Legislature turns back on public education | March 8, commentary
Remember it's 'public' school
These two writers have made the case more clearly then I have ever read in one article.
Our Florida politicians, starting with Jeb Bush and now Rick Scott, along with our "leaders" in the House and Senate, have damaged public education, demoralized teachers, used our children as pawns, and are looking to inflict more pain.
They claim they are doing it for the right reasons, but they could not be more misdirected. I hope that Florida citizens realize the insidious nature of their misguided efforts before the damage becomes permanent. The mission of public schools was established by the government to provide a quality education to all students, not a competitive business meant to drive wedges between the stakeholders.
Full funding should be restored, and autonomy given back to schools to provide an unencumbered, "free" education, as it should be. That's why they are called "public schools."
David Pike, Odessa
Struggle could be brewing over PIP March 9
Time limit is bad idea
As someone who spent years defending against personal injury protection claims, I take issue with the idea of denying a person benefits if he or she does not see a doctor within 14 days of an accident. Many people — especially those who are young, very busy, or just plain stubborn — believe their complaints will go away, or they self-medicate or just don't want to see a doctor.
When they finally realize the injuries they suffered are lingering or getting worse, the 14-day window could well have passed. Any personal medical insurance they may have will not cover the medical costs, denying benefits because the injuries fell under the PIP insurance law.
So, people who may have paid thousands of dollars in auto insurance premiums over the years will be denied the very benefits they paid for. This proposal would force everyone to run to the doctor in order to protect their rights, overcrowding our already overburdened emergency rooms and doctors' offices.
Paul P. Carlucci, Valrico
Who's in charge here?
In reporting on the PIP stalemate, you quoted House Minority Leader Ron Saunders as saying, "Part of their (the Senate's) problem is they got a lot of term-limited senators that don't really care anymore and they can't tell them how to vote."
Huh? I thought we told them how to vote.
Peter Dubbeld, St. Petersburg
I read this article twice and still don't understand it. Not because of the way the reporter presented it, but because I don't understand why there has to be such drama related to solving a known problem of rampant fraud with staged auto accidents resulting in inflated auto insurance premiums.
This reconfirms a letter responding to the Times' March 4 editorial, "What's wrong with Florida," in which the writer asked why we, the voters, keep putting people in control of our state who only care about themselves.
Mary Jane Callihan, St. Petersburg
Proposed stadium site for Rays sold March 7
A steal of a deal
BB&T Bank selling the 96 acres in the Gateway area to a beer distributor for only $9.75 million is a steal. I believe Pinellas County was asleep at the switch and should have purchased this land for a possible site for a new Rays stadium, other development, or resale at a later date for a big profit.
This reduces the options for keeping the Rays in Pinellas County, but makes building a new stadium on the parking lot of Tropicana Field more realistic, as was done in many other major-league cities.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Foreclosure crisis still festering | March 9, letter
Write down loan, refinance
Fixing underwater mortgages, for the majority of homeowners, is a simple matter using a commonsense approach and treating homeowners fairly.
Just enact legislation allowing the banks to refinance a homestead at the current market value, and refinance at current low rates. This would give the current owner the same deal that is offered to bottom-feeding investors who are poised to snap up a bargain on the courthouse steps.
The banks are going to take their haircut anyway. Why not give the current homeowner first shot at rescuing their neighborhood and family?
This fix is simple, and doesn't cost anyone a dime. Some will feel like this is an unfair giveaway. But they need to realize that the nation was mugged by banks and supported by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who encouraged the liar loans and inflated the demand side by encouraging poor loan practices. We need justice and fairness.
Kurt Steinmann, Belleair
On Iranian threat, Obama stands firmly beside Israel | March 8, commentary
There's no case for war
I have been an admirer of Tom Friedman's columns and agree with his worry that Israel and American Jews might drag America into yet another war, this time with Iran. I disagree when he states that Israelis and friends should be thankful for President Barack Obama's unqualified support for Israel. I for one am not thankful for the president's statement and shudder at the thought of the United States assuming any sort of partnership position in the potential Israel-Iran confrontation.
When Israel continues to erode Palestinian land with continual "settlements" contrary to U.S. and international wishes; when Israel builds an iron curtain, sometimes on Palestinian land; and when Israel denies citizens of Gaza free trade — all this diminishes its worthiness for unqualified support.
The United Nations is the place where the Iranian nuclear problem needs to be addressed, and we should continue to press that international body for resolution. If the United Nations declares that an armed response is needed after diplomacy has failed, then the United States should be prepared to participate fully as part of a U.N. action, but not until then.
Neither Obama nor his political opposition have built any sort of acceptable case for U.S. military involvement without U.N. direction.
David Hewitt, Parrish
Can't wait for alternatives
President Barack Obama refers to oil as a "fuel of the past," and says solar, wind and nuclear are the future. But how soon is the future? We can't put those suggestions in our gas tank.
Jim Caputo, Spring Hill