Saturday, January 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Bills on construction, building good for Florida's economy

Legislature

Bills good for Florida's economy

Associated Builders and Contractors and our 2,500 members are pleased to report that new legislation will strengthen competition and reduce abusive litigation in Florida's multibillion-dollar commercial and public construction markets. We also want to thank Gov. Rick Scott for his support of these two pro-business, pro-consumer bills.

With the help of Rep. Jayer Williamson, R-Pace, and Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, ABC successfully landed House Bill 599 (Public Works Projects), which will promote a more open, honest and competitive bid process for public construction projects where state dollars represent 50 percent or more of the funding. Before this bill, local governments could establish arbitrary pre-bid mandates on contractors telling them whom they must hire, where they must train and what benefit packages they must offer if they want to bid a job with that entity. For many small businesses, these mandates made it unaffordable to bid many public projects. Increasing competition will benefit Florida taxpayers as well.

With the support of Rep. Thomas Leek, R-Ormond Beach, and Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, ABC also brought home House Bill 377 (Limitations on Actions other than for the Recovery of Real Property), which helps clarify when and how Florida's 10-year Statute of Repose begins to run on a completed project. The Statute of Repose defines the period in which an owner can sue for alleged construction defects. Previously, some owners and their attorneys delayed (or shorted) making final payment for construction in an effort lengthen the repose period well beyond the 10 years the Legislature had envisioned. This created open-ended liability, which cost the system millions of dollars in abusive lawsuits. House Bill 377 now defines "completion of the contract," which acknowledges that there are two parties to a deal — the owner and the contractor — and that both have a say in when the 10-year period may begin to run.

Carol Bowen, Coconut Creek

The writer is ABC's vice president of government affairs.

Allow NPs to give more care | June 16, letter

More competition needed

A letter writer makes a persuasive argument to allow solo practice by nurse practitioners. The same arguments apply to physician assistants. These medical professionals help satisfy increased demands on our health care system as baby boomers age. But this benefit occurs regardless of whether they practice solo or under the supervision of a M.D.-level physician.

A more crucial issue is whether allowing NPs and PAs to practice solo will reduce the cost of health care. If NPs and PAs who practice independently charge their patients less than medical doctors, we could see a direct reduction in health care costs. It might also inject a bit of healthy competition into the marketplace. That would benefit all of us.

Bill Sacco, Tampa

Troubled board must stay, for now | June 14, editorial

Board can't do its job

I was surprised to see the Times take the position that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board "can't be allowed to go broke and close its doors" until "its responsibilities (are) transferred to the county in the long run." I would agree with your position if the board was indeed protecting Pinellas consumers from shoddy contractors, but clearly it is not.

Your paper has clearly documented the shortcomings of this board. Not only do they have no authority to collect fines, but given their reduced staff and current deficit, they have no way to make sure contractors are even licensed in the first place, let alone do anything about any consumer complaints. So exactly who are they protecting?

Rather than lend the board an amount that is currently unknown (and will most certainly grow after the loan is extended), the county's tax dollars would be much better spent if it created its own board and let the current one die a slow and inevitable death. And yes, it would be better for Pinellas taxpayers if the state bailed the board out, but that will still require tax dollars. That's a better solution — the cost would mostly be covered by taxpayers outside the county.

Scott Stolz, Tarpon Springs

Gunman targets GOP congressmen | June 15

Two shootings, two results

There were two active shooter incidents that happened in two different cities this week. In one incident the bad guy with a gun shot and killed his intended targets, three innocent people. He only stopped shooting when he turned the gun on himself. In the other incident the bad guy with a gun was not able kill any of his intended targets. He was killed by good guys with guns.

If I ever find myself in a similar situation I will thank God for the Second Amendment. I carry a firearm with me everywhere. In these troubling times I recommend everyone learn how to handle a firearm and carry. You have a right to choose to carry a firearm or not. What you do not have a right to do is to take that choice away from me.

Gordon T. Brown, Lutz

Lost art of compromise

I am seriously distressed by the eroding political situation in our country and our state. We have a president who does not know the secret of keeping one's mouth shut, and who truly could shoot someone on 5th Avenue without upsetting his rabid base. We have a congressman actually being shot by a rabid Democrat.

We have a "victory tour" by a Republican governor who managed to work out some issues with his fellow Republicans, while the Democrats may as well not even show up in Tallahassee. We have unlimited super PAC money flowing to politicians of both parties, creating extremists on both sides.

We have serious problems that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, I fear that things will continue to erode until our politicians remember that politics itself is about compromise or, dare I say it, the art of the deal.

Stuart Berger, Clearwater

Comments

Saturdayís letters: Itís not the word, itís the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14Itís not the word; itís the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trumpís prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Fridayís letters: Help for boaters against modern-day Ďpiratesí

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know thereís no better way to enjoy our stateís spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursdayís letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trumpís extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesdayís letters: St. Petersburgís culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Yearís weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesdayís letters: Trumpís accomplishments unheralded

Tuesdayís letters: Trumpís accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Mondayís letters: Donít be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Donít be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sundayís letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturdayís letters: A wall of towers isnít progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isnít progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Fridayís letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinsonís experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18