Letters to the Editor for July 1


Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 6:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 6:05 p.m.

It's not just a slogan, school cuts don't heal

The picture on page one of a recent edition of The Gainesville Sun said it all:

"Education cuts don't heal," reads the logo on the women's t-shirts.

They and the teachers around them are worried about the quality of their children's education or their jobs, which they spent years of study to qualify for, or both.

Superintendent Boyd pointed out that the cuts in education facing Florida's schools are being faced by public schools in all the states in our country.

Here's the point: Congress passed a war spending bill of $162 billion recently. If Florida's $2 billion cut in education funds were subtracted from that, there would still be $160 billion left for the war.

Florida is the fourth state in population with more than 18 million people. Forty states have half that many. Seven states have less than one million.

If $62 billion were given to states proportionately to population to prevent cuts in education there would still be $100 billion left for war spending.

We must pressure our politicians to focus on the problems here at home.

Stephen Gallivan,

Gainesville

Ditch the plastic bags, it's the right thing to do

The use of plastic bags for retail or grocery purchases has grave implications for our environment. This has been covered broadly in the press and is supported by truly staggering statistics that boggle the mind and sadden the heart.

Many want to believe that recycling plastic bags is equivalent to opting for reusable bags. But common sense and the facts make clear that this is as great a folly as selecting plastic in the first place.

It costs more to recycle a plastic bag than to make a new one and less than 1 percent get recycled anyway. Most end up in the oceans.

Nonetheless, plastic bags remain the preferred option, which leads to a terrible and recurring conclusion about modern society: We show little to no concern for others or the places we inhabit.

When society abuses the environment to the detriment of the greater good, merely for a trivial convenience, what is a person to do? In this case it seems logical to institute a ban on the offending material.

But lobbyists for some of our favorite companies are a step ahead. In a move to forestall any such action, the Florida Legislature recently passed HB 7135 (403.7033) which prohibits any local government or agency from regulating, prohibiting, taxing, or restricting the current use of plastic bags, at least until February 2010.

That's right; there is a ban on banning plastic bags.

So as hopeless as it might be, it remains up to each of us to change.

Please, if you are one of those who still eschew the use of the widely available, inexpensive, and durable alternatives to plastic or paper bags, ask yourself why.

I challenge you to come up with an answer that is not offensive to all the other people with whom you inhabit the planet.

Rob Robins,

Gainesville

The urban oil legend is a baseless claim

The Chinese are not drilling off the coast of Cuba.

Both Vice President Dick Cheney and conservative columnist George Will got it wrong and have since recounted those statements. The Washington bureau of McClatchy news service reported Sen. Mel Martinez said a deal between China and Cuba for offshore drilling is, "akin to urban legend" (www.FactCheck.org).

The claim that more drilling will soon lower gas prices is also urban legend. Countless economic, energy and commodities experts have said repeatedly that even if we did drill new wells it would be many years before that oil would make it to our gas pumps.

And even then the price would drop only a few pennies a gallon. The promise that more drilling would provide relief from the economic distress Americans are feeling is just another lie.

Take note that McCain isn't the only one repeating that lie but so is our congressman, Rep. Cliff Stearns.

I attended Stearns' Belleview Town Hall meeting on June 7th and heard him pushing hard for immediate drilling off our coasts. He still uses the politics of distortion and fear to continue those failed policies.

Rep. Stearns has got to go because America can no longer afford his 19th century solutions to our 21st century challenges. Fortunately we have a forward-thinking candidate for Congressional District 6 with Tim Cunha.

In November we can exercise our right to retire Stearns and his regressive agenda.

Susan Bottcher,

Gainesville

Police do not put motorists at risk

I am responding to Tommy Lowe's June 27 letter regarding law enforcement stopping motorists to enforce the "Move Over" law.

My brother is Lt. Dan Brinsko. He has served this community for almost 30 years in different departments in our Sheriff's office and is currently the day shift supervisor of the traffic division. Any one who knows my brother's reputation also knows he would not allow anyone under his supervision to intentionally put a motorist at risk.

If his crews are out anywhere stopping motorists, it's for a darn good reason.

Perhaps if Lowe and those who think and drive like him, managed their personal time more appropriately they wouldn't need to worry how fast they had to go to get somewhere. Driving more slowly and carefully would hopefully eliminate the term "rush hour," there would be more fuel conservation and less need for emergency vehicles to be on our highways in the first place.

Incidentally, the current fuel situation may indeed require the 45 mph limit on I-75 that Lowe mentioned.

Andrea M. Brinsko

Gainesville

Maybe it's time for kids to get off the school bus

Children are required to attend school up to a certain age. However, how they get to school is an individual choice. Some kids walk or bicycle to school; others are driven or drive themselves.

Many school children rely on the school bus, and the school board allocates millions of dollars each year for this service. The price of fuel, however, is steadily rising. To complicate matters, monies earmarked for the schools are decreasing.

Increasing bus transportation costs surely strain tight school budgets.

This is a guess, but I bet money to cover rising fuel costs is being siphoned from funds allocated for classroom studies, such as art and music. And as fuel costs could continue increasing, it is probably safe to say school budgets, and the economy, will continue in a downward spiral.

Free school transportation is a valuable service, but the mission of any school is to instruct students, not transport them. Perhaps it is time to re-examine the concept of the "free bus ride" as this service costs schools too much money. Money that is better spent on classroom studies, not on keeping the bus tank filled.

Diane Forkel,

Gainesville

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