Unlicensed activity on rise | June 17
Make sure workers are licensed
Every day, Floridians with professional licenses go to work throughout the state. From contractors to cosmetologists and veterinarians to auctioneers, these and other professionals share a common link — each holds a state license.
State licenses are important because they offer consumers and the public reassurance that the person holding that license meets the standard requirements for working in a specific field. Consumers can verify licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com.
Unlicensed activity occurs when an individual offers to perform or performs services that require a state license and the individual does not hold the required license. In the Tampa Bay region alone, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has received more than 130 complaints about unlicensed activity since the first of the year.
This illegal activity can threaten the livelihood of licensed professionals and can pose serious personal or financial harm to consumers with substandard or even dangerous work. It is especially important to check for state licenses in the aftermath of a natural disaster as homeowners and businesses clean up and repair damage.
Floridians can protect the jobs of licensed professionals and the safety of consumers by notifying the department of suspected unlicensed activity. Complaints can be emailed to ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or reported to 1-866-532-1440.
The most effective way to stop unlicensed activity is to only hire licensed Florida professionals. Join us in our efforts to stop unlicensed activity and help us continue making Florida a great place to do business.
Ken Lawson, secretary, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Tallahassee
Florida lags behind on solar energy front June 14
Solar solutions exist
Ivan Penn is right on target about the need for a renewable energy policy standard or goal in Florida. Our political leaders are either ill-informed or have been co-opted by the big utilities. Case in point: If state Rep. Will Weatherford is opposed to subsidies, how can he support the advanced nuclear cost recovery law in particular, or nuclear power in general?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, in its Annual Energy Outlook (published in 2011) reported that solar is cheaper than nuclear in Florida. The key is what kind of solar. The most cost-effective form is to install photovoltaic panels on existing roofs, near the points of use (distributed solar) rather than big solar farms that require investments in land and new transmission lines (which is what the big Florida utilities want us to think they must build).
Energy efficiency is far cheaper than nuclear, but our state Legislature will not instruct the Public Service Commission to insist on that in any meaningful way either. The argument that solar is intermittent completely overlooks the fact that the energy efficiency device known as a utility-scale vanadium redox battery (installed at the substation level) is a both a proven technology and a cost-effective solution.
Thomas Eppes, Thonotosassa
'Stand your ground'
Stuck with a flawed law
No matter how apparently flawed the "stand your ground" law is, it probably wont be repealed for two reasons.
The first is the fact that the legislators who sponsored this law don't want negative ads about them in their next campaign stating that a law they authored was so bad it had to be repealed because people were being legally killed because of it.
And the second is the powerful NRA lobby in Florida. It's just another sad sign of the dysfunctional political climate we are living in.
Demi Swearingen, St. Petersburg
Safety first | June 13, letter
Now go after tailgaters
I agree totally about using cameras to stop people who run red lights. It is a long time coming. Now lawmakers should crack down another kind of driver: the tailgater.
There is no reason for a driver to tailgate another driver. You can't go any faster then the traffic in front of you. You can't and shouldn't go faster then the law will allow. You should not endanger the person in front of you.
I have even witnessed a police car being tailgated by a young driver. And only after he put on his lights did she back off.
This dangerous practice should be stopped.
Beverly Fromal, Spring Hill
Chasing the money
I find it very curious that conservatives see no hypocrisy in their criticism President Barack Obama's celebrity fundraisers. In the last election, he was compared to Paris Hilton; this year, Rush Limbaugh calls him the "Kim Kardashian" of the Democrats.
Because of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, it's a new game this election season, and both candidates are facing a huge challenge to out-raise each other. Personally, I'd prefer to see the president raise money from celebrities with selfless agendas (the environment, Darfur, etc.) rather than from billionaires with the single-minded purpose of electing a president who will be sure not to cost them another dime in taxes.
This is one more reason why we need to get the money out of politics, for the sake of the country.
Jackie Gavrian, Brandon
Obama pre-empts Rubio | June 16
"Obama pre-empts Rubio." Really? Not "Hope for some immigrants" or "New incentive to violate border" or "President sidesteps Congress"? Your headline and article reveals your partisan, "inside baseball" approach to journalism. Months before a critical election, you are point-scoring and editorializing on the front page.
Where can I find a newspaper that reports what we already know to be true: Barack Obama's policies have failed, but he may deserve a mulligan if he offers a new direction instead of excuses; and Mitt Romney may warrant a try, but we'll never know until he drops the platitudes and details his plans.
Pat Byrne, Largo
He's a double hero | June 15
Upbeat front page
Thank you so much for that wonderful story about Gus Hertz. With all the gloom and doom in the world it's a refreshing change to see such an upbeat, positive story as the focal point on the front page. And what's not to love about a handsome, humble hero.
Christine Jamesson, Clearwater