1. Archive

Dan Quayle, Willie Horton and the Haitians

Re: Quayle gears up to bash Cuomo, Feb. 6.

Mike Royko is just the latest in the liberal media to suggest Vice President Dan Quayle had an ulterior motive in "emphasizing" Gov. Cuomo's first name to draw attention to his Italian ancestry. Do you folks believe those of us who read the newspapers are too dumb to know that Cuomo is an Italian name? What conclusion would Royko and company have drawn if Quayle had just said "New York's governor," avoiding his name altogether?

The same media suggest (over and over) that the Willie Horton thing was racially motivated. An impartial observer would believe George Bush was drawing attention to a legitimate issue, the failings of the justice system. As it happened, Horton was black, but so are a majority of people in our prisons. Maybe you believe Bush should have had his staff search for similar circumstances involving a white criminal to make his point, but wouldn't most of us prefer a president or presidential candidate to be color blind?

Then there is the insistence of the McGrorys and Dyckmans that racism is involved in the denial of refugee status for the Haitian boat people. Don't we already have an overabundance of people on the dole in this country? Are we to take in all of the world's poor people? How would we pay the tab? I'm sure Dyckman's answer would be to take away from the "rich" (anyone who makes more than $25,000 a year) and redistribute it to those huddled masses who are yearning to be added to our welfare rolls.

Robert Vaughn, Largo

Re: Editorial, Feb. 4, Haitians and U.S. deserve better.

The U.S. State Department was 100 percent correct in the forced repatriation of the Haitian refugees. The mistake was in permitting the number of refugees to reach unmanageable numbers before beginning the repatriation process. By not acting promptly in returning the first so-called refugees, other Haitians were encouraged to also make the attempt to be admitted to the United States.

The U.S. government has a responsibility to quickly return all illegal immigrants regardless of their country of origin. The days of "give us your poor, your huddled masses" are long gone. This country has enough problems without acquiring additional burdens. Yet the usual liberal organizations are pressuring the Congress to reverse the forced repatriation.

The time has come for the United States to stop playing Santa Claus throughout the world. By attempting to absorb numerous cultures we have practically eliminated the ability to reach a consensus on how to solve the great problems facing us. As a result we are rapidly destroying our quality of life. Maybe that is what the do-gooders want _ take us down to the lowest common denominator.

Lawton L. Sternbeck, N. Redington Beach

Through accident of geography, our state is a leaky boat ride away from an unprecedented influx of human migration. The political and economic chaos in Haiti and the imminent collapse in Cuba, threaten to bring a wave of migration to Florida that will make the 1980 Mariel boatlift pale by comparison.

With our state's delicate ecology already imperiled by overdevelopment, our educational system in disarray and our public health care facilities on the critical list, one would think that Florida's political leaders would be doing everything in their power to see to it that additional burdens are not heaped upon us. Inexplicably, many are doing precisely the opposite.

Sen. Connie Mack is incensed, as we all are, by the overthrow of Haiti's first democratically elected government. His response has been to introduce a bill in Congress that would punish Floridians for the military coup in Haiti. The Mack bill would grant any Haitian who survives the 600-mile sea voyage the right to remain in the United States (more specifically, Florida) probably permanently. How, exactly, this would help restore democracy in Haiti isn't quite clear.

What is certain is that Florida taxpayers would be stuck with the bills for education, health care and other social services for hundreds of thousands of indigent migrants. And if Connie Mack thinks we're going to get much help from a bankrupt federal government, he will be sorely disappointed.

A large-scale boatlift will not improve conditions in Haiti any more than Mariel helped make life better in Cuba. What it would do is further erode quality of life for everyone here in Florida.

Tom Tomlinson, President,

Zero Population Growth, Palm City

The Statue of Liberty should read, "Send us your uneducated, your non-skilled workers, your diseased, so they can go on welfare and be a burden to the United States of America and so that the American taxpayer can pay higher taxes to support them."

The statue should have a "Lot Full" sign on it.

Bob Johnson, New Port Richey

Somebody's overpaid

Re: Dodge's Viper enchants press, enrages critics, Jan. 13.

Chrysler Corp. has just spent $70-million to develop a car that is going to sell for $55,000. Only 1 percent of the buying public can afford to pay that kind of money for a car.

And they pay that man $4.6-million a year to make that kind of a decision?

Peter Sbashnig, Spring Hill

Front page hit

Re: Times' front page, Feb. 8.

Magic Johnson and Mike Tyson, of all people, both displayed prominently on the front page of the Times! Why not in the sport section with the rest of the jocks?

You claim the distinction of being one of the 10 great newspapers. Why don't you try to live up to it? Maybe Martinez was right.

Ed Bowler, Belleair

Congratulations on your nice, homey front page, Feb. 8.

You selected an AIDS virus carrier, a rape suspect and, of course, Saddam Hussein to fill out that space. I just hope and pray that I never make your front page.

David Kennedy Smith, Largo

The Mike Tyson rape trial is the epitome of the sex, money, power controversy in which this country has found itself. Tyson is the archetypical rich, powerful man. He has been rewarded with wealth and fame by being a great, physically aggressive boxer. The young beauty pageant contestant is our society's ideal of the beautiful, attractive girl/woman. In the history of mankind, a powerful male has been rewarded with the right to the female of his choice.

Is the problem entirely with Tyson? This story has the potential to distill and crystallize the apparently changing climate in our society toward sex, money and power. Why is this relegated to the sports pages? This is about William Kennedy Smith, Clarence Thomas, Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, the Urbanski situation and the USF basketball rape scandal, to name a few parallels.

If possible, our society and the news media need to address this paradox. What is the accepted relationship between men and women? What is the proper forum for disputes on this matter? Can we avoid damage to innocent people caught up in this shifting quagmire of social mores? What should be the future of beauty contests? What relationship does this have to political and legal questions of equal rights for women? What signal will we receive on the place of women in our society from the impending abortion, pro-life/pro-choice confrontation in the Supreme Court? These questions are not simply going away.

Quentin Onstine, Seminole

Organ donors save lives

I belong to a group called "TRIO" (Transplant Recipients International Organization). We have 11 organ recipients in our West Central Florida chapter, plus our spouses, and some interested friends and supporters. Had it not been for the thoughtfulness and selflessness of the families of people (most of them quite young) who were killed in accidents, most of us would not be alive today. I, myself, was given one month to live. That was 2{ years ago and I'm now living as good a life as most people my age and better than some.

One of our goals, besides being a support group for people like ourselves or people who are candidates for transplants, is to educate the public on how important organ donors are. When newspaper articles come along that tell the scandalous way an organization, supposedly dedicated to procurement of organs, is operating, donors drop off by the hundreds. The AIDS scare and the Ann Landers column are two other examples of things that can drop off donations. We now have in our group, six candidates for transplants, and this is only a very tiny section of the country. There are literally thousands of people who could have a chance to live a full life if they could only get an organ, be it kidney, liver, heart, lung, whatever. One donor could save as many as three or four lives, besides helping someone to see again. After my surgery, my daughter said she was going to become a donor because, "Why bury the good parts of me to rot in the ground, when they could help someone else live?" I loved her more than ever after that.

We realize that at the time of death of a loved one, especially accidental death, there is much confusion, our hearts are torn and we can't think clearly about anything but our loss. It's unfortunate that retrieving organs cannot wait until the shock of loss is lessened and we can think again. That's why families should go along with the wishes of the person who signed as a donor. Even if they have not expressed the wish to donate _ what possible good can those organs do for the victim or his/her family? But they certainly can help others.

The donors and their families are not known to any of us. We're merely told the age, sex and the way they died. My donor was a 27-year-old man who died in a motorcycle accident. These people are never forgotten. In fact, they are constantly in our minds and our prayers. We would all like to give a great big thank you! to all of these families. We just hope they know how much they are appreciated.

If we could get some positive publicity to entice more organ donors to consider our cause, it would be for the good of everyone. No one knows when liver, kidney or heart disease will strike. It can happen to babies or up to 100 years old. There are other organizations in the field of organ procurement who are reputable and doing a good job. Let's get rid of the LifeLinks of the world and concentrate on helping others.

Mary Buczek, Spring Hill

Non-toxic paint available

Re: Workers ill after inhaling fumes, Jan. 28.

I was dismayed to read about the hospitalization of 10 St. Petersburg postal workers because of exposure to toxic paint primer fumes. Such incidents need no longer occur, for there are now several non-toxic, EPA-approved paint products on the market.

At this time, two companies _ one in Los Angeles, Calif., and one in Portland, Ore. _ seem to be manufacturing the highest quality non-toxic paints. Both make low-biocide/low odor/low or no fungicide paints without any phenol acetate or phenol formaldehyde content. The paint is effective, long-lasting and easy to apply, and in spite of Florida's high humidity levels, we have experienced no mildew problems with the paint in the three years since we applied it to our non-air-conditioned apartment.

The California plant also makes safe cleaning products and several excellent floor finishes, all sold directly from the factory or through distributorships in Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, New York and Georgia.

It is time that the public and, in particular, workers in public buildings, schools and hospitals demand that non-toxic paints be used in and near the workplace.

Rita Osborn, St. Petersburg

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