Sunday, September 23, 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


Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Published: 09/21/18

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Published: 09/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Inequality hurts democracy

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18Democracy needs equalityEconomic inequality and the concentration of wealth have achieved levels beyond the comprehension of most American wage earners today. Income inequality has ri...
Published: 09/21/18

Friday’s letters: Florida’s workers aren’t reaping benefits of a booming economy

Scott didn’t put them to work | Sept. 16Florida workers not reaping the benefitsFlorida has just surpassed a GDP of $1 trillion. However, workers in Florida are not reaping the rewards. A new report released by anti-poverty organization Ox...
Published: 09/21/18

Thursday’s letters: For the sake of all involved, don’t rush the Kavanaugh vote

Delay Senate vote on Kavanaugh | Editorial, Sept. 18Don’t rush something that will last a lifetimeThe Senate Judiciary Committee finds itself in a sticky wicket. The committee should take a slow measured course of action. Trying to rush th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Monday’s letters: Are we paying for the wrong kind of military today?

$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16Are we buying the right defense?I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check — in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discre...
Published: 09/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Many laws increase our liberty

‘General welfare’ includeshealth | Letter, Sept.15Someone will pay for itMany politicians are making Medicare for All the cornerstone of their campaign. Many think tanks even say the government will save money, but they neglect to say how.Medicar...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18