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Today's Letters: Black society faces cancer from within

Published July 18, 2007


I've written many letters to the editor through the years, but this will be the most painful by far, for bit by bit life is being drawn out of the heart of the black community in St. Petersburg and most large cities in the United States. From the murder of young Forbes Swisher, college-bound on a scholarship, to Curt Bryant, entrepreneur and businessman, to the recent murder of Amuel Murph, patriarch of an outstanding St. Petersburg family, the heart of our community is being hacked up, slice by painful slice. The diabolical thing is that this is usually a black-on-black occurrence.

I remember how upset a good friend of mine was upon returning from an educational conference in England several years ago. He was upset that one of the attendees stated at lunch one day his feeling "that most black males are pathological." Though the word "most" obviously is not appropriate, I often flash back to that statement when seeing such a disproportionate number of black faces as perpetrators of many violent acts, and having people whom I know shot down in the streets.

Many make the excuse that they are victims of society, a faulty school system, etc. To that I say, "hogwash!" I survived my racist kindergarten teacher who put "Negro kids" in a dark closet with paper towels taped over their mouths during playtime. "Stuff" happens to everyone. It's how one reacts and deals with it that matters.

In Dr. John McWhorter's book Losing the Race: Self-Sabatoge in Black America, he speaks about victimology, separatism and the culture of anti-intellectualism that have permeated black society like a virus. I feel that this is true and it has spawned a cancer of pathological twerps who would wipe us out on a whim. Like any cancer, we must find a way to contain and eradicate it, lest we all fall victim.

Dr. Leroy McCloud, St. Petersburg

Where's the outrage?

Over recent weeks, a businessman and a retired postal worker were murdered in South St. Petersburg. The deaths of these gentleman are a tragedy, but even more tragic is the lack of outrage from the black community. They certainly deserve more of an outraged cry than the murder of a drug dealer that resulted in violence and destruction in the community.

I would have expected marches in the streets, banners and a community flushing out the criminals and turning them over to the police to show their outrage and distress at losing two upstanding citizens.

If the black community does not respond by demanding of its citizens that the killing of innocent people stop, then respect for the black community by the citizens of St. Petersburg will continue to decline.

Sylvia Fies, St. Petersburg

Amendment means relief July 15, guest column by Carolyn Kling

Keep tax relief coming

Voters should turn out en masse and vote for the passage of the superhomestead exemption so that property taxes can be lowered and stabilized. The days of excessive tax tolerance by citizens and outright indulgence in spending our precious tax dollars by politicians are over. Free-wheeling tax spenders must end their tax guzzling ways. Rightful taxation limits are long overdue.

Beyond the passage of this worthy amendment, more taxpayers' relief acts must be forthcoming. Old, wasteful taxation ideologies must pass away and new, more frugal concepts must materialize. The consequence of reckless spending of our tax dollars has been disastrous.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

City drops suit against residents, two commissioners over petitions July 15

St. Pete Beach's problem

For almost two years St. Pete Beach has vigorously sued its citizens to the tune of more than $300,000 of their money. And now City Attorney Timothy Driscoll refers to the matter as "a simple request to the court to determine the validity of some petitions." The fact that it turned out to be "more antagonistic litigation than it needed to be" is an outrageous comment from the man who managed the process.

Imagine spending all this money and time to say that the citizens didn't have the constitutional right to challenge city government!

Mayor Ward Friszolowski still doesn't understand that the problem isn't the court system, as he points out. Rather, the problem is politicians like him, who, for whatever reason, exhibit poor judgment and leadership, which not only costs time and money but creates a need for a city to heal.

Cherie Haigley, St. Pete Beach

Where the crashes are July 8, story

Test older drivers

I was struck by the fact that nowhere in this Neighborhood Times article was it ever mentioned that in many cases the accidents are caused by elderly drivers who have no business behind the wheel of a car. For whatever reason - poor reflexes, eyesight, dementia - these people are menaces who endanger the lives of the rest of us.

What's the solution? Institute road tests for people when they reach age 65, no exceptions. Those who fail get one appeal (you have to afford them due process) and after that they're done, they're off the road, giving the remaining drivers some measure of relief.

These people are truly menaces, some of them on purpose. I've been coming down here for over 30 years to vacation.

Steve Moore, Cookeville, Tenn.

Annexation powwow to resume July 11, story

Join a city? No, thanks

In this article, Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler was noted as saying he's unsure why anyone would not want to be in a city.

I am not unsure of my response: I do not want to pay the high city franchise fees and utility taxes on electric, gas, cable, telephone, etc. I do not want to pay for another layer of government. These are just a few of the reasons I do not want to be part of a city.

Another reason is the way cities have handled the Lealman Fire District situation and annexation overall. I hope my answer is sure enough for all city mayors to understand.

D. Miller, Seminole

Share your views

We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site at: They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

[Last modified July 17, 2007, 21:42:12]

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