Letters to the Editor for Oct. 7, 2012

Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 1:52 a.m.

Vote against all of these amendments

Just say "No" to all 11 state constitutional amendments: They represent the worst of partisan legislative overreach (each of the 11 was placed on the ballot by lawmakers, not citizens).

Some outrageous examples:

Amendment 5 seeks to undermine the intent of our nonpartisan judicial nominating system, tipping the balance of power in favor of political branches by giving them greater influence in the selection of judges appointed to Florida's Supreme Court.

Amendment 6 would allow Florida politicians to intrude on personal medical decisions between a woman, her family and her doctor. Amendment 6 is an example of big government at its worst.

Amendment 8 would allow taxpayer funding of religious institutions. It will allow public money to be used for religious indoctrination.

I encourage readers of The Gainesville Sun to take a good look at these confusing, complex, misleading, democracy-threatening choices and then vote "No" across the board.

Ann Cassin,


Amendment 2 isn't about disabled vets

The Sun recommended "Yes" on Amendment 2 (property tax discount for veterans disabled due to combat injury). Americans agree we can do more for our service members. Veterans' sacrifices will never be fully compensated.

In reality, this amendment was not borne from patriotic support for veterans. Rather, its political ideology to "shrink government until it can be drowned in the bathtub."

Florida's conservative state Legislature placed four amendments on the November ballot to gut state revenue. If passed the state will lose $2 billion over three years, paralyzing public schools, police and fire departments and local governments from providing the services and quality of life Floridians expect and deserve.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense can afford to skim that "modest" $15 million from its $1.4 trillion budget and issue a check directly to veterans to use in whatever way they need. Our communities and citizens cannot afford to lose billions.

Susan Bottcher,


The GOP's assault on Florida's courts

The Republican Party of Florida has announced that it would actively oppose the merit retention of all three Florida Supreme Court Justices currently facing a retention vote.

This unprecedented and ill-advised decision to inject party politics into a judicial election wrongly ends many decades of non-partisanship in Florida's judicial elections.

The party's action invites reciprocation by other parties in the future, and effectively threatens sitting judges at every level with political retribution each time they face a difficult or publicized case. The threat of political retribution for a correct but unpopular decision will threaten and could destroy the impartiality and objectivity of the judiciary.

The Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization of experienced and respected civil trial lawyers, calls upon Florida's Republican leadership to reverse a profoundly dangerous precedent and adhere to Florida's tradition of judicial non-partisanship.

Jennifer Cates Lester,


Raceway site is best for the fairgrounds

It is good that the county commissioners are considering the Gainesville Raceway for use as the county fairgrounds. It would only need a modest investment as compared to the existing site. And the one located off Waldo Road would need a lot of investment, even to bring it up to the level of the current site.

Using the raceway site would provide more traffic to an under-utilized area, and hopefully spur the much needed development that the east side of the county needs.

Richard DesChenes,


Judge Judy knows

In his Oct. 3 letter, Albert Meyer, whined about Thomas Nettles whining! He stated, "Is he talking about those getting Social Security disability benefits who would love to work but can't due to their severe medical impairments?"

Meyer can get better educated if he just watches a few episodes of "Judge Judy!: He will get an real insight into Social Security and welfare fraud.

Best we whine about authorities not vigorously prosecuting the Medicare, welfare, Social Security, unemployment, and school financial aid fraudsters. Particularly the small percentage of doctors, lawyers and other "professionals" who encourage them and reap the big bucks.

That way we can get the money to the well-deserving people these programs were intended to help.

Gary Munsterman,


Eating meat is also an act of animal cruelty

I recently read about the police launching a full investigation into the cowardly act of someone burying a live puppy.

This got me thinking about the almost daily unwanted bombardment I receive from friend's relatives and coworkers concerning my so-called weird vegetarian lifestyle.

For instance, "He won't eat anything with a face on it," or "PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals."

People are outraged at the abuse of helpless pets when animals are cruelly slaughtered on a daily basis for their eating pleasure.

Oh, by the way, some cultures eat dogs on a routine basis. So next time you feel the need to tell a vegetarian how strange you find their eating habits, you might want to stop and think it through.

Robert J. O'Donnell,


Reitz helped break UF racial barrier

J. Wayne Reitz was UF president (1955-67) during a period of political change in Florida, turmoil provoked by Sen. Joseph McCarthy's political paranoia, rise of the Civil Rights movement and the attempts to repress it, and the desegregation of public schools after the Supreme Court's Brown vs. the Board of Education decision in 1954.

The traumatic assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 coupled with the Vietnam War and massive opposition to it created an explosive atmosphere.

Gainesville's schools were formally desegregated in 1970, and UF slowly began expanding its African-American student numbers.

The UF Anthropology Department sought to establish a fellowship named after anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston that would encourage this, but had difficulty in interesting the university in providing assistance. We took the issue to Reitz in 1978, and he supported our initiative, playing a critical role in making the Hurston Fellowship a reality.

Paul Doughty,


What they see at the end of that clear road

President Obama and Vice President Biden have repeatedly said that the economy is slowly getting better and that we have turned the corner and that we see a clear road ahead.

What they have failed to say is that the first thing they see on that road is a big, yellow and black sign that says: "Dead End."

James M. Raimondi,


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