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Fireworks law must be enforced

Letters to the Editor
Published January 26, 2007


Regarding your article about Sheriff Bob White's desire to limit casual buyers of fireworks, many of us in our Land O' Lakes neighborhood couldn't agree with this more. But doesn't it all sound like the same old rhetoric that we have read in the past?

I personally am tired of my large dog urinating all over our house when our unthinking neighbors carry on their fireworks festivities. We are tired of cleaning our yards and houses of debris and in some cases repairing damage caused to our screen enclosures by hot embers.

To make matters even more frustrating for those of us who live here in Oakstead in Land O' Lakes, the person with the biggest display in the neighborhood was none other than a Pasco County deputy. Somehow it doesn't seem right that a guy who is sworn to uphold the law would be one of the people knowingly breaking the law. Should we think of this as the old double standard being applied? Or is Sheriff White, again, just making nice to the many people who have called to complain about illegal fireworks in their neighborhoods?

Since the deputy's fireworks display, other neighbors are now talking about having their own displays this year. Their thinking is if the deputy can do it, it must be proper and legal.

Sheriff White, we need you to follow through this time.

Robert D. Patrick, Land O' Lakes


Why call police if they won't come?

I certainly agree with the sheriff regarding limiting fireworks sales. I am a little troubled, however, by his statement that "catching people shooting illegal fireworks is tough."

The last time I called the Zephyrhills Police Department to complain about rockets being fired into my back yard (next door to a nursing home no less), I was told that, while fireworks are illegal in the city, the law is not enforced. Perhaps if the authorities become willing to enforce the law, citizens would help with the catching.

It's pointless to ask for police assistance when you know it won't come.

Gerald Barnes, Zephyrhills


Finish extension of SR 56 first

I live in Meadow Pointe, very close to Mansfield Boulevard and County Line Road and agree with Pasco County not to extend Mansfield south into Hillsborough County at this time. As it is now, morning and afternoon traffic is backed up a mile or more in both directions from the light at Mansfield and County Line during school hours.

Subdivisions on Mansfield cannot get onto the road because they are blocked by the school traffic going to John Long Middle School. More school traffic at Sand Pine Elementary also would be greatly impacted and, as of Jan. 8 ,Wiregrass High School is open, adding traffic as well. There also is a day care center at the intersection.

The answer is completion of State Road 56 extension which is supposed to start construction in March. This date has been moved back many times. People of Hillsborough should complain to the state to get that extension finished. Once it is, it will alleviate a lot of traffic, and then and only then can Mansfield Boulevard be extended.

Raymond Kobasko, Wesley Chapel


Reform good for homeowners

The Florida Legislature ended its special session with the passage of a comprehensive insurance reform package that will have a significant impact on Floridians, especially those in Pasco and Hernando counties. There are still issues that need to be dealt with regarding the crisis facing our homeowners and I and my staff will continue to work toward getting more reforms and reductions in premiums along with protections and guarantees for homeowners in the upcoming regular session.

One of the most important issues included in the legislation is that people will now have a choice on sinkhole coverage. Under the new law, all insurance companies must provide coverage to every homeowner when a catastrophic ground cover collapse occurs. But there will no longer be a mandate to carry sinkhole coverage by the homeowner. By choosing to discontinue this coverage there is the potential for premium reductions in Pasco of up to 40 percent and up to about 25 percent in Hernando. Many mortgage companies and banks, along with Fannie Mae, have indicated they do not require sinkhole coverage from their customers.

However, some who are complaining the loudest about this important consumer victory are those who have taken the most advantage of homeowners in our local communities. The very small groups of attorneys whose names appear on billboards along our major highways are the ones who will lose while consumers will win. No longer will claims for cracks in the driveway be a one-way ticket for huge legal fees at the expense of homeowners. No longer will people unwittingly sign on with lawyers who will take huge portions of settlements which rarely benefit the homeowner and have done little more than drive up insurance premiums.

In a press release by Consumer Advocates, Paul Jess, general council of the Florida Justice Association (formally the Florida Academy of Trial Attorneys) said this of the legislation, "This bill is the most significant pro-consumer insurance reform in my memory."

When members of the legal community began to decry the practice of their own colleagues who take gross advantage of an issue such as sinkhole insurance it only reinforced the need for reform. The Legislature has responded and homeowners are the ultimate victors.

Sen. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey


Again, we're left without a choice

Wouldn't you know! We bought another farm, swamp, bridge, whatever you want on it.

I'm so relieved I'm going to get a whopping 7 percent refund (State Farm). My insurance went from $1,150 to $2,500 to now $3,600 in two years time! My home is 5 years old, not in a flood zone and built to withstand 120 mph winds. It doesn't seem to matter.

Lets see, that calculates to a whole $250. What a windfall! No, rather, a joke! All the hoopla over what amounts to an old bone.

The politicians sold us out again in the insurance scam of the century! We have no choice. Move out and lose more, or stay & pay more, which do you prefer? Not much of a choice, is it?

Bill Durnell, Holiday


Bill was not a partisan issue 

Sinkhole plan doesn't help us Jan. 25 letter

I am most surprised that the letter writer makes the just passed homeowners insurance reform bill a Republican versus Democrat issue. The Legislature just sent to the governor a conference report that was supported by both parties. Even remarks by the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate stressed the bipartisan cooperation it took to write and pass this bill.

Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg have worked tirelessly for months to craft language and convince their colleagues on both sides of the aisle just how important it was for the reform package to include needed changes to sinkhole coverage. Their fellow legislators obviously agreed, since 156 out of 158 legislators voted in favor of the reforms.

I applaud Sen. Fasano and Rep. Legg for their efforts. To bring people of both political parties together to agree on something as significant as this is a major accomplishment. This was not a partisan issue. it was a consumer issue, plain and simple.

Ed Collins, Trinity


Hard to believe the accusations 

Recruiter: Girl's story is a lie Jan. 23

I believe Staff Sgt. Bruce Roberts' side of the story. I can't imagine an 11-year veteran, (let alone a recruiter), risking everything to have a romp with a 17-year-old.

Recruiters are under such scrutiny from their superiors and from community members. More so than other members of the service.

I am a 12-year, female, Navy veteran. When I was in delayed entry, it was not uncommon for me to hang around the recruiter's office or do social things with them. Nothing inappropriate went on. That is just the way things go. Like he points out, he makes friends with them so they will refer their friends.

Right now many parents are hostile toward recruiters. They want to see them completely removed from schools. I believe this is the situation in this case. Mom wants the recruiter out of the way so her daughter doesn't join the military. Hang strong Staff Sgt. Roberts. My prayers go out to you and your family.

Katy Eagan, Holiday


Letter was attack on conservatives 

Pro-gun stance is what Crist likes Jan. 23 letter

The letter on Gov. Charlie Crist, Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, Republican Chairman Bill Bunting and the NRA is a classic example of how facts are selectively left out or skewed.

While legislation to ban firearms in this country makes headlines, it diverts your attention from the real issue, which is an ineffective criminal justice system that cannot adequately prosecute violent predators. Of 4.3-million convicted criminals, less than 26 percent are in prison. Yet, the letter writer criticizes the very people and organizations that, for example, support Florida's 10-20-Life program, which sets mandatory sentences for crimes committed with firearms, ensuring maximum jail time for repeat offenders.

The writer fails to point out how cities like Washington, D.C., and New York, despite their radical gun control laws, continue to remain known for their violent criminal activity.

The letter wasn't about Fiorentino, guns and school parking lots, which by the way is inaccurately presented, it is really about the writer's political agenda to demonize prominent proactive conservative leaders.

Edward Mejias, Land O' Lakes


[Last modified January 26, 2007, 07:40:28]

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