Free the fish!

This letter is to question the continued allowance of fish being blocked from Marion County’s rivers. Yes, this is about Rodman Dam.

Even on the west side of Rodman fish are blocked from the Withlacoochee River by a dam. I know people don’t fish like we used to, and possibly you could conclude there is a lack of species to catch today due to dams.

So back to my real question: Why is Marion County blase’ about losing fish and increasing fishing tourist interest? Is it that we have bad political neighbors in Putnam County who don’t want us to have our fish back? And why won’t our very own county commissioners speak up for restoration of our river?

We have a wonderful opportunity to have a world attraction at Silver Springs and to have a stretch of the Ocklawaha River put back on the Wild and Scenic Rivers list, simply by breaching a dam, for their fish to be returned.

So when will the Marion County’s real fishing folks speak up and demand our fish be allowed back into the Ocklawaha River by removing a useless, costly dam? It’s our river in our back yard!

Capt. Erika Ritter, Fort McCoy


Is economy that strong?

The most common measure of economic growth in the U.S. is our gross domestic product, or GDP. It is the total monetary value of all of the goods we produce and the services we provide.

The rate of GDP growth has increased from about 2 percent under President Obama to over 3 percent now. The unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent to 3.7 percent. Naturally, President Trump is claiming credit. And at first glance, that makes perfect sense. But are we really better off?

Obama left a solid, but somewhat boring, economy. The story goes that Trump stimulated the economy by cutting regulations and lowering taxes. Let’s look at those two steps one at a time.

Besides ending net neutrality, it seems the only significant regulations Trump cut were environmental, primarily in the energy sector. For example, he opened up more of Alaska and the Atlantic to drilling, approved the Keystone pipeline and softened Obama’s gas mileage and coal rules.

Maybe those regulations went too far and should have been cut. After all, we have a higher GDP number to show for it.

But the GDP figures do not include a negative adjustment for adverse environmental effects. So we are left wondering whether pulling more oil and coal out of the ground is a productive thing to do or are we just artificially inflating the numbers without increasing our collective productivity?

Regarding the tax cut, it has long been known that deficit spending stimulates the economy. In Trump’s case, the tax cut was accompanied by increased spending, resulting in much larger deficits. That is a lot of stimulation. But prudence causes us to wonder …

Again, we see higher numbers. But are we really more productive, or is it artificial?

Steven M. Chamberlain, Ocala


Scott's horrible record

The Star-Banner has been fairly ruthless on it’s condemnation of Gov. Rick Scott’s environmental record — for good reason, I might add. But then I read your opinion piece in Oct. 8 Opinion section touting clean affordable energy as the way to go and not one mention of our infamous anti-environmental Scott doing away, for all intent purposes, with the Department of Energy shortly after taking office.

He also refused to make the State of Florida pay homeowners who installed solar energy what was promised them from the previous administration. Not pennies — we’re talking thousands of dollars per homeowner. His office wouldn’t even respond to requests for information as to why.

For those of you convinced he’s the man to be Florida’s senator, just wait until he takes his seat at the table and I would be willing to bet you’ll see the oil rigs going up in the Gulf within months.

Scott’s record speaks for itself and his smooth talking election campaign is 180 degrees from the truth and only being portrayed that way to get him elected. Heaven forbid potential candidates were required to tell the truth for a change.

A vote for Scott is another stake in the heart of this great country. If you’re going to vote, and this has already been mentioned many times, do your research before heading to the polls. Make informed decisions, not those based strictly on politics.

Jim Miller, Dunnellon