Foreign buyers keep housing out of many Floridians’ reach
I read Monday’s business article about the trend of home sales to foreign buyers. Doing a little math, I see that, this year alone, 52,000 homes have been sold at an average price of $440,385.
It’s no wonder affordable housing is not available to the people in the service industry who keep Florida running.
It’s also worth noting that the article lists 41 percent of those sales to Canadians. Yet, if I want to buy a home in Canada, I have to meet certain requirements, perhaps including permanent residency, before I can do that. How about a little reciprocity?
Recently, New Zealand banned real estate sales to foreign buyers because local Kiwis were being priced out of the market. The same thing seems to be happening here.
How pathetic is it that people who live here all year long, paying taxes and doing the dirty work of the well-heeled, are so little valued by the people who are supposed to represent them in government?
Roberta Loman, Bradenton
State representatives should heed voters
As members of the Sarasota/Manatee contingent of the Florida House reflect on their electoral victories and contemplate the next session, I hope they recognize that, throughout the country and our region, the voters sent strong messages about what they want from their representatives.
People voted for individuals who vowed to protect health care and coverage of pre-existing conditions, safeguard the environment, improve economic inequality and invest in education. They rejected candidates who were disrespectful of women’s rights, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and immigrants coming to the U.S. to escape persecution in their home countries. We voted for people who demonstrated a willingness to seriously address gun violence.
I hope they will recognize that they are our representatives. We entrust them to fight for the issues that are important to us.
Playing party politics and reverting to old positions would be violations of our trust. Prioritizing legislation that voters have clearly said they don’t support (limiting access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, including abortions, advocating for private charter schools, making guns easier to access) would be a dereliction of duty.
They have a choice. They can advocate for the people they should be honored to serve, or they can hew to the old party platforms and insult those who voted them into office.
Whatever they decide, two years is not a long time. Voters will remember how they acted the next time their names appear on a ballot.
Dennis Rees, Sarasota
Failure to stop for school bus puts our children in danger
I am a school bus aide with the Sarasota County School District. I have been both a school bus driver and an aide who assists with the safety needs of our special-needs children riding our school buses.
I and other transportation staff have shared frequent stories of car violations of the “stop when red lights are flashing” law.
By law, when a school bus stops to drop off or pick up students, motorists must stop too. My bus driver and I have witnessed an average of six such violations during our combined morning and afternoon runs daily.
These violations are not just thoughtless. They are potentially life-threatening for our children.
I cannot realistically expect these violations will be completely eliminated, but I do hope for their frequency to be greatly reduced with increased driver awareness.
A survey of illegal passing of school buses was conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.
On a designated survey day in 2018, 9,092 Florida drivers reported 5,407 morning violations, 231 midday violations, and 5,337 afternoon violations.
An increase in fines might discourage driver noncompliance, or dash-cams such as in police vehicles that would provide proof of violation. Connecticut fines violators $450 and imposes a loss of license, compared with Florida’s $165 for the first offense.
When driving, please pay attention to a school bus with its stop arms and lights flashing. It’s the law, and the life you save could be that of your own precious child.
James Butterfield, Sarasota
Delighted if amendments prevent Mote from moving
How pleased I was to read that the recently approved Sarasota County charter amendments may have “unintended consequences” that keep the Mote Marine aquarium from moving to the interstate by Benderson Park’s “lake.”
The aquarium is already in a beautiful, ideal location! What machinations were at work to even think of moving it from an island in Sarasota Bay to a large “retention pond” by a superhighway?
In considering this ill-advised move, Mote is taking away the best benefit of membership!
Jean Kathleen Ranallo (member of Mote since the last millennium), Englewood