Catholics celebrate pope's remarks | Sept. 23
Church's willingness to change
The recent statements by Pope Francis are very encouraging; they imply a willingness to change. Mankind's greatest source of war and troubles has been the unwillingness to change beliefs (or at least actions associated therewith) for which there is no evidence — or, worse, for which there is contrary evidence.
Hopefully, the pope's comments (especially the softening against homosexuality) represent a continuation of Christianity's evolution from the illogical barbarism of the Inquisition to today's rational discourse.
Mankind has apparently been successful in eradicating the absurd Nazi "super race" beliefs and the fallacies of communism. Can we infidels do the same with Islamic extremism?
Donald Barnhill, Trinity
They should know better | Sept. 25, editorial
The will of the people
It is unbelievable that Rep. C.W. Bill Young and the Republicans in Congress are still trying to stop Obamacare and willing to risk a government shutdown or default over it.
A strong majority of Americans elected President Barack Obama twice and support his agenda that includes the Affordable Care Act. At what point are the Republicans going to recognize, acknowledge and accept the will of the people?
Guy Hancock, Largo
Too much ignorance
I just shake my head when I hear statements like, "Most Americans don't like the Affordable Care Act." The truth is that "most Americans" have absolutely no idea what the ACA really entails.
They don't realize that for the first time ever, health care premiums for women will be the same as for men. They don't understand the subsidies that will be available for many people whose employers do not cover their health care. The nightmare of trying to find any coverage if you have a pre-existing condition will be over.
Many panicking Medicare patients bought into the Republican lie that Medicare would be cut to help fund the new law. It's not going to be cut. The numbers bandied about in the 2012 election, again by the Republicans, referred to cuts in future costs, not in the program itself.
And they certainly don't realize the damage that will be done to the economy in Florida by our governor and the Legislature in denying Medicaid dollars from the federal government.
Democrats are far from blameless in this general misunderstanding. Democrats should have anticipated how confused people would be on this law and taken much better, proactive steps in promoting the realities of the law instead of allowing Republicans to defame it as they have done.
Jane Young, Tampa
Fighting tide of higher rates | Sept. 25
Try national disaster fund
The huge anticipated premium increases for flood insurance will render many waterfront homes (the structures) virtually worthless, as no buyer will or logically can afford to pay the kind of rates going into effect Oct. 1. Buyers will simply make offers for the value of the land only and, once purchased, demolish the house to rebuild. That may be good for FEMA, but equity for retirement and the net worth of those faced with this situation will be seriously eroded.
Soon after the higher premiums take effect, homeowners, especially those who own homes built pre-1974 requiring flood insurance, will be faced with little choice: pay the exorbitant premiums or pay the mortgage off and self-insure. How many will pay the mortgage off if their devalued house is worth less than the mortgage balance? They will simply abandon the property to the bank and the economy will experience another banking and real estate crisis.
Additionally, the tax value on these homes will be diminished. This devaluation will have to be absorbed by either an increase in the millage affecting other non-flood-zoned homeowners, or a budget crisis will occur within the respective coastal counties and cities.
With a national natural disaster insurance program, many types of natural disasters could be insured. While we may have a threat of hurricanes in Florida, we're not as prone to earthquakes as in California, tornadoes in Kansas, river flooding in Colorado or wildfires in Nevada.
Having one national natural disaster program in which every American pays to protect all Americans from the many types of natural disasters that occur, no matter where, makes more sense.
Frank Dame, Clearwater
Ruling may delay sale of Channelside plaza Sept. 24
Beware the naysayers
This is just a note of caution to Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the other elected leaders in Tampa. As they watched the well-thought-out process of the St. Petersburg Pier redevelopment be crushed into the ground by 19 percent of the city's registered voters, I hope it helped them learn a lesson. After years of thoughtful debate, a small group of backward-thinking citizens succeeded in destroying the process and assuring that the current Pier structure will sit boarded up for years. And, of course, they have offered no alternative plan.
It would be tragically similar if Buckhorn and the other elected leaders in Tampa had the same thing happen in Channelside. No matter what they do or how they go about it, there will be some self-serving individuals and groups who don't like it and will try to stop it. Not knowing if the political process works the same in Tampa as in St. Petersburg, it would be wise to review all aspects early in the process and try to stop another debacle.
Scott Stewart, St. Petersburg
Action is overdue
On Oct. 5, it will be 100 days since the U.S. Senate passed its version of immigration reform. In that time, the Republican-led House has done nothing. That is not acceptable.
Families are being separated and children traumatized by deportation while the House does nothing. Pass compressive immigration reform now.
Jasmina Forcan, Clearwater