Monday, December 18, 2017
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


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Published: 12/15/17
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17