Letters to the Editor for June 25, 2013
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 4:16 p.m.
Inaccurate and unfair
The Sun's June 22 article on the Alachua County Commission's recent planning retreat reported on a discussion among commissioners about the expense of enforcing the laws against marijuana use.
The story paraphrased my position as "it is hard to fight drugs successfully from the local level." Rather, the point I expressed is that it's difficult to change drug laws and how they're enforced from the local government level.
To clarify another position attributed to me in the same article, the County Commission doesn't have the authority (nor should it) to decide how to allocate money within the budgets of the county's independently elected constitutional officers, including the sheriff. The commission's only responsibility is determining how much total funding they receive.
It's therefore inaccurate and unfair to base a request for a budget increase on a popular, obviously desirable program, and then suggest that if the increase isn't granted, it will be the commission's fault if that program is discontinued.
Alachua County Commission,
Separation of powers
At a workshop last week, Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson advocated for the board reducing the Sheriff's Office budget as a disincentive for law enforcement officers to enforce misdemeanor drug laws.
If enacted, this policy would have no effect on the drug enforcement efforts or the incarceration rates for arrests made by police departments in area cities.
The courts have ruled that quotas and incentives that promote enforcement of certain offenses are illegal. Officers disciplined or fired for using discretion in these cases have been reinstated and awarded monetary judgments. A policy of reducing law enforcement funding to discourage enforcement would go one step further, teetering on official misconduct and approaching the level of bribery.
Hutchinson should be reminded of the separation of powers. His efforts would be more appropriately directed toward the county probation offices that are under the auspices of the board rather than dictating the actions of an independently elected constitutional officer.
Brandon C. Kutner,
Florida Police Benevolent
Keeping us safe
In regard to Charles Remke's concern about where Ted Yoho is (letter, June 22), I can say he's busy trying to keep us safe and is working to uphold the Constitution while most of our politicians are politicizing all the current issues.
He has answered my letters to him and I receive updates from him via email. I feel certain that if you would visit his website or contact his office you would be placed on his mailing list also.
Real health study
The 11 health assessments that The Sun references in its June 12 editorial were taken directly from a Florida Department of Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry list of 11 assorted Koppers reports consisting of testing plans, site reviews, neighborhood updates, a creek sediment report and a census review.
The department and agency added the prefix "health consultation" or "health assessment" to almost every report in this new list making it look like a list of health assessments, misleading anyone who hasn't investigated Koppers issues.
The census review was originally called a health study but was downgraded to "health consultation/review" after complaints that a health study has never been conducted. Who adds their medical information to census forms?
A real health study interviews residents, tracking their health even after they move. The department and agency have never conducted a real health study here, even though they have had more than 30 years to do so.