Doctors back texting-driving ban | Dec. 4, letters
Ban needs to cover all phone use
Florida Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has proposed a ban on texting while driving. It's a dumb law. There is no way that charging someone with texting while driving will stand up in court.
How is a law enforcement official going to determine from afar if a person is texting while driving or just turning on a phone, attaching it to a charger, checking for email, and so forth? The only way to cure this ill is to ban all cellphone usage while driving, like so many states have done.
Gov. Rick Scott recently asked traffic safety officials to study texting and driving to determine if Florida needs to take action. The Florida Department of Highway Safety says Florida traffic fatalities are up 4 percent so far in 2012. Department director Julie Jones reported that states with phone restrictions aren't seeing similar fatality increases. It's a no-brainer, governor.
John Tischner, Dunedin
Why the rich want to raise the retirement age Dec. 2, commentary
Purpose of the program
No one wants to recognize the obvious, that Social Security means just what it says: to provide security to our social system. It doesn't mean that the program has to give everyone who paid into it their money back — that is what 401(k) plans do.
Everyone should pay into Social Security, like we all do in our taxes for public school funding, whether you have children who use the school system or not. No one gives us our money back.
Why do those privileged enough to not need Social Security still get checks every month? As the article says, after income surpasses $110,000 an earner doesn't pay any more into the system. To the poor among us, the portion of our meager income spent on Social Security tax is huge in contrast to the rich.
When are we going to change the rules for the majority in this country and stop kissing the behinds of the rich?
Lois Szydlowski, Tampa
Raise the income cap
Thank you, Ezra Klein, for suggesting what I have long been thinking: Raise the income cap for Social Security contributions to include all one's income.
I remember, before my husband became self-employed, when his salary from the company he was with would reach the income cap, usually in August or September. We would then see a bump in his take-home pay. Was it nice? Sure. Did we need it to survive? Definitely not.
If raising the income cap can make Social Security solvent for even close to 75 years as Klein suggests, then it seems to be an obvious step. Everyone pays on all of their income. We might even be able to reduce the percent we currently pay.
Gail Morrow, Palm Harbor
Plans for Lens canopy blasted | Dec. 2
First, attract residents
Something is just not right with this Lens business. First we employ architects to create an "iconic" structure. So we get three "forms" and select one. Then the Lens begins to morph. Now we get the modified version, which had to have a restaurant added to its original form, plus the suggested use of improper materials to meet budget issues. Train wreck to follow.
The basic rule of design is form follows function. The other way around and you get what we got and spend a lot of money and time to get there.
We want to attract visitors by boat to dine and shop in our beautiful city. Why are we building a structure that does not accommodate real boats?
It's time to stop and take a deep breath. If we will build something the locals enjoy, the tourists will follow.
Tom Strickland, St. Petersburg
Take time and get it right
A lot of people believe that having a piece of art that we will grow into liking is not the way to go with the Lens. If I want to see art, I will go to a museum.
Can you imagine the lightning bolts anywhere except at the Times Forum? They belong there — that's where the Lightning plays.
I'm glad there is debate and I'm glad that changes are being made. I want something that fits in with the city landscape and will be something that we all can be proud of. I don't care if tourists or Europeans or whoever don't think it's cool or eclectic enough. Let's take our time and get it right.
Doug Birchard, St. Petersburg
Choose plan carefully
The deadline to select a Medicare plan is Friday. Please be aware that some Medicare Advantage plans use the primary care physician as a gatekeeper to get access to other services like specialists and treatments.
Last week, a dear family friend died. She was denied diagnostic tools like a chest X-ray and referral to a cardiologist. She had a Medicare Advantage plan.
As a four-term state legislator, I worked to improve Florida's health care system. But I found when it counted I still didn't have the tools to help my friend.
While gym memberships sound great, be sure you have access to the medical treatment you need.
Mary Brennan, Pinellas Park
Citrus reeling as tax hit sinks in | Dec. 1
Setting dangerous example
The recent corporate property tax insurrection by Duke Energy in Citrus County has some serious potential repercussions for the entire state.
What is to prevent other businesses and individuals from using the same tactics? Duke Energy and others who follow their precedent will have the financial resources to keep property tax disputes going in court for years. Meanwhile the rest of the taxpayers will foot the bill for counties to survive until the lawsuits work their way through the courts.
Some taxpayers, corporate and private, have legitimate arguments to justify adjustments in their property tax assessments. There is an appeal process to handle those disputes. Duke Energy cannot be allowed to get away with avoiding due process.
Tom Paslay, Homosassa
Leadership on fluoride | Dec. 2, letter
I agree completely with the letter writer's comments on the use of fluoride in drinking water, but his correction of your use of the term "mineral" for a fluoride is, itself, incorrect.
The element is fluorine, a highly corrosive yellowish gas that reacts with many other elements to form fluorides.
It is one of these molecules/compounds/minerals that, in low concentrations, is so beneficial in maintaining tooth enamel.
Brian Pasby, Floral City