Letters: March 11, 2011

Increasing FAR a cheaper alternative to form based code
It was noted in a recent news article that our new planning director was gearing up to proceed with the possible change to form based code zoning for the revitalization of the Del Mar commercial district.
Why are we wasting so much time and money to revitalize the downtown area, when it can be done sooner and at a lot less expense by just increasing the floor area ratio, or FAR, from the very limiting 45 percent up to 90 to 100 percent? After all, the FAR for all adjacent cities is approximately 100 percent, and a form based code would also include an increased FAR.
That doesn’t mean all commercial buildings would suddenly double in size, because a lot of them already are about 100 percent. But, those that would have the incentive to double in size would have to provide the required parking, which many do not now provide.
Why don’t we request the City Council to have a discussion now about just increasing the FAR to more quickly revitalize downtown?

Ralph Peck
Del Mar

Raising Medicare rates midyear not fair
I am writing this on behalf of many Medicare recipients who have been informed by Wellcare Drug plan that their monthly fee will increase this April. Medicare patients assumed that since Medicare does not allow recipients to change plans within the year, Wellcare would not raise the price.
When one signs a lease or any contract for a year, the price is expected to be fixed unless otherwise specified. If recipients are desperate, Medicare may help pay for the higher premium. Is it an appropriate solution for Medicare to put taxpayers money towards Wellcare’s benefit?
If Medicare allows plans to raise the price during the year, Medicare recipients should be allowed to change the plan without having to wait until the end of the year. Liken this to signing a year’s lease for monthly rent at a given price, and the landlord arbitrarily raises the rent a few months later but the tenant is not allowed to break the lease and move elsewhere.
It has been widely reported in the media that drug prices in the U.S. are much higher than in any other country. The V.A. charges much less for the same drugs that we purchase from discounted drug stores, yet our government makes no effort to establish a similar price for others.
The reason is obvious. An enormously wealthy pharmaceutical lobby obstructs our government from enforcing fair prices. Wellcare appears to exercise power over Medicare. We expect a government agency to be for the people whose taxes pay for the program, not for the corporations who reap hefty benefits from the agency.

Sandra L. Ceren, Ph.D
Del Mar

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