Tuesday, February 20, 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


Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18