Letters to the editor for Jan. 19

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 8:07 p.m.

We'll return the favor

To the County Commission: Please don't waste more than $20,000 of our tax money trying to convince us to vote against the Homestead Exemption. We were blind-sided by CHOICES and recently you added a five cent increase on gas that was already over $3 a gallon.

It seems that you don't worry about us, so on Jan. 29 we intend to return the favor. If you wanted to save money, why weren't fire and police services consolidated years ago? I don't think we need the new fairgrounds either. Our current one seems to serve the purpose.

Virginia Hoyt,


Support the School Board

Being a satisfied parent of two students whom were granted zoning exemptions in Alachua County, I am unimpressed with the pleas to maintain the status quo at Buchholz High School.

Being an active member of the Howard Bishop School Advisory Committee for 10 years, and serving on several Alachua County School Board committees, I am educated in the budget shortfalls our district is dealing with. To say that any decision by the School Board regarding rezoning is an easy solution to current problems we have with overcrowding is inaccurate.

As growth in the west end of our county has progressed, our district has not had the resources to add the brick and mortar necessary to alleviate the overcrowding we are presently dealing with. Many districts throughout the state do not allow new subdivisions without the availability of classrooms or impact fees to assist with the building of new schools.

I have heard representatives from the local builders proclaim the responsibility to educate is in the hands of our district. Unfortunately, their pockets are not deep enough to fund these added responsibilities.

The leadership we have in place is sincerely concerned for our children. Please give them the support and respect they deserve in order to keep the learning environment within normal limits. New magnet programs being offered at Loften High School will provide our students with exciting new opportunities and I urge our community to support these initiatives.

Jeff Smith,


We are in a 'war zone'

As a conglomerate of students at Eastside High School, we must admit that we are attending school in a war zone every day. A parent at the re-zoning meeting helped us open our eyes to what is going on around us, and we must admit, he was right.

As I walk around campus, I see students preparing for battle on a daily basis. I see children coming from broken homes where they need to battle every day just to complete their homework while working to help pay the bills.

I see I.B. students teaming up to go to war against tests most brilliant adults can't even understand, let alone pass. I see students with disciplinary problems battling to change their character, so they can make a difference in this world.

I see teachers who drive more than an hour a day just to work at a school where they can make a difference, rather than just coast along. I see administrators who practically live on campus because they have invested in a battle to help me and my peers succeed. I see athletes who battle to learn discipline and honor, while winning city and state championships.

I do see a war zone. I see soldiers going to war against stereotypes that would disable the dreams of most kids our age. I see a battlefield where kids stay after school to tutor their peers because they care about each other.

I also see a victory at the end of these battles. I see a school which is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, proving that a war zone may just be the best place to learn character. After all, it was on the battlefield that our nation became free, so why not our minds?

I challenge you, whoever you may be, to consider this: If the school you or your child is attending is not a war zone, you may want to consider transferring.

Robert Deckard,

English teacher

Eastside High School

(Editor's note: Deckard wrote this letter in collaboration with his students.)

Don't call him 'Dr. Death'

I am frustrated and disappointed with Jake Fuller and the others at The Gainesville Sun who have depicted Dr. Jack Kevorkian as a villain ("Dr. Death" defends his beliefs, 1/15).

Describing this passionate man with negative phrases such as "furious and agitated," "visibly angry," "soft handshake," and "belligerent," the man's message of compassion and respect for the dying has been negated.

Dr. Kevorkian is a caring individual who happens to be outspoken and even irritating to some. I urge The Gainesville Sun to show some respect for one who has risked it all to help stop suffering.

Unless the writers have been with a loved one who is lingering in pain, needing constant care, diaper changing, unable to even clean themselves, and receiving regular injections of morphine, what can they know about dying? Or perhaps they do have a loved one who is lingering in a nursing home where no one needs to see what goes on.

I hope that the detractors of Dr. Kevorkian all have a swift and painless death when the time comes but, if not, they may regret vilifying the only advocate of assisted suicide who has the courage to fight for it.

Zia Terhune,


Kevorkian was stifled

As one who went to hear what Dr. Jack Kevorkian had to say on Tuesday, I came away feeling somewhat ashamed about the state of free speech in our country these days. After a decision is made to invite an interesting and controversial speaker why is it necessary to be rude, denigrating and behave in a manner that is so obliviously prematurely afraid of his words?

The rudeness was exhibited by not allowing Dr. Kevorkian to finish his thoughts without being interrupted by the worst example of thought policing (by a shill for the university) I've seen in a while. To add further insult to injury they allowed no room for any discourse on the actual presentation; only asking a few day-old questions collected and approved by the same functionaries.

Kevorkian was completely taken aback by this bureaucratic trampling on the right of free speech and discourse, asking "How come no one has asked any questions about what we've been talking about?" So fearful was the university of his presentation that they felt it necessary to bring in a panel to discuss his thoughts without the presence of Kevorkian.

If things keep up in this vein perhaps the next controversial speaker invited will be put in a glass cage and just be allowed a few random gestures; as long as they are pre-approved of course. Let's hope we can do better next time.

Bob Tomashevsky,


Kevorkian's all talk

Dr. Jack Kevorkian's opinions on assisted suicide, are irrelevant until legislative actions are taken by the federal government in the same fashion as some European countries. Our form of government will always follow public opinion, and until this issue is taken to the polls nothing will happen. Even getting it to the polls will be an astronomical feat I cannot even envision.

At this point, he persists in his philosophy because it is personally very profitable to do so. He's going to continue to roll in dough.

A. Clark,


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