Here, Sharkey, Sharkey
Pretty baby wants some nice fishey fish, don't you? I am a fifteen-year, NASD-certified diver and marine-research volunteer. After reading Juan Carlos Rodriguez's article ("Swimming with the Sharks," August 16) and several others about shark tours, I've decided to support a statewide ban on shark-feeding.
Whether it's feeding bears in Yellowstone National Park, alligators in the Everglades, or raccoons in Greynolds Park, the animals learn to look for food around humans. They also lose their fear of humans. Big animals eventually begin attacking humans.
The bears in Yellowstone are now so aggressive they rip off locked car doors to get to the food in car trunks. You can't bring food into Yellowstone overnight, and you can't camp in that part of the Rockies in a tent anymore. Training sharks, eels, and other ocean predators to associate food with humans will eventually lead to the same problem. It could be the end of scuba diving, surfing, and all open-water sports as we know them.
We should leave the thrill rides to Disney and leave the ocean predators alone. Occasionally our government must step in to protect thrill-seeking morons from themselves, and to protect our fish, game, and innocent sportsmen from the morons.
Michael A. Van Dyk
Triumph of the Scientific Method
Ipso facto, feeding sharks cannot be said to be dangerous: The best part of Juan Carlos Rodriguez's article was when members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said there wasn't enough "scientific data" to show that chumming for sharks then swimming with them makes them more aggressive toward humans. I guess you could say this, too: "There is no scientific proof that sneaking up behind a wild, full-grown African lion and kicking it in the balls will piss it off and increase the chances it will eat you." Hmmm, do you think I could get a grant to study the theory? How about this: "There is no scientific proof that licking spent plutonium fuel rods will negatively affect your health."
I think we should allow the feedings to continue only if the cities from which the dive boats operate clearly state that they fully support and approve of these activities.
Staten Island, New York
Tell It to the Judge
In the case of Ofcr. Ralph Wilson, that's exactly what we're prepared to do: Thanks to Ashley Fantz for her excellent and insightful coverage of our client Ralph Wilson's case against the Miami-Dade Police Department ("Serpico Negro," August 16). I do feel it is necessary to clarify one point, however. Ms. Fantz wrote, "Wilson's attorneys, Michael Feiler and Martin Leach, say there is a good chance the department will settle...."
I cannot and would not ever opine in such a fashion as to a specific case. What I recall saying is that the majority of cases in the system do settle, but that we treat every case as though it will be tried before a jury. It would be premature and presumptuous for either of us to predict a specific result in any case.
We will be prepared to try Officer Wilson's case, which we firmly believe to be meritorious. But I can offer no other prediction in that regard.
Michael B. Feiler
Media Titan Humiliated, Vows Payback
K-R's Ridder and spouse living in squalor -- but not for long: I agree with newly appointed Miami Herald executive editor Tom Fiedler that Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder has been "unfairly vilified." Insensitive New Times reporter Jim DeFede ("Bad News," August 9) would have known this had he read Joan Fleischman's August 8 Herald column "Talk of Our Town." Fleischman reported that Ridder's home will be featured in the September issue of House Beautiful magazine following a "glamorous renovation" of the Woodside, California, abode he purchased in 1998 (listed at $4.9 million).
It is embarrassing and appalling that Ridder and his wife were forced to purchase a fixer-upper and then do extensive renovations just to keep up with the high-tech moguls out in Silicon Valley. I mean, let's face it: This obviously ain't the Hearst castle.
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Imagine the shame Tony and his wife have had to endure owing to lower-than-projected profit margins at the Herald. I say deeper cuts in health care benefits for low-level employees are in order. (That ought to drive up the stock.) And if that pesky profit margin still isn't good enough for Wall Street, then it's time to ax Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry.
You go, Tony!
John P. Askins