Letters to the editor, Jan. 14
Published: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
Dr. Blachly has enhanced Gainesville's classical culture
Thanks to the brilliant imagination, extensive networking and tireless efforts of Dr. Michael Blachly, University of Florida Performing Arts Director, Gainesville has the incredible privilege of seeing and hearing world-class artists perform at the Univerity Auditorium and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts; artists such as Maestro Pinchas Zukerman and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 8.
More such renowned artists are scheduled for the rest of the season. Dr. Blachly has lifted classical culture to a high level in Gainesville.
Jan H van Rooyen,
Florida is becoming a key primary state
A major Clinton campaign advisor has set up Florida as the presidential campaign make or break state. This despite the fact that the Democratic party has sanctioned Florida for having moved its primary up to January 29. The party has largely succeeded so far in disenfranchising Florida Democrats by intimidating presidential candidates from personally campaigning in the state.
Sidney Blumenthal, speaking recently from New Hampshire with libertarian talk show host Neal Boortz, made it clear that he saw no way that Florida's primary delegates would be cut at the party's national convention to be held in Denver in August. Blumenthal is senior advisor to Sen. Clinton's campaign, former senior advisor to President Clinton, and longtime Clinton family friend and advisor.
Yet, with only days left until the Florida primary, no major Democratic presidential candidate has campaigned in the state; a slight not unlike that suffered by Wyoming Republicans in their presidential caucus held a few days after Iowa's.
With Barack Obama headed to meet or beat expectations in key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, that leaves the prospect of an increasingly desperate Clinton campaign focusing on Florida; the first big state to vote, and at least until now with polls showing her with a strong lead. And that sets up Florida as a sudden, and key, campaign showdown.
Property tax plan makes system worse
As The Sun stated, in its Dec. 19 editorial, "A property tax caste system," the proposed tax plan will create a bizarre caste structure that will eventually pit neighbor against neighbor and make an already unfair system worse.
But the editorial missed a key and significant problem. Under current law, the new tax plan won't just expand the current inequities, it will result in higher taxes for three very specific groups most in need of relief.
If the referendum becomes law, new home buyers will be paying taxes on the assessed value of their new home while many of their neighbors will have lower taxes due to the already inequitable current tax system that will now be transportable under the new law.
The second group will be homeowners who don't move but live in high growth areas where transplants who would be allowed (if the amendment passes) to bring their portability benefit with them. This new neighbor may end up paying less than the long-time residents even though they paid more for their new home.
The third group is low-income seniors who live in communities where they already enjoy double homestead exemptions. This amendment gives them nothing new, whatsoever.
In the short term, most homeowners will see some modest relief. Those who own multiple properties with tangible property will see a new tax benefit and a cap on each of their properties.
In the end, first-time home buyers, low-income seniors, and in some cases, long-time residents are the ones being squeezed. They will, over time, see higher tax bills and greater disparities between what they pay and what some of their neighbors pay. And the rest of us are stuck with a bizarre tax scheme that makes an unfair system even worse.
Frank C. Ortis,
Florida League of Cities,
Creationists should leave religion in religion class
Someone called the intelligent design debate "a tempest in a teacup." If I understand his letter correctly, his reason is that one must understand the world both spiritually and scientifically.
While that is generally a good idea, intelligent design, aka creationism, is merely a religious argument dressed up to look like science. Lacking true science or spirituality, it fails utterly in both respects.
Its presuppositions make it inherently unscientific, deliberately misreading and ignoring the entire fossil record; and its scientific trappings fail to give satisfactory answers to spiritual questions.
Creationism is nothing more than an attempt to put God in the classroom. What its advocates forget is that God has had a place in the classroom for generations. It's called a religion class.
Awareness is the key to water use restrictions
Thanks to The Sun and Nathan Crabbe, for the well written article in regard to the Suwannee River Water Management District Board's recent action to impose mandatory phase II water restrictions within the district. The district includes approximately half of Alachua County.
Lacking the funding needed for maximum enforcement of the restrictions, the board's intent must rely greatly on the news media to alert citizens about the drought conditions causing such unprecedented action. By educating the public about these water use restrictions, and specifically what they are, individuals and businesses can more readily take personal responsibility to conserve our dwindling water supply.
Due to the current drought and the increasing population using water in our area, conservation is in our own best interest and essential to our future.
SRWMD Governing Board,
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