Letters to the Editor - Jan. 16

Published: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:26 p.m.

Bush is protected by spineless Dems

Keith Hazouri's letter to the editor (Jan. 9) on the possibility of impeaching Bush was flawed on two points.

First, he implies that Bush has committed no crimes ("at least none on par with Clinton's legitimate perjury charge").

Being a horrible president is not a crime. But, torture is, spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant is, firing and hiring government employees for political reasons is, using taxpayer dollars for pro-administration propaganda is, lying to Congress is.

Perhaps Hazouri does not believe these crimes are on par with lying about a personal matter.

Second, Hazouri believes that Bush is so despised that if there was any legitimate reason to impeach him Congress would take advantage of it. A more plausible explanation is that the Democratic Party lacks the political will to seriously investigate these crimes much less prosecute them.

It is little wonder that the Republicans have no problem characterizing the Democrats as spineless, unprincipled and weak every election.

Unfortunately the new Obama team seems to bent on following the failed strategy of courting the right instead of leading with real change.

David Sterling,


Enforce the laws when trucks stray into neighborhoods

It is with great dismay that I read the news about the six-year-old girl who was killed by a semi truck improperly cutting through a family neighborhood.

I too live on a street (SW 87th Street & 137th Avenue) that has clearly posted signs about no trucks; but semi trucks, dump trucks, etc. cut through our street anyway and often travel faster than the posted 20 mph speed limit.

It's a real shame that the Department of Transportation and local police cannot enforce these simple laws. It's an even bigger shame that truck drivers blatantly ignore the posted no-trucks signs and speed limits.

Tom Mason,


Gainesville will turn into a college ‘Dogpatch'

Recently, as a Chanukah gift, I was pleased to finish funding my grandchildren's college tuition under the Florida Prepaid College Plan. That is until I read your story of the serious attempt in Gainesville to rescind basic protections against transgender people by inciting public fear and hysteria.

Will the children or grandchildren of transgender people be singled out next?

Indeed, there is much public ignorance and media distortion about transgender people, but the fact is that well over 100 million Americans live in jurisdictions that protect transgender people, and in the 18 years of such laws being in effect there have been zero substantiative bathroom problems. You can "look it up."

As a parent, grandparent, a veteran, a member of mainstream religious, municipal and state boards and a transgender American, I would be extremely concerned about my grandchildren attending a college in a town with a medieval mentality. It would seem apparent that Gainesville, if the citizens allow the religious reactionaries to rule, may become the "Dogpatch" of college towns.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein,

Edison, NJ

Nuclear waste can be managed responsibly

Your editorial on Jan. 2 ("Stampede to Nowhere") brings up some valid points, but several of your arguments against nuclear power are shortsighted.

The amount of nuclear waste in this country is not insurmountable, as the editorial implies. The amount of nuclear waste produced by all commercial nuclear reactors in the United States, after nearly 50 years of operation, will fit within one football field (end zone to end zone) about 15 feet high. This amount of waste is very manageable.

There are many safe and reliable methods for containment and disposal that scientists and engineers have created over the past few decades to handle nuclear waste. Reprocessing (recycling) of the nuclear waste would reduce the amount of true waste by 90 percent (filling only one end zone) and is the longer–term answer since it would reuse the unspent uranium in the spent fuel, which you characterize as waste.

One must also consider the other environmental benefits of nuclear power facilities. Based on the current number of nuclear power reactors in the U.S., each year almost 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide is prevented from entering the Earth's atmosphere if we were to get that power from burning coal, not to mention the prevention of other greenhouse warming gases from affecting our environment. The carbon dioxide savings is equivalent to 131 million cars.

Progress Energy's construction of the new facility (two reactors) in Levy County will bring thousands of new jobs and better economic times to the area. University of Florida students will benefit with new opportunities, particularly students in science, construction and engineering.

The environment will benefit by allowing Progress Energy to close older coal plants.

Jim Baciak,


Why won't school board fund charter schools?

I am appalled at the Alachua County School Board's decision to not allocate any of the approved new millage revenue to Alachua County charter schools.

Charter schools are a valid and valuable part of the Alachua County public school district. These are not private schools, they generate no income of their own. All monies they receive come from the school board.

They are under mandate from the school board; they follow Sunshine State Standards; they take the FCAT (and do well on it); and they must jump through rigorous hoops to get their charters approved.

My daughter attends Hoggetowne Middle School, as did her brother before her. It is a fabulous school, with high academics, small classes and alternative electives. It is also filled with caring, talented and dedicated teachers and administrative staff.

The school board saw fit to charter these schools. It behooves them to properly fund them. They're not asking for extras. There are amenities that charter schools do without, that other schools take for granted. They are only asking for the same consideration that the rest of the schools receive, so that charter schools aren't forced to let some teachers go or eliminate programs.

It also angers me that this exclusion of charter schools was not mentioned on the referendum for which we voted in November. I read it through very carefully, and voted in favor of it. Had I known that charter schools were not part of the consideration, I would have changed my mind.

Join with me in demanding that the school board reconsider its decision and allocate the millage funds to all public schools in Alachua County. I will remember this decision when election time comes around again.

Lisa Labbe,


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