Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20


Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 4:53 p.m.

History repeats itself in Straight of Hormuz

History appears to be repeating itself. The U.S. Navy recently came within seconds of firing on Iranian ships in the Straight of Hormuz.

The Navy conceded that the threat, in English, "I are coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes," may have come from another ship, or from shore after the Iranians provided an audio which conflicted with the claim of Iranian aggression.

It wasn't very long ago that the president was making claims that the Iranians were "preparing to start World War III as evidenced by their preparations to fabricate a nuclear bomb. This was said while it was common knowledge within the intelligence community that no such preparations were underway.

All this reminds me of the Gulf of Tonkin and other "incidents" employed to justify yet another war. It is common knowledge the Gulf of Tonkin incident was fabricated to draw the U.S. deeper into conflict in Vietnam. A cousin of mine, who was in the Navy, confessed to being on a ship which fired blindly at anyone on the North Vietnamese beach to antagonize the "enemy" before the Tonkin incident.

Telling lies and committing murder may be an effective strategy to draw us into war and serve corporations who make money off death, but it does not serve the people of our citizens, who need education, health care and a stable society.

I plea that all citizens check all such allegations out thoroughly before consenting to the waste of resources on such military actions while they could be invested here at home to rebuild our nation.

Scott Doran,

Alachua

'Righties' give more, 'lefties' take more

Letters printed Jan. 15 push one of the left's most precious conceits: The uncaring conservative (cue Darth Vader theme).

"Righties seem to think that they can renege on" our collective responsibilities, writes Charles Rock. And "those . . . on the right do love America in the abstract," but "seem to love Americans less," writes Albert Meyer. Yes, only liberals have hearts that actually beat!

Well, a book by Syracuse professor Arthur Brooks, titled "Who really cares?" debunks this self-delusional claptrap. The book's main findings, as related in a review, are that "religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income . . . conservatives who . . . reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure. Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don't provide them with enough money."

The review notes that "liberals give less than conservatives in every way imaginable, including volunteer hours and donated blood."

In other words, those like Rock and Meyer talk big ... with other peoples' tax money, of course, squeezed from fewer and fewer earners (the top 25 percent now pay 86 percent of income taxes!). But conservatives actually do far more of what the letters advocate - bearing the "collective responsibility," giving generously, and helping flesh and blood people.

Rock and Meyer delude themselves with their exclusive claim on virtue. Brooks' findings drive a stake through this myth.

Jeff Meling,

Gainesville

Just say yes to tax cuts, vote for Amendment One

The January 29th Property Tax referendum is an important vote for our state and our economy, and I encourage everyone to vote for it; say "Yes on 1."

Florida citizens, and especially small business owners, should

know that if Amendment 1 passes, there are four key components that will go into place.

First, your homestead exemption will be extended to the portion of your home value from $50,000 to $75,000, excluding school taxes.

Second, Save Our Homes (the 3 percent cap on the increase of your property tax assessment) will become "portable," meaning you can take it with you when you move. This benefit is so important for those homeowners who want to downsize, but would have to pay higher property taxes on a smaller home.

Additionally, this measure is retroactive into 2007, so if you moved this year and the ballot measure passes you can reclaim your savings.

The third piece is a $25,000 Tangible Personal Property exemption, which will be of great benefit to small businesses, they won't even have to file if their TPP is under $25,000. The last piece is a 10 percent cap on all nonhomestead property.

It is important to know that statewide county budgets have nearly doubled (increased 95 percent) in the last 7 years while public safety service has not. So, don't be scared into thinking that a vote for this measure will be a vote for cutting fire and police service. Vote Yes on Amendment 1.

Joyce Dorval,

Gainesville

Don't close Camp Ranch

Camp Ranch, on the north rim of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, is so important to the history of Gainesville. It is sad that visitors are no longer to be allowed near this site.

Long before Camp Ranch, the Spanish located Rancho de la Chua at this place. Visitors are intrigued by this part of our history.

The Camp Ranch storehouse building now houses District 2 Administration offices for the Department of Environmental Protection. Access is denied to the public by large wooden fences and a locked gate that will block Camp Ranch Road, which leads into the park.

This gate, which is being installed by a private firm, is an egregious misuse of taxpayer money and its sole purpose is to deny public access to the District 2 offices area and such buildings as the 100-year-old stone bunkhouse. Yet, when some simple asphalt sidewalk repair would have made a pleasant trail safe for wheelchair hikers, staff were told there was no money for such repairs.

This site is a place of great natural beauty and diversity as well as a main recharge point to the aquifer we all depend on for our drinking water. The Camp Ranch Headquarters site is the key to understanding this historic and natural treasure. The public is now denied access to the cultural and historical interpretation of this unique site.

Camp Ranch can be located only at this unique spot, which has been a ranch for centuries. District 2 Administrative offices can be located anywhere. Please don't let bureaucracy deny Paynes Prairie visitors the beauty and historical importance of this place.

Janet M. Powell,

Starke

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