Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Askew's contribution to the environment

Shining light | March 14

Askew's legacy on environment

Thank you for highlighting the life and legacy of former Gov. Reubin Askew, who gave so much to our state.

The progressive era that he and others represent is not just a figment of our imagination from back in the day, as your obituary and editorial point out; it still has meaning today. An important element of Askew's environmental effort was the creation of Florida's first bond program to buy environmentally endangered and recreational lands, which developed into one of the most progressive land acquisition programs in the country. It was that program that enabled Gov. Bob Graham to finish establishing one of the best state park systems in the country. This is something all Floridians should be aware and very proud of.

Benedict Mercadante Jr., Odessa

Insurance claims

Bill gives help on claims

As Florida's chief financial officer, I am contacted every day about the frustrations and uncertainties consumers have when filing an insurance claim. More than 300,000 Floridians in the midst of a stressful situation involving a damaged or lost home have called my office with questions about what to do, whom to call, what to expect and when their maintenance and financial problems can finally be resolved.

Floridians who are enduring such an emotionally and financially draining experience don't deserve the added stress of figuring out how to navigate the insurance claims process. Therefore, as a solution, I am working closely with the Florida Legislature to establish commonsense safeguards in the claims process.

Our legislation, Senate Bill 708, which has already passed its final committee of the current legislative session, creates a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights that insurance companies will be required to give to every policyholder who files a claim. This is a one-page document that clearly outlines policyholders' rights under Florida law. Most importantly, the bill of rights will provide simple instructions to make sure your insurance claim needs are met fairly, timely and in accordance with the law.

Furthermore, our legislation requires that an insurer's underwriting process be completed in 90 days or less. Policyholders should not be denied their claim if the sole reason for denial is credit-related information that has been available for insurers to access in public records for months. Therefore, after a policy has been in place for at least 90 days, the legislation prohibits insurance companies from denying a claim or canceling a policy based on credit information.

I will work tirelessly with every legislator necessary to help pass this important legislation. I am also calling on insurers to support this bill because they should want their customers to be as educated as possible and fully prepared to navigate the claims process.

Jeff Atwater, chief financial officer, Tallahassee

Arming teachers is dangerous concept March 14, Sue Carlton column

Protection for vulnerable

We protect our banks, courts and politicians with armed security, but Sue Carlton would deny this same protection to our children? As you probably know, the tragedies at Sandy Hook and other schools occurred in "gun-free" zones. Most of these miscreants took their own lives when confronted with an armed response.

If you want to be an unarmed victim, that's your choice, but to deny the most vulnerable members of society protection is deplorable.

Daniel Bystrak, Largo

A frightening prospect

Sue Carlton quotes NRA mouthpiece Marion Hammer, who endlessly pontificates, "The only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Carlton then cleverly states that this "works great in comic books and movies." Alas, as we have learned from the recent killing at a movie theater, I don't think we can use movies as an example either.

Seriously, as a high school teacher, I shudder at the thought of any of my colleagues walking around with a concealed weapon in a building full of students. The NRA's one-dimensional way of thinking has, one day, to end before the entire nation turns into the wild west.

Ronald Medvin, Tampa

Minimum wage

Index it and forget it

I am a lifelong Democrat on Social Security, and I voted for Alex Sink, but I compliment and support Rep. David Jolly on his proposal to put minimum wages on the same cost-of-living index as Social Security.

For too long, Congress has made a political football out of minimum wages. As a result, hard-working, low-wage workers have had to watch their wages stagnate for several years before Congress finally agrees to an increase that doesn't satisfy anybody.

I urge Jolly to put his excellent idea in the form of a bill and submit it to Congress as soon as possible.

Stanley Jay, Clearwater

Universal care

Well worth the taxes

As a Canadian, I can choose my own doctor. If I receive a serious diagnosis, I can visit another doctor of my own choice for a second opinion.

Should I require a transplant, surgery or therapy of any kind, it will be provided, along with all follow-up treatments. Cost to me? Zero dollars.

Why are Americans so afraid of universal health care? They can, and sometimes are, wiped out financially if unfortunate enough to suffer severe health problems. I don't have to find an HMO, pay monthly fees, negotiate a co-pay, fight for what the HMO says are uncovered conditions or pay exorbitant hospital fees.

The United States is one of the only civilized countries without some form of government-sponsored health care. It's not free. My taxes are a lot higher than yours, but it's worth every penny. Don't be afraid. It works.

Elliot Keller, Sun City Center


Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18