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Plan would assure the preservation of Cone Ranch

A dubious deal for preserve | May 30, editorial

Assuring the preservation of Cone Ranch

In response to your editorial regarding the proposal to permanently preserve and restore Cone Ranch, I'd like to make a few comments on behalf of Florida Conservation and Environmental Group.

We have, and continue to be, very public and transparent in discussing our concept. We have reached out to more than 30 people and organizations prior to bringing this to the Hillsborough County Commission, not the least of which was the Times editorial board. Our message remains that this concept is at least worthy of a community discussion.

Conveniently omitted from your editorial is that although the county currently owns Cone Ranch, there have been numerous attempts to put commercial or residential buildings on the property. And although each effort has failed, that cannot assure the public that future boards or citizenry would remain resolute in their discretionary protection of the property. Our approach guarantees Cone Ranch's preservation.

Additionally, as you point out, the land has not been properly or well tended. To say it is no longer pristine is an understatement. At this point, we have not, by design, offered specifics for its restoration so as to allow the Environmental Advisory Panel and technical resource group to provide their expertise and insight.

And to be clear, the Nature Conservancy, the well known and highly respected environmental group, will be an integral and active participant with FCEG.

Lastly, we believe in this concept as longtime residents, businessmen and outdoorsmen. As County Commissioner Rose Ferlita so aptly said during the public meeting, "We have to have a new mind-set that, if in the right sense and with a lot of working relationships, environment can work with the business community, (and) the business community can work toward environmental ends." FCEG is committed to doing just that.

Rick Michaels, Tampa

Guns don't belong in national parks May 30, editorial

Don't confuse legal gun owners with criminals

I think your article was, to say the least, a little one-sided. The attached cartoon says "A tourist whipped out a concealed weapon and shot Smokey the Bear." A tourist who is carrying a concealed weapon legally will have been trained in the appropriate places and situations in which he/she can use the weapon.

This should be a nonissue; to make it sound like gun-carrying people will be stalking the woods is wrong. As I am sure you know, the cities that have banned handguns have the highest gun-related crimes. I'm more worried that since the Obama administration put wolves on the protected list in various parks that we will see an increase in attacks on humans.

Last week while you were writing this article a teenager went into a store and tried to rob it at gunpoint. Where is your anger and a story about that? Why do agenda-journalists always associate people honestly carrying guns with those illegally carrying guns, implying that they are "drive-by tourists"?

Timothy Keffalas, Tarpon Springs

Guns don't belong in national parks May 30, editorial

Gun-free zones do nothing

Your editorial omits the fact that only persons with valid concealed carry permits will be allowed to bring their firearms into national parks. Do you seriously believe that persons with criminal intent are going to obey a "no-guns-allowed rule"?

I recently heard a speech by an antigun congressman who railed about "gun nuts" who will now be allowed to bring their guns into national parks. The real nuts are the fools who think that "gun-free zones" accomplish anything.

As for regulatory nightmares, the nightmare is even worse for law-abiding citizens who encounter violent criminals in these vast national parks. There are simply too few park rangers to police these areas, and citizens who have valid permits should be allowed to bring their means of self-protection.

You are deluding yourself if you think a sign or words on paper deters evildoers.

Leonard Martino, Tampa

Guns don't belong in national parks May 30, editorial

Where's the problem?

Once again the St. Petersburg Times sees a problem that I believe does not exist.

If a law-abiding citizen in any state follows that state's laws concerning carrying firearms, what difference does it make where in that state that person is? Is he going to go crazy as soon as gets on federal property and start shooting up the place? I think not.

If I were in an isolated part of any area in any state I would certainly feel safer if I or a fellow legally armed person was there.

Robert L. Simister, Seminole

Holy bonds of mutual fantasy | May 27, David Brooks column

Insensitive images

As the executive director of an agency that provides services to persons with epilepsy, I was appalled by this David Brooks article.

Brooks' attempts at humor fell far short of their mark when referring to unhappy CEOs having "epileptic seizures" and "Flopping around the stage, like a 3-D version of the Heimlich poster."

It's very obvious that Brooks does not have a close family member with epilepsy, and I'm equally sure that the millions of individuals who have this neurological disorder fail to find this article humorous.

Thanks to Brooks' insensitivity, organizations such as ours continue to battle the myths and misunderstandings surrounding epilepsy.

Michael Finch, executive director, Suncoast Epilepsy Association Inc., St. Petersburg

Holy bonds of mutual fantasy | May 27, David Brooks column

Oh, the humanity

Enjoyed David Brooks' column, but maybe not in the way he intended for it to be appreciated. He presents with visual clarity CEOs gnashing their collective molars as they fake being newborn, responsible corporate citizens.

I can readily imagine a big pharmaceutical CEO explaining to his distraught 15-year-old daughter that she will not be getting that Bentley he had promised her for her 16th birthday. Instead, she'll just have to settle for a lowly Corvette. "Times are hard, darling; we must all sacrifice a bit."

Oh, man's inhumanity to man. Where will it end?

David M. Childress Sr., Palm Harbor

Search for missing Shih Tzu ends in heartbreak | May 28, story

It shouldn't have happened

Education needs to be done on a mass scale to teach people how to protect their pets by microchipping, by always having a collar on when the pet is outside and by having a tag on the collar with your name and phone number. Obviously many people are not aware of the consequences when this isn't done.

That said, there is something seriously derelict at the Suncoast SPCA in New Port Richey that they would tell this dog's owners, Susan and Ricky Ouellette, that their dog was not there even though they came in every day and the dog was there. Was it the front desk person who doesn't care or is not trained, or is not doing her job?

The SPCA needs to "come clean" on what happened, make changes and issue an apology. Perhaps some heads have to roll. This should never have happened. A loved one was killed. I feel their pain.

Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs

Litter on the beach keeps bag lady busy May, 27, Sue Carlton column

Cleanup crew

I am responding to Sue Carlton's column about her bag lady activity on the beach. This article could have been written by me. I have experienced all those same feelings while enjoying my walk. The best day is when someone says, "Hey, you are doing a nice job." I want her to know that I see bag men too.

Kathy LaDuke, St. Pete Beach

Plan would assure the preservation of Cone Ranch 06/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 7:22pm]
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