A sad new age
Regarding “Lakeland girl was bullied for months before suicide” (Sept. 13):
I doubt those cyberbullying 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick and telling her to kill herself thought she would take it seriously. Indeed, it’s a new age. Computers and smartphones have changed the world and the way we communicate with one another — although sometimes to our detriment. Nevertheless, kids need to learn that people have feelings, as well as breaking points. Schools need to be proactive with classes structured around our new environment. Teaching the consequences of cyberbullying could help to improve social skills, although in the meantime those responsible for the nasty comments that drove a tormented young Becca to her tragic death need to be addressed. Not only do these kids need to be punished, they need counseling as well to fully comprehend their actions.
For what it is worth, my idea of punishment would be for all of those responsible to do some community service, which would include telling their story to students at other schools in the state. If kids were told about the repercussions of bullying and cyberbullying from the mouths of their own peers, I believe the message would hit home.
JoAnn Lee Frank
Regarding “After humble beginnings, WUSF 89.7 is golden — thanks to you” (Other Views, Sept. 13): WUSF is well justified in taking pride in past accomplishments in its presentation of music and news as the piece by Joann Urofsky discussed. However, since it was divided into two stations, often you cannot get either music or news in the Tampa listening area. To hear a strong signal, you must take your radio to Sarasota or Fort Myers.
‘Bait and switch’?
Joann Urofsky forgets to apologize to the many listeners who contributed to WUSF for years only to experience a “bait and switch” when she removed classical music from the WUSF offerings and established a classical music station heard only in the immediate vicinity of the station’s antenna in Sarasota County and in a very small area of northern Hillsborough County via a very weak satellite antenna.
Urofsky’s decision denied listeners in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties the opportunity to hear classical music after years of promising that the station would continue to operate if listeners contributed money.
Donald R. Gillette
Flood insurance rates
Regarding “Rising flood insurance rates could hurt real estate market” (Sept. 3): The article on the rising flood rates passed by the Congress in 2012 as a result of the damage caused by superstorm Sandy will impact more than waterfront property owners. An amendment that would put a moratorium on rate hikes for a year has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is expected to go to the Senate for a vote before many of the increases go into effect on Oct. 1. Even if the higher flood insurance rates are extended by Congress (which is not certain at this point), the impact on Florida property values is already being felt.
This will directly impact every local county budget in the next fiscal year. As we are now seeing, waterfront property in Florida is not selling. Homeowners unable to sell their property will complain to the property appraiser’s office next year that their property values have declined. Property appraisers will be forced to lower waterfront property values to the value of the raw land, which will be good for property owners but counties’ budgets will be devastated. Where will the counties find the money to replace this lost tax revenues?
In effect, by the federal government raising the cost of flood insurance, they are robbing the local counties of property taxes they will need to find from other sources. I hope the federal government will use the additional money raised from the higher flood insurance premiums to save for future claims, unlike they are doing with every other insurance program (Social Security, FDIC, unemployment, etc.).
Boaters beware! If you use cleat-mounted lights and license plate, you typically remove the lights, put them in your vehicle, launch the boat and then park the trailer. I have been using this system for eight years with no problems. However, I got a ticket for “No tag on trailer” at the Gandy launching ramp last Thursday. When I stopped at the wildlife officer station at the Gandy ramp to ask about the ticket, an officer told me that a lot of people had come into the station to complain about the same thing. He suggested that I might want to go to court. However, I researched the parking ordinance online and found that Section 15-52 of Florida Statute 316.1945 appears to require a tag on a vehicle parked on a city lot. Who knew!
The end result is that I will no longer be able to launch the boat at a city-controlled ramp. Maybe publishing this letter will save other boaters who use this system the expense and trouble of a ticket.
Ross T. McGillivray
A step backward
In his recent op-ed (“Why your waiter hasn’t gotten a raise,” Other Views, Sept. 13) Scott Klinger misleads readers from his first paragraph: Tipped employees do not make “just $2.13 an hour.” Federal law requires that all tipped employees earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25. And in reality, tipped employees actually average $13 an hour when tip income is included, according to Census Bureau data — and top earners earn $24 or more. Research shows that wage mandates are actually a step backward for these employees.
The writer is research director for the Employment Policies Institute.