Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Auto insurance hike may be linked to stock crash

Insurers making plenty | Jan. 30, letter

Stock crash, rate hike may be tied

PIP is a red herring, deflecting attention from the larger issue. The question is why did a gigantic auto insurance rate increase occur throughout the United States in 2009. It is not explained by crashes, as traffic safety improved from 2007 to 2009 with decreasing fatalities, injuries and vehicle miles traveled.

In Florida, average auto insurance rates increased by 58 percent in just one year (averaging $1,055 in 2008 and $1,668 in 2009).

A more likely explanation for the large increase is the stock market crash of 2008. As my colleagues and I recently noted in a publication, in 2008, stock market returns were down by more than 37 percent, which was followed by large auto insurance increases nationwide in 2009.

State legislators should ask insurance regulators if they allowed insurance companies to include investment losses in justifying the large auto insurance increase in 2009. If true, then insurance policyholders are insuring insurance shareholders.

Insurance rates should be returned to 2008 levels, as traffic safety has improved and the stock market has recovered.

Barbara Langland Orban, Tampa

For Apple, American companies can't cut it Jan. 29

Partnership drives jobs

The article on why Apple manufactures in China rather than in the United States points out the biggest flaw in the Republican call for less and less government.

Apple chose to hire a Chinese company to make the glass screens for the iPhone because the Chinese factory could count on their government to underwrite expansion costs of a new factory to do the work. The government/private industry partnership made the difference. Of course, having a captive workforce that could be required to work six 12-hour days for $17 per day didn't hurt.

The only question I have is why do we not emulate Germany with higher wages than the United States, better health care, longer vacations for workers, and three times our manufacturing exports per capita? Then we would not have to depend on the Chinese.

Ian MacFarlane, St. Petersburg

Nuance is absent in school rankings Jan. 29, John Romano column

Manipulating the data

Thank you, Mr. Romano, for your candid response to the ranking of Florida's school districts. You were right on target. Rankings without context can serve anyone's agenda, and Gov. Rick Scott is just the man to manipulate any data that can demean teachers.

I only wish that the article had made the front page instead of the sensationalism found in "Pinellas students are losing ground." Sure, that article made mention of our "test scores rising" and "cautioned against leaping to strong conclusions," but those comments were buried in the middle of the article and were but two sentences long.

Jane Burgos, Palm Harbor

Climate change's verdict Jan. 29, commentary

Majority doesn't rule

Science is an ongoing process, with new evidence from observation and experimentation constantly coming in, and a "final verdict" is never reached.

For example, when I was earning bachelor's and master's degrees in geology in the early 1970s, the prevailing theory was that the continents had formed through a process called "continental accretion" and had always been in their present locations. The observation that the west coasts of Europe and Africa appeared to "fit" the east coasts of North and South America was ascribed to coincidence. The then-new ideas of plate techtonics, sea-floor spreading, and continental drift were largely dismissed. Since then, new evidence has led to their acceptance.

Nor is science done by majority rule. That a majority of scientists accept a certain hypothesis is meaningless. The history of science is replete with examples of the overwhelming majority of scientists supporting theories that have since been disproved. Scientists know this, and know that new evidence may require theories to be modified or abandoned.

Tod H. Markin, St. Petersburg


Openness in foreign policy

In recent debates, candidate Newt Gingrich stated that the United States should not relax travel restrictions or other sanctions against Cuba. He suggested that such actions would bring about a "Cuban Spring" similar to the "Arab Spring" and that such a "Cuban Spring" could bring about the end of the Castro regime.

The United States has had a fairly open relationship with Egypt for many years. The relationship included over three decades of financial aid at the same time Hosni Mubarak was in charge. The "Arab Spring" in Egypt occurred with a minimum amount of outside intervention.

At the same time, the United States was an adversary of the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya — similar to the relationship that Gingrich advocates with Cuba. The "Arab Spring" in Libya required massive military intervention by NATO, with substantial military support from the United States.

This all suggests to me that open relationships with nondemocratic countries are the correct way to encourage the development of democratic ideas in those countries.

Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo

Unplug Internet cafes | Jan. 30, editorial

The right to choose

The Internet cafes offer a social atmosphere where people can go and meet and have fun without getting drunk. If you close the Internet cafes, that will not stop gambling — it will only give the Hard Rock more business and more losses for the people as it costs a lot more at the casino than at the Internet cafes.

We should have the right to choose; this is America after all. Prohibition did not stop drinking; it just caused more crime. Let us have our pleasure and focus more on the drunken drivers who kill.

Linda McCauley, Palm Harbor

Value for your dollar

Scratch-off tickets take seconds to determine if you are a winner; playing an Internet machine can provide hours of entertainment for that same money. What is all the controversy about?

Jim Caputo, Spring Hill


Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18