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Today's Letters: The highway and the homeless show us our two Floridas

Letters to the Editor
Published March 11, 2007


Homework, no home and Who's driving this project March 4, stories

The two lead stories in last Sunday's paper were a great example of the two Floridas in which we live. On the one hand, we have more than 16,000 homeless children in the state of Florida for whom the state provides relatively meager amounts of money. This is juxtaposed with a story about some wealthy, by any measure, and influential (two of them are state senators) landowners who are investing their time, money and energy into convincing the state to spend $7-billion on a road that would greatly increase the value of their fortunes at taxpayers' expense.

Perhaps a better use of the taxpayers' $7-billion would be to provide each of those 16,000 children with $437,500 to help pay for their food, clothing, shelter and education. Yes, it is amazing what $7-billion dollars could buy today.

Unfortunately, the sad reality of the situation is that the $7-billion road will probably get built and the funding for the homeless children will get cut, no doubt to help pay for the road. The public will be told by the powers that be that the funding for the homeless children had to be cut because "we couldn't afford it anymore," and besides they really wanted to build that road. But can we really afford to let 16,000 children remain homeless?

Frank J. Mazzeo, St. Petersburg


Wetlands in the way 

Wetlands and Who's driving this project March 4, stories

These two articles both complement each other. The first one re-emphasizes the dire straits that Florida's wetlands are in due to lack of protection, oversight and, during the Jeb Bush years, little concern for anything except helping developers and the private sector. And our wetlands are bearing that cost, by disappearing fast.

The other article about the 152-mile planned "Heartland Parkway" only reinforces the long-held opinion that "If you build it, that's what makes them come." You start with building a road in a rural area (look at the Suncoast Parkway as a prime example), and sure enough, here comes the development.

And if there are wetlands in the way of this highway, please refer to the first article, and you'll know what will happen, with the blessing of state officials.

We must begin to plan, from the ground up, for light- and/or high-speed rail, express buses, HOV lanes, etc. Then we need the will to market these systems in a way that emphasizes their benefits to commuters.

Otherwise the scenario painted by these articles will be a picture of the future of Florida, via the will and influence of Sen. J.D. Alexander, Rep. B. Troutman, Alico Inc., et al.

Ron Thuemler, Tampa


Low wage trap 

Homework, no home March 4, story

I am stunned by the callous disregard so many people have for the homeless. There is still a perception that only drunks and drug addicts are relegated to the streets.

The article mentions Emina Dizdarevic and her mother Sada, who earned $8 an hour cleaning houses, and was evicted from low-income housing. That is a kicker! I earn $8.50 as a hotel night auditor. My partner works also, but if I lived alone, at $8.50 an hour, I might be right behind Sada and Emina.

I'm tired of the comments (in your letters section) suggesting everyone "get an education" or train for a better job. People only do the jobs they're capable of doing. There is a need for people to clean hotel rooms, flip burgers, ring up sales at a register, change oil and spray lawns. These jobs pay $8 to $12 an hour. It is honest labor and if nobody performed this work, a lot of businesses would go under. It is sinful that an honest worker doing these jobs, cannot afford an apartment or mobile home. People should not feel ashamed of doing work that is commensurate with their abilities.

For all those who blame the homeless for their own plight, I hope they someday find themselves in the unemployment line. There, they will have plenty of time to rethink this issue.

Sherry Smith, Ocklawaha


A frightening drug 

Antibiotic for cows may get okay despite risk to humans March 4, story

This article talked about the Food and Drug Administration approving an antibiotic for cows despite risk to humans. The American Medical Association doesn't approve of this drug, so why would the FDA (government) approve it? The AMA also said it was dangerous to humans. Is the government trying to kill us off?

I was outraged by this article. Everyone who reads it should call their senators, representatives and the president to find out why it should be approved.

I really shudder to think what will happen if this is approved. By the way, how many people are allergic to antibiotics? I know I am.

Linda Zimmerman, Valrico


The butt stops here 

Sarasota may drive beach smokers inside March 3

In regard to smokers littering on the beach, not all litterers are cigarette smokers, but all cigarette smokers are litterers.

It's time we added the littering fine onto every pack of cigarettes sold.

James Dina, Dunedin

[Last modified March 11, 2007, 01:35:38]

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