The letter from a reader July 23 (“Valuable lesson learned?” Your Views) declaring a news article to be one-sided in favor of Palestine is incorrect. Most Americans believe that the State of Israel was somehow legally created by the United Nations. However, a resolution for an independent State of Israel was, in fact, defeated in the U.N. in 1947. A group of Jewish leaders, who weren’t even from that area, then simply announced that they were creating an independent State of Israel in Palestine, in direct and clear violation of international law. Control of the area was then gained by military force. The Palestinian people never gave any Jewish leaders the right to an independent state anywhere in Palestine, and are not likely to do so. These facts are scarcely ever reported. If they were, Americans who are now outraged by people illegally crossing our borders to find work in the U.S. would certainly be more outraged if a group of Arabs illegally came to the U.S. to establish their own country inside our borders by force and violence. But when the same thing happens in Palestine, the same people aren’t outraged because they aren’t adequately informed by the media.
Concerns about library
Why would the leaders of the Parks and Recreation Department allow a new library building to be erected at Countryside Park and Recreation Center in Pinellas County? It would destroy the natural beauty and ambiance of this small, pristine park that children and adults now enjoy. Green space will be sacrificed, and the whole ecosystem will be drastically changed.
It is a fish and wildlife habitat, but the state DEP is turning a deaf ear when called. The federal EPA states it can’t help — either the wildlife have to be on wetlands in Florida, or they have to be an endangered species. The Sierra Club is not responding. Who is going to protect the ducks, fish and turtles that swim in the lake there? What’s going to happen to the birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc.? The excavation alone will cause dirt and dust in the air, and the increase in carbon emissions from more cars will pollute the air, endangering the lives of people and animals. It’s now a healthy place for children and adults to enjoy.
Who chose this location? It is at the end of a two-way, two-lane dead-end street with no other entrance or exit. This will cause major traffic problems, and it has great potential for accidents. How will emergency vehicles get through?
Public libraries should be in an easily accessible location, which the present Countryside Library is. Parks should encourage healthy, active lifestyles as well as social development. They should connect to our environment and our history, which the present one does. Why change? It doesn’t make sense.
Please keep the Countryside Library at its present location. Preserve the Countryside Park and Recreation Center!
Margaret Rae Mann
‘Hall of Fame for life’
Tony Dungy is a good man, and he was a great football coach and mentor. As the first black NFL head coach to win the Super Bowl and as an NFL Hall of Fame nominee, his legendary accomplishments in the NFL will forever be acknowledged. It is unfortunate that Dungy or any head coach would avoid drafting an openly gay player, whose ability alone should have placed him in a much earlier round, because it would be too much of a distraction.
What would this world be like today if Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers decided it was too big of a distraction to play Jackie Robinson? In response to Dungy’s comments, Michael Sam said, “Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach.” I say thank God there are people like Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson, and St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who take courageous actions to do what’s right and make the world a better place. Good men can accomplish great things. Great men change the world with their actions. If there were a “Hall of Fame for Life,” Fisher and Sam would be working their way in.
Passing the buck
State Sen. Andy Gardiner is somewhat gratuitous in his claims that his interest in passing this legislation was based primarily on his desire to give families better choices for their children with disabilities (“Union trying to limit choices for students with disabilities,” Other Views, July 25). I ask this of the senator: If you, as a state legislator, are supposed to be overseeing public education in this state, why haven’t you made sure that these services are adequately available internally so that parents don’t feel the need to look elsewhere? Why is it necessary to go to private sources to get services that should be available within?
I feel that one of the main reasons these services are not available now internally is that the Republican leadership, which Gardiner represents, does not believe in public education and continually underfunds it. If it was within his power, he would probably dismantle the entire system. When he claims that public education spending is at the highest level ever, he fails to mention that per-capita spending (per student) is now lower.
He also failed to mention how the Republican Legislature had cut $1 billion from the education budget in 2010 (Gov. Rick Scott’s first year) and only now has seen fit to restore some of it. He also failed to mention how the state has increasingly cut its share of funding public education, passing it on to localities, putting more of the load on to property owners. No teacher union has ever objected to increased funding for programs for children with disabilities. What they have objected to is the manner of funding for these programs — giving state tax credits to companies giving to a special fund set up to finance these scholarships — and for the penchant of this Legislature to outsource the funds to private institutions.
No one can ever overestimate the unmitigated gall of this Legislature in trying to pass the buck for its failures to underpaid and overworked teachers.