From Our Inbox

High-rent rationale

I’m tired of seeing articles — the latest on Nov. 9, “Miami is the worst city in the U.S. for renters, study says,” by Herald reporter Rene Rodriguez — pointing out the high rental rates in the city.

Although accurate and important, such stories fail to include the real reasons why rents are so high in proportion to incomes: We live in an area prone to hurricanes and flooding.

Landlords are faced with high (and ever rising) insurance rates. Affordable rates come with very high deductibles. The owner/landlord must bear all costs. Property taxes are ever rising as well.

An investor who bought a home five years ago for $100,000 saw that home’s value rise, perhaps, to $200,000. Even if the rent is raised by a couple hundred dollars, the return on investment has been lowered by at least 5 percent.

This is why so many investors are now selling their homes (cashing in on the profit) and leaving the county with an even smaller pool of rentals. This results in higher rents for the remaining supply. It’s the old law of supply and demand.

Controls such as homestead exemption and caps on increasing value are not available to owners of rental homes.

Almost every article I read seems to make the landlords look greedy and uncaring, or point out the need to build new affordable housing (at taxpayer expense, of course).

Why don’t we look at the real solutions — such as making insurance coverage reasonable or taxing residential investment real estate at the same rates as owner-occupied homes.

Gladys Chern,


Soil needs tending

On a lot of issues, President Trump has a sensible plan of attack that liberals refuse to give credence to. But one area where Trump can be criticized is agriculture.

Author Michael Lewis, who wrote Moneyball, interviewed people in the Department of Agriculture.

On the “Charlie Rose” show, Lewis said the Trump administration has failed to fill most of the federally appointed agriculture positions.

Regardless of my belief that global warming has nothing to do with man-made pollutants, I do believe that global warming is real. And I agree with Lewis’ assertion that Trump’s indifference to agriculture hurts the research and development that will help adapt food production to future temperature increases.

Marc Smilen,


Hacked mangroves

Miami is full of people who truly this that the rules are not made for them. Apparently, the Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear are in that group (“Hacked mangroves put couple on hot seat,” Nov. 12).

It is discouraging to read that such award-winning professionals were ruled by greed and thought nothing of destroying Miami’s beautiful environment to enhance the value of their properties.

At the same time, I have to wonder why these architects ignored the benefits of the very mangroves they were so ready to destroy.

One would think Spear, who in 2013 was recognized for her work at the Pérez art museum would be uber-sensitive to Florida’s vegetation. I am glad their neighbors, especially Nancy Reierson, have been so vigilant in recording their violations.

Perhaps the husband-and-wife team would benefit from a visit to the Frost Museum of Science, where they can learn a lot about hammocks.

Teresa Fernandez-Burke,

South Miami

Vet gun buyers

Potential police officers are screened carefully. We know their history and check their references. They must pass a psychological evaluation.

Yet, we allow anonymous individuals to buy semi-automatic weapons with scant oversight.

If a person wants to own a weapon, he should have that right, but with rights come responsibilities. A potential gun owner should be expected to complete an application similar to those used in hiring police officers.

The application should include the individual’s complete history, and references from his workplace, family, friends, and neighbors. We should employ psychological evaluation techniques to assure the applicant’s stability. Finally, the applicant should demonstrate proficiency in how to operate, maintain, and safely store the weapon before purchase.

We would never knowingly hire a police officer who was deemed unstable, and we would never issue a weapon unless the officer had demonstrated both competency and respect for such an awesome responsibility.

It’s foolhardy not to ask at least that much from the random stranger; too many times the results have been catastrophic. Common-sense initiatives are what’s needed to bring more security to our communities as well as preserve our constitutional rights.

James Gersing,


CEO lessons

The CEO Roundtable Breakfast at Royal Caribbean headquarters the Miami Herald has been promoting for Nov. 16 could be enlightening on many levels. The lessons on outperforming your competition could hardly come from more successful business executives.

Particularly interesting for me would be how to handle workforces. Many years ago, as I departed the offices of a major account I handled, I was stunned by a tearful employee who had just been terminated. I knew he had worked for that company for more than 25 years.

As I left the property, I noticed the CEO behind me in his new black Bentley.

He had previously driven a relatively new Jaguar. I thought, if he had kept the Jag, he could have kept this longtime employee on the payroll. When I returned to my office, I decided I could no longer service that account.

When you prepare the stew, you should handle all the ingredients with care. Perhaps the speakers at the Roundtable are not past learning some additional lessons in employee treatment.

Fredric Bernard,

Boca Raton

Rubio no leader

Just read Alex Daugherty’s Nov. 12 piece, “He’s not up for reelection in 2018, but here’s why Marco Rubio is campaigning hard:”

I see no leadership at all from Rubio. He avoids getting involved in questionable GOP and political actions. He refuses to appear at public forums and will not answer to his local voters.

This is one of the very few times I have agreed with President Trump and his assessment of another pol.

Roberta Leonard,


Trump’s shaky

Presumably, President Trump doesn’t drink or snort, but his initials (DT) indicate otherwise.

I think this great country has been in the throes of delirium tremens since the national election.

Sid Morris,

West Kendall