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Chip Bok | Creators Syndicate

Lisa Benson | Washington Post Writers Group

Saturday's letters: Public needs protection from Progress Energy

Ivan Penn tells us that Progress Energy customers will have to pay only about one-quarter of the estimated $2.5 billion the company will be spending to repair its costly nuclear generating mistakes in Crystal River. Seemingly forgotten is the fact the customers — not the shareholders, investors or executives — have already paid for insurance that the company believes will cover the rest of the cost.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott is on a campaign to eliminate many, if not all, of the regulations he says are hindering business development and job growth. This "accident" at Crystal River would strongly indicate that even more federal and state regulations are needed to protect us from the stupid decisions of corporate America.

Donald W. Rosselet, Dunnellon

Customers on the hook

If I caused a $2.5 billion (and counting) error of judgment in my engineering career, I would have easily lost my job and probably never found another one. So why is Progress Energy's project manager still on the payroll?

The Public Service Commission has allowed Progress Energy to collect a monthly payment from consumers for their future engineering decisions, and now we're on the hook for 25 percent of this homemade fix fiasco. Do we have to protest in a city park for weeks to demand more responsibility and expertise from corporate management and government?

Dean Hubbard, Dunedin

Occupy Wall Street

Who's to blame?

The Occupy Wall Street protesters who put the blame for the housing collapse and subsequent economic downturn on the "greed" of the banks should broaden their scope. In fact, anyone who falls into these categories shares some culpability along with the banks:

• Those who bought more house than they could afford.

• Those in Congress who mandated "housing affordability" by encouraging marginally qualified buyers and insisting that financial institutions make loans to them.

• People who ignored long-term real estate appreciation rates of a few percentage points annually and became convinced that double digit returns were the new norm.

• Those who repeatedly took equity out of their homes to buy second houses, cars, vacations, pay college tuition, etc., in the expectation that property values would go up forever.

As for the "bailout" of the banks, it seems pretty clear from those involved at the time that drastic action was needed to avert a total collapse of the financial system. The vast majority of the banks have paid back the TARP money with interest.

Today's difficult times are the price we paid for too much debt. Finding a scapegoat is always easier than hunkering down, tightening our belts and paying back what we owe.

Bob Potter, St. Petersburg

My personal protest

I am happy to see that St. Petersburg officials are allowing the gatherings as long as they are law-abiding and peaceful. This is truly the American way.

I would like to participate in this protest, but being in my 80s and responsible for a small business, I found an alternative. I took a 10- by 12-inch piece of white poster board, wrote in heavy black print "99%," and taped my protest on the right-side window of my second row of seats. I may not be in St. Petersburg for the demonstration, but my sign will be showing until action is taken by Congress.

Donald W. Chandler, Clearwater

Gov. Rick Scott

Anthropologist apologist

In a recent radio interview, Gov. Rick Scott stated that Florida doesn't need "a lot more anthropologists in this state." My colleagues and I in the Anthropology Department at USF encourage our governor to do his homework on the modern discipline of anthropology before making another casual but ill-informed remark.

Anthropologists at USF work side by side with civil and industrial engineers, cancer researchers, specialists in public health and medicine, chemists, biologists and others in the science, technology and engineering fields that the governor so eagerly applauds.

Our colleagues in the natural, engineering and medical sciences view the anthropological collaboration as absolutely essential to the success of their research and encourage their students to take courses in anthropology to help make them better scientists.

Anthropology is a human science in its own right, and many of my colleagues receive highly competitive funding through the prestigious National Science Foundation to conduct original research on contemporary social problems. Recent faculty projects have focused on immigration, aging, disparities in health care and food insecurity, to mention a few issues.

Anthropology graduates get jobs in many careers outside of academia and help their employers solve the many complex human challenges facing our communities. We respectfully disagree with our governor. More anthropologists are needed, not fewer.

Brent R. Weisman, professor and chair, USF Department of Anthropology, Tampa

China dumping solar panels | Oct. 11, letter

Get going on solar

A letter writer bemoans the fact that China is dumping solar panels into the American market. On the contrary, we should be delighted that the Chinese are subsidizing this aspect of solar energy. The price of pallet quantities of some types of panels has dropped to less than 80 cents per watt — about half of the price last year.

We should enact a plan to encourage homeowners and businesses to install them by means of grants and loans. The design, installation and electrical connection of these cannot be outsourced and would create thousands of jobs in Florida and millions nationally. In addition, it would make the nuclear and greenhouse gas-producing coal options less viable.

Roger Rixom, Apollo Beach

When I needed help, I got propaganda Oct. 10, commentary

Look to the science

The student who wrote this commentary got counseling that was not what she wanted to hear. The center was obviously a faith-based one that believes life begins at conception.

It is interesting that when it comes to issues such as evolution and global warming, liberals demand that we look to science, but when it comes to the unborn they must take a sophist approach that says it is not really a human being until it is born. Basic biology tells us that the unborn is indeed living and that this living being belongs to the human family.

Bill Magoulis, Tarpon Springs

Citizens, not shirkers, needed Oct. 7, editorial

Do your jury duty

I'm amazed that so many people absented themselves from an experience that sets us apart from much of the rest of the world. Jury duty is critical to our system of government and a chance to participate in one of the most representative structures we have.

I've served on three juries: one federal, on which I was the foreman, and two county. All three were inconvenient, time-consuming and one came shortly after I recovered from a back injury. Yet I can honestly say that they were among the most interesting and rewarding opportunities of my life.

If you're called for jury duty, please answer the summons. It's among your responsibilities as a citizen of the United States.

Glenna Boyette, Gulfport

Panhandling ban passes | Oct. 7

Devil in the details

Many thanks to Charlie Miranda for leaving his sickbed to help pass a partial panhandling ban after months of procrastination by the council. One hopes further months of delay won't follow while the new rules gradually trickle down to panhandlers.

Here's my question: How many panhandlers are likely to have the means for checking the Tampa police website and then clicking on "High Traffic Crash Locations" to learn at which 10 intersections they will henceforth not be allowed to ply their trade on Sundays?

Jeff Corydon, Tampa

Scott rebukes flip-flop claims | Oct. 8

Evidence clear to see

Gov. Rick Scott may believe that it's beneficial to his political future if e-mail records mysteriously vanish from time to time, but surely it's a violation of Florida's open records laws and certainly not conducive to honest government.

Thankfully, YouTube videos are not under the control of the governor's office. After viewing the video "Gov. Rick Scott dials back his '7-7-7' campaign pledge," it's easy to imagine there are those who would like to see this video disappear.

Joe Whetstone, Valrico

Saturday's letters: Public needs protection from Progress Energy 10/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 4:30am]
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