1. Archive

Private ownership a vital freedom

Editor: I have generally been impressed with the objectivity Paul Wilborn displays in his writings. His column today, (This isn't for the faint of heart, Sept. 27) struck me as being a bit too contrived on a subject about which I feel very strongly.

I am "another man who rose to warn the ARC about destroying America." Just to clarify a point, I did not state that America was founded on private property rights. I do believe private ownership of real property, and its inherent rights, is one of the most priceless freedoms we enjoy in America. It ranks with the right of free speech; a subject about which you feel strongly, I am sure.

I commend and appreciate Lykes Bros. Inc. for taking a firm albeit expensive stand in preserving their property rights. You cite the "shopping cart" of defense materials, attorneys and experts Lykes Bros. engaged to preserve those rights. You did not attempt to place a price tag on that cart. As I sat and listened to the "long, long story," I tried several times to calculate the costs. Mrs. Plyler is right, "Preservation is not for sissies." Neither, would it seem, is property rights preservation for poor folks!

Historic preservation and ownership of private property are both worthy community goals. Unfortunately, Tampa's preservation ordinance legislated mutual exclusivity. The ordinance abrogates property rights in favor of obscure community values dictated by those who bear no financial responsibility in property or the hardships that may be caused in defining those values. It subverts free market principles and historic preservation methods that were in place prior to its passage. Moreover, this special interest legislation was foisted upon every citizen and property owner without benefit of public referendum.

Community and government leaders are pursuing every effort to create investment in downtown Tampa, even to the extent of putting taxpayers at considerable risk if some public ventures fail. It is incomprehensible that contrary moves are made, by a quasi-governmental commission, to thwart private investment by one of the city's oldest and most valued corporate citizens.

Bill Upton


Animals need consideration

at Lowry Park Zoo

Editor: I visited the Lowry Park Zoo last week; the entrance with acres of green grass and trees for parking was very nice. On entering I found the courtyard, fountains, and all the amenities etc., for people were very impressive.

Sadly, the animals did not seem to fare so well. The elephants are quartered on a tiny "island" with what has to be burning hot sand. There is a piece of cloth attached to the roof of the building which if it is supposed to be awning, is ridiculous.

The orangutans were in an enclosure of concrete "boulders" with hot sand floor and no natural foliage or shade.

The leopards, and the Sumatran tiger were housed in barren, arid pens with, again, no natural foliage, hot sand floor, and no apparent "lair" in which to sleep or shelter from storms. The sloth bear's enclosure was also incredibly ugly with no amenities. Also the tiger and the sloth bear were alone and looked sad, bored and lonely.

Only the birds live in a natural habitat.

I was also distressed to see that although manatees prefer solitude, there were eight manatees confined to two small concrete tanks.

While I am sure the animals' nutritional and medical needs are well served, nevertheless it is very important that they be given a chance to roam and play within their concrete "prisons" and they have to stay on the wooden platforms to keep off the hot sand, it seems to me that in the long run this must be injurious to their health.

The directors of the zoo and the generous sponsors should visit places such as Busch Gardens to see how animals can be housed in comfort in their natural environments.

After hearing so much about all the money that has been donated, and "How wonderful the zoo is," I felt very disappointed and feel the money could have been put to much better use for the comfort of the wonderful animals.

Marie Hilton