Florida’s chance to end cruel greyhound racing | Nov. 25, commentary
In defense of greyhound racing
Here we go again. Almost four years ago the Tampa Bay Times published a sensationalist front-page article headlined "RACED TO DEATH." I responded to that article, pointing out that the number of deaths at Derby Lane (12 in a seven-month period) amounted to a death rate of four one-hundredths of 1 percent (0.04 percent), an incredibly good safety record.
Now we have been subjected to another article, by the Florida state director of the Humane Society of the United States, restating the death statistics (one every three days in total at all 12 Florida tracks combined) and making an incredible and unjustifiable statement that "their lives are one of abject misery." I have been an owner of racing greyhounds for over 20 years and I can attest, based on personal experience and observation, that greyhounds love to run and are treated very well. And as for the comment about the meat they are fed, they thrive on it, as evidenced by the superb running ability they exhibit.
Less than two years ago, the Humane Society and co-defendants paid a $15.75 million settlement to Feld Entertainment in a case involving elephants after a federal court determined their case was "groundless and unreasonable." The argument against dog racing is no different.
Dick Adler, Lecanto
Referring to "trickle-down economics," economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said, "If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows." This is an excellent depiction to understand the effects of the Republican "tax reform" proposals. The theory, of course, is that by increasing income and wealth of the few at the top it will flow downward to the workers and "small" business. Historically, trickle-down has not significantly elevated wages and therefore did not result in additional consumer spending, which is essential to stimulate the economy and to promote capital investment. These proposals are snake oil intended to garner support by repeating the mantra, "Tax cut for the middle class."
The corporate tax reduction will do little to repatriate money from foreign income or promote capital investment. Large corporations are reported to hold billions in foreign cash reserves, some of which is already in the United States via various investment vehicles. Most of the tax benefit would likely facilitate stock buybacks or to compensate the already highly paid; little would benefit workers. The estate tax provisions enhance the wealth of the very top and ease the path to a plutocratic system whereby the people are ruled by the wealthy few.
I have listened to the tax committee hearings. There were many surprise midnight amendments, ugly rudeness, no expert witnesses and lies galore. There is no time for public awareness of the fraud being perpetrated. The Republican hypocrisy will swell the debt by at least $1.5 trillion. Say goodbye to fiscal conservatism.
Some 20 million children live in poverty, our infrastructure is in great need, workers’ wages have not increased, white supremacists are emboldened, and the planet is being degraded. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is behaving more akin to a criminal enterprise lead by a narcissistic, incompetent president playing silly Twitter games and destroying trust with our allies.
Sam A. Giunta, Tampa
Woman stabs attacking family dog | Nov. 25
Dangers of a family dog
Looking at the photo of Buster the pit bull, two things stood out to me. The first thing is that Buster was not neutered, and the second was his ear cropping. Sierra Willson states that Buster was known to be aggressive, but she apparently did not see the need for neutering, which helps with the overabundance of testosterone. Ear cropping is an expensive procedure, painful for the animal and unnecessary, but Buster had cropped ears.
If the family cannot make sound, reasonable decisions with Buster, I feel a bit uneasy about the upcoming birth of a child that will be in a home with two other pit bulls.
Paul Steffenhagen, Floral City
Nation has lost its way | Nov. 25, letter
U.S. an outlier on guns
There are some important facts that this letter writer leaves out. These violent movies can be seen all over the world, yet only here do we see one mass murder after the other. The only difference is that in other countries they have sensible gun laws.
As far as religion, one could easily argue that the United States is probably the most religious of all developed nations and that excessive religion could have the opposite effect intended, as some of the most violent countries in the world are also the most religious.
Wanting more sensible gun laws is not a knee-jerk reaction as this letter writer suggests; it is based on facts and evidence.
Yvonne Osmond, Clearwater
A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorial
Have any suggestions?
Your editorial opines about the rise of one-block mini-historic districts in St. Petersburg and "piecemeal historic designation." A property owner on the 700 block of 18th Avenue NE is disgruntled, complaining that the majority of his block’s homeowners (10) voted for the designation and the City Council approved it. He says, "I don’t have the same property rights as the people on the next block."
But is it okay for someone to buy a house on a block to flip it so it can be razed, only to have it replaced by a totally inappropriate structure that is completely out of character with the rest of the homes on the block and those nearby? What about the "property rights" of those other homeowners on the block who may have lived there for decades, having purchased the houses and maintained them because of their character?
The City Council and staff have been struggling to come up with regulations that balance new development while maintaining the distinctive character of older neighborhoods. Your editorial ends with, "There are better ways to preserve the best of St. Petersburg than going block by block." If there are "better ways," what do you suggest?
Rick Carson, St. Petersburg