Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters:

Citizens deal lessens risk | May 28, commentary

Deal is simply corporate welfare

I read with interest Citizens' president Barry Gilway's article. It is unfortunate that it is nothing more than a reiteration of the talking points that Citizens has been using since the sweetheart deal with Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Co. came to light.

The Heritage deal is nothing but corporate welfare. For a company that has only been in existence for less than a year to get more than $50 million is unbelievable at best, and unconscionable at worst. Some 60,000 potential customers are being handed over to a start-up company while that very same company is being subsidized. If the argument is that Heritage is not solvent enough to take the policies without being given $52 million, then perhaps it is not fiscally strong enough to assume any policies in our state.

Citizens has a healthy surplus, $6.3 billion and growing. Citizens has the ability to access funds to handle a 1-in-50-year storm. I can assure you Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Co. does not without being granted this corporate welfare plan.

I don't see the wisdom of giving away $50 million-plus of that surplus. Doing so only imperils Citizens' ability to cover its exposure, especially considering that Heritage will no doubt pick the best policies, leaving the more challenging or greater exposure policies in Citizens' hands.

I believe Citizens is inviting trouble. Additionally, if Heritage were to go belly up, those who were "taken out" would most likely return to Citizens, no doubt at higher premiums.

I call on Gov. Rick Scott to put an end to this fiasco in the making. There are only two potential outcomes to this. Either Heritage does remarkably well and is successful by using taxpayer money, or the grand scheme fails and Citizens is out $52 million. Both ways, Citizens' surplus has been reduced, the taxpayers and policyholders are out $52 million and Heritage received one of the biggest corporate welfare schemes ever devised in Florida's history.

State Rep. Mike Fasano, District 36, New Port Richey

Cancer center 'seal' raises concern | May 27

Put patients' interests first

The legislation creating this award holds that the goal is to encourage excellent cancer care.

The gist of the article however, points to the conflict between nonprofit and for-profit cancer treatment centers and their competition in obtaining state funding.

The awards will be bestowed on facilities that meet certain quality standards, which have yet to be developed, by a new committee yet to be announced.

It is imperative that this committee include among its members patients, survivors and caregivers. Too often such committees are composed of accountants, attorneys and medical administrators, whose focus can be on other than excellence of patient care.

When the marketing orientation takes precedence, and the defense against potential lawsuits is in second place, attention to patient care is often overlooked.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz

Don't add to pier confusion | May 29, editorial

Make it self-supporting

The taxpayers are speaking loudly that they do not want the Lens. We really do not know exactly what we do want. But we don't want the Lens and we don't want the City Council telling us that we have to choose one of their ideas.

Why don't we clear the old pier and see what the private sector is willing to support? We want something that supports itself and does not increase our property taxes every year.

I'd like to see the beach area fixed up so winter visitors have a nice place to sit in the sun. I'd like to see restaurants on barges tied to the new pier with food that is not manufactured. We can have a Ferris wheel with enclosed seating. We want something that is fun and makes us want to come back often.

Gloria Julius, St. Petersburg

Pinellas County's needs

Although Pinellas County residents would pay for part of a new St. Petersburg pier, most of us have no voice as to whether it is built.

When downtown St. Petersburg needed to attract tourists in the '70s, a pier made sense. But now the vibrant downtown stands on its own and attracts people with food, entertainment and museums. It is vibrant in the absence of a functioning pier.

Pinellas County should spend its funds where they are needed, not on an unneeded tourist attraction.

Lynn Bosco, Clearwater

Attraction, not art

I have lived in this area for almost three years and watched the process of a new design for the pier. I find it hard to look at the Lens and think of it as a place for families and fun. It looks like an art project. I realize downtown St. Petersburg is very much an arts and cultural center, but we need families to support a pier.

I wonder if a pier design like the Santa Monica Pier in California was ever considered. A new and modern update of this type of pier would give everyone a great experience.

Mike Meltzer, St. Petersburg

Texting ban makes Florida roads safer May 29, editorial

Law doesn't go far enough

Making texting while driving a secondary offense is an unacceptable solution to a very serious problem. They did the same thing when they originally passed the law regarding seat belts. Later it was changed and made a primary offense.

Why not do it right the first time with texting while driving? It is only a matter of time before the law will be changed and it will be made a primary offense.

Dan Ward, Zephyrhills

Glitz, and little else | May 20

Callous approach

I think Eric Deggans' review of Behind the Candelabra was right on target. My wife and I watched it, hoping for some insight into this very talented showman and musician. Unfortunately, the movie fell very short of that.

There is a much better movie that looks into the life of a great American musician who lives in a time in which he must hide his sexual orientation. That is De-Lovely from 2004, which stars Kevin Kline as Cole Porter.

Behind the Candelabra was character assassination. Too many of the scenes were prurient. I can't recall a movie that delved into the bedroom of a celebrity or any real person with such callousness.

Robert DiGiovanni, Seminole


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 ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

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

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18