Monday, March 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Take steps to make teen driving safer

Teen driver deaths spike in early '12 | Feb. 27

Strengthen teenage driving laws

According to a report released last month by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal traffic crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers were higher nationwide during the first six months of 2012 than during the first six months of 2011. While I am sad to hear this, I am glad to read that Florida experienced a decrease in these tragic crashes. Florida and North Carolina were the only two states to see a decrease in 2012 after posting some of the highest fatality numbers in 2011. We should be proud of our efforts to protect our most vulnerable drivers.

However, our work is far from over. Florida's teen driving laws must be strengthened. We must prohibit teens from carrying any passengers, including siblings, during the first year of licensure, and we must require teens be off the roads no later than 10 p.m. — earlier is better. According to the 2011 License to Save report issued by the Allstate Foundation, Florida could save an additional 181 lives by strengthening its teen driving laws.

I lead the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, which the National Safety Council and the Allstate Foundation established to bring attention to this issue by educating parents, teens, lawmakers and others about why teens crash and how to best protect them. I encourage those interested in this issue to get involved. Our most vulnerable drivers need our help.

Danielle Branciforte, leader, Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, Tallahassee

The people's house and petty politics March 12, editorial

White House is for all

I rarely agree with the Times' editorials, however I commend you on this one. I agree wholeheartedly with your condemnation of the cancellation of White House tours for "we the people." No matter what one's political ideology, the White House belongs to all the people, not to the political parties. And to deny the people access to their house while the politicians play games and enjoy their perks is the height of arrogance and pettiness, no matter to which party they belong.

Martin Roecker, Tampa

Plenty to do in Washington

Someone needs to inform the schoolteacher in this editorial that Washington, D.C., is a great city. There are many things to see and do. She should buy a good guidebook and get started. She will not be able to do everything in a one-week vacation.

If the president has chosen to close the White House and save some of my tax dollars, no matter how few, I agree.

Barbara Stengel, Pinellas Park

Bills tackle school safety | March 13

Use sense in seeking safety

As a parent, grandparent and retired teacher, I am concerned about the safety and welfare of all children. Several of the bills seem to have been thought out and are appropriate. I am delighted that there is a bill that would fund school security and provide mental health services. I believe that lockdown drills are needed and must be done frequently for the benefit of the students and staff.

I would love to see a tax on ammunition and guns placed on gun owners. I know that this will not sit well with the NRA and gun owners.

I am disturbed by the idea that teachers might carry weapons. This is not the job of teachers. Teachers should teach, not be the police. Resource officers are needed for this role.

It is also important for schools to review procedures for people coming onto the school campus and into the school building.

Marilyn Satinoff, Palm Harbor

Ticket holders' rights bill

Don't curb ticket reselling

I applaud the passage in a Florida House committee of ticket holders' rights legislation (HB 163) to protect fans' rights over the event tickets they buy.

More and more sports teams are using restricted tickets. As a season ticket holder to the Tampa Bay Bucs, Lightning and USF Bulls, I am concerned about rules on tickets that limit what fans can do with them, whether it's giving them away or reselling them. I've already paid the team and venue, so I should be able to do what I want with the tickets.

If Tampa's sports teams were to use restricted tickets, I would have to seriously rethink buying season tickets. It's a significant investment, and I should be able to recoup some of those costs by reselling my unused tickets.

HB 163 and SB 394 ensure that when you buy a ticket to a sports game, concert or other live event in Florida, that ticket is yours and restrictions can't be placed on your ability to give it away or resell it.

James Pedrero, Sarasota

Foreclosure legislation

Bills cater to banks

The Florida Legislature, rather than focusing on ways to keep families in their homes, is pushing for faster and more foreclosures with House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 1666. These bills reward banks that caused the problems in the first place.

Banks that play by long-standing rules and comply with established law have no trouble concluding foreclosures in a timely fashion. Likewise, our judges and court staff, if funded properly, can balance the goals of efficiency and upholding the integrity of our state's legal system under the existing laws. It does not take an average of 853 days to complete a foreclosure in Florida, a figure that is produced by the banking industry and repeated by the Legislature in support of bank-friendly proposals.

Foreclosures bogged down because the banks lied to courts and to the American people. Industries that lie and cheat should not be rewarded by our state's legislative body.

Finally, homeowner and condo associations, who suffer when homes are not filled with families paying fees, will not benefit because neither of these proposals can force banks to complete foreclosure cases when they choose not to.

Matthew Weidner, St. Petersburg

Level the playing field | March 3, letter

A matter of convenience

I find it amusing that so many people believe you can "level the playing field" for local retailers by passing an Internet sales tax. Absolutely, a tax should be in place; however, it will in no way change my buying habits. Except for food and items like cars, etc., I buy everything off the Internet primarily because of its convenience.

Leta Wilson, Homosassa


Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 23

Re: Residents object to solar farm | March 16, storyLakeland Electric has shown that residential customers can be incentivized to allow placement of utility-owned solar panels on their roofs. Likewise, business owners can be incentivized to allow...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: It shouldn’t be this hard to fly

Tampa International AirportIt shouldn’t be this hard to flyI’ve given the train two tries now from economy parking at Tampa airport. It’s a lot of work. How silly to go down one bank of elevators, then take a good walk to the next set of elevators to...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18