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Letters to the Editors

Remember Iron Eyes and don't pollute

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 1999


Re: "Iron Eyes" Cody obituary.
-- Editor: This veteran American Indian actor and humanitarian passed away Monday at age 94. Of all his roles, he was most recognizable as "The Crying Indian" in his gripping 1971 anti-litter and anti-pollution public service TV commercial.
Seeing this man weep while observing the careless way in which so many were polluting their environment tugged at the heartstrings of America, dramatically raised the environmental consciousness of an entire generation of Americans, and propelled forward the Keep America Beautiful agenda. His message, "People start pollution; people can stop it," played intermittently into the 1980s.
I would like to add a postscript to his obituary. On Earth Day, April 22, 1998, his memory was resurrected at the U.S. Conference of Mayors convention held in Chicago, when a new TV spot featuring the crying Indian image was introduced. Since Cody was unable to personally come out of retirement, a creative twist was used.
The spot, which currently runs periodically on FSN Cable and TCI Cable, opens with several individuals waiting at a corner bus shelter. As the bus arrives, each carelessly leaves behind trash that will quickly contribute to an ugly and unsightly landscape. One crushes his cigarette on the ground under his foot, another discards the newspaper, and another leaves a Styrofoam coffee cup. The draft from the departing bus blows trash down the street. The camera's eye is then drawn to a poster of Iron Eyes Cody which hangs on a side wall in the shelter. A tear emerges and trickles down his cheek. The screen fades to black and the words "Back By Popular Neglect" appear.
Have we forgotten the importance of "putting litter in its place?" Keep Pasco Beautiful hasn't. It is committed to "empowering the citizens of Pasco County to take greater responsibility for enhancing their community's environment and aesthetics."
We invite each concerned citizen to become part of the solution. Contact us to learn how you can help. Write P.O. Box 1852, Dade City, 33526, or call (352) 521-5700.
David West, Dade City
Executive Director, Keep Pasco Beautiful
Eat right, lose weight,
get involved in community

Editor: Like many of you, I have made a number of New Year resolutions. Probably the No. 1 resolution on most people's list is to get more exercise and to lose weight. Both are good ideas and will contribute to one's personal health. However, there is an additional health issue we should be interested in; the health of our community.

A recent column by Jeff Webb commented, "Resolve to make a difference in your community." I support this premise 100 percent. I truly believe Margaret Meade's comment, "One person can make a difference." Most of you know that my background was not political.

I was an activist that became involved in government because I was not pleased with what was happening in my small rural community of Gower's Corners.

How does one become involved? First, citizens need to be educated about the community they live in. In order to get this education, one must have abundant, prompt and truthful information on what is going on in the county and the state and interact in a free discussion of the issues. According to David Mathews of the Kettering Foundation, public deliberation is the key to make sound choices on state and local policies.

Forums or town meetings help citizens to make collective decisions. Mathews notes, "Deliberative forums provide a rare opportunity for people to talk and reason together." For a number of years the people of Central Pasco utilized the Central Pasco Coalition to investigate issues, make suggestions, and fight for a resolution to community issues.

Within the next few weeks, a new group will make their debut, "The Publicats." Its mission is to provide a forum to review issues, make suggestions and interact with their public officials.

As an individual, you can become involved in other ways. Attend a county commission meeting. Schedules of times and dates of commission meetings are available in the commission office. You can also utilize Pasco's web page: http://pascocounty.com/gov to get a list of the other weekly meetings and also read the weekly commission agenda.

If you do not have a computer, your local library has access and the friendly librarian will be glad to assist you. Although commissioners are elected countywide, each commissioner represents a district. Do you know who your commissioner is? Again, a call to the commission office will give you the information.

Make an appointment to meet with your commissioner and discuss issues that will be effecting your area. Share your concerns and vision for Pasco's future with your state and local elected representatives.

Ask your commissioner, state representative or School Board member to speak with your civic, church or business group. Many times they can provide additional staff to address a particular issue or concern.

This is your community. You deserve to be listened to, to get answers to your questions and to have a good quality of life. Elected officials may not always give you the answer you want, but they are duty bound to get you the information. Government cannot be all things to all people, but if we work together, we can continue to make Pasco a great place to live.
-- Pat Mulieri
Pasco County commissioner
Be alert and keep
an eye on kids

Editor: During the past holiday shopping season, I had some business to transact at the Gulfview Square Mall.

I had the opportunity to sit and observe the people walking by. I was disturbed at what I witnessed. I saw families walking. Two adults in the front and a child, 3, 4 or 5 years old walking behind. Yes, in the back of them. It was open season for pedophiles, perverts, kidnappers.

Children should walk in front of adults. Better yet, the adult should hold the child's hand.

You read it in the papers and you see it on TV; children are snatched all too often. Watch your children, they are precious.
-- Mike Starr, Port Richey

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