Group provides summer camp, tea party style | June 14
Consequences of ending 'charity'
I would hope that the principle "government cannot force me to be charitable" would be explained to mean that these types of programs will have to end: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, vouchers to private schools, federal grants for college, health and food programs for children and families in need, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.
Also, "share it with who I want" should be "with whom." At the very least let's protect the children from bad grammar.
Paul Lupone, Spring Hill
Why I voted against camera enforcement in my city
On June 14 the St. Pete Beach City Commission voted 4-1 to repeal the city's red-light camera ordinance. I voted with the majority for the following reasons.
First let's start with what we know: Red-light cameras generally result in an increase in rear-end collisions. I guess the theory of the camera providers is that this is acceptable because of a supposed reduction in fatalities related to red-light running.
But Etienne Pracht, an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at the University of South Florida, states:
"Regardless of the suggested impact of (red-light cameras), what remains true is that engineering solutions (light timing) are by far the most significant and effective approach the city can take to enhance safety. Consider that adding a single second to the yellow light interval can reduce red-light running between 80 and 100 percent. If, in addition to that, an all-red interval of 2-3 seconds is implemented to allow the intersection to clear completely, the potential for crashes can be virtually eliminated."
I'm convinced that red-light cameras are simply a tool to generate revenue under the guise of safety. It's all about the money, so let's just call it what it is: a tax, which causes rear-end collisions and gives just 20 percent of the take to the city.
Marvin Shavlan, city commissioner, St. Pete Beach
About a month ago, I read an article stating that State Farm was granted an increase in Hernando County due to sinkhole activity. I expected a rise in my homeowners rate but was totally unprepared for my new bill: It went from $4,030 to $8,980 — a 123 percent increase in one year.
I realize there are some homeowners who may have tried to milk the system (I am not one of them), but to charge me almost $9,000 a year for insurance is absurd. By the time State Farm is finished, this will be a ghost town. Who is going to buy a $135,000 house when they have to pay a $750 a month in insurance?
Walter Leder, Spring Hill
Florida's boom might be over | June 14
The director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research "blames" the slowing population boom on the economy. This implies that something is wrong with a reduction in our state's population growth.
Tom Friedman's recent column (The Earth is full, June 12) addresses the importance of a new, happiness-driven growth model. Perhaps the time has come to appreciate a slowing population growth, enjoy a Florida that is less full and embrace the opportunity to grow in wisdom rather than in numbers.
Rebecca Blanco, Lutz
Consider the source
Since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the wealthy in America have done very well. The rest of America has barely kept pace with their basic living expenses.
It is very easy to preach the gospel of austerity when one is living well.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Smart girls rule the classes | June 11
Wakeup call on boys, school
This article should serve as a local and national wakeup call to this serious problem. What would we say if the shoe were on the other foot and education were a male-dominated affair?
What if girls were expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than boys? What if in elementary school girls were diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often? What if by high school, boys dominated Advanced Placement classes and all extracurricular activities except sports? The public outcry would be enormous. Yet advocating for boys is often perceived as antifeminist.
While women's hard-fought academic achievements were long overdue, they should not have come at the expense of our sons. People who suggest that girls simply work harder than boys are being too simplistic. Underlying reasons for some boys' disengagement from school include today's accelerated curricula, more sedentary school days (elimination of recess), behavioral expectations that favor girls, and fewer male teachers.
Aunna Elm, Palm Harbor
State cracks down on assisted living facilities | June 15
Sort out types of violations
Important details were omitted from this article.
First of all, it takes very little to have a fine levied on an assisted living facility by the Agency for Health Care Administration. It can be anything from the day's menu not being posted to a scrip from a doctor being on file for more than six months. Even the article cites fines that were levied for infractions that had nothing to do with the actual care the residents were getting.
I think there needs to be a distinction made when listing assisted living facilities that have been fined. Using the term "worst offenders" and then lumping the ones fined for administrative-type infractions together with the facilities where people really have died from neglect is not fair to homes that are well run.
Vicky Ferraro, Tampa
Wasting their time | June 16, letter
The letter writer claims that the people who line up hoping to get a seat at the Casey Anthony trial are wasting valuable time that would be better spent doing volunteer work. I disagree.
By observing the Anthony trial, these people are learning how our judicial system works. This will make them better citizens now, and better jurors.
James Nelson, Largo