The source of all sprawl
You missed the best reason of all to kill the beast: The expressway authority is the single biggest cause of environmental destruction in Central Florida `"Kill the beast," Dec. 28`. They are the foundation of sprawl. Without them, it could not happen.
The GreeneWay is a perfect example. Ten years ago, it was nothing but cows and woods. Now it's rooftops as far as the eye can see. The same thing is about to happen along the new 429.
It's no coincidence. The authority works hand-in-hand with developers and pro-growth politicians to open vast areas of cheap rural land to developers. They subsidize those developers with our toll money. In the end, our water resources shrink, our forests and wildlife disappear, the air gets dirtier and, ironically, the traffic gets worse instead of better.
The authority is a criminal enterprise that forces us to finance our own destruction. It's time we all rise up and kill the beast, and bury it deep.
Alan Malatesta, Orlando
Pols love tolls
Thank you for your excellent article on the expressway authority `"Kill the beast," Dec. 28`. A couple of years ago I had a transportation consultant tell me that our elected officials loved the expressway authority. Local officials did not have to build roads and face the wrath of the voters for an unpopular road. And, as your article pointed out, they are not very good at convincing the voters to increase taxes to pay for transportation. I think that love affair is coming back to haunt them.
Bill Jennings, Orlando
Finish the job
Excellent article regarding the tolls `"Kill the beast," Dec. 28`. You are right in writing the agency is on its knees. This scandal is building up to be one of the biggest in Central Florida history, maybe the state of Florida. The tolls should have a sunset, as you stated in your article. If the convention center and the arena can be paid off, then the toll roads can be paid off.
I strongly encourage you to make this a weekly or monthly column. I believe you will see great dividends in making this a regular feature. Perhaps the next article can be based on the odd design of the beltway. If you follow the road and the related developments and who owns those properties, I feel you will find quite a deal of potential conflicts and controversy.
Mike Hart, Orlando
Hands off Holy Land
To the staff, great work on the article, and I appreciate your thorough report `"Cheap Shots," Dec. 21`. I do take issue regarding the Holy Land—bashing that makes repeat appearances in your publication, though. To start, I laud Bill Donegan's admirable adherence to the expectations of his position, but I'm also glad that he's finally given a rest from the seeming Holy Land problem.
I'm under the impression that you'd never take such a negative stance regarding the Science Center: also not-for-profit, also requiring a "donation" to enter, also tax-exempt. Basically, if the contra—Holy Land stance held by the majority of your staff is an anti-Christian response, believe me when I assure you that I understand, but I ask you to call spades spades.
As an employee of the Holy Land Experience, I acknowledge that it would frustrate me to the point of publishing my gripes if it was the exclusive tax-exempt gig in town. But it's not. Granted, legislation has been authored to convince everyone else of this, so it could appear that it has no precedent, but just be honest about your position. In fact, I'd encourage you to stop by. I'm sure some of your crew has been through, but for anyone else, I'd welcome you.
Dan Olson, Orlandoletters@orlandoweekly.com