Red lights and physics
After reading “Red-light violators pay extra after losing appeals” (Sept. 14), I am compelled to comment on the entire concept and lack of knowledge exhibited in the comments about red-light cameras and how the laws of physics do not permit in many instances any driver to honor the intended letter or spirit of the law. The laws of physics prove any vehicle traveling at 45 mph is traveling 66 feet a second.
Where an eight-lane arterial roadway comprised of four lanes 12 feet in width in each direction has been constructed, along with 12-foot-wide dual turning lanes, and where the structural arm from which the signals were hung are constructed diagonally, among other factors, this causes the signal head for the outside lane to be approximately 92 feet from the stop bar. The laws of physics dictate that no human being (including Dale Earnhardt) can possibly stop before going about 51 feet past the stop bar, causing a danger to the driver and other vehicles.
As a retired engineer from the Florida Department of Transportation who was responsible for the design of many state roads in the area, I strongly urge leaders to examine red-light camera problems and involve highway engineers to solve them. Lobby the Legislature to rewrite the laws. Prohibit the use of diagonal signal poles in intersections where certain wide roadways intersect.
Those not knowledgeable in roadway design should not hold initial authority over tickets issued for those types of violations, as well as the type of intersections described above, when there is no basis in the law of physics to promulgate rules that unfairly penalize drivers.
Gays and the church
On the ongoing discussion of gays and the church, R. Leslie (“Scout stand supported,” Your Views, Sept. 7) states, “I realize that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin ...” If our pastors or bishops are gay, does that philosophy apply to them as well? Leslie also states that “Churches that preach only what is comfortable and not the truth are considered in the Bible as ‘lukewarm’ churches and the father has said very clearly they will be held accountable in the end.” Is this philosophy also espoused by followers of the teachings in the Torah, the Quran, the Vesta and other books of religion? Is this strictly a Christian value?
Many years ago the chairman of the pediatrics department at a medical school told me that sexuality is established by age 6. He emphasized that it does not matter whether the parents are doctors, lawyers, farmers or preachers. If siblings are raised under the same roof with the same rules and same affection and one is gay, do we blame the parents for “raising” the child gay? Knowing the prejudice a gay person will encounter, why would anyone choose to be gay?
Coyotes and common sense
Regarding “Coyotes menacing neighborhoods in Hillsborough” (Metro, Sept. 16): The fact is, coyotes can be found in all 48 contiguous states and in all 67 counties in Florida. We can’t eradicate all coyotes off the face of the Earth. Nor should we. Coyotes benefit the state by keeping rodent populations down. When trapped, state law demands that they are killed. They are never “relocated” as some might claim.
“Roundup and slaughter” programs never work. Nature dictates that when a number of individuals of any species are removed, they will replenish themselves back to the number that can be maintained in that region.
The solution? Wildlife experts agree that coyotes pose no threat if common-sense rules are applied. Alert residents to keep garbage can lids closed securely. Don’t leave pet food outside. Keep barbecue grills clean. Walk dogs on leashes. Coyotes are usually scared of humans and avoid them at all costs.
I understand that on Sept. 24, the Hillsborough County School Board will select the name for the new elementary school to be built in 2014 on East Shell Point Road in Ruskin. Many people are in support of the naming of this school after Hal Griffin, former athlete, teacher, coach and administrator for the Hillsborough school system. Students at the new school could be proud of Griffin’s accomplishments and contributions to the community, especially the school system.
Known as “Buggo” to his friends, Griffin’s athletic accomplishments began in 1945 at Hillsborough High School with being named as a football All-Tampa. He also was All-State and All-Southern, and rated 1945’s top football player in Florida. He was signed by the University of Florida and became a charter member of what was later be known at the “Golden Era of Gator Football.”
Hal’s coaching career began in 1951 as assistant football coach, basketball coach and track coach at Columbia High School in Lake County. In 1952 to 1954, he served his country in the Army. He returned to the Hillsborough County school system in 1954 at Plant High School. In 1956, he was named head football coach at Hillsborough High School and compiled a 39-9-6 record, among other achievements.
His administrative career began in 1964 when he served as dean of boys for Sligh Junior High School. In 1967 he was named dean of boys at East Bay High. In 1970 Hal returned to Hillsborough High as assistant principal until his tragic death in 1975 at the age of 47 when he was shot at a school function.
His career service through the school system is an indication of his capabilities and dedication to the education of Hillsborough County children. Clearly, he had a very positive effect on many young men and women in his years as coach and administrator, including myself, as I attended Hillsborough High.