Red-light cameras a target yet again | Sept. 5
Dangerous plan could cost lives
State Sen. Jeff Brandes is proposing legislation that would repeal red-light cameras in Florida. My fiancee was killed four years ago by a red-light runner. Our families remain devastated.
There are only two reasons why red-light laws are violated. The first is a pure accident, a driver not paying attention. There is little we can do about that. People do make mistakes, but they should not get away with it. Red-light cameras catch those people who have merely made a mistake, and the resulting fine may ensure their full attention is on the road in the future. How is this a bad thing? How can it not raise awareness?
The other reason that red lights are run is that drivers feel they can "get away with it." No one knowingly runs a red light if a police officer is visible. The greater the prevalence and publicity given to red-light cameras, the greater the doubts in drivers' minds that they can get away with it.
Brandes said there is no clear-cut evidence that red-light cameras result in safer intersections. They have been around for about three years. Slowly, the driving public will accept the fact that if they run a red light by accident or on purpose, they will be caught. If one life is saved, it is worth it.
This legislation is a dangerous and irresponsible attempt to appeal to the no-tax crowd.
Michael Moore, Tampa
Red-light cameras a target yet again | Sept. 5
The cameras are working
What difference does it make if the camera vendor gets a cut, along with the municipality in which the offense takes place, of the $75 remaining after the state collects $83 for each ticket issued? The point is the cameras have reduced the number of red-light runners if the declining numbers of citations per camera is any indication.
Obviously state Sen. Jeff Brandes has not had the pleasure of being broadsided by someone in too big a hurry to wait out a red light. My own experience came in 2005, but more recently a young acquaintance of mine was sent to the hospital for the first of what will be multiple surgeries to repair a shattered ankle. Needless to say he now has no car (it was totaled) and he can't work to replace it. When he can work, paying his hospital bills will take priority since the scofflaw who hit him was "underinsured."
Sally Martin, Tampa
The 'war weary' myth | Sept. 5, commentary
Sacrifices aren't shared
Robert Samuelson is correct: Few alive today understand the meaning of the sacrifice of war. I was a young child during World War II and remember the sound of sirens signaling an air-raid drill. All lights in every home and all streetlights were extinguished. Spotlights crisscrossed the skies looking for possible enemy aircraft.
Everything was rationed. Gasoline, rubber tires, sugar, coffee and many other household products could only be purchased using ration coupons. Kids in school purchased war stamps, adults purchased war bonds, all to help fund the war effort. Every home had a "Victory Garden" so farm products were more available for the military.
No one — man, woman, or child — was not personally involved and impacted by the war effort. Living through this war, I truly know personal sacrifice during wartime. The vast majority of our population have no understanding of wartime sacrifice. If they did, most support for any military action would quickly disappear.
Jay Hall, Tampa
A welcome no-show and A rising flood of insurance price hikes Sept. 5
I find a bit of irony when you compare two articles in the Times.
On the one hand you have "A welcome no-show," which states that for only the sixth time in the last 63 years not a single hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico so far this storm season.
And (sadly) on the other hand you have "A rising flood of insurance price hikes." How ironic that one article stresses the good news about the lack of bad weather and flooding and the other how flood insurance rates might more than double in our area in the near future.
What's wrong with this picture?
Brett Hayman, St. Petersburg
A rising flood of insurance price hikes Sept. 5, John Romano column
Rates reflect risks
John Romano's well-written article on flood insurance price hikes left out one key point. The raising of flood insurance rates is critical to the sustainability of flood insurance. The rates are being raised to reflect the true flood risk and stabilize the program.
Unfortunately, this does mean that some rates will rise, but it also means that some rates will not. This action means that consumers who have been subsidized through the years with artificially low rates will be faced with hard decisions.
These include evaluating if the cost of living in a home that has a high risk of flooding is worth the additional premium increase. Take the emotion out of the discussion and you have a simple exercise in risk/benefit analysis that all homeowners should engage in.
I do not believe that others should subsidize decisions by homeowners to own homes that they cannot afford. The plain fact is that if you have a home on the water or a home in an area that is prone to flooding, then you are at risk and must decide if that risk is worth the extra cost or not.
Pat Allen, Trinity
Scott vows help for springs | Sept. 5
Make mess, clean up, repeat
If there is a dominant theme to Rick Scott's pre-election actions, it is cleaning up messes which he, himself, created.
He decimated our voting laws, partially restored them, and claims an achievement. He slashed schools' budgets, partially restored them, and claims an achievement.
And now, after allowing his own environmental protection folks to increase Mosaic's use of water to dilute pollution — damaging the springs by water overuse and heightened phosphates — he throws a bit of money at the problem and expects us to believe that he's "fixed it."
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg