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Big cat fight, a tree dies in Ybor, Domani Bistro fans rally and more …

The fighting over “Cat Fight” was fierce, but that wasn’t the only story that got readers clicking furiously on their keyboards. Ybor trees, a Seminole Heights restaurant, a controversial mural, the Rays and genetically modified foods also touched multiple nerves. Here are some excerpts from reader comments in recent weeks at

Re “Cat fight: A battle over the future of exotic felines,” by Kevin Tall, Sept. 27: The fur flew on this one (sorry). In close to 60 comments, names were called, accusations were levied, and the author had to weigh in on his intent to provide a balanced view of the debate over a proposed federal bill to regulate the private ownership of big cats. We won’t rehash, but here are two somewhat less heated examples of:

“We should concentrate on protecting the habitat in the wild for animals where they breed naturally, not breeding facilities that are obviously out for the money. While I would love nothing better than to touch a big cat I don’t think they should have to give up their freedom for it. {Big Cat Rescue’s] Carole Baskin has the right idea. I would support any bill that led to the care and protection of wild animals…” —Lisa W.

“By now you must realize this is a hot and sensitive topic, and many people feel Ms.Baskin does not represent ‘one side’ of the issue. She is only seen as representing her own interests, giving them a twist to look like she’s speaking for others. There’s far better ‘experts’ you could have interviewed and quoted than her.” —Fred Lulling

Re Jon Palmer Claridge’s review of Domani Bistro, Sept. 27: Many commenters were upset by our food critic’s mixed (but three-star) review of this new Seminole Heights restaurant. “This review is so off,” said mwheights. “I told my husband that this was the best food I had ever tasted in my entire life and I meant it.” Another reader, nashville, said he makes a point of flying in from Kentucky once a month for the ravioli alone. But Marymack found the criticism “constructive” and, impressively enough, so did Executive Chef Alex Knezevic: “We at Domani’s have taken this article very seriously… Every day we chase that unobtainable goal of perfection, but as the days pass we get closer.”

Re “Tampa City Council members not satisfied with explanations for Ybor City tree cutting incident,” by Mitch Perry in Daily Loaf, Oct. 4: Readers weren’t satisfied, either. “Another waste of money,” commented Dan Hetland. “Why simply destroy perfectly good trees? This is tantamount to the road crews that dig up the streets right after they have been paved, in order to replace the sewer lines.”

Re “The whitewash of artist Allen Leper Hampton,” by Megan Voeller, Sept. 27: The decision to paint over Hampton’s controversial mural, which showed Martin Luther King Jr. doffing a KKK hood and was visible through the window of a 600 Block gallery, drew highly disgruntled reactions — including this one from CL Marketing Director Joran Oppelt: “This is an emotional reaction to an image that carries a different meaning to each viewer and the fact that this was painted over is the very definition of censorship. So, the landlord can tell you what art you can hang on the walls, now? By threatening to not renew a lease? Isn’t that getting dangerously near some kind of coercion? Just unfortunate. I hope some day we can laugh and discuss images (not to mention WORDS) and appreciate them for the emotions they make us feel and the conversations they create instead of being compelled to hurl a fucking brick through a window, because we can’t articulate what we’re really feeling. Grow, people. Up, etc.” Beautiful loser took a more circumspect view: “I think one aspect that is difficult for controversial art, is that people generally… view art as an extension of the person who created it, and that it represents a literal communication or intent because that is what ‘they’ would do if creating an artistic expression. They would create something that is a literal expression/extension of themselves, which isn’t always art, but that’s another conversation. That the mural caused such a stir is artistic, in and of itself, so I’d go along with it being a temporary piece. Maybe it wasn’t meant to live forever :-) But another commenter, aah, was harsh: “FINALLY SOME ART THAT ACTUALLY SAYS SOMETHING come on ST. PETE when are you going to get tired of the geriatric bullshit cesspool that you are living in?”

Re “Mitch Perry Report 10.5.12: Rays attendance in the tank”: Alexnvrmind broke down the Rays situation point by point. “So the Rays are done for the season and with that, the mayor is scrambling for talks with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg about a new ballpark in Carillon... What Foster, Sternberg, and the MLB fail to realize, is that: 1. The current economic situation does indeed have a big effect on game attendance! 2. The majority (not all) of the local population is, and has been, ruled by a ‘bandwagon’ mentality when it comes to the local sports teams! Be it the Bucs, Rays, Lightning or Rowdies, the local community only get interested and excited when the teams are winning, yet very few stay loyal when the teams lose. So I highly doubt that moving the team, within the county or even the bay area, is going to help draw more people to the games.”

And Charles Phillips, either confirming or refuting Alexnvrmind’s theory (I’m not sure which) responded: “I only go to movies that I believe have a reasonable chance of actually being good. I guess that makes me a ‘bandwagoner’ too.”


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