Friday, May 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Don't get taken when rebuilding from storm

Hurricane Irma

When rebuilding, don't get taken

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, people are scrambling to rebuild their lives and homes. Unfortunately, bad actors can take advantage of honest folks during these moments of stress, when everyone is eager to get their lives back in order. There are resources available that can help homeowners avoid being taken advantage of during this challenging time.

First, homeowners should check the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board's website,, to verify that a contractor's license is real and up-to-date before hiring any company to do work on your home. When looking for a Florida licensed contractor, visit the Disaster Contactors Network,, for a contractor in your area. For those not quite ready to make repairs, FEMA offers disaster assistance at and can help people find emergency housing at Homeowners can also take advantage of a public-private partnership known as HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy to finance hurricane-resilient improvements and repairs with no upfront cost, allowing them to rebuild the right way and protect against future storms. HERO vets contractors and tracks their customer satisfaction records.

Finally, homeowners should not hesitate to report bad actors to the consumer price gouging hotline at 1-866-966-7226. Honest players in the construction industry are here to help and will be happy to settle any concerns or disputes through appropriate channels.

Lisa Pate, Winter Park

The writer is executive director of the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors Association.

Las Vegas massacre

Courage and cowardice

Two opinion pieces in last Thursday's Times show the strength of courage and the weakness of cowardice.

Rosanne Cash, a country music star, implored musicians to be brave and take a stand in favor of gun control, despite inevitable attacks from the NRA and the likely loss of income. Adam Goodman, a Republican media consultant, spoke of the need to "rise up" after Las Vegas to correct society's ills.

However, when Goodman listed his "commonsense" actions that need to be taken, one was noticeably absent — gun control. Instead, he focused on the worn-out Republican talking points of national debt, health care, education and borders. Perhaps Goodman would do well to focus on his own fear of the NRA if he is looking for answers in light of the largest mass shooting in our country to date.

Andre Audette, Tampa

This may be a turning point

I believe in light of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, the NRA may finally be up against a wall. It has been able to "persuade" Congress to look the other way regarding the use of semiautomatic weapons used in many of the mass slaughters we have witnessed in the United States.

A vote on gun silencers and armor-piercing bullets was postponed after the massacre. But law-makers may finally draw the lines on these, and on bump stocks, devices rigged to a weapon that can be bought legally for $99 to $299 and that give the shooter the ability to fire bullets with almost imperceptible stoppage like a machine gun.

There is no reason for any law-abiding citizen to have a bump stock (which I'm sure will have brisk sales after last week) or a gun silencer or armor-piercing bullets. Will Congress buy yet again what the NRA is selling, even after this history-changing event?

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Steps that are needed, now

How many more of these tragedies must happen before our representatives in Washington do something about it?

Our constitutional rights are not unlimited. The First Amendment right to free speech doesn't mean you can slander someone or yell "fire" in a crowded theater. The need for order and safety dictates that restrictions are necessary for public protection. The same logic plainly applies to guns.

The National Rifle Association's proposed solution of more guns everywhere isn't the answer. More guns only increase the potential for more killings, either by accident or theft of the weapons.

Below are proposals that require special attention and immediate action (with appropriate exceptions for active-duty military and law enforcement):

• Complete ban on military-style assault weapons;

• 10-round limit on magazine clips and cartridges;

• Mandatory background checks on both public and private gun sales.

Melissa Zucal, Land O' Lakes

2nd Amendment's intent

I have owned and used firearms for hunting and target shooting since I was 11 or 12 years old. I own guns for home and personal defense. But I am certain that the intent behind the Second Amendment to the Constitution was not to make it easier for Americans to kill one another.

Emiliano Quindiagan, St. Petersburg

Hurricane Irma

Piles of debris remain

Once a week, the Times has a story about the slow pace of storm debris removal. We were very lucky to dodge Irma's wrath, but now have our leaders acting like nothing happened. Huge piles of dried foliage await a lightning strike that could ignite a whole block. They are also the home for rodents, mosquitoes and other health hazards. There are a few solutions that seem relatively easy.

In 2004, the city paid people with trucks who wanted to make extra money to pick up the waste. Another possibility is to pay current workers extra and have them work weekends and extended hours. Are we a great city or a sleepy old town?

Phil Altus, 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...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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