Saturday, May 26, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Property owners put in peril

Citizens insurance | April 1

Property owners put in peril

Two bills in the Florida Legislature, SB 1672 and HB 1109, could wreak havoc on Citizens Property insurance policyholders if they pass and are signed into law by the governor. Both bills open the Citizens Clearinghouse Program to surplus lines insurers starting on Jan. 1. Surplus lines companies are currently prohibited from being part of the clearinghouse.

The clearinghouse was created in 2013 to allow authorized insurers to compete with Citizens for policies. Allowing surplus lines insurers to participate is a dangerous step that could lead to financial ruin for seniors, families or others struggling to with high insurance premiums.

Surplus lines companies, which are not regulated by the state, can raise rates at will. These companies often entice homeowners into signing with them by offering a low "teaser" premium for the first year, and then rapidly increasing that premium during subsequent renewal periods.

Year after year I and some like-minded colleagues fought back at those attempts to open the insurance market to these dangerous insurers. It is terribly disturbing to once again see the governor and some legislators, in their drive to depopulate Citizens, doing all they can to push people into the dangerous and unregulated territory of surplus lines companies.

Mike Fasano, Pasco County tax collector, New Port Richey

Bill to help springs advances | April 23

No stalling on springs

I am dismayed by House leader Will Weatherford's foot-dragging on measures needed to protect Florida's natural springs.

The springs are part of our heritage, and are becoming endangered to the point that pollution may alter this precious resource forever. Weatherford should embrace the bipartisan Senate bill that seeks to reverse the decades of neglect that have taken place, rather than relegate it to the back burner, as he apparently has done.

Last week, I made a first ever visit to Rainbow Springs State Park, and it was delightful to see people of all ages enjoying the clear, cool water: swimmers, kayakers, fishing boats and people floating downstream on inner tubes.

Locals are proud of their resource, but concerned for its long term health. Is it too much to begin to take the steps necessary to leave clean water to future generations?

Joe Griffin, Tampa

Engineering plan may be costly | April 21

Keep FAMU-FSU college

As a graduate of Lakewood High's Center for Advanced Technologies and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, I was disheartened to read that the Florida Senate has proposed funding to initiate the separation of the jointly managed college. I propose the following key points to consider:

(1) FAMU has played a leading role in the national production of underrepresented minority engineers and STEM leaders. FAMU was the leading baccalaureate origin institution for African-American doctorates in the Natural Sciences and Engineering in the nation over the period from 2002 to 2006.

Furthermore, as of 2011-12, the College of Engineering ranks No. 8 in the nation in bachelor's degrees awarded to black students. Any potential interruption in the output of STEM professionals must receive scrutiny on a national stage.

(2) Instability in FAMU's leadership has played a role in the declining FAMU enrollment at the College of Engineering. However, this is an opportunity for FAMU to reconstitute and refocus the student balance it had in the late 1990s (more than 40 percent of engineering students) compared to now (less than 19 percent of engineering students).

Perhaps revisiting FAMU's national recruiting practices and reforging relationships with corporate sponsors would be helpful. Continuing to form stronger ties between the College of Engineering and both central administrations is key to long-term stability.

(3) Nonetheless, the leaders of the college have said the joint administration and management of the College of Engineering is improving and at an "all-time high." A new school slogan has been adopted: "Two Universities, One College, Twice the Opportunities." To interrupt such documented progress by an external proposal could lead to deleterious consequences.

These past few years have been a period of unprecedented challenge for Florida's only public historically black university. But in my heart I believe that — with newly minted president Elmira Mangum — FAMU can resume its leadership role in the education of the next generation of engineers — one student, one dream at a time — within the framework of the College of Engineering and in a manner consistent with its motto: "Excellence With Caring."

Anton F. Thomas, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Ideological circus comes to town | April 20

Common Core conundrum

May I humbly suggest that those on both sides of the debate about Common Core read an essay written many years ago by Dorothy Sayers titled "The Lost Tools of Learning." Here is the concluding paragraph:

"What use is it to pile task on task and prolong the days of labor, if at the close the chief object is left unattained? It is not the fault of the teachers — they work only too hard already. The combined folly of a civilization that has forgotten its own roots is forcing them to shore up the tottering weight of an educational structure that is built upon sand. They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils themselves ought to do. For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain."

Donald Cunningham, St. Petersburg

In brewery bill, size matters | April 21

Boon for beer companies

So this bill would force the 2,000 kegs per year micro-breweries to sell their sealed brew to a distributor first and then buy it back before they can sell their own product? That's like paying a grass cutting service for a lawn that you mow yourself. The purpose of the bill is said to protect the consumers, but the only thing this protects are the distributors and big beer companies.

William Shumaker, Tampa


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18