- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

Aug. 4

Gadsden (Alabama) Times on pet ownership:

The idea of a companion animal being euthanized with a bullet in the 21st century is of course going to send a lot of people’s brains to Defcon 1 without stopping at the intermediate stages. Not surprisingly, an incident last week in which an animal control officer in Boaz shot some mangy, sickly dogs that had been abandoned lit up social media with righteous outrage.

Boaz police are investigating what happened and have promised corrective action if warranted, but in a statement said this was an unusual, last-resort situation in which public safety had to be the top priority.

We’re going to reserve judgment as to what could’ve been done differently in this case until that investigation is complete and all facts are in evidence.

We will pass judgment, however, on the indisputable reason why these difficult, heartbreaking and tragic situations, for which there are no really good solutions, play out every day across the U.S.

Check these statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

. About 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats wind up in U.S. animal shelters each year. Most are strays, not animals given up by their owners.

. There’s no way to determine exactly how many stray animals are roaming U.S. streets, although the number of cats alone is estimated at 70 million.

. A fertile dog produces an average of one litter a year with four to six puppies. A fertile cat can produce a couple of litters of four to six kittens. If those animals are strays and the puppies and kittens start reproducing at the same rate, that’s a frightening exercise in exponential math.

There are millions of pet owners in this country, and the majority of them aren’t into breeding for business or show. The responsible ones spay and neuter their animals. The irresponsible ones don’t.

We know that call-out won’t be warmly received by some. The problem is, hearts as much as actions need to be changed here.

People need to understand that if they choose to bring animals into their lives, they assume responsibility for them, on a much higher scale than for some trinket they’ve purchased.

There’s a tradition, if you use that word for something so cruel and sadistic, of tossing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens out somewhere, as apparently happened in Boaz, out of sight and mind. Those people think they’re absolving themselves of responsibility. We think they’re magnifying their responsibility for imposing a burden on their neighbors and on society.

We’re normally not this blunt, but this situation requires it.

If you get a pet, spay or neuter it. If you’re not willing to do so - and there are programs in place to help those who can’t afford the procedures - don’t get a pet. Otherwise, you’re not part of the problem. You are the problem.




Aug. 4

Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News on local businesses and the economy:

What do Phifer Wire, Coral Industries and Randall-Reilly Publishing have in common? They are local industries created by local people that have provided employment for West Alabama residents for many years. Homegrown business and industry are a proven way to boost the local economy.

That’s why we like the partnership between Greer Capital Advisors and the University of Alabama, which was announced by UA Vice President for Research and Economic Development Carl Pinkert at the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s first State of the Economy conference Thursday. The concept is to turn ideas and discoveries by local entrepreneurs and researchers into viable local businesses.

“If we reward them (new start-ups) financially, we expect they will stay in our community and grow,” Pinkert said. “With the right incentives in place, they will get their roots planted here.”

And once those companies put down roots, they will become stable contributors to the West Alabama economy.

Greer Capital Advisors is a Birmingham company that provides money to private equity projects. Its web site says that it wants to provide money to industries close to home so that they can contribute to the local economy. Under the partnership with UA, it will help finance startups and research.

Tuscaloosa has been fortunate in attracting and keeping major industries during the past 30 years. Mercedes-Benz and its suppliers have helped make Tuscaloosa a player in the automotive industry. Landing Mercedes was the first step in making Alabama the hub of the southern branch of the industry.

But economic development isn’t limited to landing major industries. Silicon Valley began as tech startups and garage businesses. Now it is the heart of the world’s technology sector.

Homegrown businesses provide jobs for local people. The University of Alabama is a tremendous resource that many communities don’t have. It makes sense to take full advantage of it in ways that can grow the local economy.




Aug. 5

Dothan (Alabama) Eagle on passing state’s General Fund budget:

Alabama lawmakers are back in session, staying after school, so to speak, with the sole objective of passing a General Fund budget. As a plan to fill a shortfall of roughly a quarter billion dollars, Gov. Robert Bentley handed the Legislature a raft of tax initiatives that would generate about $300 million.

There is some movement on the budget. A House committee voted Tuesday to approve shifting some money from the education fund to the General Fund. One of Bentley’s initiatives, a cigarette tax hike, didn’t pass muster.

However, it wouldn’t be an Alabama legislative session without the usual diversion of knee-jerk, pandering legislation. A Senate committee this week took up bills about guns, gay marriage and the Confederacy, approving all three with little debate.

One measure would eliminate marriage licenses issued by probate offices and replacing the procedure with a requirement for spouses to file signed marriage contracts instead. That prevents probate workers from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Another measure would allow gun owners to carry their weapons in their vehicles without a permit.

A third measure would prohibit the removal of Confederate monuments.

These measures are not within the purview of the governor’s call to special session, so their passage would require a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority. That means they’re unlikely to pass and the time and effort put into bringing the bills to committee is an exercise in futility.

In another room, a hearing on gambling took place, so watch closely - there’s sure to be some proposal that would remove some of the mystery of the Poarch Creeks’ advertising campaign, and what the tribal casinos would expect for sharing some of their proceeds to shore up the state budget.



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