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Save Our Homes is doing what it is supposed to do

For tax fairness | Nov. 2, editorial

Save Our Homes does its job

As a longtime reader and one who generally agrees with the Times politically, I must categorically condemn your continuous assault on Save Our Homes.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow SOH does exactly what it was intended to do: Save my home and hundreds of thousands of others. Together with the higher tax you espouse and the homeowners insurance we all must buy, staying in my home would be a struggle.

I am sorry for those who overpaid or just bought that bigger house they wanted. It was a choice they made, and choices always have consequences. Removing SOH to bail them out is simply unacceptable.

If you were able to pay for an overpriced home, you should have had the intelligence to know your taxes would not match those of your longtime neighbors. If you did not know, how did you make enough to buy that overpriced home?

J. Reid Alexander, Largo

For tax fairness | Nov. 2, editorial

Long-term residents need the tax break

I find myself again questioning editorial decisions of the Times. Why have you decided to poke Florida homesteaders in the eye with your "shtick"? In an economic environment with many more pressing issues, you have chosen to confront one advantage given to the long-term resident. My family chose not to sell and "move up" during the frenzy of three to five years ago, partly because of the tax ramifications.

Now, you suggest I should be made to pay the same as a "newbie" who failed to assess the tax implications because it is in the interest of "fairness." Where is the fairness in that? Investors are surely a segment who will benefit from the proposed elimination of the Save Our Homes and, now, portability. This is the same investor segment that so freely "bailed" on many homes, exacerbating the foreclosure situation. We must make things fair for them!

I see no reason for the Times to take sides on this issue, which has been legislated to death, at the expense of long-term homeowners who actually thought out their decisions to remain in their homes. If everyone had done so, would the mortgage/foreclosure crisis be a major contributing factor in the economic downturn? Old-time values need to be recognized, not punished, for their wisdom.

S. Keith McKinney Jr., Seminole

For tax fairness | Nov. 2, editorial

Thanks for the assistance

Since I can't write a letter of thanks to each and every one of you kind, generous folks (actually, every Florida taxpayer), I'm taking advantage of the St. Petersburg Times to send this message of gratitude.

We've lived in this beautiful waterfront home for more than half our happy lives. We raised three kids here, long grown and gone. The sparkling water, the entertaining sea birds and grandly lurid sunrises have marked our existences with endless pleasures. It is a quiet, gracious, happy place to live, and you pay us most generously just to call this home.

You favored us with a cap on our nasty old real estate taxes — another blessing. And still finer was the staggering increase of real estate values during the 1990s so many of you caused by moving here, and with so darn much money. Of course, water-front property benefited most of all. If we are carried out of here feet first today, the new owner's annual tax bill will probably be more than $21,000, which means that you all, in your saintly generosity, are currently paying us more than $15,000 each year to continue our enjoyment — another quite undeserved blessing. Thank you!

Bud Tritschler, Clearwater

Message is a tough sell for Clinton Oct. 31, story

Ungrateful Pakistan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be throwing all her cards to the wind while attempting negotiations with Pakistani officials after a recent three days of "bargaining" with American-bashing Pakistanis.

A McClatchey newspaper organization report noted that prominent women and tribesmen from the North West Frontier Province gave Clinton the same hostile message for America she has heard from students and journalists during her mission there: Pakistanis don't want an American alliance despite the fact America has been throwing billions of dollars in funding at this nation.

Although Pakistan is willing to accept the $1.5 billion a year in American aid, it doesn't want to abide by the rules attached to the funding. And it openly admits it hates America.

The report noted one tribesman bluntly told Clinton: "Your presence in the region is not good for peace."

How's that for gratitude? Is that not a clear enough message? It is time to stop this obscene waste of money in that ungrateful country.

John Tischner, Dunedin

Night of the living brain-dead | Oct. 30, Daniel Ruth column

A chance to play

Dan Ruth fashions himself a hardboiled newsman-cum-curmudgeon. Yet despite his keen and witty "emperor has no clothes" commentaries, Ruth proves to be a buzz-kill when he gripes about Halloween celebrants of the adult variety.

Anyone with a basic understanding of psychology can see why Halloween is now embraced by more and more adults: Grown-ups need more recess!

It's undeniable that recent decades have handed adults a somber, sullen, structured life. College-bound (and gagged), it starts with Advanced Placement coursework and career declarations for the young teen. Too soon, that serious college graduate enters the harsh world of work where pay is stagnant, untainted urine is mandatory, and "stay-cation" while tethered to the mobile phone is one's recess.

When do adults ever play? They "work out" and "exercise." They "improve" and "organize" their homes. The mandate is to "get a life" and be constantly productive; nobody wants a dreamer, a libertine — a "loser."

No, what Ruth sees is not "adults deciding to butt in" on a kids' celebration. What he sees is a rare healthy outlet where adults can play. Yes, we dress up to bring some joy and laughs to our staid jobs. Yes, we use our untapped creativity making silly costumes and decorations. In defiance of the world of repression pressing down around us, we again savor the freedom we knew from those precious moments we once called "recess." On Oct. 31, we join the kids.

Valerie Wolf, Riverview

Guava festival lures fewer | Nov. 2, story

A scary cost

The article in Monday's Times stated that low turnout for the Mama Guava Stumble parade was due to changes made this year that banned any motorized floats.

I would think that many others besides myself didn't go because of the $17 entry fee at the gate, which was listed in last Thursday's Weekend section of the Times.

If the organizers want more people to show up for future parades, perhaps they need to charge a lower and more reasonable fee.

George Petrick, Riverview

Save Our Homes is doing what it is supposed to do 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 8:17pm]
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