Schools find money in cell phone towers | Dec. 14, story
Be wary of cell towers at schools
Parents and students in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties have good reasons to be concerned about the cell towers placed on school property.
If they Google "Cell tower safety," they will find that it is an "internationally recognized precautionary standard" not to place cell towers within 1,500 feet of a school, playground, day care center or other child care facility or homes with small children.
A 2004 German government study found that people living within 1,300 feet of cell tower radiation had three times the normal cancer risk.
A 2004 resolution by the International Association of Fire Fighters opposes commercial cell towers on fire stations after a medical study showed brain and nerve problems for irradiated personnel.
Proponents of the towers say there is no conclusive evidence of health risks. Well, it may take years for tumors or cancers to grow.
And if evidence of harm is inconclusive, it still would be better for school authorities to err on the side of caution instead of being "blinded" by the money being offered for the leases.
For the sake of their children's health and safety, parents should educate themselves about the consequences of having their kids exposed to a cell tower on a daily basis in such close proximity.
Barbara Cabrera, Beverly Hills
Government has no monopoly on corruption
The scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has reinforced a wrong public perception of bureaucrats as incompetent at best and corrupt at worst. But as a tax manager of a corporation doing business in all the states, I developed contacts with many tax officials in many states, counties and cities, and found them not more incompetent or dishonest than workers in the private sector.
I heard rumors of corruption among state and local government officials in Illinois as well as in other states, which made me wonder why the district attorneys and police in those states are not more active in rooting it out and why, when a case of bribery is made public, it is invariably the public official who becomes the focus of media attention. In every case of bribery, of course, the person who pays the bribe is equally as guilty as the person who receives it.
When official corruption becomes common knowledge, as it did in Illinois and does elsewhere, "clean" bureaucrats have an equal obligation with law enforcement officials to fight it and not remain silent. Accordingly, I'm skeptical about President-elect Obama's comment that he didn't know about the alleged Blagojevich corruption. I think he had to have heard the rumor even if, like former President Harry Truman (who was associated with the corrupt Pendergast political machine in Missouri), he had no personal involvement in the corruption.
Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg
A little self-sacrifice
When our duly elected and beloved politicians in Tallahassee get through with their alligator tears over how we all have to share in the suffering and hardships due to the present financial picture, I suggest they do the right thing and vote themselves a 20 percent pay cut!
Robert F. Turner, Dunedin
Why not solar?
I recently received a "brochure" from the bandits at Progress Energy, explaining to me the Public Service Commission's recent approval of a 25 percent monthly increase in my electric bill … to build a nuclear plant for future energy needs.
I don't want nuclear power; I want solar power. I don't want our scarce waters to be used in cooling tanks and possibly contaminating fish and wildlife in the vicinity of the plant. We seem to be going backward, not forward.
I would not mind paying them 25 percent extra to start work on solar, but not on a plant that may or may not be started by 2010.
Toni Lawrie, St. Petersburg
A water shortage?
I have to wonder, is there really a shortage of water in the Tampa Bay area? I hear it in the news and on the radio every day. The water management group has implemented mandatory water usage restrictions and asks us to save since every little bit saved adds up.
At the same time, though, I see the city of St. Petersburg continues to build huge high-rise condominiums, further adding to strain on our over-stressed water supply. What good does it do for us to save while others continue to overspend?
Daniel R. Wickham, Brandon
Martinez deserved better
With newspapers across this country going through a massive financial storm, it shouldn't be any wonder that the Times is trying to spruce up their birdcage liner by adding the likes of Daniel Ruth to its pages.
Ruth's first column (Martinez family, he's all yours) ought to be his last. If the Times had any self-respect, it would print an apology to Sen. Mel Martinez and send Ruth packing. This column is more about Ruth attempting to prove his liberal credentials and skill at writing cute phrases than it is substantial or factual.
Sen. Martinez is a class act. He has fought for Florida from day one, defending our coastlines against pollution from oil drilling, providing funds for much-needed environmental research into Red Tide, and convincing his colleagues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Everglades restoration.
Daniel Ruth offers our community about as much that is good and productive as Gov. Rod Blagojevich offers the people of Illinois.
C. Vaughn, New Port Richey
So what's new?
Not too long ago, I read in the news that in the month of November, more than 500,000 people lost their jobs.
I opened the Times to the editorial section last Friday, and there was an article by Dan Ruth: Martinez family, he's all yours.
Everyone already knew that Sen. Mel Martinez was not going to be a candidate for re-election to the Senate— even Florida's unemployed, who can't afford a newspaper. But now we're treated to Ruth's humorous version of Martinez's announcement.
I can hardly wait until the next column, maybe about a gaffe Dick Greco made when he was mayor.
James Di Piazza, Seffner
We have enjoyed many articles in the St. Petersburg Times over the 15-plus years that we have lived here. John Barry's story, Winter's Tale, has got to be one of the neatest and most heartwarming that we can remember.
We look forward to sharing the story with friends and family in other parts of the country and to taking our grandchildren to visit with Winter.
Norman and Susan Huff, Tierra Verde