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Florida's crisis - the destruction of the Everglades

Of all the pressing issues in the world today, few can compare in importance to the state of our environment. Every day, in the name of "progress," more and more of our planet dies. In this past decade alone, mankind has been faced with nuclear disasters such as the Chernobyl crisis, atmospheric disasters such as the hole in the ozone, water pollution such as the Exxon Valdez spill, and countless other problems ranging from political upheavals to landfills full of discarded plastic. In Florida alone, we are faced with an additional crisis - the destruction of our Everglades. The Everglades are more than just a particular attribute of Florida. They are a very delicate and significant part of our environment. Not only do the Everglades serve as home to countless species of birds, plants and animals, but they also act as one of the last "undisturbed" natural habitats to be found in the state. But now even this is threatened. Near the Everglades, local farming introduces sulphates and nitrates into the soil. This is done to "better" the soil for agriculture. These same sulphates and nitrates seep into the water supply and are, in turn, introduced into the Everglades. Once in the area, they kill very crucial species of bacteria and algae. Feeding off this algae is a particular type of snail called the apple snail.

This snail lives exclusively off this algae. This would not be so threatening to the environment if the apple snail were not the main if not exclusive diet to many inhabitants of the Everglades from birds to alligators.

With the shortage of the apple snail, the Everglades would grow very sparse in life. And, to make matters worse, the effects of sulphates and nitrates continue to do damage in different ways. Upon the killing of some species of "good" algae, "bad" ones take their place that grow from the bottom of the Everglade pools up. This, in turn, would cut off sunlight to plants killing almost all Everglade plant species but one, cattails. As a result, in a very short time, the Florida Everglades could evolve from a lively habitat to a life-deprived salt swamp. Thus, it is more important than ever that Florida residents pay more attention to our environment. Otherwise, in a very short time, there may not be any need.

Joseph F. Cook, Tampa

Re: A natural mistake/Silver Springs must nurture its beauty, not

disguise it.

Being an umpteenth generation Floridian with roots that go back to the Ft. McCoy area before there was a state of Florida, I applaud Jeff Klinkenberg's article, Jan. 31, on Silver Springs.

I hope he sent copies to Florida Leisure Acquisition Corp. and anyone in Tallahassee who cares about the rape of native Florida sites.

Or should that read . . . sights.

Everything is so make-believe these days with Disney, Busch Gardens and Sea World that bottom-line oriented corporations don't think real honest-to-gosh native wildlife and natural surroundings are marketable.

At least not at today's prices.

Seems I remember a small, beautifully oak-shaded public spring called Rainbow Springs that ended up part of a housing development not too many years back. What a shame.

It may not be the Grand Tetons or Cades Cove but it's worth saving in its most natural state. Too bad Florida can't just make them protected parks with minimal vendor intrusion. Some day we'll wish we had.

Beecher Martin, Tampa Competition needed

All of us are pleased to see a McDonald's in Moscow. I hope it becomes a huge success in the drab Soviet way of life. What is needed now is a Burger King on the same scale and not too far from McDonald's.

Can you think of a better way or example of what our system of competition for the customers' dollars or rubles is all about? The Muscovites would love it!

Edwin M. Brown, Largo Politicians and abortion

As almost everyone knows by now, Jan. 22 was the 17th anniversary of the Roe ruling which struck down every law protecting unborn Americans.

Reporters seemed obsessed with asking activists on each side only one question: "Which politicians do you intend to punish at the polls this year?"

While political activity is unfortunately an absolutely necessary aspect of defending our right to live, the reports which came out Jan. 22 focused only on this very narrow political aspect. Far more important are questions like "How many women will pro-life alternative pregnancy centers assist this year?" Over 2-million were helped in 1989. "How many ex-abortionists will speak the truth this year?"

Dozens stopped snuffing out children's lives in 1989. "How many lives will be saved this year?" If not for the efforts of right-to-life activists, the number of children executed last year (1.5-million) would have exceed 2-million.

In 1990, Pinellas Right to Life and those who share our concerns will continue to tell the truth about abortion. We will continue to change hearts and minds. We will continue to help women. We will continue to save lives. We will continue to pursue every appropriate legal strategy to stop death activists from imposing their nihilistic beliefs and practices on innocent girls and boys. And we will let the political chips fall where they may.

Despite a deluge of propaganda to the contrary, politicians who hold proper convictions on this issue will not suffer at the polls.

After all, the popularity of George Bush, Bill Young and Mike Bilirakis is now higher than ever.

Dan Allison, Executive Director Pinellas Right to Life, St. Petersburg Is all this fuss about abortion nothing more than beating a dead horse? The new French abortion drug may make it so and for the following reasons: This drug exists; it works and therefore satisfies a perceived need; it is relatively cheap; it is simple to use; it is probably safe - more will be known about this soon because it is legally being used in France and China; it is probably acceptable to at least a large minority of Americans; it will make a lot of money for the manufacturers, importers and retailers - whether it is legal or illegal; it can be illegally copycatted.

At the present time this drug is not available in this country but considering our demonstrated inability to stop the importation and sale of marijuana and cocaine, can anyone believe that its sale will be stopped?

Fredric K. Johnson, St. Petersburg Problems at the post office

Re: You may pay 30 cents to mail a letter next year.

When stamps are raised in price to 30 cents (and they will be) does that mean that I will continue to get my mail anywhere from 10:30 a.m. or some time in the late afternoon?

Will I still need to stand in long lines at the post office while two out of four windows are closed which greet me with "next window please"?

Will the post office at Gateway Mall still keep its sign which proclaims "quality service through quality performance by quality employees" or will they have a "new and improved" sign?

Anything and everything seems to bog down delivery by the postal service. Will a 20 percent raise in the price of stamps eliminate post office problems? Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank states he was "committed to paying back to the American people that 6 percent" difference and has pledged to keep future increases below the inflation rate. "We may very well be able to hold increases in rates after the 1991 adjustments to one more increase in the balance of this century," stated Mr. Frank.

The postal service managed a $404-million surplus in the last three months of 1989, the agency expects a record $1.6-billion deficit for the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30.

The fact that Mr. Frank says we "may" be able to hold increases in rates after the 1991 adjustment to one more increase in the balance of this century sounds just like most politicians. And don't blame this increase on labor negotiations. Put the blame where it belongs - "read my lips" Bush.

Wallace V. Noble, St. Petersburg

I object to a stamp increase as do thousands of others. Even in Europe they get a break on sending Christmas cards unsealed and no letter inside. Does it make sense to mail a card around the corner for 25 cents or more and the same price to Hawaii? Soon the postage will cost more than its contents.

Millie Quinn, Holiday

Raising the postage rate to 30 cents really gets my dander up! Why not raise the cost of sending the "junk mail" and keep the garbage down?

Who was the Russian who said "We will bury you"? I say we are doing a good job of doing that to ourselves. Many a past civilization has been discovered by the throw-a-ways dug up by archaeologists.

Sybilla Davis, Spring Hill Floridians defended

Re: Letter to the editor, Shangri-la no more, Feb. 3.

So this is your last visit to Florida. Well good, though I wouldn't bet the farm on it. It will help eliminate the overcrowding that is among your complaints.

You seem to think we residents exist simply to make Florida a desirable place for your to visit in the winter. You want nothing to do with us in the "hot steamy months" as you put it.

Who do you think causes the crowding of streets, golf courses and beaches that we can neither see nor use any more because of the high-rent cement horrors that were built to accommodate you, my friend?

In the "cool weather," that is.

Who causes some of us to be "rude Florida drivers"? It is out-of-staters who don't know or care where they are going and rubber-neck along at 20 mph especially during the hours our residents are trying desperately to get back and forth to work alive on the "crowded highways" so they can earn enough to pay taxes for same, so you people who can afford to come down here, sit on your behinds at the "expensive" beaches and complain about everything, including now, a little fishing license tax break for our old people - some of whom depend for their support on a fish instead of a handout. How selfish can you well-heeled tourists get? And ask 99 percent of the homeless you complain about where they are from. Same place as you, my friend.

Up north. Of course, your state advertises for tourists. You have to.

No one wants to go there. Like you, they all want to come to Florida.

Thus, the overcrowding and tax you complain of.

Susan Eastman, St. Petersburg A governor who cares

Re: Florida's big spender, Sept. 19, editorial, that was reprinted in the Tallahassee Democrat. It appalled me that you would write such a vicious lie about Gov. Bob Martinez. I refer to the statement, "There is, at last, something for which Gov. Martinez is willing to raise significant amounts of new revenue. Himself."

The governors Transplant Lifeline for Children (TLC) program's first draft was created in September, 1987. In January, 1988, the governor and our first lady hosted the first TLC reception to create donor awareness and to raise funds for children in need of an organ transplant not covered by C.M.S. The governor himself signed a donor card. He used three or four premieres of the movie License to Kill in which he played a small role, not to blow his own horn, but to create more donor awareness and to raise funds to meet these children's needs.

Do we throw away our car because it needs a new engine? No! Do we throw away our house because it needs a new roof? No! Do we throw away our children because they need a new organ? No!

Our governor is a man who cares about Florida's most precious assets, Florida's future - our children.

Pam Steffen, Quincy Child care available

Re: A solution - for some, letter to the editor, Jan. 31.

The parents of handicapped children who have joined to form COPE of Pinellas Inc. are to be congratulated for their willingness to speak out for the need for before- and after-school care for their children.

Joining with Latchkey Services for Children, they have undertaken an initial program which, hopefully, other individuals and groups in the county also will support. This program is designed to provide before- and after-school child care at Paul B. Stephens and Nina Harris Exceptional Student Centers.

In October of 1989, the Juvenile Welfare Board made $15,600 available for scholarships to assist parents with the added cost of care for this service to special needs children. The Juvenile Welfare Board recognizes that the need for quality, affordable child care exists for all children and families in Pinellas County who wish to avail themselves of such services.

James E. Mills, ACSW, Executive Director Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County Big mistake?

If there is any validity to the claims that we can't afford to close military bases, that we can't afford to reduce the work of defense industries, that we can't afford to put soldiers into civilian clothes, etc., etc., then my comment is that we made a big mistake in terminating World War II.

Lt. Cmdr. W. L. Dominy (Ret.), Holiday 'Where is due process?'

I can't believe the Times had no editorial comment regarding the blatant disregard for personal freedom and property rights described in the Jan. 23 Suncoast Digest article: House seized under forfeiture law.

The article described the FBI seizure of a New Port Richey couple's house the same day a complaint was filed; i.e. no notice. Can you believe the owner was not charged with a drug-related crime? Where is due process?

The Times article reports our U.S. law provides that "even if an individual is not charged with a crime, forfeiture laws allow officials to seize property they believe to have been purchased with drug profits." Wow! And we wonder why the Romanians and others haven't revolted earlier.

I immediately turned to the editorial page to see how the Times was defending the average homeowner's rights. What? An editorial lambasting President Bush's (read Republican) two-sided stance on abortion and an editorial ridiculing the County Commissioners' considering a boat channel.

Nothing about the government's abridgement of a basic (U.S.) right to own property and be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

I agree the house owner could be under suspicion due to a prior drug arrest record, but, no current charges - what gives?

Randy A. Mabry, Clearwater Why is noise such a problem?

After reading Eric Snider's article about Jannus Landing, Sound

Barriers, it makes me wonder why I live in Pinellas and not Tampa. It seems like St. Petersburg always wants to keep up with Tampa but won't budge an inch to do so. If noise is such a problem then why did they build a stadium? I saw my first concert back in April 27, 1989, when the Violent Femmes played, and saw six shows at Jannus Landing afterward, the last being on Dec. 8, 1989, when the Red Hot Chili Peppers played. Jannus Landing serves as an entertainment resort for people from all over the bay area, and to fine it thousands of dollars because a very small group of people are offended by the noise is absurd.

Robert M. Wilson, Tarpon Springs You have overlooked the brighter side of the Jannus Landing noise story. Now that the rock and roll has been controlled, the noise meters will be available for the next Grand Prix races. My bet is that, should you conduct a poll, most people will say they are more offended by the noise of the race than by rock and roll.

Thomas R. Cuba, St. Petersburg

Come on now. When is music "noise" and noise, "music"? The noise of the Grand Prix is "music" because GTE is the piper. The music the marching bands play in Al Lang Field is music because it is played by clean-cut high school students. The music at Jannus Landing is "noise" because it is played by and to a group of long-haired, ill-kempt youngsters who do not portray a desirable image of St. Petersburg. As an owner in Bayfront Towers, I can state objectively that the sounds of the Grand Prix and of the marching bands far exceed that emanating from Jannus Landing. It's a simple lesson in what money and influence can buy.

Martin R. Klemperer, M.D., St. Petersburg

Re: Sound barriers.

Hats off to Eric Snider and his intelligent, informative articles on the Tampa Bay alternative music scene. I, too, mourn with him the fate of Jannus Landing.

Obviously, someone is out to turn Jannus Landing into a parking garage, however he has to do it. Playing by the rules is fair, but one must be consistent; Vice Mayor Stewart is wise in foreseeing the negative consequences that closing Jannus Landing could have on neighboring businesses and other outdoor venues. It will be interesting to see if Straub Park receives fines if it hosts a band or symphony performance.

It seems as if St. Petersburg will stop at nothing to continue undermining any cultural progress it has made, which is bizarre if it is trying to become a "modern" city of the '90s and attract younger residents. Because I moved from St. Petersburg 10 years ago, I can laugh from a distance and travel to Tampa to attend the shows which would ordinarily be at Jannus Landing. Alternative music will always find a home somewhere, no matter who tries to stop it. Tampa should be thankful that St. Petersburg is handing it all its business.

Then again, maybe I should not be surprised, given the city government's penchant for arcane logic. Who else would build a multimillion dollar sports stadium without a team to play in it? Maybe they are hoping that the Jannus Landing concerts will be rescheduled to the Florida Suncoast Dome.

To the St. Petersburg city government: Just because one has been silenced does not mean that he has been converted.

David Zack, Spring Hill Another view

Re: Sound barriers.

I live on the ninth floor of the Cornet Apartment Building. I was also one who complained about the noise from concerts at Jannus Landing.

I'm in my 20s and enjoy rock music. But the issue here is noise. I keep my windows closed and my drapes pulled closed also, and my air conditioner going, but if I would get a phone call while a concert was going on, I would have to shout and so would the caller because the noise was loud.

I went and spoke to the manager of the concerts in person and by phone several times over a two-year period. But this was to no avail.

When the police monitored the concerts, the manager was warned before the concert started it was going to be monitored, and again warned that the concert was over the noise level before he was given a citation, that the noise was too loud.

And furthermore, regarding being well connected, I don't know who's dog catcher of St. Petersburg.

Charles A. Scott, St. Petersburg