Letters to the Editor - Jan 18

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:55 p.m.

Invest in parks

Our parks preserve our cultural and natural landscapes, bring to life our history, and provide us with accessible green spaces that are key to our quality of life.

And although it is not their primary purpose, parks play a significant role in the economies of many communities. Research has shown, for instance, that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars economic value to the public.

By investing in parks, the millions of us who visit these places every day will see and enjoy the fruits of our collective labor and monitor the expenditures laid out to improve them.

Notably too, investing in parks will leave something lasting and important behind for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

As Congress and the incoming Administration develop an economic stimulus package, it is important to note that an investment in our local and national parks can provide greatly help our economy.

Deborah Roberts,

High Springs

Taking issue with list

I’m one of the many who enjoy the “list” as a quick, concise and often light summary or review.

“Dave Carlson’s Hot Spots For Dining” (Jan. 1) was an article that included lists of local interest: “What’s Hot.” “What’s Not.”

For each eatery in the “Hot” column there was one from the same cuisine category in the “Not” column. Clever, I suppose.

Because of the economic crisis some local restaurants have closed. Carlson names them and then says, “I hate to think what establishment might be next.” So why did he include the “Not” list in his piece?

He says they are his “purely personal” lists and suggest the reader “forget you heard it from me because I clearly am not hot.” I still think he blew it here and so did the editors who allowed the “Not” list to be printed.

The piece would have been just as timely and interesting but much more community-minded if only the “Hot” list had been published. Expectations of the pop culture hot/not dichotomy could have been avoided with a different title (“Go To List”?). This matters because of the critical state of our global, national and local economies.

I am not suggesting false accolades, and no matter what the shape the economy, it would be important to report unethical practices. But those aren’t the issue here. The issue is encouraging vs. eroding a sense of community mindedness in times of collective economic vulnerability.

I keep thinking of the hard working people in our area who continue to provide excellent dining-out experiences for their patrons in spite of the difficult economic times. Even locally created, owned and operated establishments were on Carlson’s “Not” list. It doesn’t seem right that their services should be cast as less desirable just so The Sun can dish out a clever hot/not quick-read.

I hope potential customers won’t shy away from trying a restaurant because of the “Not” list. Some of my good friends and I will continue to meet at one of our favorite places in Gainesville and I guess we will “Not” be running into Dave Carlson there. Oh well.

Joan Stevens,


Taxes and history

I am compelled to remark on the Jan. 7 letter by Darrel Kirkland regarding taxes.

In a very cavalier manner, Kirkland disses the notion that higher taxation of the rich is necessary for the well-being of our society. And he bellows further that lefties can either pay for it themselves or leave the country.

A look back at history might tone down such radical thinking.

The uppermost tax bracket during the Eisenhower years was 91 percent. It was during these years that the interstate highway system was funded. Also, the Levittown/suburban housing concept took hold bringing with it residential sewer and water systems.

Kennedy lowered the highest rate of income tax to 70 percent. This brought on economic expansion allowing for a prosperous middle class, increased access to higher education and going to the moon. This lowering of taxes by the Democrat Kennedy is often lauded by the fiscal conservatives.

Ronald Reagan, in hopes of furthering a good thing lowered the upper bracket to 50 percent. It has since trickled down to 35 percent.

During this era we have seen an insider-trading scandal, junk bond scandal, Savings and Loan scandal, growth of hedge funds, Enron, Tyco, rampant mergers/acquisitions, credit-default swaps, ARM’s, Madoff, etc. These fiascoes haven’t been good for rich or poor.

It is time to recognize that lowering taxes is only beneficial to an extent. The idea of increasing taxes on the wealthy is not wealth envy. It should be regarded as saving them from themselves. And it saves the rest of us from their inevitable mischief that we end up paying for.

Charles Rock,


No defense for Stearns

It’s a sad day when Cliff Stearns can’t defend himself against Dave Bruderly’s revelations (Voice, Jan. 9) and relies on chronic supporters like Jim Whitehead (Voice, Jan. 14) to help remove the stubborn stain of earned humiliation from the congressman’s abysmal record.

But we can thank Whitehead for pointing out that Stearns needs little more than a rubber-stamp to occupy his 6th District Congressional seat in Washington, DC.

Stearns continues to parade his faux reputation as a fiscal conservative even after his paper trail reflects eight years of almost perfect lock-step voting on legislation that has plunged Americans into a generation of war, staggering debt and unemployment.

Stearns voted for the costliest wars in history, but in 2004 attempted to stop a shipment of “free” Kevlar vests from reaching Iraq even while he knew U.S. troop casualties were largely a result of deadly missions in “cheaped-out” Humvees that lacked protective armor.

The history of this shameful event is on the Web at: www.saive.com

Harold Saive,


Not on my watch

President Bush admitted that he approved the use of aggressive interrogation tactics...water boarding, sleep deprivation, loud noise, dogs/intimidation, cold. And those are just what he admitted to. Who knows what else has been done?

He sent enemy combatants (or whatever term he came up with to dehumanize them) to other countries to have them tortured where the rules of this country don’t apply. And they have been forgotten.

He has trampled on the Constitution by taking away civil liberties and privacy rights in the guise of protecting us.

He used fear to bring out the worst in people and had them to do things we know are wrong.

So to those that say leave Bush and those who did his bidding alone, I say no, not on my watch. Not in my name. This is not what America stands for.

I believe Bush should be charged with war crimes and ordered to stand accountable in the world court, so we can regain our moral integrity and be brave and free once more. Let justice be served.

Don Brennan,


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