Tuesday's letters: During Irma, we're thankful for great neighbors

Published Sept. 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Great neighbors

My wife and I, both senior citizens, live at Rocky Point apartments. Our first floor apartment overlooks the bay. Gorgeous, but we thought everything would change for the worse thanks to Irma. We have a mini-dachshund that made our evacuation plans a bit more complicated. However, thanks to a couple of amazing neighbors, we made it through with flying colors. A couple on the third floor across from us told us that the man below them was leaving town to be with his mother, so he said that we could use his apartment to ride out the storm. Since we were sure the first floor apartments would flood, we were beyond grateful.

We were extremely lucky: None of us here at Rocky Point even lost power, and the water stayed put! I wanted to write this letter to remind us all that there are wonderful people here in Tampa — not surprising, but wonderful just the same. Today I am proud to say that I am a Floridian.

Ronald Medvin, Tampa

Mass transit's worth

During events like these, our state and our region show how handicapped we are to move hundreds of thousands of people.

During events like these, we realize the importance of capable public transportation and rail service. So why do we not have these options when so many people are made to evacuate?

Florida needs egress from the state during hurricanes; not just cars and gridlock — especially when there's no gas.

Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg

Thank you, TECO

Just wanted to let TECO know how appreciative I am of their service Monday morning. My power was out for only about three hours, and then an automated call came in to make sure my power was back on. Amazing work on restoring the power under very trying conditions. Thank you.

Ralph McGee, Tampa

Schools to the rescue

Congratulations on the efforts of our school administrators, teachers, support personnel and volunteers who put aside their personal concerns while staffing the hurricane shelters in our local schools. Perhaps one of the outcomes of Irma will be for our legislators to realize the value of our public schools and distribute funding between public and charter schools with this in mind.

Jim Podd, Valrico

Rush Limbaugh announced he will flee Irma after all and social media freaked out | The Buzz Blog, Sept. 8

Rush was wrong

As a physicist and as one who writes and speaks frequently on climate change, it is very sad for me to read about many of our scientifically illiterate social, business and political "elites" who don't understand climate science and, as a result, are misleading millions of their followers into denying reality, which will ultimately be a very dangerous undertaking as our climate changes even further.

The fact is that a large majority of scientists agree that humans are having a deleterious effect on our environment. As the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere increases, more heat is retained/trapped, which makes more energy available for storms, thus increasing their severity and increasing the oscillation between extremes (heat/cold, drought/flooding, etc.) similar to stretching a spring with evermore amplitude.

Though predicting the weather is very challenging (nonlinear/statistical physics) and storms do typically weaken when they make landfall, it is criminal for someone such as Rush Limbaugh to belittle the efforts to protect the public from Hurricane Irma and discourage his listeners from taking the warnings seriously. It is better to have one life saved by erring on the side of caution evacuations than to lose many innocents from ignorance and denial.

Whether Rush believes it or not, these "once in a generation" events are becoming ever more frequent with ever more loss of life and destruction of property. How many more will need to occur before our "leaders" take their heads out of the sand and start seriously listening to the scientists and seek their help in mitigating this looming unprecedented crisis?

Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.

The case for government | Column, Sept. 7

Government's role

Columnist Fareed Zakaria slipped you a fast one with his piece about natural disasters and the role of government. While it seems true that a natural disaster makes a role for government, that is not the same as making a role for big government all the time. Disasters aren't enough support to make such a claim, and he well knows it. I rate his piece slippery due to massive logic error.

Rolf H. Parta, Bradenton