Seismic airgun testing
Threat to Florida's environment
The U.S. Interior Department is considering whether seismic airgun testing should be conducted to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of seven states from Delaware to Florida.
This should be of concern for anyone who either personally enjoys Florida's beaches or profits from the tourism that our beautiful beaches generate. In seismic testing for oil and gas using airguns, the devices are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air at 250 decibels through the water and miles into the seabed. These airguns make intense pulses of sound, almost as loud as explosives, every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end.
The blasts are so loud and constant that they can injure or disturb vital behaviors in fish, dolphins, whales and sea turtles. Marine life impacts can include temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death.
If approved, seismic airgun testing will threaten marine life, fisheries and coastal economies up and down the Atlantic Coast.
Jake Adair, Tampa
Hillsborough's moment on rights Jan. 23, editorial
I'm for a partner registry
Today, Hillsborough County considers a domestic partner registry. I am a conservative Republican and strongly support its passage for the following reasons:
1. The registry can be used by any adults. It is not specific to gender.
2. Government's role is not to determine who might register or why but simply to provide adults with basic rights involving health, funeral, education, or designation of retirement benefits.
3. This issue is separate from the county engaging in recognition of certain groups or lifestyles — which I oppose.
4. This is America — we are all different and have a right to privacy. This affords all adults that right and does not require government to pick and choose who can visit who in the hospital or any number of other mundane activities.
5. This is not about pride events or marriage — but rather about basic rights. It does not confer financial benefits or even require a person to designate why they might register. Again — it's no one's business why you register, but you may do so, free of discrimination, if you so choose.
6. The activists on both sides will use this for their own purposes and likely repel more people than they attract — which is their habit.
Finally, I represent 1.2 million people. I don't pick and choose — I represent all. Nor do I seek ways to divide people; that's for others. I simply want to allow residents to live in peace, as neighbors, respected and enjoying basic rights, without harassment. Again, I won't be signing pride proclamations, but I also won't be casting stones — just living my life, faithful to God, aware I am not Him, and always in awe of His creation.
Mark Sharpe, Hillsborough County Commissioner, District 7
Uphill fight on Obama's gun plan | Jan. 16
Set reasonable limits
It has become brutally clear that reasonable limits must be set to minimize gun violence in our society. The president's proposals on gun safety are not only reasonable, they reflect a prolife position in that their intent is simply to protect life. Prolife conservatives such as Sen. Marco Rubio should set aside their disdain for the president and support these proposals.
Rubio's response that "nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook" is both illogical and offensive. As a society we routinely take protective measures based on public safety. Consider seatbelt and speed limit laws. No rational person would argue against these types of restrictions based on the fact that they will not prevent all car accidents, and it is just as absurd to use this argument against the proposed gun restrictions.
Rubio should propose his own solutions if he disagrees, but he should not expect the public to accept such a weak and irrational response. In terms of infringing upon Second Amendment rights, the right to life should clearly trump the right to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Peggy Fuhr, Tampa
Judicial diversity declining | Jan. 21
Get beyond skin color
It was ironic that on the day we honored Martin Luther King, the Tampa Bay Times published a totally non-newsworthy story about Gov. Rick Scott being "on pace to appoint fewer black judges."
Have you forgotten that the driving force of the civil rights movement was that we must judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin? You seem to be implying that a crucial test of judicial appointments is skin color. It will be a celebrated day when your liberal paper stops focusing on race, gender and ethnicity and starts reporting real news without any bias.
Pat Jennings, Dunedin
State stars in incentive horror show | Jan. 20
Kudos to the Tampa Bay Times for this article. Talk about government waste. People will bemoan state employee benefits or funds involved in helping underprivileged children or the elderly, but no one seems to bat an eye when Gov. Rick Scott's darling Department of Economic Opportunity throws around, and away, millions of dollars.
Such lavish incentives for corporations seem to have become the norm in Tallahassee. The amounts involved should call into question the funding given to this department. Yet "Scott has asked the Legislature for more freedom to recruit businesses to the state with cash incentives" — more absurdity.
If Scott wants to cut "government waste," let him start with cutting funding for his own darling child, instead of seeking to increase it, and redirect the money to real people with real children. That money, whether given in the form of state jobs, benefits for state employees, or assistance to the sick, poor, neglected, or elderly will not go to waste. Those monies will be plowed back into communities across the state, providing a better form of "seed money" than the billions in incentives to lure too few jobs at much too high a price.
J. Napora, Tampa
Teen held in 5 killings in N.M. | Jan. 21
One size fits all?
Today's news: Teen accused of killing five members of a family in a home. Tomorrow's news: NRA calls for armed police in all homes in the United States.
Donald Carroll, North Redington Beach