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Dog parks at taxpayers' expense? No!

Subject: Dogs, owners in Hernando deserve park, July 3 letter to the editor:

Rather than act responsibly, it seems we now have a segment of our society that feels taxpayers need to foot the bill for a park for their precious dogs. I guess we can't have their dogs soil their own yards or homes, can we? Nor can we expect them to get out of their homes and take their dogs for a stroll along the streets.

To listen to these people, dogs need their own park. I guess it's a constitutionally protected thing, right?

How about this for a radical solution: If your home or property is not big enough to walk your own dog on, do not get a dog! Get a hamster, instead. Or a gecko. Then you can create your own "park" in the corner of your living room to walk it.

Taxpayers should not have to be saddled with the cost of supporting your personal pet preferences.

I will, however, consider this as an option: All those whining dog owners can get a small piece of an existing park converted to "dog walking area" so long as they have someone from their own ranks volunteer to work that area during the park's open hours (at no expense to the county) to ensure dog droppings are picked up, that dogs do not fight with one another, that owners leash their dogs, etc. As soon as these volunteers fail to show up, the area is shut down.

Vilmar Tavares

Spring Hill

Criticism of Canada's health care ignores facts

Re: Canada no answer for health care, July 1 letter to the editor:

Editor: Ken Mackey's letter asserting that health care and education are luxuries is a calculated attempt to stimulate a minor class-warfare skirmish in rural Hernando County. No doubt influenced by the likes of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Mackey fails to see the arrogance and hypocrisy _ two factors that never seem to come in conservative amounts when dealing with conservatism _ of his perspective.

America, as the most powerful country in the world, should stop pointing its finger at the rest of the world while dictating what is better for other countries' citizens when we fail to offer even a minimum health care standard for all of our countrymen.

The conservative politicians who manage to bend the ear of the likes of Mr. Mackey fail to inform their listeners that the American people pay for their health care coverage _ sounds like socialism to me _ via Congressional health insurance. The detractors of universal coverage point to waiting lists in Canada and the United Kingdom for operations. However, France, Sweden, Norway, etc., all have excellent universal health care programs with no waiting lists.

Canada and the UK merely prioritize their operating procedures. If you need open-heart surgery, you will get it immediately, but if you are waiting to have an ingrown toenail surgically removed, you might have to wait a couple of months. Waiting a couple of months, or even a year for that matter, is better than never having an operation, as Mr. Mackey would have it.

The argument about higher taxes also is more conservative poppycock. If I included my insurance premium payment as a tax, then my debt burden to government taxes rises exponentially above Canada and the UK. Those who cite 7.5 percent unemployment in Canada as a reason to not have a universal coverage fail to acknowledge we are at 6.5 percent unemployment here, and that is not counting long-term unemployment that puts our figures up by at least another 1.5 percent.

Couldn't we learn from other countries that recognize basic social responsibilities so that we might be able to address some of these other "firsts" that interfere with Mr. Mackey's view of how great our nation is.

Jim Webb

Spring Hill