State greener, but not gaining | July 13
Political roadblocks to green jobs
This article notes that while Florida is a greener state than it was, it remains "woefully behind" the rest of the nation. The Brookings study ranked Florida 49th on the percentage of our economy dedicated to green, clean jobs.
These findings are frustrating but should not come as a surprise. None of Florida's leaders, past or present, have placed much emphasis on creating green jobs. As governor, Charlie Crist acknowledged the potential of a new economic engine, the climate change and economic conferences he hosted failed to produce any substantive policies.
Our current and previous legislative leaders are guilty of even greater neglect. While my colleagues and I have proposed numerous bills in recent years, a state energy policy has not been approved nor even seriously discussed. In fact, when the Public Service Commission drafted renewable energy portfolio standards for our state, the Legislature not only failed to put the proposal into law but specifically prevented the PSC from putting its draft policy into effect without prior legislative authority.
Instead of recognizing the benefits that a vibrant, competitive renewable clean energy market would have on Florida's economy, our leaders seem to be motivated solely by money — not the dollars that could be flowing into our economy and our small businesses, but the ones that flow into their campaign accounts and "leadership funds."
State Rep. Rick Kriseman, District 53, St. Petersburg
EPA acts to clean up the air
This month, the Environmental Protection Agency released the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which will reduce pollution across state borders, providing millions of Americans with cleaner air and water. This rule will significantly improve air quality in Florida, saving up to 1,510 lives and providing $12 billion in benefits each year.
Power plants in Florida will produce cleaner energy using improved pollution-control technology. With neighboring states also required to do their part, Florida residents will be better protected from harmful pollution crossing state borders.
I am grateful to the EPA for providing clean air standards. The benefits of reducing pollution have proved time and again to greatly outweigh the costs. I commend the agency for taking this important step forward, for my health and the health of my children.
Melissa Baldwin, Riverview
Sell Citizens? Scott likes the idea | July 14
Everything up for sale
The governor likes the idea of privatizing Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The governor likes the idea of privatizing prisons. The governor likes the idea of privatizing Medicaid. The governor likes the idea of privatizing parks.
Why wouldn't he like these ideas? He privatized the job of governor.
Jay Cooper, Riverview
Mayors: Don't forget us | July 14
Let the party pay
So someone else wants a government handout. The federal government is expected to provide $100 million to let politicians have their national party gathering. I say no. All the corporations and lobbies that line these politicians' pockets should start writing the checks.
We cannot afford to care for the sick and poor, so there's no way we should consider for one second giving the party deadbeats a red cent. Perhaps they can ask for a little trickle down from the billionaires that they cannot imagine asking to support the general public.
Rita Sewell, St. Petersburg
Recognition on licenses
Gov. Rick Scott has signed House Bill 1165 to recognize and honor Florida veterans who honorably served their nation on their drivers' licenses or identification cards. Four states now recognize veterans on their official state identification.
Connie Blaney, Tampa
On the vital questions, Scott's reply is silence July 14, commentary
A diatribe, not questions
I had to laugh when I read the "questions" Michael Putney planned to ask Gov. Rick Scott. They of course were not questions at all but a liberal diatribe, and the governor would have been an idiot to appear on Putney's broadcast.
Robert Vaughn, Oldsmar
A farewell to deputy | July 9
Revise chase guidelines
Hernando County Deputy John Mecklenburg's recent death in a vehicle pursuit accident was shocking and tragic. It raises the question of whether his death could have been avoided.
The person being pursued was driving against oncoming traffic on Highway 41 in Brooksville, and was apparently putting other people's lives in danger as well. One has to wonder if the pursuit may have created more danger on the highway, not less.
The sheriff's department should have a policy to cease a vehicular pursuit when the fleeing car is on the wrong side of the road, is using excess speed, or if the infraction is minor.
Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill
National catastrophe fund overdue | July 1, editorial
Making coverage affordable
As noted in this editorial, our nation is not well prepared for the next catastrophic hurricane, but federal taxpayers shouldn't have to bear the burden. And a long-term solution to the coastal insurance crisis is possible.
Through the Travelers Institute, we've combined our expertise with ideas gathered from federal, state and local officials to develop a comprehensive set of principles that we believe addresses the problem of availability and affordability of coastal wind storm insurance. Called the Travelers Coastal Wind Zone Plan, it incorporates regulatory stability, rating transparency, a no-subsidy federal reinsurance mechanism for extreme events, and methods to build stronger homes to better withstand severe wind.
At Travelers, we believe private insurers have a responsibility to put forth ideas to address the complex economic and social issues related to hurricane risk. Private market solutions are needed now to avoid a bailout later.
By no means do we have all the answers, but we hope to foster a dialogue that moves closer to a private market solution to help bring affordable homeowners insurance back to the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast regions.
Joan Woodward, executive vice president, Travelers, Hartford, Conn.