Restore ex-felons' vote: Approve Amendment 4

Florida is one of only four states (along with Virginia, Kentucky and Iowa) that ban ex-felons from voting for the rest of their life. We should change this.

If felons pay their debt to society (prison, parole, probation and all their fines), they should have their right to vote restored. They have earned it.

Amendment 4 automatically restores Florida voting rights to former felons, with the exception of murderers and felony sex offenders.

This is the right thing to do. Vote "Yes" on Amendment 4.

Steve Scott, Sarasota

'Yes' on Amendment 13 ends cruelty of dog racing

Amendment 13, an amendment to phase out the cruelty of greyhound racing and give greyhounds the second chance they deserve, will appear on the general election ballot.

Public opposition to dog racing has increased over the years due to humane concerns.

Greyhounds are confined in warehouse-style kennels in rows of stacked metal cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. The dogs are given shredded paper or carpet remnants for bedding and are normally confined for 20 to 23 hours per day.

According to the records of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, on average, a racing greyhound dies every three days in our state.

So far, greyhounds have won the support of a record number of endorsers — Republicans and Democrats, civic groups, local animal shelters and rescue groups, animal welfare organizations, local businesses, current and former state and federal lawmakers, news organizations, a church, and two Florida Constitution Revision commissioners.

GREY2K USA, which has led the fight against greyhound racing, shares sponsorship of this historic measure with The Humane Society of the United States and the Doris Day Animal League.

For more details regarding the plight of greyhound racing dogs, visit www.grey2kusa.org.

Voting “Yes” on Amendment 13 will spare greyhounds confinement in small cages, eliminate racetrack injuries, stop racetrack drug abuse and stop racing deaths.

I strongly urge your readers vote “Yes” on Amendment 13 on Nov. 6.

Ron Wentworth, Nokomis

Don't believe the claims of greyhounds' abuse

Six years ago, I adopted two retired racing greyhounds. At the time, I believed the rumors originating from animal-rights extremist groups that greyhounds are “abused."

However, the greyhounds easily transitioned into my home. There was no evidence of behaviors associated with abused animals.

I visited a track and kennel and learned everything I could about greyhound racing. I am now strongly in favor of greyhound racing.

Why is an adopter of retired greyhounds encouraging a "No" vote on Amendment 13? Quite simply, it’s because of the animal-rights activists who were behind getting this amendment on the ballot. These extremists have a lot of money that is used to spread their propaganda.

Greyhounds love to race, are well taken care of and have excellent breed custodianship. At current rates of retirement, greyhounds enjoy a 95 percent to 98 percent rate of adoption.

Should racing end abruptly (which as of Jan. 19 will be allowed if the amendment passes), there is no provision for the 8,000 greyhounds that will suddenly become homeless. The income stream used to feed and care for them will be cut off. Also, thousands of hard-working Floridians will become unemployed.

Currently, 85 greyhound adoption groups support a "No" vote on Amendment 13. These folks have firsthand knowledge of the breed and the racing industry.

Don’t believe the lies about abuse and “confinement.” Be an informed voter. Learn the truth and visit Greyhound Chronicles on Facebook. Vote "No" on Amendment 13.

Donna Callahan, Lakewood Ranch

Amendment 2 extends cap on non-homestead taxes

I am concerned that not enough people understand why Amendment 2 is so important to Florida.

Amendment 2 creates certainty that non-homestead property taxes do not increase unchecked.

Stable non-homestead property taxes mean predictable rents for commercial renters and for people renting a home or an apartment. They also mean more opportunity for businesses to grow, creating more jobs and potentially lowering prices for consumers.

If Amendment 2 fails, many local businesses will either be put out of business or pass on their increased costs to their customers. Renters could also see their rents skyrocket as landlords pass the extra taxes on to them, forcing them to leave our communities.

Amendment 2 is simply a permanent extension of the tax cap we have in place now. This amendment passing will not reduce the amount of tax revenue cities and counties currently get.

In Sarasota County, 157,959 properties will be adversely impacted if Amendment 2 fails.

I encourage you to learn more about Amendment 2 by visiting http://everybodyisfor2.com. I will be voting "Yes" on Amendment 2 this November and I hope you will too.

Greg Owens, President, Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee