Thursday, April 26, 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


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18