FEMA's flood rate rationale lacks logic | Feb. 9, John Romano column
FEMA's data detailed, accurate
In response to this column, Times readers need to be aware that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extensive, detailed and accurate land elevation and storm surge data. Florida local governments and landowners have detailed building record information regarding the elevation of structures.
On Aug. 26, 2010, the Florida Statewide Regional Evacuation Study and its Storm Tide Atlas for the four-county Tampa Bay area was completed and finalized, basing the land elevation levels on recently obtained, detailed topographic data vertically accurate within 0.6 inches and horizontally accurate within centimeters. The 2010 Tampa Bay Storm Tide Atlas was funded by the Florida Legislature and federal emergency management funds.
The storm surge levels of the Tampa Bay Evacuation Study and Storm Tide Atlas are based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's updated storm surge model for the Tampa Bay area.
The National Flood Insurance Program did not seek to corner the flood insurance market. Rather, in the late 1960s private insurance companies refused to issue flood insurance and Congress was forced to enact the program in 1968, resulting in a major federal debt problem to subsidize coastal development. If Congress delays actuarially sound flood insurance rates, what funding for other programs is Congress going to use to offset the flood insurance deficit?
Thomas W. Reese, St. Petersburg
Here's another slant on cursive writing Feb. 7, Daniel Ruth column
Helps build brainpower
The teaching of cursive writing should not be abandoned in our schools. As a teacher and administrator for over 20 years, I have seen students improve their writing fluency and motor skills by learning and using cursive writing.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that their subjects' brains actually changed in reaction to physical instruction such as cursive handwriting lessons. The researchers provided PET scans as evidence of these changes in brain structure. The researchers also demonstrated that these changes resulted in an "almost immediate improvement in fluency."
What more needs to be said?
Susan Bartlett, Tampa
Daniel Ruth continues to be one of the most compelling writers of the Tampa Bay Times, while also continuing to make me laugh aloud. What fun it is to read his descriptive, original, tantalizing titles for nuns — even to us Catholics.
His column on cursive writing made me realize that everyone except John Hancock should print.
Greta Myers, Seminole
Boehner's failure of leadership | Feb. 7, editorial
His way or no way
The focus of your editorial was wrong. The real "failure of leadership" is the president's. He as much as admitted it when he gave his "I have a pen" talk, and by his penchant to "govern" by executive order.
Presidents have always, and often quite successfully, governed with one or both houses of Congress controlled by the other party. In such cases, the president's job is to persuade the other guys to meet him halfway. With President Barack Obama, it's strictly "my way or the highway."
Ernest Lane, Trinity
Building stronger cities with better health care | Feb. 7, commentary
Road to improvement
My husband and I recently saw the play The Normal Heart at Freefall Theatre and then the movie Dallas Buyers Club. Clearly the intention of each was to make government aware of the AIDS issue, which some wanted to sweep under the rug.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Houston Mayor Annise Parker have opened up a huge platform for health care with their opinion column. "Where there is a high concentration of people with no health coverage, health systems that whole communities depend upon suffer." This could be another play or movie. America, the richest country in the world, with a pathetic health care system of which it should be ashamed. Obamacare is a beginning.
Judith Brown, South Pasadena
Reeves must wait in jail | Feb. 8
Educate gun owners
Too many gun owners perceive Florida's "stand your ground" law as meaning that rude behavior — like in the most recent cases of movie theater texting and loud music — is a threat that allows deadly force to be used. More education concerning the law is needed to change this popular perception.
Robert Coffey, Belleair
Keeping the pre-K promise | Feb. 8, editorial
Investment will pay off
The Tampa Bay Times is correct that the current investment in voluntary prekindergarten is not enough to fund quality early childhood education programs. The constitutional amendment recognized that future Florida taxpayers must be well-educated to compete in the global economy. The current funding is insufficient.
The governor's proposed budget increases the reimbursement rate $100 per child per year. While this is a beginning, it does not approach what is needed to boost the readiness rate of children entering kindergarten.
Suggesting that the Legislature use the original amount per child plus adding inflation dollars to fund each child at $2,856 is an excellent proposal. Hopefully legislators will take your recommendation seriously.
Suzanne Gellens, Tampa
Cannabis classes are in session | Feb. 8
High times for lawyers
I can just imagine what the late-night comedians will do with this, our newest college of "higher" learning.
There are only four entities that will profit from the legalization: growers, sellers, the government (through taxation) and the lawyers.
One can only wonder how long it will be before it is discovered that smoking pot is harmful to your health (like cigarettes). That will bring the onset of lawsuits a la the tobacco industry. This will be the attorneys' next billion-dollar payday.
Jim Byers, St. Petersburg