New pressure for manatees | July 2
Safeguard our precious resources
According to the articles of incorporation that Save Crystal River Inc. filed with the Florida Department of State, its reason for existing is to "represent the interest of the citizens of Crystal River against excessive government regulation of the river and resources of the surrounding area." Nothing is said about safeguarding these precious resources, of which the endangered manatee is only one portion.
The petitioners are more interested in being able to buy or sell property unencumbered by environmental concerns; speed down the river in their powerboats; and generally protect their individual property rights at the expense of the habitat of creatures that only thrive due the fact that they are protected by law.
How many of the people petitioning to have the manatee's status downgraded to threatened have ever actually been in the water with them? Have they seen the devastating damage that propellers have inflicted on these creatures? More likely they watch manatees from their boats and curse the fact that they are not allowed to create a wake or build that big hotel on the river where the manatee sanctuaries are located.
Yes, these animals are flourishing. But it is only because of their protected status, not in spite of it.
Cheryl Applebaum, Tampa
New pressure for manatees | July 2
Progress as destruction
It's no surprise that the Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of Save Crystal River Inc., wants to reclassify the status of the Florida manatee population from endangered to threatened. In this state, anything that gets in the way of the polluting industries — wait, I mean "economic progress" — has to be pushed aside. Even if it is a benign, homely-but-adorable 1,200-pound swimming puppy dog with flippers.
I fail to see how asking boaters to go 5 or 10 mph slower through a wildlife sanctuary is impacting anyone's "freedom," let alone their "economic opportunities."
Ron Thuemler, Tampa
State needs motorcycle helmet law July 4, editorial
An individual choice
I wore a helmet when I rode. But motorcycle riders know the dangers of riding with or without helmets, so in my opinion freedom of choice should be maintained.
I would like to know how many of the average 160 deaths before the new law, and the 457 in 2012, were from head injuries. And don't include neck injuries, as they are sometimes caused by the helmets. Let's compare just deaths caused by head injuries.
I believe in freedom of choice on this issue.
Donna Hastie, Gulfport
Most immigrant kids will go back | July 7
Doing nothing isn't option
As a member of and frequent visitor to the Florida Holocaust Museum, I am struck by the similarity of the current rhetoric about immigrants gathering at our borders to escape violence and hunger and that documented about Jewish immigration before and during World War II in many exhibits in the museum.
This is certainly a difficult issue. The United States cannot provide a haven to every person in need, but doing nothing is also not an option. Let's work together.
Donald Cunningham, St. Petersburg
Stop fighting a losing battle | July 6, editorial
Her eye is on higher office
Regarding Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's indefensible defense of the same-sex marriage ban, I think the Times editorial missed the real point. You mention that Bondi is using "tortured court filings" and is "defending the indefensible." I don't think so. I think Bondi is trying to beef up her conservative credentials in the event a Republican is elected to the White House — looking to be considered as attorney general, a vice presidential candidate or possibly a conservative commentator.
In any event, she is not sincere. The Times is editorializing against what she is saying, but the hopelessness of her argument suggests that she is simply using this issue to give herself a higher profile and positioning herself for the prospect of Rick Scott losing his position.
Brian Beaudry, St. Petersburg
Follow the oath
According to Webster's New World Dictionary an oath is "a ritualistic declaration, typically based on an appeal to God … that one will speak the truth, keep a promise, remain faithful, etc." I am certain that Pam Bondi took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the state of Florida when she was sworn in as attorney general.
Your editorial beseeches her to ignore her oath and to refuse to enforce the state's law against gay marriage. We already have too many examples at the federal, state and local levels of political leaders who take their oath of office with no intention of ever following it. If that is acceptable conduct, why even take an oath?
Peter J. Dawson, St. Petersburg
Supreme Court justices in battle, armed with words | July 3, commentary
Lack of religious diversity
The Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case has been explained by the statement that "men and corporations do not get pregnant."
The elephant in the room, however, is the lack of religious diversity on the court. Six justices are Catholic, the other three are Jewish. Since Catholic religious doctrine opposes the use of birth control and all six judges have at one time or another asserted their deep religious faith, they should have recused themselves from ruling in this case.
Such a recusal would have led to a 3-0 ruling supporting the requirement that all corporations and businesses pay for access to birth control. Congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor for supporting the "wall of separation" despite her religion.
Neil T. Feldman, Seminole
'God Bless America'? Take it out of ball game July 4, commentary
Here is a very simple solution for Roy Peter Clark to avoid hearing God Bless America at baseball games: Don't go to baseball games or move to another country. Problem solved.
John Dressback, Largo