- August 10, 2011
+ Town Commission needs to show fiscal responsibility
I do not understand how the present Town Commission can support purchasing land for use as a community center when the taxpayers have repeatedly voted this down. In addition, a bonus for all town employees does not add up when the town owes about $2 million in pensions fund liability plus the additional cost of buying out the pervious town manager.
I have not had an increase in my income and, in fact, due to the perverse real-estate tax system, my house value has gone down but my taxes have gone up. This Town Commission is obviously looking to move to Congress where they can really waste the taxpayers’ money. When are we going to see some fiscal responsibility?
+ We won’t come back if dogs on the beach
My wife and I, as well as our young children, visit Florida two to three times per year and we very much enjoy the Longboat/Sarasota area. So, you can imagine my concern when I heard there were ongoing discussions about allowing dogs on beaches.
As a dog owner and a beach lover, I do not think they mix. While you have many owners that will take the extra time and effort to clean up after their dog, there are just as many individuals, and a lot of the time tourists, who will not. The cost and effort to police the beaches will be substantial.
My family would not visit a beach that allows dogs. If any place in Florida has miles and miles of green area to enjoy dogs, it’s definitely Longboat. The beaches need to be protected for individuals and children.
+ Dogs do not need access to Longboat’s beaches
Dogs should not be permitted on Longboat Key’s beaches. Someone’s personal affection for a dog, combined with a conviction that his pet is deserving of beach access, scarcely comprises a valid argument to the contrary.
We’re told by proponents that dogs “enjoy” the beach, yet there’s no scientific means of measuring enjoyment except in our own species. Dogs run around and become active and alert at the beach, but they do this in most novel environments. To a dog, the beach is doubtfully more special than a woods or open field. Sarasota and Manatee counties have dog parks where people regularly take their pets to experience the same degree of freedom and interaction.
We’re told that when someone’s child grows up and leaves the dog becomes a substitute. Perhaps to its owner, but not others forced to tolerate the consequences of unwanted dogs among us. We’re even required to suspend disbelief when hearing sad tales of owners explaining to their dogs why town rules exclude them from romping freely in the sand.
Pets mirror our emotions to an extent, but contrary to Animal Planet and the press, they don’t “understand” us in any sense of that term. Nor do we “understand” them except at a rudimentary level. So-called evidence for the extraordinary wisdom, sensitivity, and insight of dogs has been based on poorly designed and executed experiments, what you might find out about from watching TV or reading the newspaper.
Call the societal result of this a huge helping of, well, dogma directed at the gullible. Can I back these statements? Absolutely. The properly executed science interpreting canine-human interactions as they really are is described in the biological literature, and it tells us clearly that dogs aren’t little humans trapped inside their furry skins. Logically, human privileges are not theirs by extension.
From a practical perspective it’s unlikely every dog owner would keep his pet leashed were the rules to change, and strict leash enforcement is a must if any form of a dogs-on-the-beach measure passes.
Do unleashed dogs chase sea birds and disturb other wildlife? Undoubtedly. Is Longboat Key’s beach fauna so deserving of intense preservation efforts that dogs ought to be excluded unilaterally? You bet it is.
Furthermore, would the police monitor our beaches and enforce any new rules? They don’t enforce the existing ones, claiming insufficient manpower, and efforts will be further diluted if dogs are allowed on all island beaches. Any measure passed should, at the least, restrict them to a single public area where policing can be concentrated, the damage and nuisance minimized. Will dog owners consistently pick up their pets’ feces? Some might; others will simply kick sand over the piles, if that. And what about picking up the urine? Now that’s a tough one.
Stephen Spotte, Ph.D.
+ ‘Unexpected gift’ was simple theft
So, our new town manager, David Bullock (aka Santa Claus), with the unanimous backing of the seven elves (aka Town Commission) has generously bestowed a total of $175,000 in bonuses (aka gifts) to town employees. Another noxious example of public officials using taxpayer money to buy the allegiance of favored groups.
Your Dec. 1 opinion piece, “Money Well Spent,” seemed to meander from what must be a spiked eggnog blabbering sermon (“it’s better to give than receive”) to sober, intelligent counterargument (recognizing that “public service” is not a higher calling deserving of anything beyond what was previously agreed to by employer and employee) to a rousing holiday cheer that “Longboaters should have no quarrel with Bullock or the Town Commission awarding $175,000 in Christmas bonuses. It’s good business to bestow an unexpected gift.”
I agree with your counterarguments, disagree with your endorsement of this false beneficence and agree with “it’s good to bestow an unexpected gift.” If the town truly has a surplus of $175,000 in what must be its holiday gift-buying fund, then that money should be returned to its contributors — the taxpayers. Your “unexpected gift” belongs to them!
Free enterprise means that when an employee accepts employment, they have, therefore, agreed to the terms of compensation in return for diligently fulfilling the responsibilities of the job. If a private employer using their own money wishes to shower gifts upon their employees, that is their prerogative. When a public employer does the same with money that belongs to others, their false generosity is nothing more than theft.
Joseph and Karen Iannello
+ Longboat Key servicemen and women deserve recognition
I would like to publicly thank and recognize the outstanding service provided to our community by the Longboat Key police and fire departments. Recently, my family and I were the beneficiaries of this service. As full-time residents of this island, it is reassuring to know that such dedicated men and women are “on watch.” Longboat Key is a wonderful place to live due in part to what these (sometimes under-appreciated) professionals do — and stand ready to do — on a daily basis.