Letters to the Editors
A lot of good people never get recognized
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 19, 2002
Re: Nowadays, Americans are just #%+! rude, story, April 3.
During this time when the best news story to put in bold on the front page of this newspaper is how rude Americans have become, I beg to differ.
I was in a position April 3 to see some amazing things and work alongside some amazing people. And I am in a continuing position in my daily job to work with a group of people I couldn't be more proud of. I feel the need to recognize the people and a company that may otherwise go unrecognized.
On April 3, a multifamily building in an apartment complex in Clearwater went up in flames. Not only did neighbors from other buildings not think twice about running door to door to warn the occupants of the burning building, but also the younger neighbors were helping the older neighbors.
Most of these people had not really known each other until this night; but one gentleman ran upstairs and carried a woman, immobilized in a wheelchair, downstairs and others brought out blankets and comforted families in crisis.
There is -- and should be -- continued gratitude toward the firefighters who helped bring the flames under control, and the police officers who kept order and kept the tenants informed. And I believe my fellow Red Cross volunteers who responded to the call to help organize relief efforts need to be commended as well. I could not be more proud to say I know all of them, even if I only met some for the first time that night.
I wish that this paper would do more to recognize people like this who stop whatever it is they are doing and come, when called, to the aid of others. These Red Cross volunteers come with no fanfare and no thought of thanks or recognition. They come to make sure the immediate needs of any victim of any disaster are being met.
I am equally proud of the managers and associates I work with every day. One of the tenants affected by the fire is a contract partner in our center at Florida Power. And in a time that this newspaper also seems to report negatively about my company, I want to report just one of the positive things.
Though there are many employees -- both Florida Power and contract partners -- who work in our center, work different schedules and go unknown to many of us, we are all one team. I have never worked for a company that has so quickly banded together for one of our team members as this company. We have received donations of all shapes, sizes and forms that included offers from our Central Florida team members who have absolutely no idea who this person is.
The only thing they know is that in this society, no matter what some study says and no matter what some newspaper says, helping our fellow humans is essential to the advancement of not only this country but also this world. I couldn't be more proud to say that I am a Florida Power employee, not only because of this enormous act of kindness but also because of all the other positive things this company and its people do for the community.
In a time when it seems all that is being reported is dark and doesn't give much hope for getting better, I say there is hope. It is my belief that by hyping the negative, the press -- and the majority of all media -- has helped to put those walls up between Americans. I want to see some positive hype for a change, not only from this paper but also all media.
Although some study with leading questions says Americans are getting ruder and suicide bombers are wreaking havoc in the Middle East, the majority of people in this country (and probably the world) are doing amazing things -- no matter how small -- every day. Why are we not acknowledging more of these random acts of kindness?
I feel we have become somewhat programed to focus on the negative. It is time we focused on what is right with ourselves and build upon it. If nobody else will say it, I will: I couldn't be more proud to be an American, to be part of a great company and for the chance to give back (no matter how small) to my community.
Toilet was a gag for a good cause
Re: Not everyone appreciates potty humor, story, April 14.
As the Moss Feaster Relay for Life team, we would like to take a moment to clarify and thank those individuals who have supported our American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser, "the toilet." Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the people who have received the toilet in their yard have been supportive of our team's effort to raise money for such a worthy cause.
What was not mentioned in the article was that the discontented individuals received the toilets from their friends. The team does not pick the people who receive the toilets; we just deliver them from one friend to another friend. Obviously, their friends were wrong in thinking that these individuals would get a laugh out of the toilet.
It would have been nice if the individuals had contacted the relay team with their concerns and suggestions rather than try to vilify a group of volunteers who are trying to raise money and awareness for cancer. As soon as we, the relay team, were told by the city and the American Cancer Society of Larry Zellers' complaint, we immediately changed the wording on the instruction form. The wording was changed so as not to offend anyone and to let the individual donate an amount of his own choosing. We did not accept any money from Mr. Zellers, as the article stated.
The team's goal was to have fun and not upset anyone. Unfortunately, we feel the story did not focus on the issue of a unique way to raise funds along with having fun.
Relay for Life is all about groups of people coming together for a common cause, to further research, education, patient care and awareness for cancer. Come join us on May 17 and 18 to support the Second Annual Relay for Life event, held at Largo High School stadium.
Balloon swallowing is entertainment?
As a tourist, it was fun to watch the talented performer on Clearwater Beach juggling and performing his "magic" tricks. The upbeat background music on a breezy Friday evening drew families of all ages. Young children lined the interior of the large circle, mesmerized by the acts.
I was surprised that swallowing an inflated 4-foot balloon was considered to be entertainment. When his first attempt was unsuccessful, the young man repeated his performance methodically until the long black balloon had disappeared down his throat. Does anyone else see the danger in this form of "entertainment"?
Fault is obvious in Blue Jays blunder
Will the notorious Blue Jays blunder ever be put to rest? Apparently not. After four of the five city commissioners realized how unpopular their vote to cave in to the Blue Jays was, some of them strongly hinted that the city staff was lax in providing enough information for them to make a sound decision.
Now isn't that just dandy, an admission of voting on a multimillion dollar issue without having all the facts. Apparently, those who voted for the contract increases had their minds made up regardless of what information the staff would supply.
Keep in mind that City Attorney John Hubbard advised the commission that the city had an enforceable contract with the Blue Jays. Unsatisfied with Hubbard's report, the commission hired an outside legal firm to review the contract. This firm concurred with Hubbard on the enforceability of the contract.
Now the clincher. We have at least one of the four requesting additional money be spent for a consulting company to tell the commission what went wrong with its handling of the negotiations of the Blue Jays contract.
Please, please give us a break! What went wrong was not enforcing the contract. Let's quit trying to pass the buck.
Newspaper should join billboard cause
Your paper has done an excellent job of reporting the county's failing efforts to get unsightly billboards removed. The state's efforts didn't help the matter, either.
I think it's time your paper moved to step two. Newspapers not only report the news but also often must serve as the public's focus point on community actions. I suggest you start a drive to eliminate these eyesores directly. How about starting with a readers' poll to select a "Dirty Dozen" billboards? Dedicate a section of one page that will report, on a daily basis, the advertisers on the Dirty Dozen billboards. The report should identify the location of each billboard, and the current ad.
The report should ask readers to let these advertisers know their use of these billboards is objectionable. Encourage them to write, call or -- if it's a business they frequent -- to complain in person and often.
It shouldn't take long before the billboard owners realize the financial offer from the county is a better deal than their failing ad dollars on the target billboards.
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