Take action to protect our insurance rates | March 14, letter
Insurance reform is still under way
It is ironic that on the day after the Florida Senate's Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability presented its legislative recommendations to the Florida Legislature, the referenced letter was published stating that Florida's insurance problems are no longer in the headlines.
I would beg to differ. Whether or not the issue is on the front page of every paper is of no consequence. The issue itself is still a crisis in Florida and remains to be my No. 1 priority and that of the Florida Senate.
When I was appointed by the Senate president to serve on the Select Committee I did so with wholehearted enthusiasm knowing that immediate solutions to the problems that have plagued our state would be the result.
Now that those ideas have been presented to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, I would expect a hearing in the near future to consider the needed proposals put forth by the Select Committee and then bringing the proposal to the Senate floor for approval.
The proposals include giving the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation the authority to impose a daily fine on insurance companies that do not come in compliance with the Insurance Code and follow the law. Additionally, the proposal includes an increase in fines of up to $100,000 per day for insurance companies that engage in unfair methods of competition. Insurance companies must be held accountable and must follow the law.
Further, the Select Committee proposes that the practice of "use and file" be permanently suspended. This practice basically allows an insurer to implement a rate increase and then file for permission to implement the new rate. Insurance companies should not be allowed to raise rates first and then ask for permission later.
Our proposal will include that arbitration be permanently banned as a means in which to settle a rate challenge. Currently, arbitration panels (that are not accountable to anyone) have usurped regulators' ability in several cases to increase homeowners insurance rates. This process bypasses state regulations. The sole responsibility for setting rates will once again rest with the Office of Insurance Regulation and the commissioner, where it should be. Insurance companies will not have the ability to go around state regulators to increase rates that are unaffordable to the homeowner.
It is my hope that these and other ideas, such as my Senate Bill 400 which will prevent the practice of cherry-picking in Florida, will be heard in committee and eventually arrive at the floor of both the Senate and House for consideration by the full Legislature. We should not allow insurance companies to cherry-pick any longer in Florida.
Have no doubt, rate payers, that the issue of insurance reform is alive and well in Tallahassee, even if the papers don't always place it on the front page.
Sen. Mike Fasano,
New Port Richey
Drug sweep snares 2 Pasco deputies | March 17, story
Deputies' arrest a slap to colleagues
Upon reading about the arrest of the two Pasco County deputies on drug-related charges, I felt sick to my stomach. Having had the distinct honor of working at the Sheriff's Office for over 20 years, I developed close ties to many of the men and women who work long and oftentimes arduous hours to ensure the safety of the general public, so I can easily understand the gut-wrenching shame they must feel over this incident.
It is extremely difficult to even comprehend why these individuals would disgrace not only themselves and their families but the family of Sheriff's Office members who work alongside them.
One can only hope and pray that the citizens of this county will not come to the conclusion that the dedicated people involved in law enforcement would even consider such a path of self-destruction.
Barb Capodanno, Odessa
Big business in Zephyrhills? No
I am very upset with Zephyrhills City Council candidate Faye "Jodi" Wilkeson stating she wants to bring big business to our nice peaceful town.
With big business, you once again start a house-building craze that is already out of hand. I believe that the greater percentage of year-round residents is retired.
Richard T. Welch, Zephyrhills
Nuclear power is no good solution
I am so disappointed in the government and the state of our environment.
In the latest fiasco proposed, Progress Energy wants to once again destroy the homes of people who have worked perhaps their whole lives for what they have obtained.
They want to put up a multibillion-dollar nuclear energy plant. The energy, as we know, from these monstrosities is next to nothing and the destruction is immense.
Instead spend the money wisely by putting in solar and wind energy, a renewable and nonpolluting source. Also, the largest energy source we have is mass produced daily in the form of garbage. Let's please use it for our lives and the lives of future generations.
Arlene M. Rudolph,
Bullying calls for united approach | March 13, guest column
Bullies need real consequences
Guest columnist Mary Ann Peavler is preaching to the choir.
It's a scientific fact bullies don't make bully awareness banners, attend bully safety plan seminars, or give a hoot about the angst or tax burdens they create.
Students want protection and distance from bullies, not cages on campus where the keepers allow bullies to roam and mingle with the general population because Washington wonks command that foxes need mainstreaming with the chickens.
Bullies are pretty confident that not much is going to happen when they act out.
My Uncle Frank taught me an important lesson about coping with bullies. Frank was a sweet, little man. Business owner, great father and husband, active in his church and civic organizations. Korean combat veteran.
On one occasion a very bad man threatened Frank with a weapon. The assailant was a notorious bully. When the bully with the weapon came at Frank, my uncle buried a knife in the man's chest. God only knows where Frank's knife came from. The man lost a lung and the incident had a miraculous and pleasing effect on his present and future relationships.
The lesson I learned is bullies appreciate real consequences.
James B. Johnson, Port Richey
Evolution being oversold to kids
In an era that academia is perpetuating the denial of any "absolute truth," it seems somehow paradoxical that they are now forcing evolution upon schoolchildren as scientific fact with creationism being presented as a theory, if at all. The greatest irony is that creationism and other biblical principles are still overwhelmingly accepted as the basis for absolute truth.
In looking at just a few of the many issues:
The nonexistence of any transitional, interspecies fossils (microevolution).
Two of our alleged ancestors: Lucy was proven to be a 3-foot-tall chimpanzee and Neanderthal Man, in 1958 at the International Congress of Zoology, was determined by Dr. A.J.E. Cave to be the skeletal remains of a very arthritic elderly man.
Carbon dating incorporates six distinct, conflicting dating methods, each used at will, selectively, to support a specific, individual theory. In short, the fossil record simply does not support Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
To suggest that "random particle collision" could somehow be responsible for any life form, especially human, defies all logic and reason.
It should be very troubling to us all that our state Legislature would take it upon itself to impose Darwinism upon our schoolchildren, against the wishes of the residents of Florida.
Steve Davis, Port Richey