Thursday, December 14, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Restore sanity to flood insurance

I would like to thank Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov for her leadership in bringing this flood insurance crisis to the attention of the elected officials around the state who are not well-versed in this field. It is heartening that we have someone with her knowledge looking into this issue.

I know and respect many in the insurance industry, but believe that anyone involved in establishing these proposed flood insurance premiums is either not terribly bright, or has purposely set rates obscenely high for so many of our low- and moderate-income citizens to make some political point. I just don't know what it is.

Florida residents pay nearly four times the amount in premiums than all of its claims combined, and now they want us to pay 10 times more than we have been paying, or some 40 times the amount of claims, so they can end our subsidy.

Nevertheless, there are low-lying homes in our community that are flooded every time we have a heavy rain at high tide, and it makes no sense to buy them new carpet and furniture every few years. But nearly adjacent homes, only 1 or 2 feet higher, have never flooded. The truly flood-prone homes should clearly pay a premium more in line with risk, but the owners should not be evicted, which is what will happen with the increase in rates.

I hope we will create a citizens' committee, including insurance experts, homebuilders, appraisers, accountants, bankers and others with expertise, so we can be assured the facts are on the table for all to see. Rates should be based on actual construction risks, meaning that carpeting and drywall may need replacement, yet it is unlikely that the entire home will wash away. But even that is possible, so weight the odds using actuarial tables based on fact.

This is not difficult. It is arithmetic, not particle science. I hope that all of the details of all of these programs, all of the numbers, will be reported in the Times. Please do not believe that your readers do not care or cannot comprehend. These stories need to be told, the process needs to be made transparent.

Linwood Gilbert, St. Petersburg

Parental involvement

Grego off track

It is wonderful that Pinellas County has an effective and highly dedicated school superintendent. It is unfortunate that superintendent Mike Grego's focus on low-income and black students is misplaced which, in turn, results in more wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.

To improve the educational level of low-income and black students, it is absolutely necessary to focus on parental involvement as it applies to their students' academic life.

Teachers, students and parents make up the educational triad. Whenever any one of the triads is absent, there will be continued failure. When the student is not engaged with the teacher in the classroom because his or her parents place little, if any, value on the student's learning, any new programs designed to improve the educational level of low-income and black students are destined to failure.

It is imperative Grego's focus be on parental involvement in students' academic life, not on programs that sound good but will not be of aid to students because there is no internalization of academic accomplishment unless the student is presented with goals by his or her parents.

Walter Noble, Palm Harbor

Downtown dining

Creative options

As reported in the Times, there are plenty of dining options outside of Beach Drive. The new Rococo Steak, on the southern edge of downtown, could spark a lot of business in that wonderful and sleepy part of town. Perhaps Muvico could downsize its gargantuan 20 theater cinema and put an art and foreign film theatre nearby, along with some mainstream offerings. The other part could go to Tyrone Square Mall as it is really hopping these days with kids and parents in need of a relaxing meal while the kids are at the movies.

The St. Pete Pier Aquarium, reportedly without a home at John's Pass, could fill the Muvico space or the St. Petersburg Museum of History could. The present museum space is ideal for a five-star restaurant, taking advantage of that spectacular view of the Vinoy Basin.

When one door closes, many more open.

Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg

Food trucks at the Pier

A better idea

Now that Washington, D.C.,'s Urban Land Institute has informed St. Pete that we need more family-friendly dining and entertainment options, isn't it time we reopen the Pier? Options are limited downtown unless one can afford Beach Drive eateries or is in the mood to party until 3 a.m. at the numerous bars.

We have the money: $400,000 of the $500,000 budget for Mirror Lake could be diverted to reopen the Pier, food trucks could line the Pier approach and the first floor and rooftop plaza could reopen. A minimarina could emerge on the east side of the apron, too. This is an easy solution to the flaw of our town that the Urban Land Institute cited.

The $100,000 would go a long way in beautifying Mirror Lake and would be money better spent than a grand revamping. The problems there are similar to Williams Park and simply beautifying the area is like painting rust. The core problem will remain.

Imagine what an attraction St. Petersburg would be with our Pier filled with exciting food trucks that offer diverse fare at family friendly prices. The selection would be grand and the menus forever changing, so that people would return to taste what's new.

Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg waterfront Already a jewel

So the city hired "experts" for an analysis of the waterfront. Spent $125,000 for the suggestion to rename First Street, drum roll, University Way. And of course improve signs. Who knew we needed improved signs. And marketing. Must have large crowds to lend credence. Certainly there are people on the city's payroll who can come up with some ideas to make some adjustments. Without ruining a jewel. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Chuck Reigle, St. Petersburg,


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17