tampabay.com

Casinos can solve insurance troubles

Letters to the Editor
Published August 28, 2006


Attention, Sen. Mike Fasano, Attorney General Charlie Crist and all candidates supposedly involved in trying to fix this insurance problem in Florida. There are solutions that must be adapted. Revise the amendment to the Constitution to tap revenue from the state lottery to the insurance fund. There will be a special session coming up. Do what is necessary for a revision then.

Have casino gaming legalized as they did in Mississippi. These funds can be applied to replenish the state's catastrophic insurance fund. The statistics are easily available from Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada and other states. Check out how much additional revenue came into their state coffers since legalized gaming began.

The Lotto was legalized because of education purposes. Not everyone who voted for it had children. But everyone has to have a roof over their head and is affected, whether they own or rent.

Did the Mirage Properties abandon the Beau Rivage in Biloxi because of Katrina? No, they rebuilt and in less than a year. Casino employees donated more than $4-million to rebuilding hurricane victims' lives. Beau Rivage reopens next week. How many Floridians will be there to participate in the grand opening? Keep the Floridians in their own state.

Your business section of Aug. 22 reported households are cutting back because of increased gasoline, electricity and home insurance costs. Well, goodbye to Starbucks, Outback and other high-end chains.

Will this insurance crisis increase crime? You bet it will. We already have apologetic robbers in action.

Jan Draugelis, Holiday

Revoke approval for new Wal-Mart Supercenter

I am a new homeowner in the Colonial Hills community. I just purchased my first home off Woodcock Drive. Wal-Mart is trying to build a new Wal-Mart Supercenter behind my house.

The traffic in the community now is very heavy in the early morning and late afternoon to early evening. Just sitting in my house, I can hear all the cars whizzing by every morning and evening.

Grand Boulevard is currently at 500 cars per hour between 4 and 6 p.m. After Wal-Mart, it could be as many as 1,400 cars per hour. It's hard enough now to get out of my subdivision. What will happen with three times as many cars?

The increase in crime caused by the store will create more problems for the neighborhood. They are talking about adding a sheriff's substation in the store. If they didn't build the store, we wouldn't need the substation.

There already are two Wal-Mart supercenters, 5 miles and 7.3 miles from where they want to put this one. I vote for the Pasco commissioners to revoke the approval of the preliminary site plan for Wal-Mart off Grand Boulevard in New Port Richey.

Elizabeth Knowles, New Port Richey

Grand speed limit varies, depending on direction

Grand Boulevard between State Road 54 and Trouble Creek Road in Pasco County is a two-lane undivided highway. The problem is the speed limit on that section of road. When you are traveling north, the speed limit is 35 mph. When you are traveling south on the same section of road, the speed limit is 30 mph.

Why the difference? Will someone in Pasco County or the state Department of Transportation answer the question?

Andy Taylor, New Port Richey

Curbs stop tortoises and endanger drivers

Recently we were driving south on the new extension of Starkey Boulevad in west Pasco County between Alico Pass and State Road 54. Just north of the Longleaf subdivision we happened to see a large gopher tortoise plodding along the edge of the road, trying unsuccessfully to climb up over the curb. We stopped and carried the tortoise safely to the edge of a nearby pasture.

Less than an hour later, as we made our return journey along the same stretch of Starkey Boulevard, we saw another tortoise in the same situation. Luckily, we were able to carry this animal to safety also despite heavy traffic. However, the vertical-faced curbs made it impossible for us to pull off the road so traffic flow was impeded while we stopped.

Some weeks ago, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission changed the gopher tortoise's status from a species of special concern to a threatened species. Because of the depletion of their habitat by land developers, Florida's native tortoises are faring worse than expected, resulting in the species' reclassification to a more highly threatened level.

Because the new section of Starkey Boulevard passes through gopher tortoise habitat, we would like to know why it was constructed with vertical-face curbs, making it a death trap for these animals. They cannot scale the curbs, and there are very few gaps in the curbs. The adjoining roads such as Alico Pass and River Crossing Boulevard have angle-face or drive-over curbs, which are easy for a tortoise to climb. Why was Starkey Boulevard built with vertical curbs? This is especially perplexing in light of the higher design speed of Starkey. A vertical curb is more dangerous on a high-speed road because it can cause a vehicle to lose control upon colliding with the curb. An angle-face curb simply allows the vehicle to cross onto the grass without losing control.

We vehemently urge the replacement of the vertical curbs along Starkey Boulevard. We hope we can count on your support in making Florida a safer place both for motorists and for native wildlife.

Rowena and Chris Hover, New Port Richey

TIMES RECOMMENDS

Early voting for the Sept. 5 primary continues today through Saturday. The Times has published recommendations in all races in which voters must make a choice. The detailed recommendations are available online at politics.tampabay.com. Here is a summary of the Pasco-specific races:

For all voters countywide:

Commission, District 2: Pat Mulieri

School Board, District 1: Allen Altman

School Board, District 3: Renee H. Jonas

School Board, District 5: Frank Parker

County Judge, Group 6: Anne Wansboro

County Judge, Group 7: Candy VanDercar

Circuit Judge, Group 9: Christine Helinger

Circuit Judge, Group 32: Pat Siracusa

Circuit Judge, Group 45: Jack Day

For Republicans:

U.S. House District 9: Gus Bilirakis

State House District, 44: Robert Schenck

State House District 48: Peter Nehr

State Senate District 10: Sandra Murman

For Democrats:

U.S. House District 5: Rick Penberthy

 

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