Letters to the Editor for June 2, 2013

Published: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:41 p.m.

Less safe and smart

Kudos to Gainesville City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins for standing up for all the people who walk and ride bikes in Gainesville.

The “new” Butler Plaza was supposed to be student, pedestrian and bicycle friendly, located as it is in the heart of student housing in southwest Gainesville. Larger internal blocks and alleyways that do not have bike lanes or pedestrian walkways are less safe, less smart and seem to be a direct assault on all the transportation workshops, studies and decisions that have been made in Alachua County in recent years.

Sally Dickinson,


Close the dam

I have a great deal of respect for the writer who wants to destroy the dam at the Rodman Reservoir, but I disagree with him.

He only wants to protect wildlife but at the same time deny humans of the fresh water that is in short supply right now that could be used if we did the following: Close the dam completely (not destroy the dam) and also close the barge canal lock.

I believe that saving human life is more important than striped bass, manatee or other marine life.

It is important to remember that the flow from Florida springs and Silver Springs is governed high in the mountains in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. More rainfall for several years is the only thing that will help that.

Personally, I believe that God looked far ahead for us and prepared a way for man in this region to survive.

Elvin Wilder,


Be afraid

A proposed federal administrative rule would mandate electronic data recorders, or black boxes, for all new cars and light trucks beginning in 2014.

Many cars already have these devices, such as GM’s OnStar. They can disable the car and know where you are, how fast you drive, if you were wearing your seatbelt, if you applied the brakes prior to a collision, etc. Just as in an airplane, these devices are embedded into your vehicle’s electronics out of sight.

This information can be subpoenaed by law enforcement. If the vehicle is a total wreck and you have accepted a check from the insurance company, your vehicle becomes their property and no subpoena is required.

Think big government and privacy issues — your own vehicle snitches on you. This can result in the loss of your safe driver discount, insurance cancellation, loss of license, fines and yes, even jail. Be afraid — be very afraid!

Steve Lawson,


Intermittent energy

You’ve seen the news that Germany produces 10 percent of its electricity with solar panels, implying it has reduced its carbon footprint proportionally. Not true.

Most electricity is generated by base-load generators mostly fueled by coal and oil. It typically takes days to bring these generators on line. Slowing them down or speeding them up interrupts their efficiency, so managers typically run them in the “sweet spot” even if there is no immediate demand.

Solar panels are different. They’re intermittent. They turn off at night and when the sun goes behind a cloud. Even if every house and business in Gainesville were fitted with solar panels, the base-load generators would continue to produce carbon dioxide in the background. That’s why solar panels do not substantially reduce carbon dioxide.

Solar panels should not be further subsidized with taxpayer dollars until it can be shown that they substantially contribute to cleaner air.

Doran Oster,


Merely excuses

Kathy Pernini wrote (Sun, May 29) about violating a law by having letters on her vehicle’s windshield. As you drive around, you will see lots of vehicles with lettering at the tops of their windshields. Most are in the dark tinted area of the windshield and should be of no consequence.

There are other similar laws, all of which give police an opportunity to stop you and perhaps issues citations. My favorite, which many people violate, is the license plate frame law. Look around parking lots, or while you are stopped in traffic, and see how many vehicles have a “Gator” frame blocking some portion of the writing on the plate.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse” is what you will hear from the judge. Like red light cameras, these sorts of laws were not enacted to keep us safe. They are merely excuses to generate income from a citizenry that is already overtaxed.

Richard DesChenes


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