Letters to the Editor for Jan. 31, 2012

Brush fire on Paynes Prairie

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Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.

A careless act may cause a tragedy

We will probably never know how the Paynes Prairie brush fire responsible for 10 deaths started. However, I continue to be shocked by the careless behavior of smokers who toss their cigarettes out of their cars, even though we have been in drought conditions for years.

I was driving behind one of these persons, who then pulled into the parking spot next to me. I asked her why she would toss her cigarette butt out the window while she had an ashtray in her car. She replied, “I don't want to stink my car up.”

Unfortunately, the inconsiderate assumption that the world is your personal ashtray can have dire consequences, as smoldering butts can start fires.

Stephen Langer,


Private prisons are not the solution

America has more of its citizens in prisons than any other country in the world. Florida follows only Texas and California in having the highest prison counts among all the states.

Our Legislature seems bent on privatizing prisons for dubious cost savings. This will likely result in increased numbers of people being imprisoned, their conditions increasingly less humane, and strong lobbying against any judicial changes to reduce the rate of imprisonment.

Why? Because the profit motive requires ever-increasing numbers and reduced costs. The public looks away because it's easy to believe those in prison “deserve it,” whatever are their conditions of incarceration.

But, the ones who “deserve it” often comprise a disproportionate number of minorities, youth and those imprisoned for victimless crimes.

Please read the article, “The Caging of America,” in the Jan. 31 issue of The New Yorker magazine to understand how wrong privatization is.

Marjorie Abrams,


Rudy Giuliani was paid well to insult us

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. At a recent UF speech Rudy Giuliani denigrated those who didn't share his beliefs by calling them dirty slobs or suggesting they needed better personal grooming.

He shared these pearls of wisdom at an institution that promotes rational discourse and charged a paltry $65,000 speaker's fee.

Those in the community who are tired of vitriolic self-promoters deserve speakers with more class than this. Giuliani may fashion himself as a street fighter, but his past suggests the more apt moniker of serial philanderer.

John E. Thomas,


Districts are failing to restore our water

While Suwannee River Water Management District Director David Still (Speaking Out, Jan. 23) tells your readers how much water has been saved, he fails to address the failure of all of the state's water management districts.

To my knowledge, none of the districts is taking any action which will cause the depleted groundwaters to return to their levels of 60 to 80 years ago. Conservation has not been and is not the answer.

Floridians want to see our dried-up springs flowing again! That requires a groundwater table that is approximately 30 feet higher than it is now!

If all water usage within the Suwannee River district were to cease, the rise of the groundwater table would be only marginally noticeable.

Why haven't steps been taken which will show an immediate and significant rise in the groundwater table? What is the district lacking: Power to design and implement? Money? Design criteria?

Thomas Robley Burnett,

Live Oak

Pipeline was denied for good reasons

In response to the Jan. 25 letter by Dan Tate:

The first fallacy is that Obama appeased “far left tree-huggers.” Our president shelved the Keystone Project because of State Department advice that further analysis was needed to assure protection of the area's aquifer.

This was especially important to reassure Nebraska's Republican governor, who staunchly rejected the project.

The second fallacy was the type of jobs required by this project. The needed welders, fitters, heavy equipment operators, etc., are already mostly fully employed, so most workers would come from Canada. In fact, there is a current shortage of these of type workers.

So much for putting 20,000 unemployed back to work.

J.P. Robinson,


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