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Self-insurance is ridiculous notion

Letters to the Editor
Published February 18, 2007


Re: Remove waterfront dwellings, build lower-risk insurance pool Feb. 13 guest column

The guest column by James Pettican regarding the establishment of a lower-risk insurance pool by requiring coastal homeowners to self-insure was ridiculous. How sad that his only solution to such a broad problem is to point fingers and kick certain homeowners out of the insurance pool. I would have hoped a retired journalist would have better research skills.

First, let's remember that purchasing homeowner's insurance is optional. No one forces us to purchase this insurance, and any of us who doesn't like the rates is free to opt out. If your mortgage requires that you maintain homeowner's insurance coverage, pay off your mortgage and cancel your insurance - that is your choice. If you can't pay off your mortgage - and most of us probably can't - then the homeowner's insurance is a necessary part of qualifying for the mortgage.

Maybe someone should look at making the cost of the required insurance tax deductible, but that's another letter.

The insurance crisis is a problem for all who purchase homeowner's insurance. If Mr. Pettican feels justified in pointing the finger at those who live in coastal communities, then why not point the finger at those who live near sinkholes? His same "experts" could work out the actual distance from a sinkhole at which you are forced to self-insure.

For that matter, why stop there? We could force all mobile home owners to self-insure, then take a look at all of the older homes built to outdated building codes, which make them more susceptible to loss. Sound crazy? No more so than depriving any of us from the opportunity to purchase affordable insurance.

Perhaps Mr. Pettican should avail himself of a map or globe and note that Florida is a peninsula. Eliminating coastal homes from the insurance pool would eliminate a huge portion of the state. I think a better course of action would be to work together for a solution that allows for affordable coverage for all homeowners who want or must purchase it.

While Mr. Pettican would like to see us kicked out of the insurance pool because of our lovely views, I bet he wants us to continue to pay our higher real estate taxes to subsidize his roads and schools. A quick check of the Pinellas County property appraiser's Web site shows that I paid nearly four times the real estate tax on my vacant waterfront lot in Hernando County than he did on his home in Pinellas County in 2006.

Carol Okula, Hernando Beach


Comments are nothing but spin 

Re: Hickory Hill will be a boon area Feb. 2 guest column

While Sebring Sierra proposed to clarify a few topics regarding Sindra Ridge's Jan. 16 letter to the editor, he continues to display his less-than-pure profit motives and obviously is intent upon ignoring the facts that would dictate the prohibition of this development to any reasonable, fully informed person.

In the spin of his guest column, Sierra states that the key to effective planning is to "think ahead, always looking to the demands of the future." Apparently, he failed to read the Times' Jan. 28 report about the breakdown of the developments in the planned development district because of the cooling of the housing market. Where is the proof of any pressing need for Hickory Hill's homes in the near future?

Sierra wrote that his statements can be verified. Perhaps he is referencing his company's baseless reply to the state, saying Hernando County has substandard lots in Spring Hill, Royal Highlands and Ridge Manor. The applicant has failed, thus far, to prove that there is any legitimate need for the Hickory Hill development of regional impact. As to being a "step down" from the density of the planned development district, at this time, the district is still home to many cattle and appears it will be for at least as long as the housing market is flat.

The Department of Community Affairs, in a Sept. 15 report, actually cited the Hickory Hill development of regional impact as being inconsistent with the state comprehensive plan on 14 points. These are in addition to the five major characteristics of urban sprawl, to which the department objected. Sierra omits these important objections by the department, including an objection on the grounds that Hernando County's comprehensive plan prohibits urban development of rural lands until the current residential lots are "predominately developed and occupied." The delay in the development of the planned development district demands that Hickory Hill be delayed as well.

As to groundwater contamination, I must thank Sierra for making Ms. Ridge's point. He writes of a study that asserted, "Hickory Hill will minimize pollution ..." This statement indicates, assumes even, that pollution will indeed occur. Hence, the spin and the marketing strategy of this guest column. Further, I agree we all pollute; however, three golf courses would cause a much higher concentration of pollutants than individual homes. I wonder if the folks in Ridge Manor realize the Hickory Hill property is up gradient from the county's water well at Ridge Manor?

I trust our commissioners will look beyond the spin to the to the truth and vote unanimously to deny Hickory Hill.

Mary-Lynn Whalen, Spring Lake

[Last modified February 18, 2007, 07:10:45]

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