Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Flood act delay only adds to uncertainty

Federal flood fix falls short | Oct. 30, editorial

Delay only adds to uncertainty

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 went into effect Oct. 1 without the required FEMA affordability study and could have a seriously adverse effect on many Florida homeowners and businesses, as has been well documented by a number of articles in the Tampa Bay Times.

Where were our governor, U.S. senators and representatives when this bill was in the formative stages? Where were they when the law went into effect without the required FEMA affordability study? None of this should ever have been allowed to happen.

Finally, where were our U.S. senators and representatives when the author of this flawed and harmful legislation, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., reached agreement with other congressional leaders to delay the rate hikes for four years and require FEMA to complete an affordability study before increasing flood insurance premiums in the future? A companion bill is expected to be filed by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. Sen. Bill Nelson at least expressed his approval of the delay agreement, but it appears that Sen. Marco Rubio is still testing the political winds.

In the 2014 and 2016 elections, the voters of Florida should remember what little concern these politicians showed for our interests in this matter.

Delaying implementation of this act for four years to complete an affordability study is the wrong solution for a number of reasons. It just creates more uncertainty for homeowners and businesses that could potentially be impacted. It does not consider actuary data to define the risk for flood zone areas. It makes no attempt to mitigate the impacts of future storms.

It would be instructive for FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to visit the Netherlands and see what can be done to prevent coastal flooding. In 1953 that nation had devastating coastal flooding from a major storm. In response to this catastrophe, the Dutch government built massive flood protection systems. Even though much of the Netherlands is below sea level, there has been no major flooding since then.

Dieter Weber, St. Petersburg

'I'm responsible | Oct. 31

Troubles run deeper

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is taking all the heat for a failed rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and that may or may not be entirely justified. But even assuming it is fully justified, it is only a website; it will be fixed. The provisions of the ACA that are so conveniently being ignored by the media will not be fixed.

Sebelius is not responsible for the thousands if not millions of policy cancellations; she is not responsible for the mammoth premium increases.

Sebelius may have been incompetent in managing the website preparation, but it wasn't an integrity issue; it was an honest failing or mistake. When President Barack Obama said you could keep your doctor or your insurance if you liked them, he wasn't just exaggerating; he was unequivocally lying, over and over again. Why is the media not beating up on him as they have on Sebelius?

Darrell W. Katz, Wimauma

Buck stops with her

The Affordable Care Act website debacle is inexcusable. In an interview on CNN and during the congressional hearing, Kathleen Sebelius looked like a deer caught in the headlights, unable to answer even the simplest of questions.

She's right: We should blame her, as it was/is her job to oversee implementation of the website. Whether this was a case of contractors overpromising and underdelivering, or a failure of HHS to oversee the project, the buck stops with Sebelius.

Not only is the website not working properly but now there are concerns about the security of personal information required to even access the website; and, for those who were able to log in and use the site, there are questions as to whether their data was sent to the insurance companies.

I'm not sure what's worse: Sebelius not resigning or President Barack Obama showing what seems to be another lack of leadership by not removing her.

Richard Ulrich, St. Petersburg

Staffer at USF draws reprimand | Oct. 31

Outrageous comparison

Outrage. That is the word I associate with the "comparison" made by Timothy Weil in a recent USF "lecture." If that comparison had shown a rabbi or imam equaling a toilet, the lecturer would be run out of town. A letter of "counseling" is hogwash. He knew his example would be inflammatory and he deserves to be fired.

USF students also deserve an unbiased education that respects religion.

Jana Carpenter, Clearwater

Embarrassing for USF

As a USF alumnus I am disappointed and embarrassed to have read of this incident.

I am not a Catholic nor particularly religious, but it is hard for me to believe that a faculty member from one of Florida's leading academic institutions would resort to potty humor at an "academic conference." I don't believe that Timothy Weil "intended to show how people relate seemingly dissimilar things." Please tell him to place that excuse into the toilet on his "academic" slide.

I think his intent was to elicit the very response he got from the crowd. The point to his "exercise" was to bash Catholics and Christianity.

As for the opinion of USF Faculty Senate president Gregory Teague "that this was a gross misconstrual of what he was trying to say" — that is nonsense. Is it reasonable to believe that the USF lecturer can't articulate his thoughts clearly and that everyone but Weil misunderstood his point? Sounds like he should try another line of work.

Marc Wojcik, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18