Letters to the Editor - Jan. 23, 2011

Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 12:20 a.m.

The big charade

In their first move since gaining power after the mid-term elections, House Republicans have officially re-branded the Obama health care bill as the "Job-Killing Health Care Bill." But any attempt to overturn what is now established law appears futile.

With foreknowledge that a strangely compliant press will never hold Republican leaders accountable for their falsehoods, corporate shills will continue their charade unchecked. The "big lie" works, especially in an age when journalists treat outright fabrication as just another viewpoint.

C. S. Monaco,


Cyclists do pay

In response to Terry Martin-Beck's Jan. 19 letter: Why does he think cyclists don't pay their fair share?

My husband has been an avid cyclist for over 25 years, and I can assure you that we pay taxes for roads, sidewalks and all that our taxes encompass.

We also pay for services that we don't use but other citizens do use. Wear and tear on the roads in Gainesville and Alachua County based on cyclist usage is nothing compared to vehicle usage.

Your typical cyclists are hard-working, tax-paying citizens i.e.; law enforcement, physicians, business owners, professionals and retirees.

Marina Rojas,


Just which cyclists is he talking about?

In response to Terry Martin-Back's Jan. 19 letter "Let the cyclists pay for their fair share": I am curious about which cyclists is referring to.

I am a cyclist. I ride a bicycle to work three to five times a week (60 to 100 miles). I use less gasoline, don't create any pollution and reduce traffic congestion. I am also healthier.

I am employed, own a home and have two automobiles. I pay income tax, property tax, sales tax, gasoline tax and registration fees. I have homeowner's insurance, automobile insurance and health insurance.

Perhaps Martin-Back is simply misinformed, or maybe he just likes being dependent on foreign oil, sitting in traffic congestion and breathing polluted air in a country where obesity is a serious health problem.

Gerry Woods,


How much for just three feet of lane?

Amusing that Terry Martin-Back ("Let cyclists pay for their fair share," Jan. 19) cited Gainesville's status as a "bicycle friendly community" before launching into his unfriendly attack on cyclists.

Believe it or not, most of us who ride bikes also own and drive automobiles, so we are paying plenty towards road building and maintenance, while using less than our fair share. After all, we are only getting three feet of a lane.

As for bicyclists doing damage to property, I'd like to see his statistics on that. Most of the damage to property and person is done by automobiles to bicycles and riders, not the other way around.

I'd suggest Martin-Back get that rusty Schwinn out of his garage and ride it a bit. The fresh air might do him good.

Gregory McGann,


What wear and tear?

As an avid road cyclist who has enjoyed the benefits of the bicycle lanes on Gainesville's streets and Alachua County's roads, I partially empathize with Terry Martin-Beck's letter of Jan. 19: There should be a means for those who use the bicycle lanes to help defray the expense of maintaining them.

However, I would also point out that the wear and tear to the streets caused by bicycles is infinitesimal compared to that caused by cars and trucks.

All bicyclists should follow the traffic laws and those who don't should be ticketed and fined. However, is it reasonable to require all cyclists, including elementary school children, to have bicycle-specific licenses? The idea is ludicrous.

Why should cyclists be required to carry insurance? What damage has a road cyclist done to Martin-Back's property?

Keith Pollman,


Chinese mothers and education reform

Is Chinese education superior to America's as the new book by Amy Chua, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" seems to suggest?

Florida's James Norman, great-grandfather of teacher education at UF, suggests that to be really good, education must insist that every pupil experience "doing something supremely well."

The difference is that the Chinese mother insists that almost everything be done extremely well, and just as important, she makes sure it happens.

Would this work in Gainesville? Read the book.

Richard R. Renner,


We all have to look out for ourselves

A Jan. 21 letter writer wishes that everyone could have a "zone of protection." This is an issue that I find interesting not only from the standpoint of defending our constitutional rights, but from the standpoint of being responsible for your own safety.

We have been told that law enforcement is not responsible for our immediate safety. Then I would think that we are the only ones ultimately responsible for that.

Have we become so dependent on another entity for our safety that we forget that we are adults and are supposed to take care of ourselves?

E.J. Bisch,


Sarah the victim

In response to Steve McAnnich's comments (Jan. 20) about "blaming Sarah Palin" for the violence in Tucson: The people I see continuing to beat that drum loudly are Palin, her supporters and her apologists.

Sarah Palin's apparent need to portray herself as a victim is a sad reflection on her and her supporters. That she is successful, self-made, a good mother and a good wife is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Palin is responsible for the consequences of her actions.

The need to be seen as a victim makes Palin a self-caricature of the person she claims to want to be.

J. D. Johnson,


History will repeat

In all the discussion of the Tucson massacre, I don't believe that anyone mentioned that there are a few million more people in this country with mental disorders similar to Loughner's.

They are seriously disturbed, in poor contact with realty and their thought processes are different from those of ordinary people.

While the great majority of them will never commit a criminal act, the potential for unprovoked, irrational and destructive outbursts exists.

Most are not receiving the treatment they need. And it is not likely that adequate resources will be made available for their care.

The odds are that history will repeat itself.

Samuel I. Greenberg M.D.,


Back to where?

The new state Republican Party chairman and other Republican spokespeople now say they are going to "take the country back."

Take it back from whom? The American people? And give it "back" to whom? The party's Wall Street and other corporate sponsors?

Or do they mean, take it back to the recession years of Bush II, the Depression years of Hoover or the time of the 19th-century robber barons?

Richard H. Hiers,


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