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More reader comment on Bass suit against Times

In between your self-serving editorials perhaps you will print another, more candid, view of the attempted purchase of the Times. For the uninitiated, newspapers are usually the life work of a crusading journalist. When he dies, his heirs can't wait to "whack-up the melon." The paper usually goes to the highest bidder and the editorial views will change accordingly. Nelson Poynter did it differently. He left control of the paper to an institute run by hand-picked puppets, leaving lesser rewards to family.

I submit that Poynter used that device to perpetuate his left-wing approach to news reporting. Perhaps the Times will treat us to the details of a Nelson Poynter who was a founding member of Americans for Democratic Action. The ADA was merely a convenient name for the Union for Democratic Action when it had gained a "brazen pro-communist" reputation. Or perhaps the Times will tell us about Poynter's sumptuous apartment in Washington, D.C. which was frequented by such ultra-left-wing radicals as Sen. Paul Douglas.

Consideration should be given to the above when next a reader wonders how the Times manages to get on the wrong side of nearly every issue. Selected and slanted news goes with contorted conclusions.

Lee Bennett, Aripeka

Having been a subscriber of your paper for more than 10 years, I note that your bias toward the Democrat party is continuing, just as it did when Mr. Patterson was the editor. Reading the recent explanations of the takeover attempt by Mr. Bass, I wonder if this extreme bias is also a legacy from Mr. Poynter, along with the journalistic excellence which you have recently referred to.

Coming from Pennsylvania as I do, one gets a first hand view of Democrat politics as it is practiced in the Northeast. Consequently, when reading your paper, I have learned to avoid your editorials. Today, however, I note on the front page another example of your cheap bashing of President Bush and his defense budget. I wonder if you and your editors have ever reflected on where we would be if your candidate Michael Dukakis had attained the presidency?

Perhaps it is time for you and your staff to wake up and realize that your readers deserve a balanced view of the political scene, rather than the slanted and frequently subliminal views which you present. Maybe this situation would be better under Mr. Bass.

M.

W. Robinson Jr., Palm Harbor

Other views

For 19 years your exemplary editorials and other stimulating features highlighted my days. Now the dark threat of the Bass takeover angered me like the announcement that my physician transferred me to hospice.

Unless I can be assured of continued delivery of the unpolluted Times, I refuse to leave this mortal coil, and will cancel my training program in stoking hell's furance.

Put that in the pipe of Bass, and let that scalawag smoke. Although my physician admonished me that there are no miracles: I suspect that if God declared himself against sin by disguising himself as a burning bush, and arranging to have his son nailed on a cross, why wouldn't he tell Bass to go to hell?

Here's hoping!

Felix Conrad Schwarz, St. Petersburg

Re: Editorial, To our readers and article Poynter Institute hires special counsel.

Democracy's survival is dependent upon a system of free unfettered public education and a free unfettered press to enlighten all of the public. These are the bulwarks of freedom and are an anathema to those in or out of government who wish to control thought and stifle opposition in order to gain or preserve a privileged status.

Democracy loses every time a free and unfettered independent press goes out of existence or is taken over and subtlely controlled by those whose chief aim is not enlightenment but distortions and propaganda for the maintenance of a status quo.

Our St. Petersburg Times with its present organization provides enlightenment on all aspects of life in our democracy. Whether we always agree or rarely agree with its presentation of the news, we can truthfully say we have a paper which serves our constitutional democracy and its principles.

In addition, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies provides education and training for aspiring journalists. To force the St. Petersburg Times to spend untold sums of money to defend its functions as a free press and an educational institution in a court of law in my estimation is outrageous. Enough of this kind of financial attack which is weakening our nation's industries and businesses and serves only greed and power.

Albert E. Jochen Sr., Clearwater

Re: Another view (Times vs. Bass), Feb. 11.

Every reader is entitled to his/her own opinion. But what arrogance in a new kid on the block to tell "the people of this area" what kind of newspaper they "deserve"!

Does he think we were all born yesterday, or are too stupid to decide for ourselves?

Methinks his own biases are coming through loud and clear.

L. Jump, St. Petersburg

Re: A recent letter writer's insulting remarks about the St. Petersburg Times.

The insulting remarks clearly sound as if he is a Bass renegade. These remarks show where he is coming from. This is a free country and no one is forcing him to read your paper. I think he has been in St. Petersburg seven months too long. I suggest he leave for parts unknown. As for the Poynter nieces, Lady Luck has graciously shown her favors on them. She could take another look and rescind her generosity to them for their greed and disrespect to a great man.

Betty J. Schmidt, Largo

We, St. Petersburg Times customers, certainly hope you don't let the big Texan, Robert Bass, come to St. Petersburg and buy into the best newspaper in the state. If they think they will come into our state and make a killing (so to speak) they are mistaken. If they do, they are mistaken. If the price goes up, like I'm sure it will, we are dropping our subscription immediately. I am speaking for many of my friends and relatives. They don't want to take the time to write at this time. There are two good newspapers in Tampa that we can surely turn to. But we lived in St. Petersburg for years and liked the way Mr. and Mrs. Poynter ran their newspaper. We think it is the best newspaper we have ever read, which includes Miami and Atlanta newspapers.

Mary L. Gore, Homosassa

Bravo! Three cheers! Amen! In this era of greed, corruption, and spinelessness, hats off to a fine newspaper!

Sandra J.A. Garcia, Ph.D., J.D.

Associate Professor, USF, Tampa

Intrusion of privacy

The tragedy of the Dorothy Dianne Rose case has engulfed St. Joseph's hospital, particularly the staff caring for Mrs. Rose. On Jan. 24, a video tape was made by Barry Cohen, public defender, at St. Joseph's, recording Mrs. Rose's condition. This tape was made without the hospital's knowledge or consent and entered as part of a motion to have Mrs. Rose relocated to a mental institution. Filed as part of a public motion, the tape was obtained by the media and broadcast on the evening news.

The staff caring for Mrs. Rose and the administration of St. Joseph's was deeply concerned over the use of this tape. We have also received many calls from concerned community members regarding this incident.

As an important tenet of our mission statement, we strongly believe in preserving the dignity of each patient. We believe in the right of privacy for every patient and protect this privacy in every way possible. However, patients and their families may choose, as they did in Mrs. Rose's case, to forgo this right. We must respect and uphold their choice.

We want to assure everyone that we understand their concerns and we concur with those who have questioned the intrusion of an individual's privacy as a legitimate means of defense.

Sister Marie Celeste Sullivan

Chairman of the Board

St. Joseph's Hospital, Tampa

"Illuminating the path'

Re: Series of articles that Peggy Peterman has been writing particularly during the month of February commemorating Black History Month. The activities, the movie Glory, and particularly the release of Nelson Mandela. I want to thank her for this series of inspiring and remarkable articles that have been a real source of light to many people who walk in blindness. I thank Peggy and I hope she continues to illuminate our path with her writing and her remarkable insight.

Uwezo Sudan, St. Petersburg

One for the parent

The "One for the Children" Campaign would be better titled "One for the Parent." If a project designed to improve the quality of education and provide special training for teachers is needed, then, where is the promise of the Florida lottery?

A project designed to provide special training for parents to effectively communicate with their children and prepare them for school experiences would do more to enhance education. Parents need to do more to promote quality education than donate $10. That was the goal of Florida lottery dollars.

St. Petersburg needs a "One For the Parent" campaign to train parents in preparing children for quality education.

Deanne M. Wenner, St. Petersburg

I see the TV ads for One for the Children, asking for donations _ which I would willingly donate to. But isn't the lottery income destined to the Florida education system?

Amy Downs, Gulfport

Dispelling mental illness myths

Re: New Anclote Manor chief works to conjure good will, Feb. 4, concerning the appointment of John Baren as head of Anclote did much to dispel some of the myths surrounding mental illness.

At the end of the article you quoted Baren as saying, "People with emotional problems .

.

. tend to be much more sensitive, much more caring. People who are real caring tend to suffer more pain."

It's about time the media recognized that mental illness is just that, an illness, not a condition one chooses or adopts due to weakness of character or need for attention. The suffering of mental patients is no less real or less painful than the suffering cancer patients must endure. As Baren's words indicate, mental patients are people too. They are entitled to the same care and compassion we devote to others who are ill. Like the leper once shunned by society, the mental patient is often discriminated against in the work place, within the community, and by health insurance companies. Articles such as yours help erase the stigma associated with mental illness, thus emboldening more people to seek appropriate help. Such articles also provide impetus to create readily accessible, quality mental health care programs for those who need it.

Keep up the good work.

As the old proverb assures, "It is only by taking step after step that the ladder is ascended."

Judith Zimmerman, Palm Harbor

Stop the name calling

Re: The rule of law, not mobs, editorial, Feb. 6.

Recently, I returned from a visit up north for the Christmas holidays. I didn't recognize the St. Petersburg Times until today (Feb. 6), when you resumed your diatribe against the pro-life movement. Your name calling (this editorial calls us a mob) doesn't help those of us who feel this issue could be solved by reasonable people without name calling.

Martin A. Thompson, New Port Richey

Clean Air Act supported

The U.S. Senate is presently debating the Clean Air Act, which will shape our nation's air quality programs well into the next century. This is legislation of utmost importance to every citizen, because our health and the future of our planet depend on the decisions made in Washington, D.C. in the next few weeks.

The League of Women Voters supports S-1630, a compromise bill with a sound structure and an ambitious program for developing cleaner motor vehicles. The bill offers improvements in current programs to:

Clean up smog to healthy levels.

Stop acid rain.

Force reductions in toxic air pollution.

Phase out ozone-depleting CFCs.

Reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a first step against global warming.

It is imperative that all citizens who care about clean air contact our two senators, Bob Graham _ 241 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., and Connie Mack _ 902 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510, and urge them to support this legislation. Powerful forces are lobbying against S.1630, and they represent big oil, big auto, big utility and chemical industries. They will spend a lot of money to block passage of this bill, so our senators need to hear from their real constituents, the voters of Pinellas County. Contact them today.

Margaret T. Tappan, President

League of Women Voters, St. Petersburg Area

"Driving Miss Daisy'

Driving Miss Daisy _ what a delightful, educational movie. The boards of education of the whole United States should require this movie to be shown to the entire student body. The television and movie industry are using their media to educate the population in the wrong direction. Most everything gravitates toward crime and violence. Children grow up thinking this is the proper way of life. Television could and should be used in a positive, educational way. Driving Miss Daisy contains not one curse word nor any violence, just a movie of respect, courtesy, patience and understanding of one's way of life, living and growing together. What children and grown-ups could learn from this movie would be invaluable.

David R. Bishop, St. Petersburg

Share your opinions

We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, 33731. They should be brief and must include the handwritten signature and address of the writer.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

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