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Letters to the Editor

Lowry Park Zoo

Lowry zoo president deserves praise, not criticism

Baby elephant Tamani sticks close to mother Ellie after going on display at Lowry Park Zoo. The zoo president has been criticized recently for mixing public and private business.

STEFANIE BOYAR | Times (2005)

Baby elephant Tamani sticks close to mother Ellie after going on display at Lowry Park Zoo. The zoo president has been criticized recently for mixing public and private business.

Zoo's president deserves to be praised I read the article about Lowry Park Zoo in the paper Sept. 16 (Iorio, zoo chief to meet) with some concern. Zoo president Lex Salisbury has done the city right with a venue that surpasses anything Tampa could imagine.

I think it is typical of a city administration that gets little done to criticize someone who is a go-getter. The mayor needs to stop playing politics and work to solve the problem. She should stand by Lex instead of throwing him under the bus. What he did may have been an indiscretion, but let's look at what he has done for the zoo over the years. Do you remember what it was like before Lex got here? What a difference.

A better article might be why the city owns the animals considering private money supports a vast majority of the zoo's projects. Why isn't the zoo private at this point with a lease from the city? Why isn't the city working that kind of deal? It comes down to control. And now we will have more city control in the zoo. Not a good thing. Lex is a visionary, not a politician, and for that he should be commended.

Theodore J. Hamilton, Esq., Tampa

Innovation brings success

What a shame during all of this media coverage of Lowry Park Zoo and Lex Salisbury's seeming conflict between his public job and personal business that no one reflects upon why the zoo is so successful. Perhaps it is because of the unusual approach Salisbury takes toward running the zoo.

According to Tom French's Zoo Story, published in your paper last year, most zoos receive up to 40 percent of their funding in tax dollars while Lowry Park Zoo receives 3 percent. Unusual relationships and new ideas have been the hallmark of Lowry Park Zoo and its operations. Admittedly, new concepts take time to accept, but it does not mean they are inherently corrupt or inappropriate.

The zoo's board chairman approved of the relationship between Safari Wild and the zoo. Why is this newsworthy? If Safari Wild is not open for business, the structures are temporary (not built by taxpayer money) and hold only the zoo's animals, who benefits except the animals? Instead of admonishing Salisbury, we should be thanking him for his willingness to help animals with his personal resources. Caring for animals and running a fiscally responsible business is how Lowry Park Zoo went from being one of the worst zoos in the country to being one of the best. It is a shame our media have lost sight of that important issue.

Monica Mancuso, Tampa

Voters must choose their economic philosophy

Beyond all the political hoopla and theatrics that surround the upcoming U.S. presidential election, one critical question remains unanswered: How do the candidates propose to curb deficit spending and dig the government out of its financial hole?

In 1981, when Ronald Reagan began his first term as president, our national debt was just under $1-trillion. By the end of his second term, it had increased to nearly $3-trillion. During the administration of President George W. Bush, our debt has grown from $5-trillion to more than $9.6-trillion.

How the results of this most crucial election will affect America's economy and, ultimately our pocketbooks, depends upon which of the respective political parties' fiscal policies is most sound.

The Republican idea of cutting taxes for wealthy investors and big corporations, also known as "trickle-down economics," is one choice. The idea is that, by lowering taxes, it is hoped that more money left in private hands will be invested in America. The shortfall, however, is that there is no guarantee the beneficiaries of these tax cuts will not decide to spend their money elsewhere. This, unfortunately, has become the reality. Instead of investing in and creating more jobs in America, many companies have found it more lucrative to export those jobs to cheaper foreign labor.

Conversely, the Democrats' answer is to raise taxes, which, though not a popular option, may be the only viable short-term solution. The fact is it costs money to run a government. That money must come from somewhere: if not from taxes, it must be borrowed. Although we may prefer not to be taxed, simple logic would dictate that if the government must spend, it is better that it spend tax revenue than borrow more money and, consequently, burden future generations with taxes that will inevitably have to be paid, anyway.

Whichever candidate each of us decides to support, let us vote with our heads and not our emotions. Whether we personally favor one or the other, this election is not so much a choice of candidates as it is a choice between two fundamentally different economic policies, one which has twice proven to fail, the other which, under the dire circumstances we now find ourselves in, may be America's only hope for recovery, at least in the short run.

Thomas Denny, St. Petersburg

Try some evenhandedness

Twice this week, your editorial page has decried the "sleazy" tactics employed by the McCain campaign, particularly in an ad that ties Barack Obama to a Illinois sex-education bill that included provisions for kindergarteners. If such tactics are beyond the pale, however, why haven't you made any mention of the appalling ads that the Obama campaign has been running?

Just the other day, ABC News called out Obama for a Spanish-language ad that used inflammatory words to cast John McCain as anti-immigrant — when in fact McCain rankled conservatives with his soft approach to illegal immigration in that failed comprehensive bill last year.

Or what about the ad that ridiculed McCain for not being able to send an e-mail or use a computer? If Obama staffers had bothered to do their research, they might have discovered that McCain's inability to type on a computer keyboard is the result of torture he suffered as a prisoner of war.

Reading the pages of the St. Petersburg Times, one would never know these things. Isn't it about time that you were a little more evenhanded with your outrage?

Marc D. Giller, St. Petersburg

Palin's cruel side | Sept. 14, letter

Wildlife management

The letter writer was critical of Sarah Palin's hunting wolves by air.

I lived in Alaska for six years. Their are some caribou herds that are being decimated due to predation by wolves and bears. The wolf packs and bears are killing the newborn calves before they can evade the predators (within minutes of being born). The calving grounds are only accessible by air.

When I was there, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game stopped airborne hunting for a more humane way. The department decided to study the wolf packs, find the Alpha pair, dart them, then spay and neuter them in the field. The department figured that the wolf packs would eventually decline due to no more pups. What happened was that the Bravo pair took over and started having pups. This was at a tremendous cost with no effect on the calves being killed.

The airborne hunt is not the most sporting hunt for sure. However it is a necessary tool to manage and save the caribou herd.

Michael Dowling, St. Petersburg

Palin's punch | Sept. 13, letter

Campaigns need media

A letter writer commented that Gov. Sarah Palin pretty well punched the media in the mouth when she said she was going to Washington to please the people of the United States, not to please the media. The writer stated, "How refreshing to hear someone say that." This statement by Palin was like throwing "red meat" to the conservatives attending her speeches.

I really don't think the writer or Palin understand the role of the media in our political process. If Palin gave her speech to prospective voters and the media didn't show up to report and to film the event for television and the print media, I can just imagine the howling and screaming that would take place. The campaigns need the media around all of the time.

A political commentator recently stated that when the campaigns put out a new advertisement that the other campaign doesn't like it isn't necessary to run the advertisement all over the country or for very long because the media pick it up as an issue and provide it to the public at no expense to the campaign.

What worries me the most is that so few voters read newspapers, watch serious news on television, or receive political news on the Internet from serious media sources. We are finding in this campaign season that too many people are acquiring their views from "rock concert" events consisting only of throwaway sound bites.

Paul C. Blatt, Dunedin

Say no to the nanny state

Comes word recently that the Los Angeles City Council is banning for one year any new fast food restaurants in low-income sections of that city in the hope of attracting healthier menu alternatives, so as to combat the above-average incidence of obesity in these neighborhoods.

It's another in a long line of attempts by government at all levels and in all areas of the country to insert the "nanny state" into our daily lives, as apparently we are incapable of exercising self-governance, parental prerogative and personal discipline.

Please, Nanny. We are not a nation of toddlers. We don't need to depend on you all our lives. Leave us alone.

Dave Hunter, Lutz Time to get moving on curbside recycling | Sept. 18, editorial

Recycling is for long-term good Recycling is a necessity, not an option. Short- sighted St. Petersburg politicians like Mayor Rick Baker don't see the long-term effects of our wasteful ways. They would rather have Pinellas County return a surplus collected for garbage pickup than have curbside recycling. They argue less fuel would be used if each resident drove their car to a drop-off location than have county trucks provide curbside recycling. That's because very few residents drive their vehicles to recycling depots to drop off newspapers and bottles. Statistics from other cities show that recycling efforts increase dramatically if residents are provided curbside recycling.

A portion of St. Petersburg's garbage has to go to a landfill instead of being incinerated. Landfills are not clean. Landfills require land purchases, operation, 30 years of long-term care after closing, are difficult to build on and often require expensive remediation efforts.

With curbside recycling, a lot of our waste would be recycled, and landfills could become a thing of the past. The status quo will mean we continue to leave these monuments of waste to our children, a reminder of how short-sighted politicians can be.

Richard Pryor, St. Petersburg

Make it mandatory

Curbside recycling should be available everywhere, and participation should be mandatory. Cut down trash pickup to one day a week, and add recycling one day a week. That takes care of the "extra" trip problem that Mayor Rick Baker is so afraid of. Once you start recycling, your actual trash volume decreases.

Cyndi Raskin Schmitt, Dunedin

Not shady enough

Pinellas County has a lot to learn about how best to negotiate a deal with St. Petersburg city leadership. What? No backroom meetings or hidden agenda, and city residents won't get stuck with some disguised expense? No wonder our city leadership is leery of their offer!

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Time to get moving on curbside recycling | Sept. 18, editorial

Recycling is for long-term good Recycling is a necessity, not an option. Short- sighted St. Petersburg politicians like Mayor Rick Baker don't see the long-term effects of our wasteful ways. They would rather have Pinellas County return a surplus collected for garbage pickup than have curbside recycling. They argue less fuel would be used if each resident drove their car to a drop-off location than have county trucks provide curbside recycling. That's because very few residents drive their vehicles to recycling depots to drop off newspapers and bottles. Statistics from other cities show that recycling efforts increase dramatically if residents are provided curbside recycling.

A portion of St. Petersburg's garbage has to go to a landfill instead of being incinerated. Landfills are not clean. Landfills require land purchases, operation, 30 years of long-term care after closing, are difficult to build on and often require expensive remediation efforts.

With curbside recycling, a lot of our waste would be recycled, and landfills could become a thing of the past. The status quo will mean we continue to leave these monuments of waste to our children, a reminder of how short-sighted politicians can be.

Richard Pryor, St. Petersburg

Make it mandatory

Curbside recycling should be available everywhere, and participation should be mandatory. Cut down trash pickup to one day a week, and add recycling one day a week. That takes care of the "extra" trip problem that Mayor Rick Baker is so afraid of. Once you start recycling, your actual trash volume decreases.

Cyndi Raskin Schmitt, Dunedin

Not shady enough

Pinellas County has a lot to learn about how best to negotiate a deal with St. Petersburg city leadership. What? No backroom meetings or hidden agenda, and city residents won't get stuck with some disguised expense? No wonder our city leadership is leery of their offer!

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Time for Curbside Recycling

hed here and okay okay okay ok

Recycling is a necessity, not an option. Short sighted St. Petersburg (Rick Baker et al) politicians whose only motivation is short term monetary gains, don't see the long term effects of our wasteful ways. They would rather have the County return a surplus collected for garbage pickup than have curbside recycling. They argue that the current method of drop off is adequate. They also argue less fuel would be used if each resident drove their car to a drop off location than have County trucks provide curbside recycling. That's because very few residents drive their vehicles to recycling depots to drop off newspapers and bottles. Statistics from other cities across the country show that recycling efforts increase dramatically if residents are provided curb side recycling.

Twenty five percent of St. Petersburg's garbage has to go to a landfill instead of being incinerated. Landfills are not clean. If you think they are, go drink the water along 28th Street, next to the landfill. Landfills require land purchases, operation, 30 years of long term care after closing, are difficult to build on and often require expensive remediation efforts. In our area the bottom of a landfill may be one foot above the Surficial aquifer, which should meet drinking water standards. The monetary, aesthetic and environmental impacts from landfills are inevitable. With curbside recycling, at least 25% of our waste would be recycled, and landfills could be a thing of the past. The Status quo will mean we continue to leave these monuments of waste to our children, a reminder of how short sighted politicians can be.

Richard Pryor, PG, St. Petersburg

Subject: Curbside Recycling

Curbside recycling should be available everywhere, and participation should be mandatory. Cut down trash pick up to one day a week, and add recycling one day a week. That takes care of the "extra" trip problem that Mayor Baker is so afraid of. Once you start recycling, your actual trash volume decreases.

It's not brain surgery people!

Cyndi Raskin Schmitt, Dunedin, FL

Lowry zoo president deserves praise, not criticism 09/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 4:37pm]

    

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