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Letters to the Editors

County records on Web site pose a threat to residents

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 7, 2002

Editor: Re: Your number may be up, July 4 Citrus Times:

I am appalled that Clerk of the Circuit Court Betty Strifler is giving out Social Security numbers (called "posting") via the Internet. This is in spite of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. corollary 552a, as amended. As noted by the Web site, "The crime of identity theft is ... epidemic proportions ... it is relatively easy for someone to fraudulently use your SSN to assume your identity and gain access to your bank account, credit accounts, utilities records ... as well as establish new credit and bank accounts ..."

I went to Strifler's Web site for the purpose of copying the form, which I did, but also found I must know exact locations for those numbers.

Because my husband and I have bought real estate in Citrus County, I must presume that our Social Security numbers are listed somewhere in those documents, as well as driver's licenses and voter registration information.

To find this information is a daunting task. And what if I were to miss a page where one is located? This exposes not only my husband and me, but also any other resident of Citrus County to identity theft.

What I find amazing is the apathy on the part of residents and the local press on this major issue.
-- Thelma and Frederick Saxe, Hernando

Women have a crucial role in politics

Editor: Re: Citrus has equal-opportunity arguing, June 30 letter to editor:

Constance VanVlack's recent letter to the editor asserted that women should get out of politics because it is not fitting and sets a bad example for children.

Well, let me inform her that women have always been vocal and aggressive and very much involved in politics. Here are a few examples of American women and their courageous responses to giving us equal opportunity and equal rights under the law.

1777: Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, President John Adams, "In the code of laws ... I desire you to remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

"Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."

1828: The first known strike of women workers over wages took place in Dover, N.H. Similar strikes were waged in Lowell, Mass., in 1834 and 1836 by women textile workers protesting reduced wages.

1833: Prudence Crandall opened a school for black girls in her Connecticut home. She was arrested, persecuted and forced to give up the school.

1839: Susan B. Anthony led a petition campaign for women's rights. Mrs. Rose, daughter of a rabbi, addressed the New York state Legislature on at least five occasions until the body enacted a law that allowed married women to hold property.

1848: The first Women's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Its Declaration of Sentiments states that "all men and women are created equal." Eleven resolutions were approved, including ones supporting equality in education, employment and the law.

1916: Alice Paul organized the National Women's Party to conduct a more militant strategy. Its members organized suffrage parades, picketed the White House, and chained themselves to its fence.

They were arrested -- force-fed -- and their suffering aroused widespread public outrage that was credited with hastening ratification of the suffrage amendment.

1919: The League of Women Voters was set up to educate women for their new political and social responsibilities. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs also was organized.

1920: On Aug. 26, the 19th Amendment was ratified and 26-million American women of voting age finally gained the right to vote.

There have been many, many more political movements and events, but there is not enough space to print them all.

Regarding Ms. VanVlack's concern about children, let me point out there are many sad and outrageous situations happening at this time regarding children, and we should be focusing on them. For instance:

The failure of Gov. Jeb Bush's administration to address the deplorable Florida Department of Children and Families (allowing children to be missing for months without anyone in the agency knowledgeable of where they are).

Catholic priests who have raped and abused children and been allowed to remain in office and move around from parish to parish.

The recent abduction of a young girl from her family's home in the middle of the night.

Women now have a vote and a voice in politics; let's use it to correct some of the deplorable matters that are happening in our state and throughout the country.
-- Ruth J. Anderson, Homosassa

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