End savage dolphin hunt | Sept. 29, commentary
SeaWorld linked to dolphin hunt
Last week the CEO of SeaWorld, Joel Manby, co-authored a column condemning the brutal annual dolphin hunts that take place in Taiji, Japan. What Manby failed to acknowledge is that SeaWorld is intrinsically linked to the Taiji hunts through its close connection with IMATA: the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association.
SeaWorld's relationship with IMATA would be better described as "best buddies" than casual acquaintances. For example, IMATA was originally headquartered at SeaWorld, and SeaWorld trainers continue to hold numerous high-power positions within the organization. And that's significant, considering IMATA's policy allows trainers to enter the Taiji killing cove and stand side by side with hunters, violently dragging dolphins out of the wild.
These trainers handpick the "prettiest" dolphins and help sell them to marine parks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. They leave the dolphins with ugly injuries or babies too young to learn circus tricks behind — casting them aside to the slaughter heap.
For years, SeaWorld and IMATA have publicly condemned these violent hunts, while at the same time supporting a policy that expressly allows their trainers to participate in them.
It's all very well for Manby to publicly say he is against the Taiji dolphin hunts. But the truth is, there is something simple he could do right now to help end them. SeaWorld could easily cut all ties with IMATA until this organization stops its trainers violently tearing dolphins out of the cove. Instead, SeaWorld continues to conveniently look the other way as IMATA lets trainers drag dolphins away from their families.
In the words of Ric O'Barry, a veteran dolphin advocate and star of The Cove, until SeaWorld takes action against IMATA, any rhetoric condemning the hunts is just "hot air and hollow words." As it stands, SeaWorld continues to throw its full support behind IMATA — even agreeing to host its annual conference in November.
Manby was right about one thing: As a massive corporation with global influence and buying power, SeaWorld could easily use its position of power to save Taiji dolphins from unthinkable pain and suffering. The question is: Will it?
Sarah Lucas, CEO, Australia for Dolphins, Melbourne, Australia
Come clean on school budget crisis Sept. 29, editorial
Make the tough decisions
Several months ago, the Times published the results of an audit on the Hillsborough County school system done by the Gibson Consulting Group. The audit showed how the system could save $404 million. Last week, the Times reported that this system is in dire straits, with new air conditioning systems and buses needed.
My question: Were any of the recommendations from this audit actually implemented? As I reread this audit report, I noticed that administrators repeatedly stated they were "trying to avoid layoffs." Really? If positions are found to be excessive, and dollars are short, how is that relevant?
The purpose of schools is to benefit students, not to provide jobs. Sounds like common sense is needed here. Sounds like tough decisions need to be made. Does anyone in charge have the courage to do the right thing?
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
Compare the candidates
Climate change and environmental protection have rightly become front-and-center issues in the 2016 election, and fracking in particular has emerged as a hot-button issue.
In the Florida Senate District 18 race, Democrat Bob Buesing has signed a pledge that, if elected, he will fully support a ban on fracking. Republican Dana Young talks the talk but hasn't walked the walk. In 2016, she voted for the pro-fracking, industry-supported bill HB 191 that passed the Florida House on a party-line vote. She also voted against proposed amendments to HB 191 that would have required the industry to monitor the effects of fracking on public health and would have prohibited the use of known carcinogens.
Fortunately, the Floridians Against Fracking coalition mobilized the public to demand that their senators vote against the pro-fracking bill, and it died in the Senate.
Next year, Floridians Against Fracking will be back in Tallahassee demanding a total ban. Buesing will be an ally, and he has the endorsement of the Florida Conservation Voters. But based on her consistently anti-environment track record, Young will very likely continue her support for fracking and the oil and gas industry, despite her professed concern to protect the purity of our water.
Andrew Rock, Tampa
Trump's tax records from 1995 revealed Oct. 2
This article discusses the net operating loss provision of the tax code as though only wealthy families benefit from this provision. That is not accurate. Net operating profit or loss, which is the correct accounting terminology, is basic business accounting that has been used as long as business accounting has existed. It is the standard method for all businesses to determine profit or loss.
The article cites limited liability corporations, partnerships and S corporations for using this method to pass the losses to their personal tax returns. This method is used to pass both profit and loss to personal tax returns; the profits can result in an increase in the individual's taxes. The deductions listed are also standard accounting deductions that all businesses use to determine profit or loss. There is nothing illegal, sneaky, underhanded or dishonest in the use of these deductions.
Darlene Gent, Spring Hill
Following the law
Firstly, there are 7,000 pages of tax codes. Donald Trump is using exactly what he is allowed to use under those laws. If Hillary Clinton or other politicians don't like the loopholes, they should change them. They don't because of their own personal use or the use by those who have donated to them.
Rollie Blodgett, Dover