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    A Times Editorial

    We should be pleased to have prayerful leaders

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published May 30, 2001

    Re: May 26 letters responding to the May 23 story, With state driest ever, governor urges prayer.

    I regret that there was not one positive letter about prayer. All politics aside, I am very glad that some of our leaders in this country, like Gov. Jeb Bush and President Bush, believe praying to God is the most important thing we can do. It's amazing to me that we as adults don't see how important it is to turn from our sinful ways and look upon our God for solutions to all of our problems. I have a 3-year-old grandson, and even he knows better.

    If God chooses to send us rain, it will be because of people like Gov. Bush and so many others who look upon God for all of our needs. Speaking about a "concrete" action, wake up my friends: Your ways have not worked and are not going to work. You took prayer out of school, and your children have turned to violence. And if you continue in this direction, even Lake Erie will dry up.

    One letter called prayer a "naive approach." The next time you look out your window upon your plants, think who made them and thank God that he has loving ears to hear our prayers. As you may have guessed, I am a born-again Christian and have been for 10 years now. But even before I became Christian, I had enough sense to pray to God. I am not mad at you. I am sad that you don't know any better.

    P.S.: Be careful of the lightning out there.
    John Grampsas, Largo

    Ridiculing faith is a new low

    Re: May 26 letters.

    It's hard to believe that the left-wing Times could reach another new low, but you have by publishing letters from three people who ridicule faith and prayer and compare prayer to psychic hot lines, naivete and useless activity

    Were these the only three letters you received or was it a matter of only selecting and publishing writings of people who are anti-faith? What are these people doing to help our water shortage? If they oppose prayer, I suggest they just leave Florida.

    Jeb Bush has been an outstanding governor, but he does not have the power to create rain. It is not Gov. Bush who has blocked development of desalination or energy sources.

    The people of California listened to the environmental extremists who find virtue in unemployment, lowering our standards of life and closing businesses. They voted for politicians who promised them a free lunch. Well, they should quit crying and whining and enjoy their free lunch. Now they cry out for President Bush to solve their problems. They need to solve their own problems. Maybe praying for some new political leaders would help.
    Michael G. LaRa, Clearwater

    Prayers are answered every day

    On May 26, I was saddened to read the three letters mocking prayer--saddened because apparently the letter writers have never had a prayer answered. Apparently they have never prayed with enough faith to "move a mountain" and saw that prayer answered.

    I'm here to tell them that prayers are answered every day, and if God is willing and we ask of him, he will answer prayers for rain. And I will also pray for the three May 26 letter writers because even though they doubt him, God loves them, too
    Ruth McIntyre, St. Petersburg

    Water is a shared resource

    I once heard the great preacher Carlyle Marney tell a story something like this:

    The village drunk was lurching home from his Saturday night binge. In his stupor, he stumbled and fell across the roadway, head on one side, feet on the other. He slept blissfully until wakened by the driver of a cart

    "Move or I'll run over your legs," the driver commanded.

    The startled peasant opened his bleary eyes, glanced down at his inert form and replied, "Drive on, they're not my legs."

    I thought of that story recently when talking to a friend. I was lamenting our current devastating drought, denouncing lawn-sprinkling, criticizing other wasteful uses of water in a time when lakes are lowering, grass is parched and fires are imminent.

    "I don't care," he responded.

    I was aghast. Just like the peasant in the story, his implication was: "Drive on, they're not my legs."

    We sometimes forget that inhabitants of this planet are connected. The way people in one part of the globe use resources can affect all other inhabitants. The water coming through pipes where I live is not mine; it is a shared resource. If we don't realize that and act on it, like the peasant in the story, we will some day waken to find our legs cut off.
    Jean Lersch, St. Petersburg

    Conserve before it's too late

    Re: Day's worth of water sets a Tampa record, May 24.

    People of this area, businesses and private homes alike, should be ashamed. Everyone seems to have adopted the attitude that conservation is the "other person's job." Well, it isn't, because when the water is gone it is gone -- for everyone

    We work in Haiti where the people truly know what a precious commodity water is. They don't have green grass lawns, they don't even have running water in their homes. What they do is walk with a 5-gallon bucket for blocks or even miles to get a precious little bit for drinking and cooking. They go to the nearest river for a bath.

    Are we going to wait until Florida is like Haiti before water becomes more precious than green grass in a subdivision? Before control becomes more important than developer's profits? Wake up people, we are running out of water, and this is serious!
    Eva DeHart, Palm Harbor

    Government still procrastinates

    I recently responded to a friend about our drought and water problems, and this is what I said:

    Well, here it is in late May, and the drought in Florida is taking it's toll on the big three: folks, flora and fauna. We haven't had any rain in our area for almost two months. Every day is becoming progressively warmer. The warm breezes are more pronounced, penetrating every nook and cranny, driving out all the remaining moisture with devastating results.

    There isn't enough water for all of us here, but construction and urban sprawl continue at an alarming rate. It's so bad that our local alligator knocked on the back door the other day and asked for a glass of water.

    Procrastination among local governments hampers taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, to construct desalination plants or to create huge water reservoirs to store runoff from the rains, when they do occur. Better days are coming.
    James D. Herring, Palm Harbor

    Let's not risk our bays

    Re: Desalination.

    The Hillsborough County Commission is right on target for my money. Why would I, as a longtime resident of Hillsborough County, want to put our bays at risk with a desalinization plant on Tampa Bay when the majority of the output is for St. Petersburg and Pinellas County

    If the water is to benefit St. Petersburg and Pinellas, build the plant in that county! They have bays, too, not to mention the Gulf of Mexico, where salt concentrates and by-products will have a lesser impact. An off-shore rig is a viable alternative to a land-based plant, also. Thanks, Hillsborough County commissioners, for looking out for the environment and us taxpayers.
    Walter E. Carter, Riverview

    Be cautious on desal plant

    Re: Desalination plant is needed, letter, May 18.

    First of all, the letter writer should realize that those located in Hillsborough County are not all opposed to the plant. However, they would like to be careful because of the financial status of this new company. This company has never built a desalination plant and has a very shaky financial background. The letter writer, who is with the Greater Clearwater Association of Realtors, should realize that just because some of the counties would like to ignore the possible destruction of the bay, our commissioners are not that short-sighted

    Why not build a plant in Clearwater, if this is such a concern? There's open water, with tidal flushing that would not allow the possible harm associated with the location of the Tampa desalination plant. Being a proponent of the plant seems connected to the overdevelopment of the area. The name "Association of Realtors" speaks volumes about the letter writer's concerns.
    Dottie Clark, Apollo Beach

    Why make poverty a pejorative?

    Re: Bush urges next step in war on poverty, May 21.

    William Shakespeare said: "It is not those who have too little who are poor but those who crave more." In a work by Charles Dickens, one of his characters exclaimed: "We haven't the money so we have to think." Saint Francis of Assisi was said to have taken poverty as his mistress. Most Christian teaching instructs us to "love poverty." Hence, the notion of poverty is dripping with ideology

    So I take issue with the narrow and pejorative way our president and other leaders use the word. The type of abject need that causes millions of people to die of hunger and disease is not caused by poverty but by injustice. Because I am inclined to believe that the Earth has enough resources to provide adequately for everyone, declaring a "war on affluence" would seem to be more remedial and appropriate.

    Furthermore, the negative view of poverty seems to have spawned a new phobia, which has compounded and has exacerbated human suffering. I have dubbed the anomaly: "pauperphobia" (the irrational fear of "the poor" and or the irrational fear of becoming poor).

    Finally, the way I see it, any war on poverty seems likely to end up being a war on "the poor."
    Daniel P. Quinn, St. Petersburg

    Amnesty for illegals is insulting

    Re: House votes to extend illegal immigration deadline. May 22.

    I wonder why we have immigration laws at all! Every few years there is an amnesty on illegal immigration. How disgraceful and insulting to legal immigrants who follow our laws and wait years for entry.

    Illegal immigrants are criminals regardless of their reason for thumbing their noses at our laws. Let's disband the Border Patrol and let anyone walk in with their six kids, so they can overcrowd our schools and cost taxpayers billions in bilingual education and welfare.

    How discouraged and disheartened must be the men and women who work for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Theirs is a thankless job.
    M. Taylor, Seminole

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