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Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 3 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ Hayek maligned, equality corrupted
Dear Editor:   
Friedrich Hayek and Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in their graves. There can be no greater insult than invoking their economic and public-policy standards to support Obamacare. More to the point of responding to a recent Observer Letter to the Editor, there can be no greater distortion and misrepresentation.

Hayek was a critic of collectivism and an opponent of central planning because they are the figurative parents of totalitarianism. He believed in the price mechanism offered through free markets to provide services and products. Hayek understood that personal liberty is the first victim on the path to Socialism.

There is nothing inconsistent with those principals and Hayek’s support of government assistance in insuring against catastrophic events, including health care. Health care has been heavily regulated for years, but Obamacare takes regulation to another level; so much so that it maligns the legacy of Hayek to claim his economic theory supports Obamacare. Beyond the website failures, increased costs, policy cancellations and intentional falsehoods of Obamacare, the most pernicious effects are its individual and business mandates and penalties. It is impossible to reconcile the principles of Hayek with a government requirement to purchase health insurance that you do not want, that includes unwanted coverage at a price you cannot afford and subjects you to financial and more severe penalties if you are noncompliant.

Hayek would be outraged, as are many Americans.

It is no less injurious to Jefferson’s legacy of equality in the Declaration of Independence to claim it as a father of Obamacare. While “… all men are created equal …” they “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The source of our natural right to equality is God, and it is in his sight that we are created equal. It is the obligation of government, which derives its power from the governed, to implement that right in a manner that is uniform and impartial as to our treatment under the law, without fear or favor, without partiality, disadvantage or bias.

Obamacare is a paradigm for precisely the opposite, and represents all that can be wrong with legislation. Equality under the law in Obamacare is absent by design, not inadvertence. It is intentionally unequal by its insistence on exemptions and subsidies for those favored by government, and penalties and high costs for the disfavored. Its perverse policies and penalties are essential to achieve absolute government control of health care. The express purpose is to limit choice and raise prices in the private insurance market to compel people to take government exchanges. The hubris is palpable: Government knows what healthcare is best for us so it eliminates all choice beyond what it offers.

Hayek and Jefferson would have preferred alternatives that emphasize personal freedom and choice as well as equal treatment under the law. More efficient multistate insurance products would add competition and choice. Vouchers enabling the purchase of health care plans of our own choosing and design for simple primary care or catastrophic plans are currently offered in today’s private insurance market. Economic assistance directed to the truly needy can be made available to those who qualify.

The difference between those options and Obamacare, of course, is the absence of central control by the government. Hayek and the Declaration of Independence admit the need for government involvement in providing social services. But the overarching theme of both is the need to limit government control, not give it absolute and unfettered power.

The zeal of Progressives for equality (currently to decry income inequality) is founded on a deceit and a corruption. The deceit is the belief that government can do anything better if only it has more control. We no longer need evidence about the foolishness of such thinking concerning health care.

The corruption is the attempt to redefine our laws to demand equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity. Forced equality by government is a perversion of the term. There is no lawful predicate for equal outcomes. If some are created equal in outcome by government action that enhances their rights and diminishes the rights of others, “all men” plainly are not “created equal” and we have lost all meaning of the term.

Werner Hartenberger

+ Another solution exists
Dear Editor:   
With much thought and concern, I am writing to express my fears of a potential catastrophe to the Sarasota area, as well as other cities located on the Gulf of Mexico.

As most people are aware, especially boaters in our area, the inlets have been inundated with sand and have caused navigational problems. The shallowing of these waterways has caused inconvenience and obstructional dangers. This is not my major worry. Although the Army Corps of Engineers has approved the dredging of these waters, it has proved to be a temporary (and expensive) fix, with the need to repeat the process every few years.

The buildup of this sand, blocking the inlets, has created a literal wall that impedes the flow of water in and out of our bays and estuaries. With this avenue of release blocked, the water, with a storm or hurricane, has nowhere to go and will build up against our beaches and not only cause major erosion, as we have experienced in the past, but may overflow the barrier islands (Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key) and directly flood the mainland beyond. Consider the property damage to downtown and the surrounding area if this should occur, as well as the potential loss of life.

A better solution must be found, because this problem is addressed only when the wall of sand that clogs the inlets becomes a major problem. Federal and state funds are becoming scarcer, which means in the future, delays will become more pronounced. Do we wait for a disaster to strike us, or do we find a remedy to this problem, rather than the continued temporary “fixes” by dredging, which is costly and may be delayed or ignored because of the lack of funding in the future?

There may exist a permanent solution to this problem, at minimal cost to our taxpaying citizens. It appears that the “powers that be” have ignored the solution, for various reasons, one among them the practice of dredging. Although a temporary repair, it is what the community is used to, at great costs. I have done my research, and a simple solution does exist, a saltwater catch basin, that redirects sand from the inlets and back onto the beach. It is a “natural” recycling of sand to renourish our beaches and allow the inlets to remain navigable. Let us not wait for a disaster to strike, causing irreparable harm, and also keep our navigable waters open to all.

Calvin LeBuffe

Dear Editor,
Greetings, I really appreciate the information provided in the various editions of the Observer and I respond to the information. In doing so, I do not want to be a hindrance to those at the Observer, and should such response to the information provided be unwelcomed please inform me of such.

In regards to commissioners apparently approving an idea of placing pianos outside in various areas, I did correspond to commissioners, and responsible individuals located at City Hall; (ie city local government) the situation could be rather inappropriate. Again, areas of passageways might be hindered blocked by such an item. People use the area that might be provided to walk, jog, bicycle, rollerskate, use wheelchairs thus again space might be limited.

The other issue, some individuals, might be spiteful; and purposefully place trash or break specific areas of a piano.

A suggestion, I indicated was to offer a piano in areas such as the Crisis Center for Mental Health which is located on Tenth Street, that might be a very good temporary therapy for individuals experiencing mental health issues, or offer a piano to the Salvation Army for use in an area. Years ago the Salvation Army did have a piano located inside the facilities, the Salvation Army has a building located, as I recall on Central separate from the main area of the shelter residential area. Or perhaps, some areas like Manatee Glen, mental health area, or even a hospital clinic area could be used.

I do have issue with an item of such being place outside, the weight, the size, injuries could occur with such an item being moved and businesses do have plenty of tasks already placed upon them.

The city – county officials appear to have some difficulty with allowing individuals to have accessability to sitting. Numerous “park style benches” which offered support for the lumbar area have been removed. Seating in some areas now contains a “flat” style surface without back (lumbar support) are now in place such as at Links Plaza area Hamel Park area etc.

Links Plaza area is a lovely place however a restaurant is located in that area, and tends to encroach upon the ‘fountain” area.

The city currently has been able to place bricks, and offer pavement on some area streets. In regards to such surfaces, the area becomes slick when moisture is present upon the surface and sometimes even when surface appears dry. Certainly there are specific coatings that would provide traction to individuals using those surfaces.

In regards to “sidewalks” much of the area is narrow. Have you ever noticed street lights, utility poles, meter covers are often in such areas.

I tend to walk in the street and prefer to do so yet the newer paved areas are smooth and are not providing the rougher style surface of older paved street areas. On sidewalk areas especially located on Washington Blvd, plastic or rubberized areas are near intersections. If the pattern or idea to add traction is indicated near intersections, the pattern could be set into the concrete itself, eliminating the rectangular rubberized plastic areas placed along the path. Those areas are often raised slightly and injury could occur when using strollers, “walkers” (mobility devices) The city and county tends to lack the ability to provide “ADA” availability to many areas. Doors are not able to be opened electronically in many areas or ramps are provided in only one specific area, an example is the Sarasota County Administration Building, the public entrance is located in only one area, the South entrance. A ramp area is located to the south east of that building. Access is not available to the public on the north side (Ringling Blvd.) doors. It is a County Administration Building apparently representing County Governmental offices and meeting areas, it is not suppose to be a “private” ownership area. To my comprehension some of those areas are supplied with taxpayers fine contributions. There is electricity supplied to the building as well as the buildings such as City / County Terrace Building located on Washington and Adamo Lane as well as the Clerk of Court Building. I have to pay for electricity, I pay extra for more useage such as heating or air conditioning. Those buildings are provided with that 24/7, (the Clerk of Court building as I recall has one area provided without steps or stairs, which is located on Ringling Blvd. the other areas offer stairs or steps).

The amount of information printed on papers from the local Government is overwhelming! Then I get information from a financial institution or from an electric company to save paper it is just too illogical to me.

I thank you, I write this with respect to those that offer information to the community and I realize my opinion and or assessment of some situations might not be popular or welcomed.

S. Armstrong

+ Thorpe delivers again
Dear Editor:   
For the first time in over 20 years, along with a contingent of marines, I could not represent Toys For Tots in the Sarasota Christmas Parade.

For the past 18 years Paul Thorpe has been the man in charge of the parade and most other downtown events. Paul is around 87 years old and has done a tremendous job of handling the parade. I am honored to consider Paul a great friend. He is a credit to the city of Sarasota and should truly be thanked for his unselfish dedication and hard work organizing downtown events. Let us hope Paul can continue for years to come. As soon as this year’s parade is over he begins planning for next year. None of us can ever know how much work goes into planning an event of this magnitude. Thanks.

 Edith Barr Dunn, Sarasota


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