Insults to the environment

Will our new governor commit to a real environmental action plan after Tallahassee politicians, state scientists and our too-powerful universities have worked tirelessly for decades on behalf of agriculture, chemical and development interests?

The insults are obvious. You can't dump billions of tons of soluble fertilizers, pesticides and sewage onto the land and into the water without impacting water quality and aquatic life. You can't suffer the same pollution from the rest of the country via the Mississippi and other rivers and expect Gulf and Atlantic waters to remain healthy. You also can't expect gaseous, acidic fossil-fuel emissions laced with heavy metals that settle on lands and waters to be held harmless.

It's the economy, stupid! Do expect to be taxed for lame research and expensive band-aid fixes, and say bye-bye to your springs, rivers, lakes, beaches, seafood, wildlife and tourism — not to mention human health and your children's future

Randall Lance, Wellborn


Invest in housing

The Nov. 8 editorial, “Local measures’ passage should inspire pride,” rightfully applauded the passage of two local measures that will increase taxes for school facilities and the Children’s Trust. That editorial also stated that “local officials must make sure our community is affordable to all residents, particularly when it comes to housing.”

Yet, the GNV R.I.S.E. proposal billed as an “affordable housing plan” would not use tax proceeds for subsidized rentals. Instead, developers would build rental units, but their “risk” would be mitigated by an incentive that allows them to charge market rates for up to 90 percent of the units.

Who would incur most of the risk? The answer: residential property owners disadvantaged by spot zoning and residents faced with multifamily developments in any Gainesville neighborhood. If affordable housing is indeed a collective societal concern, as it should be, carefully researched and analyzed policies and effective public investment are needed.

Lynne Holt, Gainesville


Still a red state

We Floridians like to see ourselves as the ultimate “purple” swing state — the arbiter of who gets to occupy the White House. It’s heady stuff. But, it’s also wrong.

Wednesday morning we woke up to the reality that Florida is Republican “red.” Some party leaders had counted on an influx of new, progressive voters, including several hundred thousand from Puerto Rico.

Looking ahead, Democrats may be thinking they can win next time with the help of some of the estimated 1.4 million newly enfranchised former felons who will be eligible to vote. Don't bet on it. Nearly 1,000 new residents move here every day. They are mostly white, older, and well off — and they vote.

Until Democrats learn how to appeal to them and stop chasing the progressive demographic dream, Florida will stay "red."

David Shapiro, Gainesville


Restore dignity

After months of toxic flyers in the mailbox and hateful ads on television, we finally get some relief from politicians bashing one another.

I was reading a book recently and came across a passage that would go a long way toward restoring dignity and moderation in our government, in our neighborhoods and in our relationships with others: "Share with people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, and be willing to associate with people who are less fortunate. Do not replay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone, and if it is possible, live at peace with everyone."

A tall task I'm afraid, but not impossible, these words from a book called the Bible and a passage called Romans 12.

Allan Lowe, Gainesville


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