Land rush puts pressure on rents | April 20
Prompt rental home response
I never thought I would ever write a letter supporting a major corporation, but I believe your article on rentals in general and on Invitation Homes in particular warrants a fair and balanced response.
In December my wife and I decided to downsize. We sold our home in Odessa with the intention of renting until we decided whether to build a smaller home in the same area.
Despite my concern about renting from a big corporation, we rented a home in Wesley Chapel that is owned by Invitation Homes. It turned out that the home had some major problems.
When we notified Invitation Homes, we were pleasantly surprised (amazed) that it addressed each of these issues promptly and professionally, then followed up the next day to see whether the work was done to our satisfaction.
I would not hesitate to recommend Invitation Homes to anyone looking to rent a home in the Tampa Bay area.
Frank Shea, Wesley Chapel
Medical marijuana | April 20
No issues in Colorado
Since we live in Colorado for part of the year, many of our Florida friends have asked about the effects of medical marijuana. My answer is that there have been no noticeable effects.
Where we live in Colorado we have two clinics, both listed in the phone book and located far from the center of town. There has been no increase in the number of clinics, and they haven't become "magnets for crime."
I called the clinics to ask how they operate. I was told they require a doctor's prescription that would be sent to the state with an application and a check. After being reviewed, an authorization card may be issued. Clinics require a card and an ID to even enter and record each visit.
The people at the clinics did say that most doctors are not willing to write a script because marijuana is new to the medical community and there is an absence of dosing information. I guess it is not easy to step into unfamiliar territory. However, many patients have died from pain medication currently dispensed; I have never read of anyone dying from marijuana.
The town paper prints a daily police blotter. We have never seen any crime involving marijuana although there are many involving alcohol. We read about the many people whose health conditions could be helped by legalizing marijuana. It seems unfair to deny them the help they need. Those who warn against the current proposal in Florida seem to be confusing recreational use with medical use.
Faith Alford, St. Pete Beach
Taxis cry foul on ride sharing | April 17
Inflexibility on Uber
Tampa Bay has truly become a world-class region. We have hosted Super Bowls and the Republican National Convention, and are in the middle of hosting the International Indian Film Academy awards. We offer the beautiful beaches and waterways the Sunshine State is known for while also showcasing vibrant and growing communities with urban amenities and a thriving business economy.
We are, however, falling behind in one critical area: transportation.
An exciting new innovation available in many American cities is Uber, a technology platform that provides streamlined car service to the modern-day consumer. Uber and other similar services are receiving rave reviews from the many cities throughout the United States where they have been deployed. The technology allows the traveler to order car service, see exactly where the available cars are located, get information about the car and the driver, and pay for the service — all through a few clicks on your mobile device.
But if you are in Tampa Bay, you cannot use these services because of arcane rules that distinguish between cabs and limousine services. These inflexible rules need to be updated, or Tampa Bay will be left behind. It would be a shame to allow an issue like this to hamper our forward progress.
Two Tampa Bay legislators have shown great leadership on this issue: Rep. Jamie Grant and Sen. Jeff Brandes, who have sponsored House Bill 1389 and Senate Bill 1618, legislation that would allow companies like Uber to operate in Florida. I encourage our other Tampa Bay legislators to make this issue a priority in the remaining days of the legislative session.
Deborah Cox Roush, Lithia
Oil driller does more than allowed | April 17
Safety requires regulation
This article about an oil company violating the rules while drilling on sensitive Florida lands is an example of why we should err on the side of caution when dealing with big business. Government regulations are the only defense we have against this type of action, and this has been true over many years, in all types of business.
Rick Scott and members of the legislation in Tallahassee have told us that regulations are hampering business, and they can be trusted to do the right thing for the people and the environment that they serve. The officials who say these things are either very naive, or are being paid by big business to sell us a bill of goods.
Janet Graber, St. Petersburg
Doctor guilty in pill mill inquiry | April 19
This article reported that a convicted Brandon doctor ordered thousands of prescriptions for controlled drugs to addicts and doctor shoppers. The enterprise took cash only and went on for at least two years. The "patients often came from as far away as Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee."
There are questions that seem to never get asked: Why couldn't these out-of town pill takers find corrupt doctors to accommodate them in their own home states? Why did they have to travel all the way to Florida to do illicit business?
I would guess that their own state boards of medicine never allowed the situation to exist. That's what boards of medicine are for: to protect the interests of the public, not those of their own. Licenses can be suspended by emergency action, even for a single transgression.
Our own state board was remiss by either their incompetence, or by a lack of resolve, intended or not. I don't see them being held accountable; we deserve better from our overseers.
Anthony S. Comitos, Palm Harbor