Unsound roofs Here we go again with a tornado destroying a community, killing and hurting people. I believe that about 70 percent of this destruction can be avoided if builders would cap homes with reinforced concrete roofs. They are a little more expensive than the common roof made with wooden trusses, plywood planks and tar paper, but they are worth their price.
An architect told me that when Hurricane Andrew destroyed a large part of south Miami-Dade County, homes that had concrete roofs sustained little or no damage. It does not make sense to build homes with such flimsy roofs, especially in areas prone to tornados.
A concrete roof can be flat or poured with some degree of grading. It can even be pre-fabricated and firmly anchored to the walls. Then it can even accept a false roof for the sake of aesthetics. This roof may be blown away, but the concrete deck will probably stand the force of the storm. It is beyond my understanding to see so many architectural wonders in our country, but so many of them with unsound and dangerous roofs on them.
Apples and alligators Regarding “Sailing through” (Your Views, May 16): Comparing requirements to rent a car and board an airplane is like comparing apples to alligators. I can get on an airplane with a passport. I can’t rent a car with a passport. Minors can get on a plane with a student ID; they can’t rent a car with a student ID.
There are obviously legal and huge liability reasons rental car companies require you to have a valid driver’s license. A recently expired government ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID) is still considered a valid form of ID and proves who you are. The TSA officers did their job properly. If you drove with an expired license, you broke the law.
Get with the program I read “VA’s claims handlers criticize overtime mandate” (Metro, May 17). As a service-disabled vet, retired VA employee and labor union official at a VA local, I for one have little sympathy for the employees and less for the union officials who are expected to file a grievance with the regional office. In my years I have seen too much of this attitude in federal service in the VA, where the task at hand — caring for the vet — is somehow an inconvenience for some.
I recall the year I was at a customer service meeting, and the topic was a move of the “cashier” from one floor to another to give all the vets better access. Since this facility had a large number of long-term psychiatric patients, some at the meeting protested about having “those guys” passing by their office doors! I was aghast and told the group “those guys” are the reason we have jobs. I see a lot of that in St. Petersburg.
Having overtime means time and a half — they will be richly compensated. If it interferes with their “vacation” plans, they need to think about the vet who has no legs, or is missing an arm or is so badly wounded in combat that they cannot work to support their family any longer.
This is all about the vet, for goodness sakes. Have they lost all sense of duty? Has this mandate been lost somehow? Surely there are unemployed people eager to get into federal service who could take the place of those in St. Petersburg who feel inconvenienced by getting paid overtime. They need to get with the program.
Serving our veterans The article by Keith Morelli on the VA’s claims handlers and the complaint of required overtime by Melvin Ferguson pointed out an imperfection in the system of processing, but there was something more glaring in his report. Ferguson needs to be reminded that his job is to serve our veterans, and he is placing his personal feelings above them.
I worked at the VA hospital in Tampa for almost 16 years and remember numerous times we were called to work overtime — once, 12 hours a day for a week. It just so happened that I had vacation time and had reservations for a class reunion in Missouri in anticipation of seeing classmates I had not seen in 40 years. The vacation was canceled. I did not get upset because I felt this was a project to better serve our veterans. It seems Ferguson needs to rethink his priorities or seek employment elsewhere if he feels he is being imposed upon.
Bachmann for IRS chief The headline “IRS chief ousted” (front page, May 16) is a bit wanting. It is accurate but fails to address the fact that he was “acting” commissioner, temporary, and due by law to end his term in early June regardless of performance. As the person responsible for the team in trouble, he should, indeed, be booted, and for omissions in testimony to Congress probably subject to legal action as well. However, “IRS chief ousted” conveys the president has taken bold action toward solving the problem. He has not.
No solution will be in evidence until a permanent replacement is named. Boosting a current employee will likely change little. I look forward to “Obama names new IRS chief.” How about Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), a former federal tax litigation attorney?