Letters to the Editor - Jan. 2


Published: Friday, January 2, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 10:55 p.m.

Israel is doing what it must do to survive

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The Associated Press

Just how long was Israel supposed to accept and placate those who keep a constant barrage of missiles from Gaza hitting targets in Israel? Can you blame them for blowing up tunnels that run under border crossings?

Hamas has been named an international terrorist group. One of its wings does charity work for Palestinians, but the political wing still vows Israel's destruction and denies its existence as a state.

Denying the obvious doesn't really matter. It's OK to disagree as long as it doesn't go to extremes. A constant bombardment is going to extremes.

In order for Israel to survive it has to protect its borders and air space. Many peace treaties have been proposed over the years, all of them giving the Palestinians a little more. But they are never satisfied because they don't want a slice of the pie; they want the whole pie.

The Palestinians refugee status has not changed in the last 40 years. They could easily have been absorbed into surrounding populations long ago. Instead, they remain a political wedge, an excuse to wage a never ending terrorist campaign against Israel. They don't want peace.

The new administration is coming to power soon. This may be the opportunity to stop Hamas missile attacks.

Some Arab countries want to condemn Israel for protecting its borders and bombing missile sites. But when all else fails, sometimes force is the only thing that gets results.

T.S. McNally,

Gainesville

The good news about the housing downturn is...

Your December 24 front page article titled "Area is seeing slowest home sales in state" prompts this encouragement for readers to take a careful look at both sides of the current real estate market.

Obviously, times are tough for people who wish to sell a home they have only owned a few years. They may have purchased at the top of the cycle of rising value and, in some cases, may have to sell at the other end of the value cycle. In some cases that may create real, undeniable hardship.

But there is more to the story.

This is clearly one of the best times for buyers (be it a first home or a 10th home) that I have seen in over 25 years as a Realtor. In fact, with dramatically lowered values, a large inventory of homes competing for buyers and unbelievably favorable interest rates, the benefits to a buyer will typically more than compensate for the fact that those who have to sell before they buy will have to accept less for their current home than they might have anticipated.

Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, so an ebbing tide lowers all boats.

Unless a seller has only owned a home less than three or four years and has no need to purchase another when the current one sells, this is a great time to make the move. All homes are adjusting downward in price, not just yours! The decline in values can work to the advantage of those who have stable income, good credit and want to make a purchase.

For example, if your old home was worth $200,000 and now can only bring $180,000 (less then you want) but you move to a newer, larger home the "loss" on the current home will be more than exceeded by the "savings" achieved by purchasing, say, a home that would have been $400,000 but is now only $360,000. Each home's value has declined by 10 percent, but your "savings" doubles your "loss"!

Add to the equation more favorable interest rates and the recently enacted portability of the property tax savings under the "Save Our Homes" legislation and the advantage of buying now is increased further.

The numbers also work for first time home buyers who have the additional opportunity to receive a $7,500 tax credit that would come off their tax liability for 2009 and works like a 15 year, zero interest loan!

Much of the "negative" news about the real estate market is actually "positive" news if you want to buy a first home or "move up" the ownership ladder. The opportunity for buyers in the current market is a tremendous chance for working folks to find more affordable entry into the American Dream of home ownership. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Darlene Pifalo,

Gainesville

What's the deal with Medicare drug coverage?

I have been trying to determine if insurance carriers providing drug coverages Medicare part D are regulated when in comes to rate increases and coverage reductions.

My current renewal premium has almost doubled, while at the same time my coverage has been reduced. Are carriers required to support these changes with appropriate documentation explaining why they are needed? If so, what agency approves the changes? If not it would seem we are at the mercy of the carriers.

It's strange that the quotes received from other carriers turn out to be about the same overall as my renewal.

I have requested information concerning this matter from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns. The responses I have received don't answer my questions.

Can someone explain how these carriers arrive at their rates etc.

Robert Wagner,

Newberry

Revive the intangibles tax for Florida's sake

In the Sunday, Dec. 28 Gainesville Sun we see at least three direct or indirect references to the Florida Legislature's budget difficulties.

First in Randall Reid's discussion about "trying times" for Alachua County, second in Roy Miller's column about the cost on Florida's children of failing to invest in education and maternal health services, finally, in Rodney Long's quote about how local officials didn't waste time asking for cash when they met with state legislators. Long said "you tell us there is no money so we won't ask for any."

Well, how nice of Long to let the Legislature off the hook so easily.

Yet the recently repealed Florida Intangibles tax brought in $1.2 billion to the state before it was gradually cut back and then eliminated!

Why is giving serious consideration to a reinstatement of this tax suggested publicly only by an hourly factory worker like me?

If the states finances are truly as desperate as we are told, and the potential impact of this situation as great as Sunday's newspaper stories imply, why this deafening silence?

D. Hennig,

Gainesville

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