The recent outcry of NAACP leaders and their associates over the acquittal of George Zimmerman is misdirected. By insisting the Justice Department file federal charges against Zimmerman, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al, risk enabling this agency to violate the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment, if not by law certainly by fact. This kind of prosecution opens the door for the federal government to set aside any acquittal of any party it deems fit to prosecute. Such charges transgress the jurisdiction of state courts and sweep away the rights of both individuals and state authorities - the one to a fair and speedy trial, the other to tend its own legal affairs.
Those protesting the verdict and insisting upon the racial implications of this case have the right to redress government and lobby for a change in laws they believe opened the door for this conflict. They do not have the right to insist that Zimmerman again stand trial when a jury of his peers found insufficient evidence that he had committed a crime.
Word has reached the Valrico community that another store might be built. The question is where. It has been said that land next to the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library is perfect for this "big-box store." Not only is another store on Bloomingdale Avenue unappealing, but many believe that the consequences of such a store would be felt in the community.
The piece of land where the building may be built used to be a cow field. Bloomingdale used to be slightly more nature-appealing, but now it seems every square inch of land has to be built up. If this big-box store gets clearance, then the community will have to endure the consequences, such as widening the two-lane road and increased traffic. Bloomingdale Avenue does not have the space for road expansion, and traffic during rush hour is already a nightmare, so why insert more pressure in an area that is already maxed out?
Air pollution in Valrico is slowly becoming worse, as many commute to and from work. The congestion that this store would cause for this small area would be extreme. This area's air quality would plummet, and many organisms, humans included, will be affected.
A quarter of a mile up Bloomingdale Avenue, there is an abandoned Sweetbay. If this area must have another store, why not use a building that is already built and save time and money?
I am very grateful for Mayor Bob Buckhorn's attempt to clean up many of the city's neighborhoods. But this has been tried by every administration since Sandy Freedman. The efforts of every code officer is appreciated. The officers do their best for each neighborhood. However, until the process is changed, more funding for staff or even a new computer system will do little to correct the problem of code violations.
The attitude needs to change. Compiling cases and not holding people accountable at a hearing needs to be addressed. Civil citations are a good suggestion; however, without reinspections of the violations, there is no accountability. This allows repeated violations to occur by the same property owners on the same properties.
Pete D. Johnson
TampaWalk more, Mayor
Are we to believe based on his time on Tampa City Council, the years he spent developing his white paper to address Tampa's issues when he was running for mayor, and his time as mayor, Bob Buckhorn was not aware of the significant problems in the neighborhoods now being targeted for code enforcement violations? If he spent more time walking the neighborhoods as opposed to concentrating on high-profile events, he would be a lot more effective. He is supposed to be the mayor of all Tampa. He has not proven he is.
TampaControl animal births
Regarding "Hillsborough animal shelter gets $250,000 for emergency hires" (July 17):
Unless the county gets to the root of its animal homelessness problem, this will likely be only the first of many conversations about emergency funds, hiring more staff and expanding the shelter. The fact that many dogs and cats are contracting diseases and dying because the shelter is so overcrowded shows that implementing no-kill policies before animal births are brought under control only leads to suffering.
Because of the steady flow of homeless animals, shelters with no-kill policies must often resort to warehousing animals in cages indefinitely, refusing to accept animals in need, and/or lowering their adoption standards and handing animals over to anyone who will take them, including to hoarders posing as "rescues." The only real and humane way for Hillsborough County to become a no-kill community is to first become a no-birth one - by passing mandatory spay/neuter legislation, supported by low-cost clinics, and by outlawing the unregulated breeding and sale of animals by breeders, pet shops, flea markets, and puppy mills.
The writer is an animal care and control specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.