Letters to the Editor

Letters for November 2, 2000

 Get government outta her boudoir: In regard to Bob Norman's "Politically Incorrect" (October 26): How could a government official believe that sodomy laws should be enforced and that homosexuality is a criminal act, then in the next breath claim to be tolerant of gays? As the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Jim Naugle is the official voice of a city known for its tolerance for the gay community, yet he believes that what we do in the privacy of our own homes is a criminal act. In the interview he answered "yes" to both of the following questions: "Do you believe that sodomy laws should be enforced?" and "So homosexuality is a criminal act?" When New Times asked if his stance on gays is intolerant, he responded, "... Throughout my career, I haven't been that way."

Naugle then states, "I am certain I have some supporters out there in the gay community." Who would support a mayor who would have you arrested and charged with sodomy? Who would support a man who would go on the record saying that the gay or lesbian lifestyle is a "criminal act"? As a lesbian I cannot support a government leader who would condemn my lifestyle just because it goes against his personal and/or religious beliefs. All I'm asking for is acceptance.

Heidi Reneé Sanford
Hallandale Beach

Putz goes the weasel: So Mayor Naugle says he is a Christian and his religious beliefs dictate that homosexuality is a sin. Yet he has a Jewish wife and is raising his daughters in the Jewish faith. He sees no conflict in that? True Christians believe there is only salvation through Christ. Is "the sin" of a homosexual lifestyle worse than the loss of salvation? Apparently so in "The Bible According to Naugle."

Bob Bartole

Airboats and four-wheelers are good for the Glades: I read Bob Whitby's article ("Swamp Wars," October 19) and would like to say that what the government is trying to do is a crock of crap. We have been four-wheeling out on Bear Island and in the Big Cypress Preserve with our two boys since they were two months old. Now the government wants to take this away from us. It seems to me they would rather our children watch TV, play video games, or play on the computer than go outside and see what the Creator created. I would like to know who to get in touch with about this. We also have an airboat that we run on the south and north sides of U.S. Highway 41. We belong to the airboat association on the Tamiami Trail. They are trying to run us out of there, too. Why can't someone come and talk to us about why we are not allowed to go to either place anymore? I would like the national-parks guy to come and tell my boys why we cannot go mudding or look for critters and deer.

The days of the old swimming hole and dirt roads are disappearing. We respect the land, and we stay on the trails. For New Year's last year, we went four-wheeling on Bear Island. Now where else can you go and not have to hear or be around people?

Annie Allendorf
Leisure City

A simple math lesson puts federal regs into bold relief: Hopefully this letter will help your readers understand the extremely small effect of off-road­ vehicle use at Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP).

Two tools have been expertly used to create an inaccurate perception. They are aerial photos and a study by the University of Georgia assessing trail mileage within the 582,000-acre preserve. Along with others, I have seen the still photos in the newspapers of some large ORV trails. What I haven't read, though, is the fact that this type of trail is rare. Photos alone will never illustrate a true sense of scale. What can provide such a sense is ninth-grade arithmetic.

The BCNP can be viewed as a 30.16-by-30.16­mile square. This equals 909.4 square miles, which equals 582,000 acres. Believe it or not, there is enough space inside this square to generate more than 2.4 million miles of trails using two-foot-wide tires! When we compare this with the University of Georgia study that estimates 27,000 miles of actual ORV trails, we begin to see reality. In the past 60-plus years, these vehicles have generated a mere 1.125 percent of the trails they could have generated.

There are three reasons. First, we ORV users truly love the land and have never been out to harm it. Second, some terrain is intentionally avoided because it is unsafe. Third, other areas are avoided to minimize the possibility of mechanical damage to the ORV. We aren't out to rack up miles but to reach sites and places that are very important to us.

I feel that ORV users have limited themselves over the years, so they have earned the right to wear the hat of the good guy. The National Parks Service and the Department of the Interior should not be allowed to steal 98.6 percent of the trail system.

We all understand South Florida is growing rapidly, and in view of that, we could consider a trail mileage freeze at the current level, only 1.125 percent of Big Cypress' space. I really feel we should rethink even studying this issue at all. Surely the federal government can better use these millions of dollars to improve the lives of the elderly and youth of this great nation.

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