Letters to the editor for July 4, 2021
The right to clean water
The June 27 editorial (“Turn down permits, don’t build pipeline”) on the “hare-brained” scheme to transfer water from the Suwanee to the Santa Fe is yet another exclamation point on our imperiled democracy.
I moved back to north Florida because of its springs and rivers but I can’t ignore the science. Fortunately, I still believe in our ability to make the right decision. As upwards to 75% of Floridians have recently voted to support a variety of statewide amendments, we must remind ourselves we agree on many things.
Once again, we need to flex our democratic muscles and get the Right to Clean Water on the ballot by signing the petition at FL5.org. Simply, this grants all Floridians the constitutional right to clean water and to take legal action against polluters and government inaction. It is, most importantly, a vehicle for shifting power back to both us and nature.
David Vaina, High Springs
Adding to the list of developments with little to no citizen input, Gainesville now has a bikini bar on Northwest Sixth Street. Within walking distance of an upcoming gas station and an elementary school, one has to wonder just what our planning board and staff were thinking when they chose to allow this to be the main feature of the once-welcoming entrance to our city.
There may be a time and place for everything, but a stone’s throw away from an elementary school and within easy access of a gas station is surely not the time nor place for this kind of establishment.
Wilbur Day, Gainesville
Predatory trial lawyers
Florida made it through the pandemic in much better shape than many other states. Nonetheless, there is still work to be done before the state can achieve a full economic recovery. One thing that is preventing Florida’s small business community from reaching its full potential is the “tort tax,” which has plagued our state’s legal system for years.
For all too long, predatory trial lawyers have abused Florida’s bloated court system by filing frivolous lawsuits against small businesses for outrageous sums of money. These lawyers knowingly target businesses that do not have the cash on hand to afford a drawn-out legal battle.
Many of these small businesses decide to settle before the trial, rather than risking their entire livelihoods battling it out in court. Unfortunately, these settlements provide greedy trial lawyers with exactly what they are looking for: a quick buck that requires very little effort.
Florida’s small business community would appreciate if state lawmakers could get together and come up with some commonsense solutions to solve the tort tax problem.
Wendy Biddle, Trenton
The impact of redlining
Kudos to Sophia Butler for her recent column about redlining. I’ve long been aware of the economic disparity between Blacks and whites but remained relatively indifferent until recently. Despite my 40-plus years in finance and economics, I never grasped the significance of what she describes.
Today, I’m studying about real estate and how potential homeowners qualify for financing to pay for it. The history and evolution of the rules that apply go back many decades. However, today’s political climate suggests that despite comprehensive rules to limit redlining, certain elements will move heaven and earth to find ways to sustain the effects of it.
As someone about to complete eight decades on this planet, I can’t do much to change outcomes, but plan to do what little I can.
Tony Kendzior, Gainesville
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