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    Letters to the Editors

    Soldier appreciates the support


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 17, 2003

    Re: For troops, only love, April 6 story about the Rally for America in Coachman Park.

    As a service member I would like to offer my thanks to our supporters in Clearwater April 5. It makes me very proud to call myself a bay area resident.

    I left home (Brooksville) seven years ago to join the U.S. Army. I did this for many reasons, but foremost was my family. I love them dearly. Like most people, if I have the opportunity to protect them, I will. I decided that I could do this on a larger scale and also protect other families like them and the freedoms we all enjoy.

    I can't help but take it personally when people protest the military or our operations. We never ask for thanks, but to protest us seriously grieves me. Yes, we live in a democracy, and you have freedom of speech. If the protesters feel so strongly, I suggest that they try to voice their objections in a more civilized manner.

    First and foremost, we have the right to vote. During an election we can choose to vote for or against a candidate. We also always have the opportunity to call our congressman. Congress also has to approve military action. President Bush wasn't the only one involved here. In the end, if our elected government decides that it is in our interest to use force, then you should pray for the safe and quick return of these servicemen and women. Offer them your support.

    Having high morale is critical in actions like this. We all joined willingly. We know what the risks are. We spend countless days, weeks and months away from our loved ones. We do it because we believe in our country, our government, our families, and you.

    I am a soldier. I believe in America. I hope it believes in me. Thank you St. Petersburg Times, Clearwater and Gov. Bush for your support on April 5.
    -- Staff Sgt. Bryan Reed, Operation Enduring Freedom

    Insurance 'savings' costly

    Homeowners associations all over the area are being shocked by huge increases in insurance premiums.

    In our case, our association was insured last year by State Farm Insurance Co. The company did not renew our insurance, claiming that they had been turned down for a rate increase of 130 percent by the state of Florida.

    In its place we have secured insurance through the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and two other companies for liability coverage. The total for this package is 462 percent more than State Farm charged us!

    Not finding Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in the Best Insurance Guide, 2002 edition, in which all insurance companies are rated on their financial soundness, I went to the Internet, where I discovered that the company had been created by state Senate Bill 1418 as a federally tax-exempt corporation, combining some 410,000 policyholders presently insured in the Joint Underwriting Association.

    Funding for the newly created government insurance company is from a $280-million Internal Revenue Service tax break, the ability to issue tax-free bonds and assess private carriers for catastrophic losses. When the legislation was signed into law by Gov. Bush on May 10, 2002, it was heralded that it was going to save "thousands" of Florida homeowners "millions" of dollars.

    Gov. Bush, we are still waiting for the big savings this government insurance company is supposed to supply. So far, our insurance has gone up 462 percent and all the private carriers, with great relief, are dumping their troubling policies onto the state. If there is a certain wisdom imbedded in this plan concocted by state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and the senators, I wish someone would explain it to me.
    -- Robert Tharin, Dunedin

    Schools' signs troubling

    Recently I have noticed a potential safety hazard. Area high schools have started using those portable electric signs to advertise their sporting events. These are the same devices that are used to alert motorists to upcoming road closures, detours and possible construction that would affect traffic flow.

    I'm afraid that by using them as a means to announce their football games, etc., motorists will tend to ignore them when a hazard or road closing exists. I have noticed Dunedin High School and Palm Harbor University High School using them for this purpose. I feel that the state Department of Transportation should have exclusive control over this type of device.
    -- Barbara Wood, Tarpon Springs

    Your voice counts

    We invite readers to write letters for publication. Address them to Letters to the Editor, the Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Or you may fax them to (727) 445-4119, or e-mail to npletters@sptimes.com . E-mail letters must be text only and cannot include attachments.

    Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and phone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

    Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.
    --

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