Legislature failed to protect Florida seniors | Sept. 19, Daniel Ruth column
Make backup power a priority
This column should be required reading for all our legislators. The 10 residents who died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills last week in the wake of Hurricane Irma after the facility's air conditioning system failed could have been spared if our legislators had made the well-being of senior citizens a priority.
In 2006, a bill that would have required all Florida nursing homes to install generators capable of providing power died in the Florida Senate. That year, the leadership at Menorah Manor made the decision to move ahead and upgrade our emergency generators to provide 100 percent backup power. Every outlet, light, air conditioner, washer, dryer, oven, etc., in our Marion and Bernard L. Samson Nursing Center and Toby Weinman Assisted Living Residence would function in the event we lost utility power, which is exactly what happened during Hurricane Irma.
Regardless of the Legislature's inaction, our management and board decided that whatever the cost, this "return on investment" was an obligation to our residents. As Ruth states, "Not all nursing homes or assisted living facilities are potential death traps for their residents."
Rob Goldstein, chief executive officer, Menorah Manor, St. Petersburg
Co-ops can cut costs
If you are thinking about installing photovoltaic solar panels on your home, there has never been a better time. The cost of rooftop solar has decreased by more than 65 percent over the last five years, and for an average home you can expect to recoup your installation costs in about 8½ years.
The Florida League of Women Voters has initiated a statewide campaign to launch rooftop solar buyers' cooperatives through a nonprofit program called FL Sun. A solar co-op is simply a group of homeowners who use their combined buying power to procure bulk discounts on the cost of going solar. Existing co-ops have saved members an average of 20 percent on the cost of installation.
Both the Hillsborough and North Pinellas League of Women Voters chapters, in cooperation with Tampa Bay Sierra Club and other partners, will be launching cooperatives Monday. To learn more go to www.flsun.org/hillsborough or www.flsun.org/north-pinellas.
Rick Garrity, chair, Natural Resource Committee, Hillsborough League of Women Voters
Dave Sillman, North Pinellas FL Sun coordinator
Help by buying local
The week before Hurricane Irma struck, governors throughout the Southeast ordered the largest evacuation in American history. More than 7 million Americans packed their belongings as Irma approached the Caribbean islands and Florida. Tens of thousands of residents also left St. Petersburg or relocated to shelters.
These residents left behind more than their homes, neighborhoods and places of worship. Many left behind their businesses as well.
While they work to clean debris from their yards and their streets, they will also be accounting for lost business during the storm. Though it is too early to know the full impact on lost business in St. Petersburg, we do know that hundreds of businesses closed for several days before and after Irma. That means lost revenue for business owners, and lost wages for employees.
Although St. Petersburg was spared much of the destruction in the path of Hurricane Irma, our local businesses need our support.
That's why I am declaring this week, Sept. 24 through Oct. 1, as "The 'Burg Buys Local Week." I want to encourage you to spend your money locally. And I ask you to think about our local and small businesses in St. Petersburg not just this week, but every day of the year.
Our local businesses and organizations are what makes St. Petersburg special. We celebrate our local businesses and the invaluable contributions they make to our economy and community. They are one of the many reasons we say "the sun shines here," no matter the weather.
Rick Kriseman, mayor, St. Petersburg
The freedom to disagree
The criticism of President Donald Trump during the Emmy Awards was an interesting example of how a group of individuals, i.e. liberals, don't really understand their unique position in the world. Liberals can only exist in democracies. They are not tolerated in countries ruled by royalty, dictators, religious zealots, drug lords, etc. In fact, in those countries, they're just taken out and murdered as those leaders don't trust them.
In our country, liberals adore foreign leaders such as Raul Castro without understanding that communists are the greatest mass murderers of their own people that the world has ever known.
James McClelland, Clearwater
Why do some tours skip us? | Sept. 19
Don't go out much anymore
Here are some reasons I no longer attend concerts in the Tampa Bay area.
The venues are horrible. Sound is terrible in Amalie; the amphitheater is outdoors, which means bugs and heat. The exception is Ruth Eckerd, but the big bands don't play there.
Tickets are hard to access. Many shows sell out within minutes. Tickets are too expensive.
Everything is just too crowded, overpriced and low quality.
David J. Bieniecki, New Port Richey
Free lunch for the well-off
I chuckled when I read that the GOP is targeting the home mortgage interest tax deduction as a source for funds to allow them to slash the taxes of America's richest. Those who dismiss the needs of the poor by saying "there's no free lunch" always ignore the free money they get from taxpayers via this deduction, which is enjoyed almost exclusively by those making more than $100,000 per year.
Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg