Voter apathy sweeps district

Voters may be apathetic, but the candidates are uninspiring

Published March 18, 2007

Sure, complacency, societal mobility, rootlessness and an absence of burning issues contribute to low voter turnout. But don't you wonder if a bigger cause might not be the absence of candidates who inspire?

Haven't we seen our share of candidates who don't identify with us, lack understanding of our concerns, talk more than listen, have such little regard for us that they don't show up at forums or debates, have no platform absent negativity toward opponents and/or who fear taking principled stands?

How many of us are motivated by those who follow party lines with which they disagree, compromise their values for contributions, turn over campaigns to unethical advisers and/or misuse contributions? Aren't we all just a tad exhausted with candidates who couldn't define the words "public service" if their lives depended on it?

Ask any successful business leader if she ever blamed the customer when sales turned south. That's the excuse from the perennially unsuccessful.

If you want people to vote, inspire them.

Louise M. Thompson, Tampa

What Dick Cavett's Uncle Bill knew about war March 11

War's waste

Thank you for reprinting Dick Cavett's reminiscences about his Uncle Bill's opinion about sacrifice in war.

I don't have an Uncle Bill. But I do have a Tony and John, and used to have a Walt and Pete - who would concur, along with friends Steve and Jimmy.

John McCain and Barack Obama should never have apologized for using the word "wasted" in commenting on the troops killed in Iraq. Using good troops as police in a civil war is a waste of good troops. Losing them is worse than a waste - it's criminal So is our government's delay in rectifying its errors. While government officials play at political advantage the waste continues.

Bernard Waryas, Dunedin

Show we care

It seems we no longer value our children and the elderly, which leaves them open to violence and crimes. Predators and criminals take advantage of our not caring. It is time that we stand up together. Let our elected officials know that we care, and that if they want to keep their jobs they need to care also.

America is losing too many children. We should value our young and our elderly because they have much to teach about living.

M. A. Brown, St. Petersburg

An exit of her choosing March 10, Lucy Morgan column

A good death

Like the death of John Paul II, the dignified exit of Adelaide R. Snyder inspires two considerations:

1. If death is the ultimate enemy, we are all doomed, as we all are going to die. The secret of a meaningful life involves the acceptance of death as part of the human experience, as the book of Ecclesiastes suggests: "There is a time to be born and a time to die."

Having ministered to thousands of dying cancer patients, I can testify to the fact that the moment of death, though always painful, may become one of the most cherished moments of a person's life - a time to look at one's life in its fullness and to distill and immortalize the experiences that have been most memorable. It is also a time when care and love have the best opportunity to express themselves fully.

2. In the modern world, death is a managed thing in the majority of cases. To be able to make the momentous decision to forgo further treatment, it behooves people to educate themselves about possible death scenarios, to learn how to treasure one's own death.

Lodovico Balducci, director, Division of Geriatric Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa

Bacteria set back strides in troops' care March 11, story

Bad bacteria

While the article focuses on our troops, please know that it is not just soldiers who are being infected, but anyone who may be needing medical help. This bacteria is spreading nationwide and is silently killing. It is reported by the state disease monitoring systems, but ignored on the national level. More people are coming forward telling stories of how this infection is being down-played. It is being said that these bacteria will grow out of control in the near future as they spread through neglect.

My 85-year-old grandmother, Mary Bello, died three weeks after surgery in St. Petersburg from this infection. It is listed as the cause of death on her death certificate. Please continue to inform your readers that everyone has the possibility of catching this infection. It is a national threat to public health.

Deborah Shallenburg, St. Petersburg

School, family clash on teen's flashing folly March 16, story

Be responsible

Here is another example of a child and his parents not willing to live with the consequences of their actions, not taking personal responsibility. Did we do dumb things back when we were in school? Of course we did, but we also knew there would be some sort of punishment to go along with the crime.

Is Taylor Tillung not responsible for his own behavior? He not only dropped his pants and showed his behind, but also made the display as vulgar as possible.

Are we to believe that since his parents can afford lawyers, he's a senior, a ballplayer and has a 3.2 average that he should be able to get away with this? I guess if he was not as financially advantaged, not involved in sports, and only had a C average, then he should be punished.

Hopefully he will learn more than "money and a good lawyer can solve all your problems."

L. Mundella, St. Petersburg

School, family clash on teen's flashing folly March 16, story

Wrong message

The article about Taylor Tillung, the student who mooned a teacher and now protests his transfer to another high school, is disturbing. By hiring a lawyer to try to reverse the school's decision, the young man's parents foster a culture that says that "boys will be boys" and that discounts the authority of the school and the teachers.

In the photo accompanying the article, the young man looks to be the center of admiring attention from his peers. It's not a pretty picture. Anything that trivializes Taylor Tullung's rude and insulting behavior is not good for his character and not a positive influence on his fellow students.

Antoinette B. d'Oronzio, Tampa

Your call is important March 11, Robyn Blumner column

Phone frustration

I read this article and greatly sympathize with Robyn Blumner for what she had to endure to do business with a company over the telephone.

I used to enjoy using my telephone to conduct business, but that is a thing of the past. I now will do whatever I can possibly do to avoid it.

Yes, I may be missing out on some wonderful merchandise and/or services, but nothing I can buy will make up for the mental agony, frustration and torture of having to deal with lengthy telephone menu options, being put on hold for long periods, recordings that don't offer an answer to my simple question, or representatives who don't know how to handle my request.

Perhaps some day companies will realize they are missing a lot of business using these tactics. And, after all, isn't business the bottom line for companies?

Betsy Mae Troy, St. Petersburg

NAACP's old mission loses its relevance March 11

Blunt words

What a realistic and trenchant column by Bill Maxwell concerning racism and the NAACP. He is to be commended for his courage to speak bluntly. But where does it go from here?

Maxwell is obviously one of the small number of educated, intelligent observers in society with long association with the press, which gives him the experience and insight to comment convincingly on society, and especially the black community.

While it needed to be said, under the present government it is difficult to see what will change. After all, under current conditions, it is much easier for the NAACP to continue to emphasize racism to the exclusion of anything else, and the black community will agree with it for the same reasons.

Nonetheless, voices like Maxwell's are essential to give courage to other educated black leaders and, hopefully, the Democrats or even the Republicans will find the courage to advocate programs that will assist these leaders.

W.H. Riddell, Tampa

Not tonight, dear ... March 11, story

A broad generality

If Joan Sewell is uninterested in sex, that's fine with me. What I object to is her statement that "most women, unless they're fooling themselves, consider the deed a chore."

Bunk! Great way to get attention, though, Joan.

Lynne Mayer, Gulfport