Clean water from waste? | May 25, story
Wastewater plan springs from excessive growth
Can the city of Clearwater make wastewater clean enough to drink? Personally, I don't want to take that gamble.
Driving this most recent (gross-sounding) plan is poorly controlled growth. As long as we pretend that more people and more building are an unmitigated good, our quality of life will decline. We will use up our water and fuel, pollute our air and soil, crowd out our wildlife and pack our children into trailers we call classrooms. Undeterred, our local governments continue to increase building densities and attempt to develop in our nature preserves. It's time for voters to say, "Enough, no more growth. The costs are too high!"
Because this problem is a global one, we should also support family planning in the United States and abroad. The solution to poverty in the Third World is not to bring all those people here, but to help them raise the standard of living in their own countries. Population control is crucial to this effort.
"Be fruitful and multiply" was good advice in the desert 4,000 years ago, but the world has changed drastically and we need a new plan.
Elizabeth Drayer, Clearwater
Clearwater should be encouraged to look at the potential for recycling wastewater to potable water. This has been a feasible engineering concept for many years, held back only by the public's squeamishness.
Anyone living on an inland river, say in Cincinnati, St. Louis, or New Orleans, grows up drinking recycled wastewater. The river naturally treats the outflow from the next large city upstream. So Cincinnati is quaffing Pittsburgh's effluent, St. Louis is sipping Minneapolis', and New Orleans is drinking from all of the above.
Properly treated, wastewater is perfectly safe for any use, and the practice would go far in alleviating the water shortage in southern Florida. Other cities should follow Clearwater's example.
Tom Ziebold, St. Petersburg
EPA chief reversed course on emissions
May 20, story
is good for all of us
The purpose of the U.S. Constitution is, among other things, to provide for the general welfare. Surely the general welfare of the people and of our country was not considered when California's effort to limit tailpipe emissions was denied. This affected not only California, but other states that would have used California as a model to protect our planet.
When mandatory caps on greenhouse emissions are blocked by the auto industry and the White House, there is no question that the wealthy and the powerful are more interested in their own greed than in the welfare of the general populace, or indeed of their own progeny.
Should we wait until our glaciers, polar bears and other wild life have disappeared? Until there is no clean air to breathe? Until life as we know it is only a vague memory?
It is time for the people in Washington to listen to the environmentalists, put aside their self-interests, and open their eyes to the dangers ahead if we don't do all we can to preserve our environment so we and our children can live to see a healthy future.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole
Terrorist watch list a flawed document
May 18, editorial
Lists are improving
A May 18 Times editorial contained considerable misinformation about terrorist watch lists and travelers' redress options. Today, there is a government program to help resolve watch list misidentifications that many choose not to use. In addition, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently announced a new and cooperative approach to create voluntary, private-sector alternatives to the government program.
The Times overlooks another announcement by Secretary Chertoff, made in August 2007, outlining how the department plans to assume domestic watch list matching responsibilities from air carriers beginning later this year, under a program called Secure Flight. This program will reduce misidentifications to virtually zero. Until then, we are providing airlines with greater flexibility to collect information that will allow passengers to check in remotely.
The editorial also cited a grossly overinflated figure for the number of names listed. While the exact number of watch list names is classified, Times readers can be assured that the actual size is a fraction of what the paper stated. Last year, the Terrorist Screening Center and the Transportation Security Administration dedicated resources to carefully review and scrub the list, a process which resulted in its being cut in half.
Finally, the editorial cited a news report that alleged federal air marshals are being prevented from flying on assigned routes due to watch list misidentifications. While there are rare instances where marshals are misidentified, a process is already in place that allows airlines to quickly clear air marshals for flight once confirming their law-enforcement status. Marshals are not being kept from their duties.
Russ Knocke, spokesman, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
Invasion of privacy
I was very disturbed to read about the conversation between Nick Bollea and his parents. I know the jail personnel have the right to monitor the conversations of the prisoners as well as their mail, but I think its a huge breach when they allowed this information to be made public. Your conversations are meant to be private. When did this change?
The boy has been charged and sentenced and should be able to get on with his life. To have to go through each day knowing what you have done to your best friend, and the torment he goes through will be a harsh payment for him.
Dolores Turner, Pinellas Park
Brooke Bollea unhurt in crash | May 26, story
Let's see: Two cars collide on a bridge and no one is injured. And this is front-page news?
What is this? The St. Petersburg Enquirer? Please leave the pseudo-celebrity gossip to the tabloids and stick to the news. That's what we're paying for.
Brian Feist, St. Petersburg
Thank goodness for the St. Petersburg Times. I was dismayed to observe that the New York Times had not a word about Hulk Hogan's daughter's auto accident. Where is their sense of proportion?
What did the New York Times feature instead? Details about some silly space probe that successfully landed on Mars after a 422-million-mile journey. What could they be thinking?
Donald B. Ardell, St. Petersburg