Hurricane fund lets owners throw in the towel, relocate | Aug. 20
Avoiding buyouts by taxing carbon
This front-page article on buyouts because of climate change is the future for millions of Florida homeowners in coming decades if we do not take action to address climate change. It is nice to contemplate, but where are the billions, then trillions, of dollars going to come from to buy up property and mitigate climate change? Is it going to come from school budget cuts, a higher sales tax, a state income tax, higher property taxes or more debt? Buyout programs cost money. We can avoid these costs by moving away from carbon fuels and toward clean energy quickly without more regulation and bureaucracy. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is a fair way to do this. We need to get moving toward a solution to climate change.
Bill Marshall, St. Petersburg
A date with history | Editorial, Aug. 20
My family owned slaves
This is a spot-on editorial! I recently read David Blight's biography of Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 on Maryland's Eastern Shore and died in 1895 as the most prominent and revered African-American in the United States. His life helped me understand our country's challenge at a deep level. The editorial says many Americans will point out that neither they nor their ancestors owned slaves. This is not true for all of us. My great-great-grandfather was Judge Bennett Blake, a prominent figure in Texas history. His records are available in the East Texas Digital Archives, maintained by Steven F. Austin State University. In 1859 he purchased a lot of slaves that included Rawal, age 6, called "Dummy" because he was deaf and "dumb." A lot purchased in 1854 included Rose, age 13. This gives me a frisson: In my closet, in a box of photos inherited from my mother, are photos of "Dummy" and "Aunt Rose." Both look to be in their 60s. Surely these are those slaves, who remained with the family after emancipation. Our national task is to acknowledge our history and move forward with clarity and courage to create a union fair and fulfilling for all.
Linn Sennott, St. Petersburg
Trump's Greenland idea called 'absurd' | Aug. 20
Some better deals on nations
If President Donald Trump wants to spend our hard-earned tax dollars on acquiring a foreign country, I have some suggestions that would be a lot better than Greenland:
Argentina. It has a financial crisis (again), which could put the country in the bargain basement category. Just think of the U.S. national soccer team with Lionel Messi in the lineup. We could become a World Cup favorite!
France. Great food and the home of the Marquis de Lafayette. Trump could even rename the Eiffel Tower.
Italy. Home to a growing nationalist anti-immigrant movement — plus really great food. If only they could make a really fat hamburger from pasta!
Robert Smith, Tampa
Washington's already for sale
In response to President Donald Trump's idea to buy Greenland, the prime minister of Denmark should have countered and asked if any of the United States was available for purchase. After all, isn't Washington, D.C., for sale every day?
Rob Parissi, Tampa