A failed insurance market | July 20, editorial
Insurance is part of cost of Florida living
Sunday's editorial, as well as Howard Troxler's July 20 column (Just saying "Booo!" to State Farm not enough), seem to believe that the "Commie" way is the way to handle our windstorm insurance. I don't think you all understand the issue well enough to have such an extreme left-wing viewpoint.
Our governor, Charlie Crist, certainly does not understand the issue. But maybe he learned something when he visited the chairman of Lloyd's of London. Our Florida chief financial officer, Alex Sink, gets it. She's been to Lloyd's, plus she has a conservative banking background.
Florida taxpayers won't be off the financial hook until our insurance rates are actuarially sound. State Farm reinsuring to the 1-in-250-year storm ensures that the state won't have to step in and bail them out.
Remember our current $800-million assessment from Poe Financial. It was a big mistake by the state to allow Poe to be under-reinsured. Please consult some economists, college professors, industry experts and business leaders to get a professional second opinion.
Private dollars will take the risk and pay for the claims in case of a disaster. I don't believe in the "Commie" way. Where would we be without the insurance industry? Basically a socialistic society. Why insure anything if you don't really own anything?
There is a cost established by the free market to insure our possessions. But at last, government regulation is necessary and maybe a little government intervention is necessary if a huge disaster comes our way. So be it. That is life as we know it here in "Hurricane Alley."
Our little piece of land stuck out between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico is a dangerous and beautiful place to live. You live here, you pay more for the risk. It is similar to plowing the streets after heavy snowfalls up north or having to pay to heat your house — costs associated with the weather.
Dan Harvey Jr., St. Petersburg
At home, Al Gore doesn't look so green July 25, letter
Gore's home has
gotten more green
Al Gore's critics continue to cite outdated information about the Gores' home in Nashville.
The 80-year-old house has received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It took the Gores time to get it retrofitted. The process was delayed due to local government regulations, which have since been revised. The home gets electricity from 33 photovoltaic panels that were supplied and installed by a local contractor. Any additional electricity required is purchased from Nashville Electric's Green Power Switch program. The home is heated and cooled by a geothermal system, which is efficient, economical and totally off the grid. The Gores use other energy efficient technologies like compact fluorescent lights and Energy Star compliant appliances as well.
The critics conveniently overlook the fact that the Gores' home is also their place of business, complete with offices for staff and other personnel, IT infrastructure, etc.
Al Gore is way ahead of the game. Can you say the same for yourselves?
Don Miller, Apollo Beach
At home, Al Gore doesn't look so green July 25, letter
Too much 'gotcha'
A recent letter to the editor compares President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, to Al Gore's Tennessee residence.
It is very commendable that the Bush family chose a very energy efficient design for their new home. This is environmentally conscientious and economically wise.
To call Gore a hypocrite because he accomplishes his goals differently is unfair. Simply comparing raw energy usage is misleading. According to the Gore family, they purchase a significant amount of their electricity and natural gas from renewable sources and pay for carbon offsets to create a zero-carbon footprint.
Some may choose to debate whether carbon dioxide emissions lead to global warming, but we all need to recognize the requirement that our society needs to move away from fossil fuels as much as possible (see the recent oil spill on the Mississippi River) to cleaner, renewable energy sources for our environmental, economic and national security, and stop playing partisan games of "gotcha."
Jon Sharf, Tampa
Father, brother arrived too late July 23, story
More intervention needed
It is heart-breaking to read yet again of a terrible tragedy caused by a person suffering from mental illness. It has become almost a daily event to read of murder (or attempted murder), suicide or other tragedies apparently as the result of untreated mental illness. Dallas Carter committed suicide by forcing police officers to shoot him. I have to wonder if medication would have saved him.
For some reason, many Florida communities refuse to implement an amendment to the Florida Baker Act which allows for the involuntary treatment of certain mentally ill people who are too sick to understand their own illness.
Because a police officer in Seminole County was killed in a standoff with an untreated mentally ill man, Seminole County now has a model intervention program to help such people before tragedy strikes. I implore local law enforcement and mental health professionals to start such a program here.
Pat Ellis, St. Petersburg
A sensible plan to cut prison cost July 21, editorial
Not a job for jails
The Department of Corrections wants to build "state jails" in local communities. Since most jail and prison populations are overcrowed with persons with mental illness, these people ought to be released to mental health treatment facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 15 to 50 percent of those confined suffer from a mental illness. The recovery rate for mental illness is higher than that for cancer or heart problems.
Too often mental illnesses are not treated by the medical system, they are treated by the criminal justice system — from an initial response by the police to long-term "treatment" in a correctional facility.
In Pinellas County, lack of funding just closed the short-term residential treatment facility for persons with mental illness. Such facilities are a much needed piece of the puzzle to recovery for those apparently not so unstable as to require hospitalization, but not stable enough to be released into the community.
Persons with mental illness can look forward to a "locked-down" facility. It just won't be the short-term residential treatment; it will be the "state jail." What a cruel joke.
Donald Turnbaugh, past president, NAMI Pinellas County (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Palm Harbor
60 years ago, Truman stood up for blacks July 24, Bill Maxwell column
A missed opportunity
I had hoped that Bill Maxwell would have used the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of President Harry Truman's signing an executive order desegregating America's armed forces as a teaching tool to show how, historically, it is usually pragmatists who institute change in any society.
Maxwell instead used the opportunity to further expose the gulf that exists between civil rights era African-Americans and today's generation of African-American leadership. Every generation has an obligation to lead, instruct, and effect change in its community or nation. Failure to do so causes moral stagnation and decay.
I suggest that Maxwell should focus his energy on the topics he writes about, not on taking potshots at political candidates he doesn't care for socially or politically.
Craig Jones, St. Petersburg
In need of good news
After reading the newspapers, I think there is not much uplifting good news being printed. But I know there must be some good things happening around town.
Who cares about new babies the stars are having? We all have babies who are special. The war, insurance problems, oil prices, politics, murders, shootings, accidents, housing markets, storms, pornography — you get the picture.
Yes, sports and local gatherings are good, but where are the other articles about what the good folks are doing? Aren't there reporters out there finding out what is good about this area? Our country is suffering enough with the economy as it is. We need some good news and need it now.
Sandra Groover, St. Petersburg