Letters to the Editor for May 13, 2013

Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.

Expose the stigma

May is Mental Health Month. Last Saturday, an anti-stigma event was held at Kanapaha Park.

We discussed the mental health/gun control bill recently passed by the state Legislature, making it illegal to buy a gun if you have ever been deemed “mentally defective.”

This will include all non-violent people who have ever received mental health care against their will.

Hospitals and physicians will be required to provide the government with each of their pictures and names, which will be sent to the FBI. The FBI will then enter all of their names and faces into a database called the national instant “criminal” background check system.

Do you know how many of our legislators voted for this bill? All of them.

We do not need to fight stigma. We just need to expose it.

Michael R. Johnson,


Strong statement

The “Today's Topic” question on May 4 was: “Do you support the decision to narrow Northwest Eighth Avenue?” The answer was a resounding no by a margin of 682 to 65.

Less than nine percent of the respondents want Northwest Eighth Avenue narrowed. While not a scientific poll, it makes a strong statement about how out of touch the Gainesville City Commission is with the wants and needs of local residents.

Does anyone have any doubts as to how it will proceed after the “trial period” is over? How is Main Street working out for you?

But keep making your voices heard, there's hope. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Alan Berkelhammer,


More help

The University of Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities would like to gratefully acknowledge the corporate sponsors, donors and participants who contributed to our successful autism community awareness events this spring. Because of your support, we are able to help more children and adults with autism and related disabilities. Thank you!

Greg Valcante,


UF Center for Autism and

Related Disabilities

Kept in the dark

“Ag-gag” bills criminalize whistleblowing that exposes animal abuses, unsafe working conditions and environmental problems on factory farms. Instead of encouraging whistleblowing and preventing these violations, ag-gag laws ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities are kept in the dark.

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Utah have enacted ag-gag laws, but such bills were defeated in eight other states, thanks to a strong outcry from the public and newspaper editors. In 2013, new ag-gag bills were introduced in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming. The language has been invariably drafted by the infamous anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council.

Thirty newspapers and 60 national animal protection, workers' rights, civil liberties, public health, food safety and environmental conservation organizations have recently gone on record as strongly opposing ag-gag bills.

Our government must never restrict our right and obligation to know where our food comes from.

Doug Osborne,


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