. Some have been forced to demolish the buildings because the annual premiums were higher than value of the building.

The government should immediately allow lenders to require insurance only on principal structures, to waive flood insurance if the value of the lot exceeds the loan amount, and to accept private flood insurance.

Linwood Gilbert, St. Petersburg

CIA drones kill leader of Taliban in Pakistan Nov. 2

A president's responsibility

The president is charged defending Americans from murderous attacks by enemies such as al-Qaida. It would be wonderful if this could be done without the use of force, but just as it is sometimes necessary for our local police to use deadly force, there are times when the president has no choice.

Al-Qaida and its allies have made it clear that they will use every weapon available to attack us. Although the danger to you and me may be remote, it is real and we would be foolish to ignore it. The use of drones is practical when the alternative is indiscriminate bombing.

Although innocent people may occasionally die as a result of these efforts to destroy the enemy, the president is using the best tool available to him. As long as the people of Pakistan support these terrorists and allow them to live openly among them, they share responsibility and risk injury or death.

Thomas W. McCarthy, Spring Hill

Big step for rail across the bay | Nov. 1

Plan connects the county

A letter writer recently penned the comment: "Light rail is no better than the connecting transportation at either end." He is exactly right, which is why the foundation of the Greenlight Pinellas Plan ( is first and foremost a vastly improved bus network that will connect the entire county to all major transit corridors and the light rail spine. It will also feature park-and-ride lots and greater options for cyclists and pedestrians to connect to transit.

Pinellas residents should visit the Greenlight Pinellas website so they can see and learn about the latest plans for improving transit. Those plans detail what will happen if voters approve a funding change for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, from the current property tax to a 1 percent sales tax in November 2014. They also detail what will happen if the funding change is not approved.

Bob Lasher, PSTA, St. Petersburg

No more | Nov. 5

Bullying must stop

Congratulations to Tom Jones for his piece on hazing and bullying in sports. He expressed my thoughts perfectly. This behavior must stop in all sports and at all levels. His article should have appeared on the front page.

Randy Nelson, Tampa

New standards guide students to success Nov. 4, commentary

Thinking about standards

So, the Common Core standards are designed to teach students to reason and analyze. No wonder there is an uproar. What could more dangerous than teaching children to think?

Ed Bradley, Valrico

Electricity rates climbing | Nov. 5

Power to the people

Here we go again: another rate increase approved by the Public Service Commission. I've been in Florida over 40 years and have never seen the commission do anything to serve the public. It's time that we get real and name it the "Utility Service Commission."

Leroy McCloud, St. Petersburg


Sunday’s letters: We need better intelligence, not more hardware

Myths about U.S. military spending | March 22, commentaryMore intel, not hardware, neededI am concerned that a discussion of excessive military budgeting is alarmingly absent from today’s water-cooler crowd and Twitter universe.William Felice, in...
Published: 03/24/18

Monday’s letters: Driverless cars on perilous roads

Driverless cautions | March 23, commentaryDriverless carson perilous roadsHaving watched the video of the tragedy in Tempe, Ariz., I believe the police are correct. This accident could not have been avoided as the pedestrian stepped out of the sh...
Published: 03/23/18

Friday’s letters: Think through assault weapons ban

Gun controlThink through assault rifle banI recently emailed a Florida state representative who had pledged, among other things, to ban assault rifles in the state. I asked him if he would ban the sale and transfer of these guns or ultimately make th...
Published: 03/22/18

Saturday’s letters: Tax guns to pay for security

Million-dollar questions | March 21Tax firearms to pay for securitySo public officials are wondering where they’ll get the money for stationing an armed guard in every school. How about heavily taxing every gun? It’s the proliferation of the weap...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/23/18

Thursday’s letters: School safety requires funding

Constitution Revision CommissionSchool safety requires fundingThe Constitution Revision Commission should consider amending a proposal (45, 93 or 72) to allocate the necessary recurring funding for the new school safety mandates, separate from the ba...
Published: 03/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let the teachers decide on guns

Trump touts arming staff as key in plan for school security | March 12It’s the teacher’s call on weaponsPlease, let’s try an alternate view about guns in the classroom. First, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the preponderance of letters about guns ...
Published: 03/20/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Published: 03/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Published: 03/19/18

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18