Letters to the editor, Jan. 15

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

CATS shuttles workers from Gainesville to Alachua

Although Simon Cantley makes some excellent points in his Jan. 9 letter regarding property values and area homeownership, it does contain some incorrect information. He states that the CATS (which actually stands for City of Alachua Transportation System) shuttles workers to Gainesville from the city of Alachua each day.

He further states that "Although these individuals work in Gainesville, they cannot afford a home here." To clarify, the CATS was created by the city of Alachua and shuttles workers from Gainesville to job centers in The city of Alachua. It also provides transportation for Alachua residents to and from the VA and Shands Medical Centers as well. We like to think that we've made progress in providing jobs as well as homes in our community.

CATS leaves Gainesville early in the morning and stops in Alachua at the Progress Corporate Park, Hitchcock's Plaza and then on to the Dollar General, Wal-Mart and Sysco Distribution Centers, then back to Gainesville in the afternoon. For further information on CATS log onto www.CityofAlachua.com Web site.

With the recent increase of gas taxes in Alachua County, we expect the ridership will increase dramatically.

Jean Calderwood, Commissioner, City of Alachua

Only through socialism can democracy exist

Having been away from Gainesville for a couple of weeks, it appears there has been ideological skirmishes in this section. I have read about lefties and righties, and on Jan. 6 that socialism doesn't work. I read that liberal claims do not hold up in a letter critiquing the left and unions among other things.

These letters create more heat than light, as they apply labels in a very muddled way. For instance, the terms left and right were according to most sources first used in late 18th century France, and since then have been used as relative terms. Indeed, originally what was considered the left were the champions of such liberal ideas as separation of powers, constitutional (limited) government, and the various forms of capitalism.

Many who attack liberalism do not realize that many of their beliefs are rooted in liberalism. For the past 150 years or so the left has generally referred to those who consider themselves some form of socialist or anarchist. That is why some of us leftists are amused when either Clinton is viewed as being on the left.

Of course, there is a center also which is where most members of the two major parties find themselves. Overall there is little philosophical difference between them.

The idea that socialism doesn't work, ignores that it has never been tried, and remains a goal for many on the left. Socialism refers to the idea that the people control not only the government, but the economy. Socialist have held office in capitalist countries but have never brought about a socialist transformation. They did help bring about reforms such as universal health care.

Those of us who believe in socialism do so because we believe in democracy. Until we have control of both the government and the workplace, where most of us spent most of our lives as adults, democracy can only be a goal.

Perhaps those who see themselves on the right do love America in the abstract more than those on the left. The problem is that they seem to love Americans less, as indicated by their refusal to support programs that benefit Americans without adequate health insurance.

Albert J. Meyer, Gainesville

'Righties' forget about collective responsibility

The New Year's Day letter from Charlie Latham comparing the political positions of "righties" vs. "lefties" spotlighted the glaring disconnects in the "righty" philosophy.

The writer quote's JFK's inaugural speech "... ask what you can do for your country" and doesn't see where we the people, as the government, are being called to bear the responsibility of meeting the needs of every individual in the country and giving them the opportunities they need for a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus, those who have happened to benefit the most economically from the peaceful and secure environment that the Constitution provides the citizenry must give back to the country if this system of governance is going to work.

Personally, I feel fortunate that I am one of the one's paying in! The "righties" seem to think that they can renege on this responsibility by inferring that anyone needing government assistance is lazy, or some funds directed towards education are educating illegal aliens. Apparently the "righties" can profess concurrence with the Golden Rule unless they can rationalize instances where it can be rightly ignored.

And then there is the view that more military spending will bring border security and safety from a few thousand anarchists/nihilists who are half a world away. Our "defense" budget makes up 48 percent of annual world military spending. Our war on terror has done nothing but increase the numbers and strengthen the conviction of the terrorists. We cannot control the world through military power.

Let's not be "lefties" or "righties" anymore. Let's be collective individualists and call ourselves "smarties."

Charles Rock, Trenton

County should invest in a new high school

The rezoning of schools has always been a challenging debate. I no longer have children in the public school system but I have been following the discussions and wondering why we continue to dismiss the idea of building a new high school.

Apparently it is our current financial capabilities that remove this option from the table but our ongoing growth and current state of existing facilities would indicate that the need for a new high school is inevitable.

Over the years, we have increased sales taxes to build a new courthouse, to purchase land for conservation and most recently for the controversial health insurance program. We should be able to agree that investing in our children's educational needs is critical.

In the meantime, we need to work on making the educational quality of all our high schools more equitable. It is very difficult to discuss rezoning when Buchholz is rated an A, Santa Fe and Newberry are rated B and GHS and Eastside are C rated schools. It is even more difficult when you realize that without the IB program factored into the Eastside statistics, that high school would be rated even lower. That is unacceptable and does nothing to support east Gainesville development.

Our neighboring county of Gilchrist has two high schools that are both rated A, one was recently recognized as one of the top 1,500 high schools in the country. It is a rural county with 13 percent of their population below poverty compared to our 14.5 percent and their average income per capita is $7,000 a year lower than Alachua County.

We need to get past the magnet "shell games" and put the resources in these schools that are needed to bring them up to acceptable standards. It will not totally eliminate rezoning sensitivity but it would certainly help and the most important accomplishment will be that all our kids win in the end.

Mark Walker, Gainesville

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