1. Opinion

Home owners have property rights, too

Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
The welcome sign at an Airbnb cottage at a home in Biscayne Park. [CHARLES TRAINOR JR | Miami Herald]
Published Nov. 11

Two side to property rights

Vacation rentals

Eight years ago, I bought my dream home in a quiet waterfront residential neighborhood in Crystal River. In the last few years, our once tight-knit neighborhood became a hotbed for short-term vacation rentals. Last year, the street I live on became a parking lot full of cars, trucks, boats and trailers. Every few days, a dozen new people cycle in and out — trespassing on neighboring properties, leaving trash on the street, partying and causing traffic at all hours. Due to a grandfathered rental ordinance, city code enforcement pursued the short-term rental activity, and for now, we have a shaky peace. But for the past three years, state legislation (backed by Airbnb) has been proposed that would threaten more damage to communities by overriding the ability of local governments to regulate short-term rentals.

Similar legislation passed in Arizona in 2016. The article, “They killed our city: Sedona residents confront lawmaker over short-term rentals,” highlights how this has hurt the community of Sedona, another tourist destination where vacation rentals are overtaking residential housing. One legislator is quoted as saying, “We never anticipated that somebody would go into a neighborhood, purchase a home and turn it into a mini-hotel.” But that’s what is happening.

A big argument surrounding this issue is property rights. However, bill supporters are using it to put the property rights of investors operating vacation rentals above the property rights of homeowners who don’t want to live next to mini-hotels. These investor-owned “homes” are vacation rental businesses, and they should be designated, regulated and treated as such.

When the Hernando County legislative delegation meets on Nov. 18 at the Hernando County Government Center, I encourage community members to attend and make their voices heard. Our legislators need to represent the best interest of their constituents by protecting the well-being and quality of life in our communities.

J.D. Ross, Crystal River

What did people expect?

It’s like e-scooter rules don’t even exist | Column, Oct. 27

Unidentified scooter riders cross S Hyde Park Avenue while riding along Platt Street in Tampa on Monday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times)

So, e-scooters are not all they are cracked up to be. I had to giggle at how people are riding those wonderful e-scooters: men with babies strapped to their backs, people riding on streets where they aren’t supposed to be, riders leaving them lying around all over the place, and now we have people destroying them.

I’m sure there are many of you who think scooters are great, but there are many not obeying the rules, and we act like we didn’t know this was going to happen?

Where are the cops to hand out fines to these people? Don’t the companies who are renting out these nightmares know who has them so they can hand them a hefty penalty for leaving them all over the place or not obeying the rules? Serious fines would solve the problem, and it shouldn’t be a small fine like texting on your phone while driving. Wait — are people allowed to text or use their smart phones while riding a scooter? What a madhouse.

Anna Carletti, Tampa

Beware of park cyclists

Pedestrian congestion

Joggers run along St. Petersburg's waterfront at sunrise near North Shore Drive NE.

North Shore Park in St. Petersburg is a disaster waiting to happen. The park is being inundated by bicyclists who look to be training for the next Tour de France, cyclists talking on phones and others exercising their dogs. Few let their presence be known by word or bell. These riders are putting children and animals at risk. A simple solution would be to post a speed limit and require all riders to announce their presence or be subject to a ticket and fine.

Lee Puckett, St. Petersburg

Seeking out the truth

In Citrus, a war for words | Nov. 6

The New York Times newspaper on the shelf at the Citrus County Library Lakes Region in Inverness. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]

People have been brought to life on both sides of “the issue.” The problem with not caring about what other people think about us across the country and in other parts of the world is that it shows how narrow-minded those in office and the community can be. They don’t want those people here anyway.

They act as if the New York Times writes only about the president — never mind all the information about issues in the rest of the world. Never mind that the Pulitzer Prize is not given out randomly. Never mind the science, the world, the arts and health news taught to those of us wanting to continue learning way after our formal educations have ended.

People with closed minds are rigid. There is no room for logic to squeeze through to give a thought that will differ from what they are convinced is the only truth. There is no room, or need, to grow.

The problem isn’t that the request for digital subscriptions for Citrus County library card holders was denied. It’s the reason behind it, the phrase “fake news.” The world knows what that means and where it comes from. Our county is famous now. I read the New York Times because I trust it. Have things been written that turned out to have not been fully vetted? Yes, and a correction is made.

The real “fake news” comes from the shows people with these views watch non-stop believing every lie because it fits their narrative. You can’t argue with people like this. Some are very proud of this notoriety. The rest of us? We’re okay because we actually know what the truth is. We are in the majority, just not in Citrus County.

Sheila Jacobs, Lecanto

A bill that will cut emissions

A carbon tax to cut pollution | Letter, Nov. 4

We should support mass transit to reduce auto traffic and pollution. We should also support legislation that prices fossil-based fuels for their negative effect on health, the environment and climate. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act introduced by Reps. Francis Rooney and Charlie Crist does that. It will incentivize the use of mass transit and electric cars, reducing pollution, by placing a fee on production of carbon-based fuels and returning the funds to citizens as a dividend.

Bill Marshall, St. Petersburg


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