I was offended by your report on real estate flips. The tone of the article was that flipping is, at the very least, an unsavory activity. There was also the undertone in the article that profit is a four-letter word.
I know many bankers who work in the foreclosed property area who are overworked due to volume but are not stupid. They realize that they cannot retail 99 percent of these properties because of their condition. When the former occupants left, they took the appliances, cabinets, doors, etc. In addition, many of these properties have been sitting vacant for long periods of time, which creates additional maintenance issues.
The bankers are not in the business of and do not have the background for rehabbing these properties, and selling them at wholesale is the logical and reasonable way to dispose of them. Due to the volume involved, it is much more efficient for a banker to sell multiple properties to a single buyer who can close quickly for cash.
These buyers are in the business of dealing with houses with repair issues. The article states how these buyers make an "easy" profit by quickly reselling some of these properties. The writer fails to consider the time and money that it takes to evaluate properties, develop a reasonable purchase offer and then build relationships with buyers who will buy some of these properties.
The writer also fails to consider the inherent risks involved in buying these properties. If the buyer finds that a property needs significant additional repairs that were not anticipated, then the buyer has to fund these out of pocket and could very easily lose money on the transaction.
The real estate market is working in a logical manner and, over time, will work through the current situation. Please do not attack the people who are instrumental in making this market function.
David Burton, CPA, Clearwater
Vigil memorializes 19-year-old who died after crash | May 17
A family's gratitude
On Tuesday, May 22, among family and friends who loved and admired him, we buried our son, Michael A. Agana.
We have sadly endured what every parent dreads — the loss of a child — and although our hearts are aching, we are grateful for the outpouring of support the Tampa community gave to our son and our family during our most difficult moments.
We'd like to thank the good people who made rescue attempts at the accident scene and the Tampa Police Department for its rapid response. We'd also like to thank all the friends who visited, sent thoughts, cards, notes, flowers, donations, food and prayers, along with the doctors who treated Michael. And finally, although there are many others who touched our lives during Michael's final days, we'd also like to thank the members of the Tampa news media who gave us our privacy when we asked for it.
It seems our mourning of our amazing son will never end, but we take refuge in knowing that he is now closer than ever with God.
Michael's life was a blessing to us and all who knew him, and words can never capture how much we will miss absolutely everything about him.
Alvin Agana, Tampa
2011 FCAT scores adjusted | May 26
Stand up against the test
Enough already! The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is not a directive from the heavens. It was man-made and can be changed. It was a bad idea from the beginning and it has gone downhill from there.
Testing of students must be diagnostic in nature in order to guide instruction, not punitive. Floridians should stand up and say that we have had enough of FCAT.
Barbara Smoak Smith, Palm Harbor
Clean up this bill
A Senate conference committee is debating the final version of the federal transportation bill, and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is on the panel.
One bad amendment in the bill concerns how utility companies dispose of coal ash. Floridians need to ask for a clean transportation bill, which provides jobs and protects the state's water supply from mercury, arsenic, chromium and other toxic chemicals in coal ash. Florida has 14 coal power plants producing over 8 billion pounds of coal ash each year, and zero requirements for contamination prevention at coal ash landfills.
Nelson needs to protect the public and our economy by getting rid of the coal ash provision.
Angelique Giraud, Boca Raton
Obama fell short in home crisis PolitiFact, May 29
Success wasn't possible
So the Times sets out to evaluate the veracity of a ridiculous ad from the billionaires' stockpile that President Barack Obama has personally failed to fix the millions of failed mortgages created in what we have forgotten was the front end of an economic depression barely avoided for the moment.
In truth, no one could have succeeded in coming up with the billions of dollars from nowhere necessary to bail out these multiple millions of failed mortgages. Doing point/counterpoint on what was or wasn't done to fix something that can never be fixed serves only to force more gastric distress into a rancorous election year.
Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg
While traveling last holiday weekend, I paid particular attention to the Transportation Security Administration operation at Tampa International Airport. Let me begin by applauding them for their friendliness, patience and conviction in assuring all of us traveled safely to our destinations.
Having experienced a recent knee replacement, I was offered the option of a scan or a pat-down. I elected the latter to experience what many people have complained of in the past. The agent took the time to explain the process, was professional and in no way did he cause me any type of embarrassment.
While pausing at the gate for boarding, I counted no less than five agents surrounding us, studying passenger behavior and also randomly searching bags for a second time just prior to boarding the aircraft. I stated to my traveling companion how I felt blanketed with a feeling of reassurance from their presence. Thank you, TSA; I'm one grateful passenger.
Russell Case, Largo
Textbook for smarter libraries May 29, editorial
This editorial is right on target in its support of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative. Sharing across the county enables Pinellas residents access to far more resources than any single library could provide.
However, the East Lake Community Library has been sustaining budget cuts far greater than makes sense given the proportion of the funding that comes from East Lake. We need a solution that allows East Lake Community Library to maintain the great programs and the fine service it provides.
Phyllis Remolador, Palm Harbor
PSC backs Progress' nuclear gamble May 29
In the company's pocket
Cindy Muir defends the decision by the Public Service Commission to back the Progress Energy plan to build a nuclear plant some years from now that may never be built. I say the chances of a traditional nuclear plant, as we know them, even existing years from now are very remote.
Apparently the much-reduced costs of building a gas-fired plant aren't of interest. We now have proven reserves of cheap natural gas to last some 100 years right here in the United States. Technology is moving more rapidly today than ever before, yet the PSC decides to support this fiasco with our money. Aren't we the people they are in business to protect? Must be warm and comfy in Progress Energy's pocket.
Bernard Langlois, Safety Harbor
What's Spanish for 'Gov. Dimwit'? May 29, Daniel Ruth column
Insults, not insights
Although I could call Daniel Ruth a dope, as he calls Gov. Rick Scott, I won't because I have always been taught that anyone who has to sink to such a gutter level of name-calling and insults to make a point doesn't actually have enough intelligence to be taken seriously. Ruth's constant personal attacks on any and all Republicans, regardless of the issue, are the trademark of a very small-minded person.
Ted Milios, Hudson
Our money's worth
Daniel Ruth's recent column is well worth the cost of our yearly subscription to the Times. Thank you.
Teresa Mertz, Tampa