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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Feral cat liability

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Feral cat liability

The feral cat problem was originally caused by irresponsible behavior. Now, the Hillsbourgh County Commission wants to fix the original irresponsible behavior with another irresponsible behavior by letting captured feral cats back into the wild.

Non-native feral cats unnecessarily prey on our native species and have no more business in the Florida wild than pythons, green iguanas, Brazilian pepper trees, Pacific Lionfish and the hundreds of other non-native invasive species that have displaced our native flora and fauna. This is also fraught with legal liability, which will not be put upon any animal groups or the county commission, but the taxpayers’ pocket.

How about the animal groups’ leaders and the five county commissioners who voted to let feral cats go have those feral cats let free in their neighborhood and see how their neighbors like it? Then they can get a first-hand experience like those of us who have had our vehicle’s paint finish damaged and night after night have feral cats fighting outside our windows.

I submit that if any feral cats are let go in the wild that they have an identity chip so that when they do damage or cause injury or disease, the liability can be traced back to the county feral cat program, and those responsible can then be held responsible for their irresponsible behavior.

James Wisner

Tampa

Meggs and Fennelly

Regarding Martin Fennelly’s column “Winston mess no laughing matter” (Sports, Dec. 6):

The columnist was rankled by the necessity and tone of Willie Meggs’ press conference regarding the Jameis Winston case. It seems obvious that the need for the press conference grew out of the media’s obsession with the story. After reporting the onset of the investigation, which was legitimately newsworthy, virtually every media outlet in the country continued on a daily basis for weeks rehashing the same old news freshened only with moral judgments and speculation, rather than waiting for a decision by the state attorney to charge Winston or not. Had the story been treated with more journalistic integrity, a rare commodity these days, there would have been no need for a press conference.

Fennelly also took umbrage at the tone of some of the state attorney’s answers to media questions. However, in watching the press conference, I witnessed the state attorney showing great discretion in his remarks, and sensitivity for the victim and her family. The only light-hearted remarks were at the expense of the media, for their unbridled appetite for excessive coverage of an investigation that was, up until that time, still in progress.

I think the state attorney showed remarkable restraint toward the media who I feel deserved much sharper criticism for their lack of professionalism.

And finally, Fennelly’s remark about the state attorney’s tie having “a little garnet in it” is clearly a stretch and way out of line. But since he brought possible bias into the conversation, I’d love to know more about Fennelly’s ties, given his years-long negativity toward anything FSU.

Howard Ellis

Lakeland

Counting heads

Regarding International Student Assessment Test scores: I can’t stand it anymore! Are we in the U.S. so naive to believe that these other countries tested all their children like we do, or do they just test the top of their “cast” system? It needs to be reported how many children do not even go to school! And what schools are being tested. Like China — how many poor in the fields do not go to school? And look at the homeless in the streets of India; these children are not being counted. We count everyone.

J. Salzler

Land O’ Lakes

Common Core

In response to Col. Tony Buntyn’s article (“Standards that give every student a chance to succeed,” Other Views, Dec. 2), there are significant inaccuracies in his conclusions. I can only assume he’s talking about the new Common Core State Standards, which he refers to as Florida State Standards. His biggest mistake is in stating that these standards belong to Florida. They do not! According to www.corestandards.org/terms -of-use, the standards are owned and copyrighted by the National Governors Association Center and the Council of Chief State School Officers (both private trade organizations) and they “retain all right, title, and interest in and to the same.”

I also take strong exception to his reference to the military child as an excuse to promote Common Core. In my husband’s 26 years of Air Force service, our sons attended K-12 in four states and 10 schools. Their exposure to a variety of educational styles and approaches in these great United States only served to strengthen their overall experience and prepared them well for their college years at the Air Force Academy and West Point. As in any achievement, personal responsibility is required to excel, and no set of standards will change that.

Nathalie Tomczak

Valrico

Shady deal

Regarding “Questions surround $1 billion purchase of Russian Mi-17 copter” (front Nation & World, Dec.8): My first thought was how could the Pentagon be so naive and have such tremendous ability to think illogically about outfitting Afghanistan’s security forces with dozens of Russian Mi-17 rotorcraft at a cost of more than $1 billion? There are some key questions about this shady deal:

Is the Mi-17 such a “top-secret” Russian rotorcraft that U.S. intelligence agencies have to purchase dozens of Mi-17s for Afghanistan and then try to sneak one of the Mi-17s to the U.S. for intelligence evaluations? Will the world’s military leaders ponder whether the U.S. has lost faith in its own U.S.-made military aircraft, ships and equipment, and hence will they look to purchasing Russian military equipment instead?

Once the Russian Mi-17s that were purchased by the U.S. arrive in Afghanistan, could they be used to support attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces? The Russian Mi-17s will need spare parts, fuel, air fields, maintenance buildings and Russian military and civilian aviation advisers. So I guess the U.S. will pay for all of this, including sending the Afghanistan military to Russia to learn Russian and learn how to fly the rotorcraft.

Robert F. Sawallesh

Valrico

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