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    Letters to the Editors

    Parkway propaganda hard to swallow

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001

    Re: Ready relief, Feb. 4.

    The Suncoast Parkway is, predictably, being promoted as a much-needed, very well-planned and environmentally conscientious answer to overburdened roads nearby. But so were all the other toll roads built in Florida.

    The Suncoast, according to its supporters, is not like any other road built in the last 20 years. It won't promote sprawl but will help to guide "responsible growth." It is "environmentally designed" to minimize negative impacts.

    How can I possibly be expected to buy into this? Growth follows roads. It's that simple. And in my opinion, this Parkway is a sweetheart deal for the road builders and especially for subdivision builders, who I understand were lined up like ducks at a shooting gallery during opening ceremonies. I imagine they're promoting the numerous developments that won't contribute to congestion and sprawl.

    Make no mistake. This road may be packaged in a whole new way, but we're all falling for the same tired, old bait: easy, stress-free driving and faster commutes from far-off places. Soon, this will be a crowded, overburdened road, teeming with everyone else who discovered it, trying to escape the other roads.

    Let's all work to stop it from going into Citrus County. Enough is enough!
    -- Ron Thuemler, Tampa

    Common sense missing

    Re: Pipeline to harm gulf; no remedy is known, and Road's the rage, Feb. 4.

    These two articles have one thing in common: a total lack of common sense. The first story indicates that the pipeline will harm 500 acres of the gulf. That is almost one-millionth of the gulf's area -- not a great impact. In addition, you can bet that a few weeks after the construction is completed, there will be far more sea life there than there is now.

    And the idea that the Suncoast Parkway should be abandoned, as opponents want, is ludicrous. Spending $500-million on a desperately needed road and then abandoning it because "a blue jay might get hit by a car" is beyond comprehension.
    -- William Parmer, Dunedin

    Consider energy needs

    Re: Pipeline to harm gulf; no remedy is known, Feb. 4.

    If Florida accepts the kind of logic expounded in this article and continues to fight this proposed 753-mile pipeline, 10 years from now we will be reading in your paper, Florida adopts $10-billion plan to rescue Florida Power and Peoples Gas.

    Peoples Gas just raised rates to residential customers about 30 percent to recoup its skyrocketing costs for natural gas. The charge for natural gas jumped 50 percent over the past year.

    Some are concerned about "500 acres of hard bottom." But do they really understand the economic tragedy that is inevitable for all Florida residents if they succeed in stopping the pipeline? It seems to me we have a lot of responsible people, including the governor, who are concerned about all the residents of Florida. If it takes 10 years to restore the "damage" caused by laying the pipe along the hard bottom, then we should pay the price. Better for us to bite the bullet now than to face what California is going through.
    -- Donald Ullestad, Palm Harbor

    Digital porn problems

    Re: Digital child porn isn't same as real, by Adam Liptak, Feb. 4.

    How would one determine the difference between "real" children being depicted in pornography or the "digital construction" of a child in a pornographic picture? I think what these "artists" would do, if questioned, is tell the authorities that the children were digitally generated when "real" children were actually "used" and abused.

    This is because of the cost, time and the labor involved in generating realistic digital depictions of a "reality" such as the one in the movie The Matrix, which was mentioned in the article. I watched a short film on the making of The Matrix and it is very cutting-edge technology. It is very expensive, time consuming and labor intensive.

    By the nature of the "artists" involved, I believe they would forgo all this and cut their production costs by using real children.

    How would the authorities be able to prosecute a case when the "artists" could just claim the kids were digital images generated on a computer? The burden would be on the authorities to produce the real children to testify. Would the "artists" allow those poor little children ever to be found? I doubt it.

    I really am disappointed with the Times for advocating this type of pornography.
    -- Larry A. Ridder, Spring Hill

    A narrow view of India

    Re: The tremors of ethnic and class strife continue in India, by Philip Gailey, Feb. 4.

    I was deeply disappointed by Gailey's article on India. I would've expected something more informed from a person of his stature and experience. In his article, he says that five days were not enough to form definite opinions of India but then proceeded to do just that.

    One is forced to wonder if Gailey wrote his article from reading travelogues even before setting foot in India or is suffering from a severe case of "culture shock" that prevented him from experiencing India. This is an affliction that regularly strikes a few people who go in with preconceived, negative and prejudicial notions about India and look for ways to confirm their theories. Gailey is in the company of such exalted people as the Rev. Pat Robertson.

    As a native, I have a hard time explaining the caste system, and Gailey took care of it in one sentence. As for all of the other "problems," Gailey did a smashing job of explaining those in relatively simple terms. He seems to have forgotten "small setbacks" like racism, homelessness, drug abuse, massive industrial and other kinds of pollution, growing juvenile violence and crime, etc., rampant in his own country and seems quite justified in pointing a very huge, accusing finger at India.

    It is people like Gailey who perpetuate intolerance among the people of the world by providing a narrow perspective that, in turn, fosters stereotyping and prejudice. I think he would have readily blamed India for the earthquake if he could have found a way.

    I would invite Gailey to make another trip to India, leave the comfy environs of his five-star hotel, mingle with the people on the streets, visit their homes, find out more about the lifestyle and then provide his perspectives. After all, isn't that what journalism is all about -- engaging with life rather than sitting on the hedge and making iconoclastic judgments? When you have a moment, Mr. Gailey, talk to your colleague Bill Maxwell. He may have some wisdom to offer about encountering other cultures.
    -- Lalitha Janamanchi, Clearwater

    That spreading gloom

    Re: The lowdown on old curmudgeons from a proud one, Feb. 4.

    When I was growing up back in Minnesota there was an irascible old barber who was as proud of his curmudgeonly ways then as Bill Maxwell is today.

    I had developed an admiration for him until I heard a woman with a brighter outlook on life say, "I feel sorry for people like Jim. They have a way of turning a bad moment into a bad day, a bad day into a bad year, and a bad year into a bad lifetime."
    -- Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo

    Try a sweet approach

    Re: The lowdown on old curmudgeons from a proud one, Feb. 4.

    At least some of the sourpusses that Bill Maxwell compares himself to had (have) a sense of humor. What will make Maxwell laugh? Probably a white Republican in a white suit getting mud slung at him by a Billary lover would tickle him.

    Let me see: He is never wrong. He is a certified curmudgeon. He is a sore loser. If he's trying to make a lot of people angry, he is succeeding. (Maybe it does sell newspapers.) If he's trying to make the world a better place, he should remember what a spoonful of sugar can do. Loosen up.
    -- Don Gregoire, St. Petersburg

    Amen to Maxwell

    Re: The lowdown on old curmudgeons from a proud one, Feb. 4.

    I didn't say amen to those exclusionary prayers given at the inauguration, but I give a solid amen to Bill Maxwell's column on curmudgeons. He is one of our favorites, and an astute critic of today's hypocrites.

    Bill, keep those pencils sharpened.
    -- Sol Helfand, New Port Richey

    Athletes can pay

    Re: The safety of student athletes.

    The Feb. 4 editorial asks, "Shouldn't safety be a priority for all student athletes?"

    Absolutely! And we suggest starting immediately by requiring all professional athletes to donate 2 percent of their incomes to a general fund designed to subsidize medical attention for school, college and volunteer "in-training" groups.

    Surely, they would be happy to repay in this small way for the medical attention they undoubtedly received during their training years.
    -- Martha M. and George Palfrey, Tarpon Springs

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