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Religion's benefits should be regarded

Letters to the Editor
Published September 27, 2006

Re: Scientology's scourge, story, Sept. 17.

What a totally weird story about a really sick person who has no other purpose in life than to harass others. The man featured in this article should be pitied, not exploited by your paper.

I have been a Scientologist for more than 30 years. I have personally helped hundreds of people improve their lives by using the techniques learned from the works of L. Ron Hubbard.

Now that's a worthwhile story! When is your paper going to print it?

Sharon Hillestad, Clearwater

Paper's coverage of Scientology perpetuates bigotry, prejudice

Re: Scientology's scourge, story, Sept. 17.

Unbelievably, your newspaper has hit a new low with staff writer Robert Farley's sympathetic article on Shawn Lonsdale, the (nearly famous) anti-Scientologist.

The article portrays his statements as incontrovertible facts and uses them to smear Scientology and the reputations of Scientologists. This is an old tactic of the St. Petersburg Times, but seldom have you quoted or presented a less credible source.

Farley writes that Lonsdale is filming a "documentary" on Scientology, when even Lonsdale himself calls it a "pseudo-documentary."

His riveting footage of Scientology staffers crossing the street to go for lunch is hardly likely to win any journalism prizes.

One would think that even a bottom feeder like Farley would hesitate to champion someone as disgusting as Shawn Lonsdale. Farley accepts and seems to excuse Lonsdale's performing oral sex on strange men as something he had to do when "money was tight." Why doesn't he just get a job?

The Times has no qualms in taking his side so you can once again fan the flames of bigotry and prejudice in our city.

Paris Morfopoulos, Clearwater

Clearwater officials need to stop making excuses and shape up

Re: Clearwater budget.

The Clearwater mayor and City Council hide behind the "Save Our Homes" cap and "visioning sessions." It's smoke and mirrors once again. Yes, there is a problem with the cap, but that's not the issue now. Right now, the current budget is the issue.

The visioning sessions they hide behind were flawed, in that the visions were not tied to a price tag. Ask an architect to design a three-bedroom house with no budget attached and you'll get his vision of a mansion! It is irresponsible for Clearwater to act on those visions without first getting the price tag to all of the taxpayers and finding out if they want their taxes to increase - and how much that increase would be for that vision.

Stop hiding behind those two issues. The only real issue at this time is that the city intends to spend almost the entire $12-million extra that higher values have added to the tax rolls this year. That is the real issue at hand.

They advertise that they will have meetings to let the public speak to the issue before they make their decision. However, it's quite evident that most have already made their decision and chastise the public for expecting them at "this late date" to change the budget. If you need more time, change the public meetings to the day after TRIM notices come out.

And please, Mayor Frank Hibbard, don't jump all over the council member who asks the questions all year long, who doesn't like all the staff's answers and recommendations some of the time, who holds the staff's feet to the fire and who votes "no" on the budget. It's you. I know you have more class than that.

The council needs to live like the taxpayers have to live. We have all had to deal with the same issues, i.e., insurance, gas, and utility increases.

The mayor and City Council are always quick to use the "it's only" mentality - it's only $3 per person for this, it's only 70 cents for that. I know plenty of people who make lots of money who are broke because of the "it's only" mentality. All the fees and taxes add up to "it's only" a lot of money.

The mayor and council talk about touchy-feely "quality-of-life" issues in the budget that they can't cut, while at the same time, they are ruining people's lives and businesses. You have the chance to sustain the quality of life for the very people paying the bills. Do it now.

Michael Quintin, Clearwater


We invite readers to write letters for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to If you prefer, you may instead fax your letter to us at (727) 445-4119, or mail it to Letter to the Editor, St. Petersburg Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.

Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

[Last modified September 27, 2006, 07:24:07]

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