Citizens hides cheaper option | May 18
It's Tallahassee vs. the consumer
It was with much interest that I read the Times article on "cheaper" HO-8 policies being reluctantly offered by Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
I had recently been reinspected and found that Citizens rejected the hurricane-hardening measures I had taken in 2008. Citizens rejected the same measures the state of Florida recommended, inspected and paid half the cost of installing.
I knew Citizens only offered the HO-8 policy to homes with a replacement cost of under $200,000, but I learned that Citizens gets to decide the replacement cost of your home, and my very modest home came in over that amount. In addition, the HO-8 policies are only cheaper for new Citizens customers; existing customers would see little or no savings.
The last straw was reading later in the Times about Citizens' plan to pay millions to a new insurance start-up to take out policies and about the generosity of that new start-up to Gov. Rick Scott and Republican politicians.
It has become painfully clear that, with very few exceptions (Rep. Mike Fasano of Pasco being one), each time we cast a vote for a Republican to go to Tallahassee we are casting a vote for Citizens Insurance and Duke Power and BP and a rigged and impotent Public Service Commission. We need to change the balance of power in Tallahassee and vote in legislators who value the consumer and not the powerful corporate interests who presently hold such sway in the state capital.
William Adams, St. Petersburg
Vendetta against book
With the publication of a letter May 16 in the New York Times Book Review by Jeff Klinkenberg, a Tampa Bay Times columnist, a fair-minded reader might reasonably conclude that the Tampa Bay Times is piling on Finding Florida and its author, T.D. Allman. In my view, your publication and its writers are engaged in an institutional vendetta.
A negative book review has been followed by a critical column, now followed by a letter to the New York Times. Really, is this justified?
There is clearly a national consensus on the significance of this book, including lengthy, favorable reviews in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Daily Beast. (I have concurred with this judgment in the Orlando Weekly and Orlando magazine.)
Further, the book's importance has been recognized with coverage on two National Public Radio shows and an op-ed by the author in the New York Times.
Perhaps it is time for the Tampa Bay Times and its writers to drop this bone and let it go. Your view of Finding Florida is the distinct minority.
Mark I. Pinsky, Maitland
Oklahoma needs help, not politics May 23, editorial
Keep pork out of aid
Your editorial comments are spot on: Emergencies are not the time for politics.
You questioned the concept of politicians asking the question, "How will we pay for it?" during deliberations about aid packages. But you missed an important element, and that is the politics of turning an aid package into a pork barrel. As examples, the Sandy aid bill included money for the Kennedy Space Center, cars and equipment for Homeland Security and the Justice Department, Alaska fisheries, and new Amtrak lines just to name a few.
So, yes — let's condemn the politics. But let's condemn all the politics.
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill
Obama's forgotten victims May 24, commentary
A haven for terrorists
Mirza Shahzad Akbar condemns the use of drones in North Waziristan but does not mention that the area is a safe heaven for terrorists and al-Qaida. It is indeed tragic that innocent people die and suffer in wars, but he does not condemn the use of suicide bombers who kill innocent people, including children, in mosques or crowded marketplaces. It seems like his views are all one-sided.
Rick Torres, Hudson
While some collateral damage is expected with drone strikes and the tragic consequences they rain on unsuspecting families, the Pakistani leaders should be aware of the purpose behind such strikes. The local terrorists in Pakistan kill far more women and children indiscriminately with car bombs than do our drone strikes. Mirza Akbar's outrage should be directed internally toward his politicians in Islamabad who continue to accept our money under the guise of helping the United States defeat the Pakistani Tehrik-i-Taliban. And let us not forget how long they gave aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
Roger H. Oddson, Sun City Center
Gay Scouts: a yes | May 24
Scouts shouldn't change
Why is it that gays have to force their way into established organizations like the Boy Scouts instead of forming their own scout organizations?
If gays want to be gay, let them. But why do they have to force their lifestyle on others?
What about the rights of organizations like the Boy Scouts which have long-standing ethical and moral values to live by? Why do they have to be compromised to accommodate gays or anyone else?
Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor
Apple's taxes | May 25, editorial cartoons
Tax code to blame
Regarding your political cartoons aimed at Apple's tax returns, I wonder if the Times has now decided to pay more than what it legally owes in taxes? Congress and the IRS readily admit that Apple broke no laws in following the tax code that they themselves created; a tax code with a corporate rate so high it almost demands companies take their profits overseas. What company in the world would be behaving responsibly to either their shareholders or customers by paying more than what they legally owe in taxes?
Our government has become a farce when it demonizes hard-working people and businesses for rationally reacting to absurd government policies. And more often than not, unfortunately, the government "solution" is more absurd government policies.
Chris Johnson, Clearwater