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Letters to the Editors

Choice of Cheney sends Democrats into attack mode

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 29, 2000

Re: The Bushes found both a vice president and a babysitter for Junior, July 27.

Any doubt I had about the wisdom of George W. Bush's selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate was erased when I read Maureen Dowd's column on July 27. I had previously recognized that the Democrats, particularly the liberals, were very concerned about losing the presidential race. After reading Dowd's column, with her nearly vitriolic attack on Dick Cheney, it is clear that they have gone well beyond concerned.

It is now obvious that they will attack the Republican ticket with all the hatemongering, name-calling, labeling and negativity that we have become used to from the Democrats. Dowd's remarks about Cheney's votes and positions nearly 20 years ago immediately reminded me of how many times we have been told that nothing Bill Clinton did or said in the past mattered. Consistency, that's what we love in liberals. It is going to be an interesting campaign.
-- Robert T. Gupton, Port Richey

A mean-spirited reaction

Re: The Democrats on Dick Cheney.

There are so many positive ways that the Democrats could have responded to the selection of Dick Cheney: "We look forward to debating the issues with George Bush and Dick Cheney, because we are confident that we will prevail." Or, "Dick Cheney is a fine man, but the voters will see a real difference in the Democratic ticket, and we know they will be impressed."

Instead, their knee-jerk, mean-spirited reaction was "Dick Cheney is just another blue-blood, a filthy rich oil baron; he is a sick, old white man from a tired, old administration."

It is the Democrats who are void of positive messages and hopelessly locked into the politics of personal destruction. Shame on them!
-- John J. Thornton, Tampa

It's the family connections

Re: Doubts lessened by choice of Cheney, by George Will, July 26.

I got a chuckle when I read George Will's column about George W. Bush's choice of Dick Cheney as a running mate: ". . . Perhaps we will be spared attempts to portray Bush as other than what his choice of Cheney confirms that he is -- a competent, decisive executive who has risen in the family trade, and has a gift of finding good help."

I think that he should have said that young Bush has a gift of getting help from family connections. Also, I strongly suspect that George asked for his dad's advice in choosing Dick Cheney.
-- Leonard J. Soman, Tampa

A great leap backward

Re: Dick Cheney.

The nomination of Dick Cheney by George W. Bush is revelatory. Votes against the WIC program, Head Start and sanctions for the oppressive former government of South Africa all speak for themselves. It would seem that we are all destined to take a great leap backward if he and his cronies ever gain control of both Capitol Hill and the White House.

Though my stand against abortion is important to me, I conscientiously cannot throw in with Cheney's bunch and/or their intolerant mentalities. As a wavering Republican I can now say that, because of the GOP's hard-line stance on economic philosophy, I may well vote for a Democrat the next time around if that candidate demonstrates the ability to put his claims of compassion into action instead of just hypocritically mouthing biblical passages and claiming to be born again in order to convince the voters that he is a great guy and should be elected, as a certain Republican is currently doing.

Politics aside, where is the wisdom in depriving women, children and infants of good nutrition and learning programs if, statistically speaking, they will become public charges, or worse, incarcerated after committing a crime -- all at the taxpayers' expense? This famous conservative economic and political philosophy of smaller government and less taxes will foment only hardship and hunger and illiteracy for untold numbers. One nice little recession will do the trick, and we will again see our highway medians populated with the homeless and dispossessed if such safety nets are slashed from under those who need them.
-- Steven Davis, Port Richey

Ethical questions arise

Re: Father, son share trust in Cheney, July 25.

It appears Dick Cheney is a good vice presidential choice based on his extensive experience and track record in government. What should bother us is the ethical issues involved in the selection process.

First, if someone is asked to head up a selection process for whatever job or position, it goes without saying he should disqualify himself so he can objectively represent those under consideration. A sports parallel to this might be a referee saying the teams or players lose and he or she wins.

The second point is circumventing the law. The Constitution says the president and vice president cannot be from the same state. Cheney's changing his residency in the final days, even though it was to a state where he was formerly a resident, is like finding a way to avoid the draft. Circumventing election laws at this office level is far more unethical a behavior than avoiding the draft.

The vice presidential selection process needs to be conducted without reproach.
-- Richard Mayer, Palm Harbor

Questionable investment skills

Re: McCollum portfolio raises conflict issue, July 25.

The front-page article casting aspersions that Rep. Bill McCollum might be influenced by his ownership of a mere $15,000 stock in Global Crossing is absolutely absurd. The thing that the article did not emphasize was that Rep. McCollum's judgment was so impaired that he lost money in one of the most profitable markets in history.

Maybe, Rep. McCollum will find another less expensive hobby or perhaps he will find a good financial adviser. His stock market investments cause one to wonder about the abilities and integrity of other members of Congress.
-- S.W. Sayles, St. Pete Beach

Gore is too often the target

Re: NAACP looking awfully partisan, July 20.

I've been increasingly dismayed by the Times' relentless trashing of Vice President Al Gore. It seems that the only criterion for appearance of an editorial cartoon or column on the Times' editorial pages these days is that it should criticize or ridicule Bill Clinton or Al Gore. But Gregory Kane's column, which called Gore "the greatest second-stringer this nation has ever known," described the "revolting rapture" with which Gore was received by the NAACP, and referred to "Gore's drivel" was the last straw.

How sad that a newspaper with the liberal and fair editorial heritage of Nelson Poynter and Eugene Patterson has devolved under Philip Gailey's stewardship into a despicable rag whose only raison d'etre seems to be a personal vendetta against Bill Clinton and Al Gore. I'm canceling my subscription.
-- Dennis Clarke, Tampa

Notch victims ignored again

Once again, the powers-that-be who reside in the House of Representatives have voted to give themselves a pay raise while we senior citizens born between 1917 and 1926 (notch victims, as we are called) are still waiting to be compensated for the inequity written into Social Security for those years.

Remember, congressmen, senior citizens are voters also!
-- Michael LoPresti, Beverly Hills

Law school lures praised

Re: Florida A&M University College of Law.

The George Edgecomb Bar Association is a diverse Tampa-based professional association whose goals include the promotion and recognition of the contributions of African-Americans within the legal profession and judiciary, advancement of the science of jurisprudence, improvement of the administration of justice, the dissemination of legal knowledge to all members of the community and the improvement of professional relations among members of the bar, the judiciary and the public.

The association and its members would like to express our appreciation to the Hillsborough County commissioners, Tampa Electric Co. and the city of Tampa for their progressive attitude and farsightedness in taking the lead in this community's effort to attract the Florida A&M University College of Law to Tampa. The county commissioners' and TECO's commitment of $1-million each toward the effort to attract the law school along with the city of Tampa's pledge of property valued at more than $10-million demonstrate that this community is genuinely interested in having the law school locate to Tampa.

Locating the FAMU law school in Tampa is not only consistent with the goals of the George Edgecomb Bar Association but also will bestow many benefits to the Tampa Bay area. A study commissioned by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce has estimated that Tampa will reap an economic benefit of approximately $10-million annually to the local economy through the location of the law school in Tampa. In addition, the location of a state-supported law school in Tampa's urban setting would likely increase the number of African-Americans able to pursue a legal career in addition to providing that opportunity to individuals who must maintain full-time employment while pursuing their studies.

We commend the Hillsborough County commissioners, TECO and the city of Tampa for their efforts in this regard.
-- Donald R. Odom, president, George Edgecomb Bar Association, Tampa

Clearing up land issues

Re: Taking on the county, July 13.

This story contained a letter from Guy W. Spicola to Commissioner Chris Hart regarding property that he offered to sell to Hillsborough County. We would like to provide additional information on several issues raised by Spicola.

First, he suggests that Hillsborough County's buying his property would prevent annexation by the city of Tampa. Based on research performed by the county attorney's office, there is no guarantee that county ownership of this land would prevent annexation.

Second, he stated that an appraisal error resulted in the county's not buying his property. The Spicola property is an approved site on the Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection program, but it is a low-preservation priority.

Spicola offered to sell the property to Hillsborough County for $1,627,500. We obtained several appraisals of the property, but they could not support the asking price, so negotiations ended.

County staff is not "asleep at the switch." On the contrary, we are being good stewards of the taxpayers' funds.
-- Mike Kelly, director, Real Estate Department, Hillsborough County, Tampa

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