Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive



State Farm has dropped 50,000 more homeowners -and more to come. It's time for Floridians to seriously consider kicking all insurance companies out of Florida and insuring ourselves.

It can be done. The structure exists with Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and can be expanded to include all Florida policyholders. The risk and cost can be spread further by inviting other coastal states to form a coalition. Insurance companies only want a sure thing.

Once a new system for homeowners insurance is up and running, we can go after auto insurance. That's where the real money is. Subtract the insurance companies' huge profit margin and everybody's insurance would get cheaper. And part of that money could also go to shore up homeowner protection.

Of course, this will take a lot of effort. The state Legislature is infested with lawmakers who are in the pocket of the insurance industry. It will take real leadership from Gov. Charlie Crist and voters willing to go to the polls and support honest candidates.

Kyle Elliott, Bradenton

More risk for us

In your July 20 article, you provided a quote from Gov. Charlie Crist stating that State Farm's move to reduce more policyholders in Florida will make Citizens Property Insurance "that much stronger."

Sorry, Charlie, you and the Legislature need to understand that making Citizens larger also proportionately increases the liability to the citizens of Florida.

You should sit down with some of the management people at Citizens and discuss with them the term "risk," especially in a state with hurricanes. I don't think they would agree that bigger is better.

Spreading the risk is the name of the game! You need to be working with those "bad" insurance companies for a solution instead of increasing the burden on Florida residents. Maybe, however, we will have no hurricanes in the next four years, and you will be a hero to everybody.

Robert K. Reader, Clearwater

Elections and money

Let campaign funds serve to inform us

So I see that both political parties are already collecting huge sums of money for the elections, which are still a long way away. I usually deplore the fact that it takes so much money to get elected, but at least the amounts tell us something. In this case, the fact that the Democrats are raising much more than the Republicans describes the mood of the nation. People are simply weary of the abuses of the present administration and want a change.

Now if the candidates could use their money to talk about the issues and their ability to make changes, that would be good. We don't need another election where most of the TV spots and ads were used simply to smear their opponents with half-truths and downright lies.

They say that negative campaigning works. Maybe, but I urge my fellow Americans to wake up and refuse to vote for those who campaign in such a dirty manner. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Lucy Fuchs, Brandon

L.A. cardinal apologizes in clergy sex abuse case - July 16, story

Forever stained

And so, a cardinal of the Catholic Church has apologized to the victims of clergy sexual abuse and has now paid them money. But, like Lady Macbeth, those victims must be saying, "... all the perfumes of Arabia can not sweeten ..." No, indeed.

As an ex-seminarian who spent seven years studying for the priesthood a long time ago, I am especially disgusted by the abominable behavior of these men. Preparing to be one of Christ's chosen is rigorous. I know. Many are called and few are chosen.

All of those who suffered with this terrible tendency, a recognized mental disorder of pedophilia, must have known. To continue in the belief they could control their urges is shamefully naive. To continue so that they could satisfy these urges is beyond shame.

And what of those men? They killed the innocence of so many. Perhaps, one would hope, for the rest of their lives, while imagining the blood of innocence on their hands, they, too, will feel like Lady MacBeth, but they will cry, "Out damned spot. Out, I say."

It never will. It will be the price they pay.

Jack Bray, Dunedin

FDA could get tool to make smoking safer - July 17, story

Tackling tobacco

Why wouldn't Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach want the authority to regulate tobacco? Does he have a $3-million lobbying job at Big Tobacco waiting for him when his gig at the Food and Drug Administration is over? Tobacco is the single largest killer of Americans and he doesn't want to get involved?

If five people die from some new drug, it's taken off the market. Perhaps he'd have to acknowledge that tobacco is a killer?

Elinor Wencka, Tampa

Moore's insult - July 17, letter

Blame the embargo

As a Cuban exile whose family fled to this country when Fidel Castro gave Cuba back to the peasants, the letter writer knows why Cuban hospitals lack basic supplies like syringes, bed sheets, X-ray machines, et cetera. The fault lies with the shameful embargo that this country has enforced on a small communist island that is no threat to this country whatsoever, while selling to China, a large communist country which is a real threat, just about anything it wants.

If there is any shame to be passed around, it should not be to the media that praise Moore's movie, but to the leaders of successive U.S. administrations who have continued out of spite to hinder Cuban development, and to the media that parrot every gripe that the Cuban exiles have made over the last half-century.

Castro won. They lost. Get over it.

R.G. Wheeler, Lealman