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    Letters to the Editors

    Baseless personal attacks are wrong

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published June 3, 2001

    A recent Mary Jo Melone column (Page after page, and still no heart, April 10) states that adoption lawyers opposing my adoption reform legislation "are surely no more or less greedy than personal injury lawyers like" me. Ms. Melone relies on no facts, other than the mere status of my occupation, in what appears to me to be an effort to oppose my legislation by discrediting me. My integrity should be measured by my conduct, not my profession.

    Reputations take years to develop. A columnist who disagrees with a legislative issue should not make baseless attacks on the sponsor's hard earned reputation. Her words are not mere opinion; they attack character and incentive. Ms. Melone was wrong. One need look no further than her own words to know this.

    Last December, she discussed her feelings on addressing race relations in her work. In that column, she expresses concern for "tak(ing) on big issues" for fear that "cheap words . . . might be hurled my way." Well, Ms. Melone hurled cheap words my way when I took on the big issue of reforming adoption laws. In my work, I want no more than Ms. Melone wants in hers. As she said, "I want my work to prompt discussion, not name-calling," and not be "dragged through the mill." I want the same.

    For being called names and dragged through the mill herself, she states that "It's hard not to take this personally." She bemoans that "For my efforts, I have been accused of not being a decent, honorable human being." Funny, I feel the same way because of what she did when I took on a big issue.

    Ms. Melone informed me that columnists write their opinions. I have always felt people can have their own opinions, but they cannot create their own facts. This should apply to all people, including columnists.

    I have tried to live the principle that we should do our best to treat others as we wish to be treated. Hopefully, Ms. Melone believes this also. Finally, I pray in my religion; forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive other trespassers. Ms. Melone, you are forgiven.
    -- Walter "Skip" Campbell, Florida State Senate

    Plenty of sacrifice

    Re: Germans have right idea for conservation, May 27.

    Keith Hauser claims that "Germans have learned to reduce energy use and recycle their resources without sacrificing quality of life."

    He goes on to explain how Germans compost lawn clippings and vegetable refuse, and take glass and paper to recycling containers in the neighborhood. That involves considerable effort and time -- hardly not sacrificing quality of life.

    Germans shut off their car engines at drawbridges and roll down their windows while waiting, we are to understand. That is sacrificing quality of life, as Hauser's children pointed out.

    The family car in Germany, according to Hauser, is the size of a Ford Focus, and every German town has a public transport system. As compared to America, that certainly is a lower quality of life.

    German housewives take cotton bags to the supermarket and reuse them with each visit, which is at least an inconvenience.

    It should be understood that conservation and public transportation are more important to Germany because its population is at least six times denser than that of the United States, and its land mass is 30 times smaller.

    Americans have never had to conserve; however, some parts of our country are beginning to experience the crowded conditions of Europe, and conservation will become important here, too. But to say the effort and expense of conservation will not affect the quality of life is wishful thinking.

    The lesson to be learned is that as the population expands per unit of land, resources on that land are divided among more people and the quality of life must necessarily decline.
    -- Francis J. Sullivan, St. Petersburg


    Re: Germans have right idea for conservation.

    The author states that "Germans have learned to reduce energy use and recycle their resources without sacrificing quality of life."

    He goes on to describe how many Germans keep a pile of rotting leftover food in their yards, stare at their toilets after flushing to calculate the precise moment to cut the water flow and, in the case of the author, spend two hours each day on public transportation re-breathing 100 strangers' exhales. Germany sounds like Nirvana to me!
    -- John Donovan, St. Petersburg

    Has concern slipped away?

    It's been a few weeks since the brutally honest article about slaughterhouses was published in the Times. I was moved to tears simply by looking at the photo with the eyes of that poor "soon-to-be-hamburger" creature. I never made it through the entire article -- my heart couldn't take it.

    As I knew would happen, numerous people wrote letters to the editor expressing their disgust and sadness at how these poor animals suffer needlessly. There were promises and pleas to stop eating meat. My only question is this: To all of you who were so haunted by the suffering of these innocent animals that you vowed to change your meat-eating habits, how many of you have since returned home from the grocery store or butcher shop with a meat purchase? It's truly sad how quickly people can forget the suffering of other living creatures when it interferes with their desires and cravings.

    Although I have been a practicing vegetarian for seven years, I do not force my views on others. I do not believe in making people feel uncomfortable for their beliefs. However, I shake my head in sorrow when I see how quickly people toss aside the importance of something that they say truly moves them, simply because the topic is no longer in the forefront of their minds.

    At what point do we stand up for our convictions, not because it's popular or easy, but simply because it is right for who we are inside? This doesn't require each of us to stand on City Hall's steps, beating our breasts over our beliefs. Just be true to yourself. That's all I'm asking.
    -- Aimee Jo Martin, St. Petersburg

    Welcome to leave

    Re: What happened to the hog, May 27.

    If Bubba the Love Sponge wants to leave Tampa, good riddance! His disgusting act of having a live animal killed on the airways speaks volumes for the type of person he really is.

    I don't think there will be anyone begging him to stay.
    -- Chris Miller, St. Augustine

    Science is atheistic

    Re: New form of creationism shouldn't be in school curriculum, by Robyn Blumner, May 20, and letters in response, May 27.

    First, for a change I'll disagree with Robyn Blumner: Science is an atheistic philosophy. Atheism is, in its essence, a refusal to accept the faith component of an idea. Religion, which nearly always includes an element of faith, is therefore not scientific by nature, where atheism is. Show me the evidence, I'll accept it -- but don't misunderstand what constitutes evidence, a common error of believers.

    Second, evolution is not now nor has it ever been "in trouble" as a scientific concept. That's impossible, as any concept of science is always open to being revised or discarded if adequate evidence to the contrary is found. There is no, none, zero, not a shred of real evidence supporting Intelligent Design. It's merely wishful thinking and skewed interpretation by believers.

    Finally, let's imagine there is a "designer" up there somewhere. I'd hardly consider it intelligent, given the flaws of nature: fleas, mosquitoes, Jesse Helms, oh, the list goes on for pages!
    -- Brent Yaciw, Wesley Chapel

    Questionable case

    Re: Attorney's plea deal lifts some eyebrows, May 27.

    As a victim of a drunken driver, I want to tell you the article on Anne Borghetti did not make me a "happy camper." As a member/volunteer of RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers), I have experienced the trauma associated with this thoughtless behavior and I commend the officer for the arrest.

    What went wrong after that, until the final disposition, needs to be looked at very carefully. We should all have equal rights and abide by the same laws.
    -- Ione Robinson, Clearwater

    Rebate route

    Re: Republican tax cut.

    It just came to me! I'll give my tax rebate to next year's Democratic nominee for governor of Florida. Thanks, President Bush!
    -- Priscilla J. Brewer, Temple Terrace

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