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Science will guide Florida's protection of turtles

Precious resource plundered | Oct. 9, editorial on freshwater turtle harvests

Science will guide turtle protection This editorial's admonition regarding the threat to freshwater turtles is exaggerated. Less than 10 percent of the freshwater turtles exported from Florida come from the wild; the rest come from farms.

Your editorial states that Florida hasn't restricted the harvest of freshwater turtles. That simply is not true. We have had restrictions in place and now they have been strengthened. On Oct. 23, an additional restriction passed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will go into effect, further restricting the harvest of wild freshwater turtles in Florida.

Softshell turtles cannot be taken from May 1 through July 31, and river cooters cannot be taken from April 15 through July 31.

The FWC instituted the further restriction of freshwater turtle harvest after meetings with commercial fishermen and turtle experts. Under the new rule, freshwater turtle harvest is restricted to five per day per person. Licensed commercial fishermen may take an additional 15 Florida softshell turtles per day during the nine-month open season. Previously, they could harvest unlimited amounts during the open season.

Turtle harvest received no attention until six months ago, and now that it has been identified as an issue, the FWC has taken rapid action to prevent escalation of harvest. We have given ourselves one year to better understand the harvest, the impacts to turtle populations and the local economic impacts that will occur with additional regulations. This course is prudent and objective.

To overnight put Floridians out of business who have been legitimately harvesting turtles for generations, particularly when there is no scientific data to substantiate that this is an emergency, is not how the FWC operates.

We will protect the turtles and be driven by science, not by the emotions of the moment.

Kenneth D. Haddad, executive director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee

Campaign mudslinging

Candidates need to clean up their acts

I am so tired of the mudslinging between the two presidential candidates, I could spit.

These are both men of character. They have both served their country, each in his own way. One in the military, enduring five years in a Vietnamese prison camp, the other working in the notoriously poor neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side. Both have put aside careers that would have made them a lot of money to serve in the Senate. So why are they allowing their campaigns to continue character attacks?

Come on, gentlemen. You each have a plan, a platform and a vision of the future to present to the voters. Let's get to it. In the next debate, try answering the questions directly and stop the stump speeches. And please stop calling each other names! You are distracting us, and there are a good number of undecided voters who are giving you the next three weeks to clean up your act and get to the point.

Rogers Ford, St. Petersburg

Let's share ideas

How about having a "We the People" forum? Many have ideas about the economy, bailout, etc. The idea is to share solution-driven ideas rather than bashing one political party or another.

We should focus on the present and how to pull together as individuals to share ideas. Let's try to be creative in a constructive way and avoid negativity.

Carl E. Graham, Largo

McCain defends Obama from angry taunts Oct. 11, story

GOP is packing anger

Has it really come to this? Are people in this country so polarized that Internet rumors and right-wing radio innuendo have people convinced Barack Obama is a terrorist, Arab, traitor? I'm sorry John McCain had to quell a chorus of boos in Minnesotta, and had to actually defend Obama, but this is his party and all that comes with it.

McCain is a great American who has finally gotten a chance to run for president of the United States. It's too bad his party has been set on courses so different from his own.

If McCain wins, he will undoubtedly have a huge undertaking trying to be who he really is: a reformer, centrist, and one willing to reach across the aisle to make things work. His party will not allow it.

Regan Wegener, Holiday

The McCain integrity

I have long admired Sen. John McCain for both his service to our country and his integrity. I am not of his party, nor have I always agreed with his policies. I admire his consistent dedication to his beliefs, his desire to do what he believes is best for the nation, and his personal integrity, which seems to require him to tell the truth and make hard decisions even when there are political consequences.

In the midst of such a contentious election, I admit that my admiration for him has been tarnished as the fight with Barack Obama has often been harsh and heated. However, as I watched the footage of a town hall meeting in La Crosse, Wis., I again saw the man I have admired. Despite the negative response from the audience and the potential to alienate voters who are operating under false and often racist assumptions, he spoke the truth.

I appreciate the risk he took to do this, to stand up for what is right. He showed us who the real John McCain is: a man of integrity, someone to be admired.

Liz Edgecomb, Tampa

It's all in who you know? Let's see | Oct. 12, Floridian story

Indiscriminate associations

The writer gives us a list of supposedly distinguished people (none of them contending for leadership of the free world) who are "at least as connected to (Bill) Ayers as Barack Obama."

We are provided no information as to just what the connections are, nor how recent they are.

What kind of "journalism" is that? To me, it proves only that the world is full of people of all stripes who, like Obama, are not very discriminating in their choice of associates.

Peter C. Ray, Parrish

Subjective coverage

I am appalled at how the St. Petersburg Times is abusing its "Freedom of the Press" and subjectively presenting the presidential race to the people.

This Sunday's paper blatantly supports Barack Obama with a large front-page photograph and story, A reluctant tilt to Obama. In the Floridian section: It's all in who you know? Let's see. In the Perspective section: Money matters with accompanying large numerical statistics.

I am ready to drop my subscription and transfer to a newspaper with an objective view of politics.

Ellen Louis, Dunedin

A slant is showing

Could your paper have shown more bias against Barack Obama in Sunday's paper? On the front page you print an article on a reluctant tilt toward Obama with a picture of a grandmotherly looking woman saying "there is nothing good that comes out of his mouth." Then in Perspective, you have an article about Muslims and Obama, that begins "Barack Hussein Obama …" Gee, sounds like one of John McCain's rallies. Just last week you had a glowing article about McCain.

I might have to take my subscription elsewhere if I can't get unbiased coverage of this election.

Sandra Flavin, Tarpon Springs

Science will guide Florida's protection of turtles 10/13/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 4:48pm]
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