1. Letters to the Editor

Friday's letters: Land management eviscerated

Land plan is a must | Sept. 3, letter

Land management eviscerated

Thanks to this letter writer and three cheers for his observations.

Florida has enacted a series of laws that addressed land plans (growth management), beginning in 1928. Legislation in 1985 was the most comprehensive, and subsequent amendments closed loopholes and created land management guidelines that were the benchmark for other states and local jurisdictions around the nation.

The Department of Community Affairs was created to establish guidelines to assist local jurisdictions in ensuring compliance with those requirements.

Florida became a national leader in growth management until Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Florida politicians convinced voters that all that reclaiming and preserving of Florida for future generations was wrong. After they were elected, Republicans emaciated all the state agencies that guided implementation of those growth management requirements.

The result has been massive in-migration, unbridled development, denial of climate change reality, depleted natural resources, guacamole lagoon and a transportation quagmire, especially in Tampa Bay.

Mike MacDonald, Clearwater

Hernando school officials lose lawsuit, punish kids | Sept. 4, editorial

Disrespect for judge

If a defendant, after losing a case, turned his back on the judge and pulled down his pants, where would he end up? The same place Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers should send the Hernando County School Board leaders who have, in effect, mooned the judge by keeping kids out of a classroom who were ordered to be admitted.

They clearly disrespected her, and she should take appropriate action and set an example. The school district is mocking the court and teaching disrespect for the judicial system. The School Board should fire the district officials responsible for the poor example they have set, or the voters should teach the School Board a lesson about good citizenship and vote these poor leaders out of office.

Bill Hammond, Clearwater

CEO compensation

Big raise for insurance CEO

Gov. Rick Scott continues to create high-paying jobs in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Heritage Insurance of Clearwater, which sells homeowners insurance, now has the highest-paid CEO in the Tampa Bay area. Last year, their CEO reportedly made $27.3 million in total compensation, about four times the prior compensation.

Heritage was jump-started about four years ago after a donation of $110,000 to Scott's Lets Get To Work Committee. Heritage received a $52 million sweetener as a start-up company from the surplus of state-run Citizens Insurance Corp. In addition, the state allowed Heritage to cherry-pick 60,000 low-risk policies from Citizens, leaving Citizens with a higher concentration of risk.

Heritage's CEO compensation last year was about 50 times more than the CEO compensation of Citizens. I don't know what Heritage's CEO severance or retirement package is, but those benefits could be raised if Heritage gets its requested rate hike.

Tom Meyers, Tampa

The first 100 days | Sept. 4

Plentiful promises

So in his first few days in the Oval Office, Donald Trump will: get that wall going, ban Muslims, repeal Obamacare, etc. This reminds me of a recent email with a video of an Aussie comedian who depicts Trump as an eighth-grader running for class president: "When I'm elected, we will all get two lunches and no more homework or mean teachers." He'll promise anything you want to hear.

Tom Reid, Seminole

Campaign 2016

The race is narrowing

Donald Trump's muddled message on immigration is either strategic or further evidence that his campaign lacks coherent policy proposals. Regardless, it is a net positive for the Trump campaign, as the Democrats' central argument that he is temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief has shifted to critiquing a stratagem. Conversely, the Republicans' unrelenting narrative that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy remains fixed.

Feeble attempts by Clinton to explain or assume responsibility for errors in judgment while at the State Department are met with overwhelming skepticism. This not only reinforces the perception that she is deceitful, it undervalues her total and complete grasp of both domestic and foreign policy matters.

Although Clinton maintains a comfortable lead in most polls with several paths to victory, recent polling data shows the race is narrowing. With a focus on fundraising in August, generating $143 million in donations, the Clinton campaign needs more than a swollen war chest to halt the erosion in her numbers.

If the general election starts in earnest after Labor Day, then Clinton must make herself accessible before the debates if she is to maintain her advantage. As the assaults on her character intensify, so must her efforts demonstrating that she is the one candidate qualified to sit in the Oval Office.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

Balloon releases

Don't endanger wildlife

If you are planning a balloon release for a special occasion, please realize this can have deadly consequences for the environment.

While some balloons burst, others deflate and fall to earth, where they can have cruel consequences. Dolphins, whales, turtles and other marine species, as well as cows, dogs, sheep, tortoises, birds and other animals have been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal, unless rescued, will die from the balloon blocking its digestive tract.

In Florida, with few exceptions, it is unlawful to release within a 24-hour period 10 or more balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air. Doing so can incur a $250 fine.

Gayle Salamone, Trinity