Red-light cameras a target yet again | Sept. 6
Don't play political games with lives
I personally don't have a problem with red-light cameras. What I don't like about them is when politicians say they help save lives.
If they really want to help save lives, then they should change the timing of the lights from green to yellow to red by adding additional seconds. When traveling 45 mph, it can be difficult to come to a complete stop when you don't catch the light change in the first second. There should also be a two-second delay for those waiting at a red light for it to turn green from when the other light turned red.
Will these suggestions completely stop people from running red lights? No, but they will greatly improve the situation by giving people more time to respond. If cities implemented some of these changes, then politicians could honestly say that cameras are in place for public safety instead of just to collect revenue.
Larry Godbey, Lutz
Florida better because of Scott | Sept. 2
A state better for whom?
Republican State Chairman Lenny Curry's approval of Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to improve Florida's economy is undercut by comparing the growth in Florida's per capita personal income with the growth in per capita income of its two peers: Texas and California. From 2010 to 2012 Florida's rank in per capita income fell from 24th to 27th according to statistics published by the University of New Mexico. In that time period California's ranking improved from 16th to 15th, while Texas remained constant at 25th. These statistics show that Florida has lagged in creating high value jobs. As Curry noted, statistics show that while Scott has been in office, Florida's unemployment rate has fallen to 7.1 percent. But the Texas unemployment rate is even better at 6.5 percent. (California's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent).
These statistics suggest that while Florida is keeping up with its peers in reducing unemployment, it is lagging in the creation of high value jobs. Instead of taking a victory lap, Scott needs to live up to his campaign slogan and get to work.
Bill Mitchell, Tampa
Realtors fret over insurance reforms | Sept. 11
In dropping flood insurance subsidies, the federal government is breaking a promise to people in flood-prone areas. That promise was that if local governments would adopt regulations requiring newly constructed and significantly remodeled homes to comply with new flood protection regulations, then the federal government would subsidize flood insurance rates. Under this program, over time, fewer and fewer homes would need subsidized insurance.
Arguments that people choose to live in flood-prone areas and should pay the full cost of insurance ring hollow. Most of those affected do not live in waterfront mansions. Most of those large waterfront homes are recently constructed to current codes and are not at risk from flooding. The people affected live well inland in modest homes. They bought them with budgets based on subsidized flood insurance. They are now having the rug pulled out from under them by the federal government.
Joseph Swanson, South Pasadena
Cancer care raises concern | Sept. 9
Dying with dignity
A Times article highlights a Dartmouth Atlas study revealing the large numbers of end-stage cancer patients who continue to receive aggressive treatment and are dying in the intensive care unit, even though surveys show that many would prefer to receive care at home.
Even those being admitted to hospice care often receive those services so late they can't receive the full benefit. When accessed early enough, hospice and palliative care often helps people live longer, even in the light of a terminal illness, and certainly with more comfort and dignity.
When patients' wishes are explored and honored, they can receive the help they need to die with comfort and dignity, surrounded by those who love them most. But they need our help.
Although there are some wonderful patient advocates within families, they shouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility for starting the conversation.
Health care professionals who are timid about talking death and dying should figure out why that is, and get the support they need to provide patients and families with the realistic and honest communication they deserve.
Sue Montgomery, Dunedin
Execution is delayed for Bondi fundraising event | Sept. 10
Shame on Bondi
The fact that Attorney General Pam Bondi delayed a man's execution because it conflicted with her fundraising event is disgraceful. It shows a terrible lack of judgement, as well as total disregard for victims' families, who are waiting for justice to be served. Bondi's admission that she made a mistake is too little, too late. Something as serious as an execution should never have to be scheduled around someone's social calender.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
The real reason far fewer teens are having babies | Sept. 11
Young men and pregnancy
I completely agree with Amanda Marcotte that teens act more responsibly and stay safer when they are provided good sex education rather than when they receive only a "just say no" message. The increase in use by girls of longer acting birth control methods is a positive development. But it is also important to teach boys that they have a role to play too.
As soon as it was appropriate to do so, in our case middle school, we told our two sons that preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is as much their responsibility as that of any sexual partner they might have.
Cindy Wilkinson McMullen, St. Petersburg
A nameless desire for solidarity | Sept. 9
Meet me at the Quad
I have an idea for how to name the area in south downtown St. Petersburg that comprises the medical centers, USF and businesses.
There is another major feature that St. Petersburg has over the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, N.C: a beautiful downtown. That gives us four components, or a quadrangle. The "quad' is where great minds would meet up between classes in older universities of Europe. The area could be named the Quadrangle. I'd be happy to meet someone at the Quad.
Mary Finnegan, Largo