Re: Ellen Goodman's column, Feb. 9, Arrest doesn't solve problem of addicted mothers. She fails to mention the most logical and compassionate option for a pregnant addicted mother with two "dysfunctional" children _ abortion. And it's a journalistic taboo to discuss the real underlying problem _ the desperate need for world population control. All of the millions of words about environmental concerns are just idle chatter when considered against the alarming rate at which we are covering planet Earth with humans. As one wag said, pretty soon there will be standing room only and then the problem will be solved.
How soon will a newspaper, a magazine or a Geraldo have the guts to tackle this issue, the most important one before the world today? This means facing the considerable wrath of unenlightened religious groups. Through their refusal to allow family planning clinics in the countries where their faith is dominant they are contributing more to the misery of the poor than war.
Today we are about to give a billion plus to Panama. Yet even before this happens a church leader there is telling us it is not enough. Statistics show such help does little but help to create more people hence more misery.
If I go to a bank to borrow money I tow the line, do what they require or I don't get the loan. Why can't it be the same for foreign aid? Why loan millions at ridiculously low interest rates without attaching a requirement that family planning centers be established?
When the issues of population control and family planning are addressed and given the hoopla which environmental problems are getting, the other hot issue coming off the back burner (abortion) will be diminished. If every child is wanted, healthy and can be properly cared for by its parents, who would want to abort?
Betty Carpenter, Crystal River
Nicaragua's "sorry state'
In his column, Feb. 10, US aid to Ortega foe appears to be having boomerang effect, Jack R. Payton states: "Chief among her assets is the sorry state of Nicaragua's economy, thanks largely to Sandinista mismanagement." I believe Mr. Payton underestimates the intelligence of most Americans who are well aware of the fact that U.S. successful efforts to destroy the Nicaraguan economy is the main reason for the present condition of their economy. The repeated destruction of schools, hospitals, roads, public utilities, farm cooperatives (the list is endless) inflicted by U.S. financed and trained Contras _ and by the U.S. embargo and other warlike acts _ have much more to do with the "sorry state" of the Nicaraguan economy than "mismanagement."
As for Nicaraguan government officials taking advantage of their incumbency _ does he believe they are better at that sort of thing than our American politicians? Also, how much "access to the media" does any candidate for office in the United States have, who doesn't have the loot to pay for it?
Tina Palumbo, St. Petersburg
I read with great interest your Feb. 7 editorial, A debtors' paradise. Ordinarily, I would not make any comment on your editorial, however, since there are two grossly inaccurate statements, I cannot help but enlighten you on these matters.
First, your editorial stated that, "The bankruptcy courts aren't blameless. They are too quick to let debtors discharge all debts in so-called Chapter 7 proceedings." I told your reporter, and have told every reporter since I have been on the job, that the bankruptcy judge has no discretion whatsoever to deny a debtor's discharge unless a creditor files a timely complaint objecting to the discharge and, after trial, establishes with competent proof the facts which under the Bankruptcy Code would warrant the denial of the discharge. Thus, almost 90 percent of all individual debtors who filed Chapter 7 petitions obtained their discharge by default and the bankruptcy judge has no power to interfere with that process.
Next, you criticize the bankruptcy court, especially myself, because I do not care for auctions because of a badly managed auction back in the '60s. Under the Bankruptcy Reform Act enacted by Congress in 1978 and as amended in 1986, the sole responsibility for supervising administration of estates is placed in the Office of the U.S. Trustee. The trustees are appointed by the U.S. Trustee and their activities are supervised by the U.S. Trustee. The administration of estates is monitored by the U.S. Trustee, and the bankruptcy court has no involvement whatsoever in the activities of the trustee unless there is a formal motion or application filed by the U.S. Trustee, or against the U.S. Trustee, in which event the court would decide the issues raised by the moving party.
As far as this court is concerned, the bankruptcy trustees are free to decide the manner of liquidation of assets. In addition, I always, without exception, authorize the employment of auctioneers in Chapter 11 cases, in cases of real estate or real estate developments, which are the few instances where major liquidation occurs in a Chapter 11 case.
One last note. Contrary to your statement, trustees have no legal standing to convert a Chapter 7 case to a Chapter 13 case. The U.S. Trustee may seek a dismissal of a Chapter 7 on the ground that the granting of relief would be a substantial abuse of the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, and a Chapter 7 case can only be dismissed on the motion by the U.S. Trustee. It should be also noted, however, that under the provision of the Bankruptcy Code, there shall be a presumption in favor of granting the relief requested by the debtor.
Alexander L. Paskay, Chief Bankruptcy Judge
Trump vs. Trump
Trump vs. Trump.
Maria Maples reportedly told Ivana, "I love him!" Sure she does, all $1.7-billion.
Ruth Blackburn, Seminole
No illusions about aging
Re: Hucksters of health/You can't believe everything you read on a food wrapper, Feb. 11.
"In the United States, poor eating habits kill more than a million people each year, according to a report from the Surgeon General."
So reads your article, dealing mainly with cholesterol and dietary fiber (which now allegedly claims a dual function in the pursuit of prolonging life).
Unfortunately, no one, including the surgeon general, appears to have any suggestions regarding prolonging the adequate function of the brain. It seems that as long as the heart and bowels function, we can forget the other symptoms of aging, ignore the onset of senility, and blissfully work toward our century, rejoicing that our hearts still tick and we visit the toilet daily.
A visit to a geriatric nursing home will soon dispel that illusion. To see the pitiful existence of the octagenarians and nonagenarians can only result in hoping such a future can be avoided for oneself. (I imply no criticism of the nursing homes. For the most part they are doing an excellent job in taking care of these poor souls.)
It would appear that taking the "good" advice of the National Research Council, and consuming daily their gigantic diet of five or more servings of vegetables and fruit, six or more servings of whole grain bread and cereal, plus fish, skinless poultry and no-fat dairy foods, together with modest portions of meat, milk and beans, would result in the necessity of buying nursing home insurance, unless one was lucky enough to die of obesity first.
My personal experience is that, luckily, my father died of a series of strokes. My mother was not so lucky. Her heart continued to function until she was 92, but for the last four years, her brain did not. A pitiful existence to be sure. I hope every day to die like my father _ not like my mother.
Mary Jowsey, Clearwater
Laurel Park relocation
The series of news articles and editorials on Laurel Park relocation may have left some readers with the erroneous conclusion that the proposed relocation benefit levels are inadequate, and therefore unfair.
A St. Petersburg Times reporter requested and received on Feb. 7, copies of a HUD Handbook which describes all aspects of a public housing disposition, including the physical relocation of the affected residents and copies of Department of Transportation regulations implementing the Uniform Relocation Act, and a schedule which shows benefit levels.
A simple reading of the above referenced materials should have produced substantially different conclusions from those reached by the news articles and the Times editorial. The most obvious error was the conclusion that the $550 fixed moving benefit is too low.
For your information, affected residents are provided a choice of a fixed moving benefit of $550, or actual reasonable moving costs. If residents feel they can move for less than $550, they would select the fixed moving allowance. If residents feel that their moving costs will exceed $550, they should elect to take the actual moving cost benefit. By definition, there is no question of adequacy or fairness in the benefit structure outlines above.
Edward White Jr., Executive Director
The Housing Authority, St. Petersburg
Protect the bald eagle
Re: Bald eagles' endangered status may be lowered to threatened, Feb. 9.
Have you ever seen a bald eagle in the wild?
Most of us would have to say no and the chances of us ever getting to see one may be getting much slimmer.
You have had recent articles stating the Interior Department is considering a proposal to remove the American bald eagle from the endangered list because of the dramatic growth in the eagle population. I have yet to see any publicized figures by the department as to how dramatic this growth is.
In my opinion the Department of Interior is only looking after the interest of big business. Who cares about the bald eagle? Let it go the way of our forest lands, our national parks, our coast lines, our oil reserves, etc., as long as big business makes money.
I say this in regard to the eagle because (especially here in Florida) it appears to have become a hindrance to developers' encroachment on protected lands. They are restricted in building close to such birds' breeding and nesting grounds. In most cases they want to build right up to the fence of a major park. Such location brings a high price.
In the last 10 or so years the Department of Interior has been a joke, destroying all of our natural heritage. We are down to the national bird, what next? Can't we at least save a bird for our descendants?
F. Miles, Seminole
Coast Guard defended
To recent letter writers, I would say:
The Cuban ship Hermann sailed under the flag of Panama and as such could be suspected of drug smuggling. The Coast Guard is under orders to stop and search such vessels, and if the captain of the ship had no illegal cargo on board he should have stopped. The fact that he ran made him highly suspect. Secondly, our cutters are not heavily armed having only one small gun which is used for the "shot across the bows."
When our government sees fit to increase the Coast Guard budget instead of forever decreasing it, then and only then will this service be able to purchase faster ships and newer aircraft.
If ever you needed rescue from a ship in the Gulf you would thank your stars the guard is where it is. I bitterly resent the degrading remarks regarding a service whose purpose is saving lives and the fine young men who are part of this service.
Would you be prepared to fly miles into the Gulf on a stormy night to deliver a pump to a sinking freighter or air-lift a deathly ill merchant sailor? How about flying 16 hours straight, peering into the water for survivors from the Challenger disaster and coming home with eyes so red you could hardly see, or being shot at by drug smugglers in the Bahamas? The list goes on and on, and these young men risk their lives every time they fly because of old choppers and planes.
R. Spetz, Belleair Bluffs
Share your opinions