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A legal way to keep women in their place

Re: Women's rights are again pitted against fetal risks, Oct. 16, by Ellen Goodman. Thank you, Ellen Goodman. I so enjoyed reading her thoughtful biting column concerning the current Supreme Court case in which a company has excluded women from certain jobs using "fetal protection" as their justification. I loved the way she cut through the garbage and got to the heart of this matter _ the implication that women can't think or make good decisions for themselves and their children. We don't need the owners of companies or their management "protecting" us from jobs that may or may not harm us and our unborn children. I am certainly suspicious of their motives when most companies still don't show any concern for women and children's health as evidenced by our lack of company day care, sick child programs, or decent affordable insurance. I hope our Supreme Court sees this company's policy for what it is _ another legal way to keep women "in their place" and unable to have decent paying positions in male dominated jobs.

Anne Kooken, St. Petersburg

Another view

Re: Ellen Goodman's column, Women's rights are again pitted against fetal risk, on Oct. 16. I agree with most of her views on other subjects, but as a scientist, she leaves a lot to be desired. In the Johnson Controls case, if the battery industry had an effective way of limiting lead exposure (the primary ingredient) for all employees, the insurance companies, who assume the risk, would have insisted on its use, even at higher production costs. But if the alternative is men only or infertile women on the critical jobs, or going out of business, the lawsuit to force the company to hire women is a case of overemphasis on women's rights, and blindness to the consequences. The Supreme Court should throw it out.

Robert Ellis Moe, Clearwater

Civil Rights Act supported

Re: Civil Rights Act is nothing to be proud of, Oct. 10.

At first the name, Charles Fried, did not ring a bell. When I looked to the foot of this article to see how its author was identified, I saw only "professor of law at Harvard Law School." So, I thought, here's some right-wing professor; he's entitled to his views.

Then I looked again for something more by way of identification. He was "solicitor general from 1985 to 1989." Ah-hah! Now I see how his views were formed. This is the man at the right hand of Attorney General Meese, of ill fame, who represented the United States in cases that came before the U.S. Supreme Court during the last few years of the Reagan administration. Well, what can one expect? This is the man who carried the ball for the president and his crony attorney general in their assaults on the Constitution of the United States. This was the man who led the attack on our civil liberties, seeking to reverse Supreme Court decisions that had been the law of the land for years. And in many cases, before a court with four Reagan appointees, he succeeded.

Of course, he opposes congressional initiatives which would undo most of his court victories. The Civil Rights Act of 1990 does nothing more than restore the civil rights that Charles Fried persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to take away from us. Let's support it!

Sidney M. Goetz, Gulfport

Save our Everglades

The Florida Everglades is one of the largest fresh water wetlands on Earth and is a globally unique ecosystem. However, since after the Civil War, man has been encroaching on this fragile environment by pollution and trying to tame the flow of waters into, and around, the Everglades. Man's intervention has put the Everglades into a steady decline and it is now "on its deathbed."

A "miracle cure" is possible. Last year the House passed legislation to add 107,600 acres to the Everglades National Park and, after 19 years of discussion, the South Florida Water Management District decided to adopt the $276-million project to restore the Kissimmee River. Today, Gov. Martinez has the opportunity and the power and the duty to create an Everglades SWIM (Surface Water Improvement and Management) plan that can save the Everglades.

The South Florida Water Management District has adopted a SWIM Plan for the Everglades which falls short in two vital ways: It establishes no water quality standards for discharges and it provides no assurance of adequate funding. Water quality standards are essential for the propagation and maintenance of a healthy, well-balanced population of fish and wildlife in the Everglades. While an offer to take 76,000 acres out of agricultural production through public purchase for use in water storage and treatment is an important step, it now stands as a proposal without the substance of guaranteed implementation because specific funding is lacking. Lack of funding is partly due to insufficient demands made on the sugar industry.

It is up to the environmentalists to convince Gov. Martinez that acceptance of the SWIM Plan with inadequate performance standards and funding is totally unacceptable. This will be the toughest and clearest test of Gov. Martinez's commitment to the Save Our Everglades objectives. Failing success on this critical issue, much of the work he is credited with on other Everglades issues will be meaningless, as it is likely that the whole Everglades system will fail due to water quality degradation.

Time is short! If you have been an "armchair environmentalist," sitting back and saying "ain't it awful," now is the time to act. Please write or call the governor and urge him to take forceful action to strengthen the SWIM Plan. The survival of the Everglades may depend on you!

Ellen J. Pfau, President,

Clearwater Audubon Society

Why no moratorium?

I can't believe that our state and county politicians have not invoked a moratorium on all new construction until we can put our house in order.

Think about it, one 7-foot-diameter water line ruptured and three counties and 1-million people are affected. It's indicative of gross mismanagement and poor planning, not to mention the on-site inspection when it was being installed.

Our water supply is insufficient to handle our present demand and our roads can't handle the traffic.

There is no question the state of Florida has big problems and getting bigger every day; still our politicians are looking the other way.

Let's address the problems or get out.

James C. Lindner, Largo

Root for the home team

I wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game. The fact that Manuel Noriega _ the man for whom my nation's troops were committed to suffer and die as a result of a decision made the day before my president's fishing trip _ is suddenly never discussed anymore, makes no difference to me . . . I just wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game.

I wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game. The fact that my government spends billions of dollars on the continuation of space exploration while the very planet we live on continues to decay, makes no difference to me . . . I just wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game.

I wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game. The fact that my government is going to cut the Medicare benefits of the elderly citizens of my country who need it so, in order to correct a problem caused by the avaricious and wanton acts of a few wealthy businessmen, makes no difference to me . . . I just wanna know who's gonna win this week's football game.

Get the picture?

Let's start rootin' for the real home team: the human race.

Brian Neill, St. Petersburg

On C-sections

Re: What explains rate of births by C-section? Oct. 16.

As a 25-year-old mother of three (ages, 5, 2 and 8 months), I also am aware of the growing number of C-sections, especially for the reason of "labor not progressing." A lot of women, I find from asking, never even went the average delivery time for a first baby of 12 hours before they were told they were going to have C-sections performed.

My first child took nearly 13 hours and weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces, the following took 10 hours weighing 8 pounds and 14 ounces, and the last was 6 hours and weighed 9 pounds and 4 ounces. I'm a very small person to top it off. Thank goodness the doctors delivering my babies gave me a chance and let nature take its course.

Eleanor Mercado, St. Petersburg

Re: What explains rate of births by C-section?

Ms. Gentry's article on Oct. 16 over-generalizes C-sections as profitable for hospitals and doctors, and unnecessary for mothers and babies.

After a perfectly healthy and carefree pregnancy last year, I fully expected an uncomplicated delivery. But, after three days of laboring and not even three centimeters of dilation, I realized "it could happen to anyone." I hadn't given up yet when my baby did. The midwife immediately phoned the doctor to tell him the baby's heart stopped, and within an hour I had a healthy baby boy _ delivered by emergency Caesarean section.

It sickens me to think if I had not had "all that high-tech equipment" to keep me posted on the baby's vital signs and ensure a speedy, safe delivery, I'd have kept up my laboring marathon until I finally delivered naturally _ a dead baby.

I thank God every day for my C-section and the professional staff at Mease Hospital.

Kori Wood, Tarpon Springs

Readjust priorities

The Pinellas County commissioners and county administrator need to get their priorities straightened out.

They can waste millions of taxpayers' money on the asinine idea of a walking trail that less than 1 percent of the citizens will ever use.

They can waste hundreds of millions on the stupid "Doomed Dome." This will burden taxpayers for many generations in future and always be a losing cause.

But they are unable to come up with enough funds to get rid of mosquitoes in Pinellas County? The mosquito problem is worse now than it has been for many years. We know that they carry many diseases. The present mosquito control people are doing a poor job. This department needs an overhaul.

Ralph Beck, Pinellas Park

"True justice' to the unborn

The front page of the Oct. 12 Times reports that upon request of the so-called Knights of Columbus, the Pledge of Allegiance has been changed to "with liberty and justice for the born and unborn," at Lorain Catholic High School, to reflect the church's opposition to abortion.

"Justice to the unborn" would mean adequate prenatal and medical care and nourishment to the mothers, no doubt financed by the gladly volunteered contributions of the "Knights of Columbus." Otherwise, the unborn will be among the 40,000 children which die after birth before reaching the ripe age of one. True justice to the unborn means, then, not to let it be born at all.

Heinz Landauer, St. Petersburg

Outdoor section praised

I would like to compliment you on your outdoor section. I have watched it grow with Terry Tomalin. He seems to be on top of what's happening in the bay area.

The only drawback I see, is there should be more space for Terry's articles. I personally would like to see more than once a week outdoor section.

Keep up the good work.

Tom Merryweather, Clearwater

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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. Or they can be sent by facsimile machine by calling the Times' fax number, 893-8675. 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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