Thursday, January 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Homeowners must take preventive steps on floods

When your flood insurance falls short | Feb. 12, John Romano column

Owners: Take preventive steps

John Romano's column omits a key aspect of this story — these homes are likely to be flooded again and again unless preventive measures are taken to reduce the risk.

Taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance does provide critical rebuilding assistance to people whose homes have been damaged in a flood. Yet rebuilding these properties without incorporating more protective measures after a flood event traps homeowners in the cycle of "flood, rebuild and repeat." This cycle is not only a hardship for the impacted homeowners, but is also a burden on the taxpayer-backed National Flood Insurance Program, which is $25 billion in debt.

That's why owners of homes at high risk of flooding should take actions, like elevating their homes to satisfy local code requirements, to reduce their flood risk. This not only lowers their exposure, but the exposure to taxpayers who ultimately cover the NFIP's massive debt.

Additionally, these homeowners are not "left in the lurch," as Romano implies in his article. When required to elevate due to a substantial damage assessment, FEMA guarantees $33,000 to homeowners to help cover that cost, in addition to paying to repair the flood damages to the home. More assistance is available if needed in the form inexpensive loans.

Requiring flood-damaged homes to be better protected is not unfair, but what is unfair is expecting taxpayers to repeatedly pay to rebuild homes that will flood over and over.

Joel Scata, Chicago

The writer is a project attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Court rejects Florida's 'Docs vs. Glocks' law Feb. 17

Danger in the home

Bravo to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for determining that doctors can ask patients about gun ownership. This is a First Amendment issue for doctors who are trying to protect and safeguard the patients and families who may have firearms in their residences. Physicians realize people with guns in the home are three times more likely to die from homicide than those without guns at home.

Further, physicians know when a child or teen is killed by a firearm, the gun that killed them comes from their own home 72 percent of the time. And because between 6 and 14 percent of firearms-owning households with a child under 18 have an unlocked and loaded firearm, it is understandable why doctors want to ask about the accessibility of these firearms.

Joan Lund, Tampa

Trump punches back | Feb. 17

Public should fight back

Watching President Donald Trump rant about the "dishonest media" is like hearing a bad joke with no punch line, as his own lies are so frequent and obvious. It's nothing more than a distraction to divert attention from the very things he claims are "fake news," like the Russian oil deal he stands to profit from, the leaks coming from his own administration and his attempts to subvert the Constitution at every turn.

His latest press conference was wackier than any reality show, but when he starts calling the media the enemy of the American people, it's time for the people to stand up before government-controlled media becomes the next executive order on his agenda.

Dennis Bush, Tampa

Need for a free press

From President John Kennedy's administration to President Barrack Obama's, I have never experienced any anxiety about our country's future until now.

After watching President Donald Trump's alarming performance during his press conference, I feel he is totally unqualified for the presidency. His lack of respect for the press corps and the First Amendment is disturbing. His goal seems to be to delegitimize the press. Now more than ever, we need a free press to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.

Kenneth Henderson, Tarpon Springs

Trump's bizarre behavior

I found the president's behavior toward reporters Jake Turx and April Ryan to be appalling and reprehensible. Turx, in particular, asked a reasonable question concerning the increasing level of anti-Semitic activity in this country. Instead of giving a reasonable answer, the president complained the question was "complicated" (it wasn't), rudely told Turx to be quiet when the reporter attempted to further explain his question, and stated categorically that he was neither anti-Semitic nor racist, instead of answering the question.

The president's defensive response was rather bizarre, since Turx had already said that neither he nor his community considered the president antiSemitic. The president's avoidance of addressing the anti-Semitism issue, here and at other times, says to me that he doesn't want to offend those of his supporters who are anti-Semitic.

Diane Kornick, Clearwater

A long way to go | Feb. 19

Smaller may be better

I noticed in the pictures in this article, there were very few riders on each of the buses. This raises the question: Have the Hillsborough or Pinellas County transit authorities considered replacing these large, expensive, mostly empty buses with smaller, more cost-effective vehicles that could cover more routes in a shorter time and give more people access to the system?

The transit authorities should be open to purchasing smaller vehicles with lower maintenance costs, while promoting job growth with the additional drivers needed, to more adequately meet the demand for public transportation.

Bob Howard, St. Petersburg

Affordable Care Act

American lives at risk

Repeal with no reasonable replacement of the Affordable Care Act and the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency will kill more Americans than ISIS.

Lee Cook, Tampa


Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18
Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

Tuesday’s letters: Trump’s accomplishments unheralded

President Donald TrumpAchievements go unrecognizedAre Americans even aware that our economy is healthier and growing much faster, that ISIS has been defeated and lost their territory, that China and other countries are buying more American goods and ...
Published: 01/16/18

Monday’s letters: Don’t be fooled by drilling turnaround

Deal blocks drilling off Fla. | Jan. 10Don’t be fooled by turnaroundWhile I am very grateful that Florida has been taken off the table regarding offshore oil drilling, it is clear this is a political move to champion Gov. Rick Scott as he conside...
Published: 01/14/18

Sunday’s letters: Left wing late to the #MeToo cause

#MeTooDemocrats come late to the causeThe Times devoted an entire page to the #MeToo issues on Sunday. The ironies here for longtime observers are nearly boundless. Twenty years ago, folks like myself were called "prudes" and worse because we found P...
Published: 01/13/18

Saturday’s letters: A wall of towers isn’t progress

Skyline takes shape | Jan. 7A wall of towers isn’t progressFirst of all, once the 17 projects currently under way are completed, there will be no "skyline." There will be a wall of buildings blotting out the sun and sky. St. Petersburg has become...
Published: 01/12/18

Friday’s letters:

Gang raped at 17. Getting help at 65 | Jan. 7Help available for assault victimsEach sexual assault survivor has a unique story to tell, and Evelyn Robinson’s experience illustrates many of the emotions, and society stigmas, faced by survivors.Sex...
Published: 01/09/18
Updated: 01/11/18

Thursday’s letters: Opioid bill could do more harm than good

Opioid bill opponents line up | Jan. 6Bill’s potential to harm patientsLegislators are proposing putting more restrictions on physicians’ ability to prescribe pain medications. Yes, the addiction problem is a serious one, and the law seems well-i...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/10/18