Last Modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
Another downtown study is planned?
The front page of Tuesday's Star-Banner featured an article, "Expert to advise Ocala on downtown." It appears as if the city of Ocala has paid Michigan-based Gibbs Planning Group $30,000 to tell them what's going on in Ocala's downtown.
So, I Googled Gibbs Planning Group to see what their deal is. I mean, why does Ocala have to hire someone from Michigan to tell us what is going on in Ocala? And for $30,000? Who signed that check? Was it the guy with the city who said that, "Ocala has good bones at its heart"? Bones in the heart? Where are the city of Ocala's PR people? In New York?
Anyway, turns out that Robert Gibbs, the head honcho, is branded as a New Urbanism guru and sells his book on Amazon for $58. Further Googling led me to a magazine article where Gibbs tells the interviewer that it is frustrating that many cities actually turn away national chains, preferring a moribund downtown that seems authentically local.
So, authentic localism — death?
Mr. Gibbs, downtown Ocala is not competing with State Road 200. SR 200 owns the big boxes, chain restaurants, main vein market. Let them have it.
Recharge downtown Ocala?
Get the hobos out of the square. Finish tearing up the streets. Develop events that will draw folks from other areas. Make retail space affordable. Hire someone local to help the stores with merchandising. Make it pedestrian-friendly. And give us our damn check back.
Save energy, along with the night sky
It is time to start thinking about wasted light and the economic impact it has on taxpayers.
I am an amateur astrophotographer, having spent the past three years imaging deep space objects such as nebula and distant galaxies from my backyard here in Ocala.
Over the course of three years, I have noticed an increase in Ocala "sky glow," or the amount of light that has scattered above the ground and into space. Much of this comes from needed development, and with development comes parking lot lights, street lights and general lights from business that scatter light into space above the city.
With responsible development comes responsible lighting. If we can shift the way we direct lights and direct them down, where light is needed, we can limit the amount of light, and energy, wasted to the sky above. Approximately 30 percent of energy used in unshielded lights is wasted to the sky. This wasted energy costs the U.S. $2.2 billion annually. Using full cut-off light fixtures with a lower-wattage bulb will save money for the city, provide security, limit distracting glare (while driving) and help preserve the night sky.
I propose the city of Ocala consider looking into lighting that is cheaper to run, while still providing security, safety and aesthetics.
I also ask for homeowners and business owners to consider using timers, dimmers and sensors to darken unoccupied areas and to use light only when it is needed.
Served up by God
Regarding the letter "Reason to go vegan," the writer asks who decided to label certain species "production animals"? Uh ... that would be God.
In Genesis 3:21, "The Lord God made garment of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." I was surprised our Creator was the first to produce the original fur coat.
Next, in Genesis 9:3, "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."
Deuteronomy 14:4, "These are the animals you may eat: the ox, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a divided into two, and that chews the cud."
With the Lord's permission, I will continue to eat meat, for it does have nutritional value. But I also concede to the vegans, the animal's flesh producers should, for a good conscience, treat these animals with care and respect before they give up their life for ours.
The meat producers will have to answer to our maker for their inhumane treatment of his creatures.
Where are Jesse and Al with new cases?
I feel the stand your ground law is just fine.
The black man who was shot by the teenager got out of his SUV and came at the teen with a big stick. The teen was correct in defending himself, and only a lethal defense kept this angry man from beating him severely. The teen was not charged.
By the way, where is Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in this matter?
In another incident involving a black man (Wednesday's news), the man severely beat a woman alongside a church and then raped her. If she had had a weapon, she certainly would have been justified in shooting the criminal. Where are Jackson and Sharpton in this matter?
These rabble rousers seem to come out of the shadows only when it suits them. They should be actively involved in trying to change the aggressive nature of some of these guys, and then they would not be 70 percent of the inmate population.