Voice of the People
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 8:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
Neglectful pet owners are causing a problem
In response to Celeste Rubanick's letter of July 28 in which she asked, "Is the county doing enough to reduce animal kills?", I have a couple of thoughts.
She mentioned the many low-cost or free spay/neuter programs in Alachua County and noted that we're still killing an awful lot of excess animals at our shelter. I believe the problem is not the county, but ourselves. The bottom 10 percent of pet owners simply don't care, and won't make any effort at all. These are the people who keep their dogs outside on chains or running loose, let them get pregnant and have litters who then also run loose and perpetuate the cycle. They don't vaccinate, they don't deworm, they don't spay and they don't care. It's not a matter of money.
This has become clear to me since we started Operation Pitnip a year and a half ago. The "no-show" rate for this free surgery is about 50 percent. People make an appointment, our receptionists call to remind them the day before, and still only half bother to show up for a free surgery. The ones that do show are generally very nice people who just needed a little help, but they don't fall into the bottom 10 percent category.
Until we can reduce the number of neglectful owners, the situation will not change appreciably. America as a culture must start applying peer and legal pressure to force more responsible pet ownership.
Deborah Cottrell, DVM,
Paul's minimalist politics are attracting supporters
Readers of The Sun will be understandably mystified by the outstanding success of Dr. Ron Paul in raising the third ranking amount of campaign funds within Alachua County (second among GOP contenders), since he was mentioned only parenthetically in the article on local political contributions (July 29). Even that brief mention was restricted to describing Dr. Paul as a "maverick" among contenders, which isn't very helpful in assessing the political platform of a candidate.
This is unfortunate since Ron Paul's candidacy is driven by principle rather than personality. Dr. Paul is beginning to attain a following in Alachua County and elsewhere because he fills a vacuum in the political spectrum.
His message of non-interference in the affairs of foreign nations combined with small government at home is appealing at a time when many Americans are beginning to sour on perpetual wars in unwinnable police actions.
Within the Republican Party this view has been unrepresented since the defeat of Sen. Robert Taft by General Eisenhower in the 1952 GOP primaries. That this minimalist politics should be experiencing a rebirth now shows that a good number of Americans feel the country has been on the wrong tangent for a long time indeed!
So Republicans heading into the 2008 primaries should be informed that they not only have a "maverick" on their hands, they actually have a choice.
Give Grossman a break
In an article in the July 29 Sun sports section, serious doubts about Rex Grossman's ability are raised, I believe unfairly. While Grossman had up and down games this past season, it was really only his first full season after suffering severe injuries in the prior two years.
I wonder if the writer raising doubts about Grossman took any time to look at early statistics of some quarterbacks who are widely regarded as great. For example: During their first full three years of NFL play, Elway had 47 touchdowns and 52 interceptions and his completion average was 52.6 percent; Aikman had 31 touchdowns and 46 interceptions and his completion average was 58.3 percent; Bradshaw had 31 touchdowns and 58 interceptions and a completion average of 46.66 percent; and Namath had 63 touchdowns and 70 interceptions and an average of 50 percent. Rex Grossman, after only one year has 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a 54.6% average.
Not everyone will start his NFL career the same way as Marino, Montana and Manning; but I believe that Rex is in good company with some great stars. There is no telling whether Rex will be an NFL great. Only time will tell, but give the guy a chance, will ya?
We should be recycling oil
It makes environmental and economic sense to recycle used frying oil for use in energy-efficient diesel engines. Given "our seemingly endless national appetite for deep-fried foods â€»" as noted in The Sun editorial "Driven to Extremes" (July 24), I really think recycling an abundant resource for fuel should be aggressively pursued.
I have also read in The Gainesville Sun that restaurants across from the university were participating in a used frying oil recycling initiative. This initiative should be broadened to include main thoroughfares. Archer Road, for example, has numerous fast food chains. Thus volunteers driving to work on Archer Road could pick up the used frying oil at recycling collection sites for a quick drop off at the university, without being too inconvenienced. There may be other areas in town, such as the Oaks Mall area, that would benefit from a frying oil recycling initiative. Other recycling efforts could include adding cooking oil to the list of recyclable items. If oil is saved and recycled in gallon jars, it might be worth the effort of reclaiming it.
Fast food frying oil is out there. Gainesville needs to recycle more of it!
Change the way our state universities do business
I agree that the Board of Governors should set tuition at state universities. Our government demands excellence in education but consistently underfunds schools K-12 and colleges/universities; yet they give tax exemptions to people and businesses politically connected. An example is sky box holders who are exempted from paying sales tax. If they can afford to buy sky boxes, they can pay the tax!
The University of Florida could net some savings by keeping computers a little longer; they replace many excellent, reasonably up-to-date computers and sell the old ones as surplus at very low prices. How about donating some of those to local schools?
A lot of excellent condition furniture and expensive equipment gets sent to surplus and they're sold for a fraction of what they'd bring at an auction. One employee wanted to keep his comfortable office chair but wasn't allowed to because it didn't fit the new decor; his new chair cost $600! Multiply that by all the times these things occur and you get a large amount of wasted money.
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