As a Florida resident, I am disturbed by the appointment of Andrew Hertz as the chair of Visit Florida, our state-funded tourism marketing agency. Hertz is the president and general manager of the Miami Seaquarium, which holds the dishonor of keeping an orca in the smallest orca tank in North America, a tank so tiny that it is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act.
Seaquarium's lone orca, Lolita, was cruelly captured from her family pod as a baby. She has been held captive and forced to perform tricks for food for more than 40 years. And since Lolita's tankmate died 34 years ago, after ramming his head into the side of the tank, she has had no opportunity to interact with members of her own species. That is excruciating for this social, intelligent animal.
I am deeply concerned that Hertz's vested interest in promoting cruel marine mammal captivity will affect his decisions at Visit Florida. I enjoy sharing our state's beauty and attractions with visitors and I've happily shared many posts using Visit Florida's slogan, #LoveFL. But I don't love cruelty to animals and I won't support any organization that does.
Michelle Kretzer, Dunedin
Thanks for the laugh
Re: Tbt* is a socialist propaganda rag (email to the editor, June 23)
Where to begin! I started to get angry with the email from Douglas Coggeshall, but then realized you published it to give us all a good laugh. "Jug-eared Kenyan"! Obama sending Christmas cards to Muslims! You just can't write this stuff, it has to be over the transom.
As for tbt* encountering financial bankruptcy, that's not going to happen. And the bit about Neville Chamberlain and "hell's finest champagne"? Great stuff. Kudos to Coggeshall!
Jason Bean, Land O' Lakes
Guns and closed minds
Re: Gun mania (email to the editor, June 23)
I don't deny email writer Laura Self's right to be an overprotective mother to her children. I only hope her biased, outright disdain dies before it poisons her kids to think like her. It's not okay to disagree with mommy, or you're a dumbass, apparently.
I think the danger to your kids, Laura, is your closed mind.
Ken Ringeisen, Zephyrhills
A real Rays fan
Re: Rays for sale! Everyone must go (Gary Shelton column, tbt* June 19)
Every day I pick up a tbt* and read some sports columnist's opinion on how the Rays are such a train wreck. Well, I read Shelton's conclusion that we should discard the team that gave Tampa Bay a pennant and four playoff appearances! The team that has given us a lot fun baseball.
I love the Rays for who they are: A bunch of players to be proud of. Players who deserve our support even in bad times. A baseball team is more than a logo and stadium. The Rays are the best in baseball in my book — for more than just wining games, I like 'em, and nothing changes that. Real fans will understand where I am coming from.
Boyd Burchfield, Tampa
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