Government bloat

A recent Sun story about potential county impact fees reports county Transportation Officer Chris Dawson saying the “commission would need a significant uptick in staff to be able to collect countywide fees, but the extra employees could be paid for by the developer charges.”

Alachua County residents already pay high property taxes and utility rates, additional taxes under at least four municipal taxing authorities, plus fuel taxes and local-option sales taxes. Yet roads are a mess, traffic flow is choked and 50% of county land is off the tax rolls. How much tax and fee revenue is enough?

Impact fees are appropriate, as new development benefits from existing infrastructure, but any new impact fees should offset taxes already being paid by residents, and should not be consumed by hiring yet more county employees.

Why cannot these new taxes be collected by our existing tax collector’ office, and how can it require a “significant uptick in staff” just to collect money? More local government bloat.

Thomas Lane, Gainesville

Enforce panhandling laws

I can solve the panhandling, aka begging, issue with three words: enforce the laws! I see beggars on the median and in the street every day. I've also seen patrol cars pass by and completely ignore the problem.

Did we not already say that being in the road/median and interacting with cars was illegal? Until law enforcement actually enforces the law, the situation will only get worse.

Bruce E. Bowling, Gainesville

Stability needed

A critical shortage of testing kits for detection of the coronavirus has hampered early surveillance and treatment of potentially infected people. Two federal agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are primary facilitators for timely distribution of the kits.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration in the past three years has had five chief administrators for HHS and another five for the FDA. This “revolving door” policy of governmental leadership works against a quick response to health care emergencies as well as to urgent political, military and climatic events.

I worked for 30 years in a large governmental health-care system and cannot stress how important it is to have stability in top management. With constant turnover and chaos at the highest levels, we are only one event away from a truly catastrophic, but eminently avoidable incident (the Cuban missile crisis comes to mind).

John Thomas, Gainesville

Scary rhetoric

When Sen. Chuck Schumer said that Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh “will pay the price,” he was referring to the decision still be made on a Louisiana law restricting abortions. This is scary stuff and reflects upon a faction in the party of Jefferson, which has just about lost all sense of respect and decorum.

I condemn anyone in authority who speaks this way. Judges are the best means we have to keep warring politicos from literally homicidal rhetoric. Schumer must go — electorally speaking.

Tom Cunilio, Lake City

Stop changing clocks

The annual madness is upon us again, also known as changing the clocks. Each time it happens I have to wonder why, and there is never any decent answer.

Back in the 1800s the railroads managed to get everyone on standard time, and that should have been good enough for all. I see no advantage to messing around with that proven system.

If people want extra daylight in the evening, let them go to work an hour earlier and get off an hour earlier. Do not mess with everyone's time just because a few people like to sunbathe.

Robert L. Stephens, Gainesville

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