Letters to the Editor for July 21, 2013


Published: Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.

Field not level

State legislators care about educational accountability, right? Wrong.

A July 9 article explains why. The state allocation to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship grew to $229 million in 2012-13 and the number of students using the program increased to 51,075. Next year, the funding increases to $286.2 million and the number of students to at least 60,000.

This program gives a tax credit to corporations for money they contribute to Step Up For Students, which uses the money to give students private school scholarships. This is taxpayer money diverted from public schools.

These private schools are largely unregulated and have no accountability demanded of public schools. No state-mandated testing, no need for certified teachers or Common Core standards.

The much-touted “accountability” demanded of public schools is simply a means to convince taxpayers that public schools are “failing.” Are private schools also failing? As long as the playing field is not level, we will never know.

Eileen Roy,

Alachua County School Board member,

Gainesville

Withdraw support

The sale of a section of Loblolly Woods Nature Park to a private individual is a nonstarter. It is amazing the discussion of this precedent-setting transaction has proceeded to the point of a City Commission vote with virtually no public input.

The process has circumvented criteria of the comprehensive land use plan and city codes. These transgressions include: abdicating management of public property with unique attributes that is integral to the community's heritage to a private individual; undermining property values of neighboring homeowners by changing land use from a nature sanctuary to a back yard; allowing parkland to be used in a manner that does not contribute to its preservation; and not having public forums to discuss a major land use and precedent-setting policy change impacting all citizens of Gainesville.

I think it would be in the best interests of the commission to immediately withdraw support of the sale and not continue to endorse what appears to be entitlement.

David J. Black,

Gainesville

Parking problems

University of Florida faculty and staff have to pay hundreds of dollars to park (without guaranteed parking) at their place of employment. On May 1, parking decals for the spring semester expired, despite the semester having not ended. We were still administering final exams.

For those of us that pre-purchased our decals, UF mailed them with a postmark of April 29, which in my case arrived at my house on the afternoon of May 2. Without any grace period, UF parking services issued $30 tickets on the morning of May 2.

I took my unopened letter with my decal to parking services to protest the ticket on May 3, only to be told they don't allow ticket protests in person. I was rewarded with another $30 ticket because my car did not have the decal hanging in it.

Is it great to be a Gator?. Maybe, if you don't have to park at UF. My appeal was rejected — please pay $60.

Warren Dixon,

Gainesville

Paid the price

The Second Amendment gives freedom to bear arms. George Zimmerman had the gun but Trayvon Martin didn't, so he paid the price. Zimmerman was told time and again that he is not to confront Martin but he did. That didn't matter with the jurors. They blamed Martin for his own death!

How was Martin supposed to know that Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchman and not a suspicious character? So in the name of self-defense, you can confront anyone and if they try to defend themselves you can shoot them dead? We blame the suicide bombers for living in the 14th century. Are we doing any better? Yes we are, we are living in the 18th century!

Selection of jurors is supposed to be arbitrary, but is it really arbitrary? The defense attorney has a team of psychiatrists watching every potential juror, basing his choice on their feedback.

Zimmerman is laughing and the poor parents are crying.

Nand Sharma,

Gainesville

Where's the outrage?

George Zimmerman was exonerated by a jury based upon evidence that supported his claim of self-defense. However, the media and many on the liberal left will not accept the decision of the court.

The FBI interviewed more than 30 people associated with Zimmerman and found no evidence of racial bias. Yet the race card is still being played.

Where is the outrage on the left about black-on-white murders including the 13-month-old baby killed in Brunswick, Ga., in March and the young couple in Knoxville, Tenn., that was carjacked, tortured, raped and murdered in 2007? Where do Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton stand on these violent crimes?

With such an extreme double-standard being practiced by the media and the Obama administration, no wonder racial unrest has increased in our country.

Ted Belser,

Micanopy

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