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Hurricane Ian lesson: When you build on barrier islands, they’re not barriers anymore | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
This combination satellite image provided by Planet Labs shows the Sanibel Causeway, left, taken on July 4, 2021, and damage to the causeway taken Friday after Hurricane Ian pounded the area.
This combination satellite image provided by Planet Labs shows the Sanibel Causeway, left, taken on July 4, 2021, and damage to the causeway taken Friday after Hurricane Ian pounded the area. [ AP ]
Published Oct. 4

When barrier islands aren’t barriers

Late call to flee | Oct. 2

The focus on whether Lee County officials declared evacuations in time for those at risk from the storm bears some examination, but this was simply a symptom of the larger failure. At the state, county and town levels, our laissez faire attitude toward maximizing development, and the corresponding tax base, are closer to the root cause for these disasters — past, present and future.

Barrier islands are no longer able to serve as barriers; they’re now the front lines of periodic human misery on a grand scale and the attendant costs. Mangrove thickets have been cleared, and artificial islands created to sell more waterfront property than would otherwise exist. As long as we incentivize continued maximum development to the very edge, and beyond, of a periodically very dangerous Gulf of Mexico, we enable these disasters. Why did we steer this course in the first place?

Roger L. Roach, Pinellas Park

Use common sense

Late call to flee | Oct. 2

Blaming Gov. Ron DeSantis or Lee County officials for evacuation order timing is silly. Everyone had access to the same information. Everyone knew a hurricane was coming. Everyone knew the risks of staying in West and Central Florida regardless if in a watch area or not. Use common sense people and accept responsibility for your life and property.

Rick Richert, Dunedin

Shelter from the storm

Bay area spared from the worst | Sept. 30

Viewing and reading about the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Ian on our neighbors to the south was sobering. We were much more fortunate. Heeding official advice, my wife and I took advantage of the shelter options available in Pinellas County. We drove a short distance to St. Petersburg College Midtown campus and were immediately impressed by the kindness, friendliness and, most importantly, the efficiency of the Red Cross volunteers assigned to manage the shelter. The Salvation Army donated hot meals, SPC made its fine facility available and police officers were on hand for security. We are grateful to them all. They know their business and were able to offer protection, food and hydration with competence and a focused concern for our safety.

It could have been us. We are thankful that the storm path veered, but it’s a painful reality that our good fortune means that others suffer mightily. We know, however, that the Red Cross and other support organizations are on the front lines now, and we are grateful for their efforts for all of us.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

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