1. Archive

Hypocrisy prolongs exploitation of environment

Editor: In order for readers to follow the point of this letter, it is essential I repeat the Earth Alert information printed in the St. Petersburg Times a week or more earlier in which three points were made: a. Being energy efficient doesn't just save money, it also helps protect our environment; b. By burning less oil, coal and wood we can help slow global warming; and, c. Using less electricity means electric plants will burn less coal. And that means less acid rain, strip mining and air pollution. This bit of trivia is credited to the book 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.

Let's explore the hypocrisy in Florida, both within government as well as the private sector and the building trade that prolongs the exploitation of our environment. The Florida Legislature created the Florida Solar Energy Center in 1974. This agency claims national recognition for its programs in alternative energy research and development, with an annual state budget of $3-million per year. It receives approximately another $3-million per year from state and federal agencies and private industry for contracted research. I have no complaint about the funding process or the administrative support it receives from the university system; however, considering the center's stated goal is research on energy conservation and alternative energies for Florida, there are endless grounds for criticism of government, a minority of the general public, specifically civic associations and the building trade. We know certain communities will not allow the solar collectors and certain builders in new communities under development will not allow solar collectors except where the house faces in a direction that allows installation on the rear roof of the home.

The solar collector must face south or within 45 degrees east or west orientation from due south. This then makes a mathematical statement that only one of four homes can use solar energy for heating water for the home. Florida is not interested in correcting the situation through amendment of laws that allow excesses in control of home ownership by builders and civic associations. Our own elected representatives, specifically U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, state Sen. John Grant and state Rep. John Long refuse to consider information that has documented developers and civic associations excessive control of property management by the homeowner. Public monies are spent to develop and research technologies that the same government renders unavailable to the majority of Florida citizens while builders continue to construct all-electric homes and Florida Power wants to control our use of electricity for cooling and or heating and cooking. Any critical temperature change in either direction, Florida Power doesn't have the generating capability or reserve to meet the needs.

When our "special-interest" politicians see fit to serve the general public and show they are serious about solving some of our problems with energy, then perhaps the people will take another view of the need to cooperate and conserve by investing in energy-wise alternatives.

Albert P. Johnson, New Port Richey

Postage cost is waste of money

Editor: Saturday, I received a letter from Gov. Lawton Chiles thanking me for my contribution to the Florida Relief Fund.

This letter was sent first-class mail, which cost the Governor's Office 29 cents to mail. I'm sure there must have been thousands or maybe even millions of others who made donations to this worthwhile cause.

Did everyone who made a donation receive this letter?

Don't you think it would have been much better to just send the cost of postage to those people who really need the help?

Robert F. Strolin, New Port Richey

Not all smokers are ignorant

Editor: This is in response to "Non-Smokers need the continued protection of laws" (Oct. 4).

As a smoker, I think I have sat back and stayed quiet far too long. I have rights as a smoker, just as the non-smokers do. I am taxed to death on a pack of cigarettes for road maintenance, among other things. Maybe they figure if they keep raising the prices, we smokers will quit. Not so!

I am a very courteous smoker. I also work in a restaurant in town and have many customers who smoke and some who do not. But whether they smoke or not makes no difference to me. I like them for them, not if they smoke or not. I also have many friends who smoke and those who don't. Recently, a new law went into effect, and my restaurant had to allocate 35 percent of the dining area for non-smokers. That is fine. But you would not believe the number of people who do not smoke that still choose to sit in the smoking area.

I also realize that if you do not smoke, the smell is very hard to overcome. And believe me, I understand. Just as the smell of some people who do not bathe is very hard to overcome. But that is another issue.

In the article I am responding to, Ms. Shapiro states that smokers are selfish people who have the need to put their deadly addiction to smoking above the well-being of others. Not So! For instance, if I were in a public place and someone asked me politely not to smoke, I would gladly put it out or I would move elsewhere. So, you see, Ms. Shapiro, not all smokers are non-courteous and as for being courteous, I also respect the rights of others when I go to their house and respectfully REFRAIN from smoking. I also do not smoke in their vehicles, nor do I or would I even light up in a public place without first asking.

Ms. Shapiro also stated in her article that intelligent people should not be subjected to pernicious secondhand smoke, because ignorant smokers cannot refrain from smoking. I am neither ignorant nor stupid because I smoke. And I think she owes some of us an apology. She does not know me, nor does she even try to understand.

Please tell me why, as a society, we still allow advertisements of beer and wine coolers on television? This is another subject we need to be concerned with. I cannot light up in a public place, unless I am in an authorized area, but people can go into an establishment and drink themselves blue in the face and get behind the wheel of a car. Thanks to this, our family was robbed of my 4-year-old nephew and my brother-in-law, because a man chose to go out and celebrate and get behind the wheel of a car.

But yet, non-smokers sit and continue to gripe about their rights. In this country today, there are a lot of issues that need to be changed. I urge everyone out there to use your biggest gift as an American and VOTE.

For anyone who is interested, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company has a magazine out called Choice. If you would like to call the company, it has a line called "Smokers' Rights Action Line." The number is (800) 333-8683. And no, I am not receiving any free cigarettes from them for saying that.

In closing, I have only to say, Ms. Shapiro, I smoke and I also vote. And as a voter and an American, I will exercise my rights. If you have ever met me, you would know that I am a people person and I thrive on the welfare and well-being of others. I am courteous, and I also care.

Terri Shaw, New Port Richey

Kids need to learn sportsmanship

Editor: This past week was marked by high school student violence. Football players from three of Pasco's high schools were involved in fights generated by game rivalry. One of the incidents hit the headlines.

Imagine what could happen if players continue to face-off with opposing team players.

Sporting events are enjoyable diversions for both players and spectators. The animosities that brought about these incidents should be addressed. And in addition to encouraging our players to win, they should be taught to accept defeat gracefully. Teach sportsmanship because it's the right way to go.

Parents don't need the added anxiety of football players' fights. At best they have to deal with apprehensions of the game's hazards.

Lawrence Frohlinger, New Port Richey

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