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Water no longer flows as freely as it once did

Editor: Re: June 1 letter, "Basin board, county exaggerate water problem." In a joint financing agreement between the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) and Pinellas County, the Pinellas County water system is embarking on a single-family, residential, plumbing hardware retrofit program. (The Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board is the arm of Swiftmud that gives budgetary approval for programs such as this.)

This type of water-conservation program involves the distribution of kits that contain water-saving devices such as low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and toilet tank water-restricting devices.

Unfortunately, Marjory Stoneman Douglas' observations (Florida, the Long Frontier, 1967) regarding the quantity and quality of water in Florida are not as valid today as they were more than 25 years ago, when she was researching data for her book.

And while it's true St. Petersburg did purchase Weeki Wachee in 1940 for a potential water resource, Weeki Wachee Spring does not provide an even, continuous flow. During the normal rainy season, the excess flow is over what is required for ecological concerns and riparian rights, and could provide some water.

However, historically, this is not the time we really need the water. During the dry season, when we could use the water, flows recede and have been recorded at less than what is required to maintain a good ecological balance.

Additionally, 50 years of continuous urbanization of Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas counties could put pipeline construction costs in the neighborhood of $2-million per mile, making this venture cost-prohibitive.

I think it is time we adopt a philosophy of conserving our resources and abandon the flippant "throwaway philosophy" so many people espouse today. If so, perhaps we could save enough water and maintain our ecology so that we can all keep our oars in the water. Water resources are not inexhaustible.

Jerry Butts,

Seminole

Clearwater should be

renamed Hostage City

Editor: Is it not time to change the name of our once sparkling Clearwater to Hostage City?

A group under the banner of a religion litigates its asserted right to tax-free status for many millions of dollars' worth of hotels, motels and apartment buildings, all of which were former tax-paying business properties.

The members demand free fire and police protection. Early on in their tenure at the former Jack Tar Harrison Hotel, then the tallest building in Clearwater, the city had to buy a fire truck to better provide protection for that building. Nor, to name other areas, do they pay taxes to support the sidewalks, the streets and the traffic lights so visibly used by their members. The list could go on.

It will be two years in July since Circuit Judge R. Grable Stoutamire directed that their property not be sold for non-payment of taxes pending a court determination of whether they have to pay taxes. We wonder when that decision will come down.

This non-tax-paying "not-for-profit" group seems to have limitless dollars at its disposal to add at will to its property holdings in Clearwater and to engage attorneys of national repute.

On the Larry King Live program recently, Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology, speaking from California in his first response to a Time magazine article regarding Scientology, held up to the viewing public his "church's" release to USA Today claiming that Time in the early years of Hitler played "cozy" with Hitler.

Though Jentzsch condemned early leadership efforts (within his church) to silence critics of Scientology by most any means necessary, Jentzsch rather dramatically demonstrated that evening that the policy of striving to silence critics still prevails.

Hostage City, we mourn for what you once were.

Wilby F. Anderson,

Clearwater

If a God made the good,

He made the bad as well

Editor: Re: Frank Barnicle's June 5 guest column, "Advice to last graduates a lifetime."

Since you have chosen to print Mr. Barnicle's sermon, including his attack on atheists, we feel it's only fair that we should be allowed to respond.

Assuming there is a "whom" to which things must be attributed, Mr. Barnicle hasn't faced the reality of the situation. If this "whom" exists, he is responsible not only for the "miracle" of birth but for the agonies of death in all its forms, including AIDS, cancer, leukemia and other diseases leading to suffering.

If he is responsible for sunsets, he is responsible for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

If he made whippoorwills, he also made wasps, locusts, fleas, ticks and termites.

Yes, we've heard the standard explanation that these are the devil's doings. Of course, this same God is responsible for creating him, too.

How could anyone in his right mind tell people to "trust" in such a cruel entity? Would he tell a woman to trust the man who just raped her?

We are far happier in seeing the world as it is, neither good nor bad, merely benign. There's nothing wrong with taking time to smell and admire the roses, but if you ignore the thorns, you merely seem a fool.

Ed Golly, director,

American Atheists

of Tampa Bay

Religion is based only

on flawed assumptions

Editor: Re: Anne Garris' June 6 letter, "Yes, prayers are answered."

It seems you have another reader making ill-informed assumptions about my background, as well as statements indicating a lack of interest in reality. Permit me to respond.

First, Ms. Garris makes the erroneous assumption that I have never "tried" prayer. It might amaze her to discover that I was raised as a churchgoer and abandoned this as I came to realize _ on my own without pressure from friends, parents or outsiders of any kind _ that religion is based on nothing other than assumptions and unsubstantiated claims.

This exposes the inaccuracy of her assumptions as well as a major flaw in her logic. You start with the known facts, not your assumed conclusion.

She uses a comical example in a flawed attempt to describe my mental processes. Yes, I have "flown" both airplanes and religion. The latter never got off the ground. I've seen, touched, heard and felt airplanes, but neither I nor anyone else has done the same to a god. If she has, perhaps she would tell us all what color his eyes were. What color skin does he have? Is it a he? How tall is he? Somehow, I doubt she can answer these questions.

As for her comments concerning "Satan's" or "God's" work, she assumes not only that such beings exist but that she can tell the difference. If all the "bad things" are Satan's work, why did God make him in the first place? Is she saying God is a sadistic creature?

She also claims there is a "relationship" involved in prayer. If so, with whom? If the answer is "God," by whatever name, then it is a story about religion _ see Webster's Dictionary. If it's not, then I guess they're just talking to themselves and it's a story about mental illness. Take your pick.

Personally, I'll stick to reality and encourage the newspapers to do likewise. If she wants wild stories with questionable facts, she should try the National Enquirer.

Brent Yaciw,

Seminole

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