Carefree childhood a thing of the pastLetters to the Editor
Published August 18, 2006
I don't live in the same place anymore.
Recently, my 8-year-old daughter said to me, "Daddy, I'm bored. I don't have anyone to play with."
Ever since her birthday in June, I've been complaining to her mother about the video game that she received as a gift. I think she plays with it too much. But, like she said, she has no one to play with.
When I was 8 years old, I was bicycling for literally miles around our neighborhood. Now, I won't even let my daughter go to the mailbox or pick up the newspaper out front without a watchful eye.
Something happened to me on my way back to work from lunch that really hammered this whole situation into my mind.
I was riding my motorcycle through a neighborhood in Spring Hill and couldn't help but notice when a little blonde-haired boy, about 2 years old, came running out from behind one of the houses and ran across his neighbor's sidewalk. There was no adult in sight.
For a moment, I didn't think much of it. I turned the corner and thought to myself, what if no adult has seen him run off? So, I turned around in the middle of the street and went back.
At that moment a woman also came running from next door. I assumed it was his mother, and I waved hello. She looked at me as if I was some kind of ax murderer. I said, loud enough for her to hear, "I'm glad you're here, it scared me when I saw him running all by himself." She acted as if she didn't hear me. She grabbed the child and ran back next door.
This is the atmosphere we're living in today. We parents are so scared that we can't even let our kids go outside to the mailbox without worrying about them. I could see the same concern in the eyes of that little boy's mother that I feel when my own daughter is out of my sight.
And, thus, my daughter has a hard time finding friends who live close by. She is a sixth-generation Hernando County resident, yet she is not growing up in the same place that I did. And it makes me really sad because there's nothing I can do to change it back.
Jack A. Daniel, Weeki Wachee
Blame politicians for insurance crisis
The last word on the insurance crisis is ... politicians. The only way to begin solving this problem is with our votes.
I've lived in Florida since 1977, when I was a single mom raising kids on a secretary's salary. I always owned a home and could pay my insurance.
Today, when things should be easier, they are worse. I've seen 30 years of hurricanes and always could afford my premium.
Pasco County's sinkhole claims went from $162,000 to $42 million in a matter of four years. If all these were legitimate sinkholes, half of Pasco would be underground.
The insurance company run by the state is in dire need of an audit and new, competent management.
No, this crisis is not due to hurricanes and sinkholes. This crisis is a result of legislators who forgot about the middle class, legislators who put insurance companies and their lobbyists above the needs of the people, legislators who have done nothing thus far to alleviate 300 to 400 percent increases, causing hardworking, middle-class Floridians to lose their homes!
This "panel," headed by the lieutenant governor, suggested the following: a tax-free catastrophe savings account.
How well did the health care savings account work? Higher deductibles! Either pay now or pay later, and the premium does not decrease much, given the exorbitant rate to begin with.
Stronger building codes? Great! Higher housing costs and grants from the government to hurricane-proof your home - most of us affected by the rate increases cannot afford this expense.
The point is, those offering these "solutions" are the ones who contributed to this mess in the first place.
People of Florida, elections are coming and that is the only way this can be fixed - or at least changed, and right now any positive change is welcome.
We all must listen carefully to all candidates, especially those running for governor and chief financial officer. Demand to hear their detailed plans to fix this problem and see which of them will put it in writing, so as to be held accountable.
God controls hurricanes, but we can have a voice in who controls our insurance bills. Only consider those who put insurance reform as a top priority, as it should be, and then make informed decisions at the polls.
Carol Howard, Spring Hill
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