The media overlooked a major event when Ross Perot officially announced his candidacy. The headlines should have read: "Ross Perot, first man to run for office who admits he made a mistake."
Ross Perot is the only person who has run for public office whom many Americans feel something for because there is something within him that is a part of all of us. Think about it. A person running for office admitted to the entire country that he had made a mistake. There is something about the lack of ego of a man who can admit publicly to error that gives me confidence _ that he will, no, can _ tell the truth, no matter what it is.
The headlines from World War II told of economic sacrifices made by Americans in a way that has never touched us since. The sacrifices weren't only those of the men who gave their lives, but were made by the families and the children surrounded by enemies on each ocean, threatening their very way of life. Our parents and grandparents drew on their inner reserves to live through the adversity, the rationing, the hardships that threatened their very survival _ but survive they did.
We all know that today we are facing severe economic challenges. No one doubts that truth, except no one is willing to tell us the truth _ that we all must make some personal sacrifice in order to ensure that opportunity for each American to fulfill his or her dream remains intact.
Ross Perot is a man who will tell us and is telling us the truth, even though we may not want to hear it. The truth of the matter is that we are at war. Economic war. Japan and Germany, two countries who have throughout history been dominant in their area of the world, are knocking down the doors of American business. At your door and the doors of your neighbors.
We must find and elect a person with whom we Americans can entrust the leadership of our country. A man who can guide us in the business competition for leadership of the world economy in the 21st century.
Ross Perot is the leader. He is an icon of American success, a role model for our children. Can you say that about either of the other candidates? That I want my child to be like them?
We are in for some tough times. Some might say that we don't deserve it. That life is supposed to get better. And it has in the past generation. But the truth is that now it is our turn to sacrifice. The me generation, the generation that's always had something handed to it. Where it was always assumed that we would have more, live better, spend more than our parents. Only one war, an unpopular one in which only the men who there understood the sacrifice, interrupted our reverie of more _ now.
Well, now it's our turn to sacrifice. Are we up to it? We are the pioneers of the 21st century. Our children and grandchildren will inherit what we do. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for them.
Every vote counts, and don't forget it! Could you sleep at night two years from now if you thought the wrong man was in the White House, and you didn't vote?
Kenneth Weiss, Treasure Island
It's amazing that people will still cast their ballots for any of the politicians that are now in office. Evidently they haven't been listening to and reading what has gone on in Washington for a good many years, and anyone currently in office has to know about the bribery, deceit and corruption.
They live like royalty, give our tax dollars for subsidizing companies moving to Mexico, Honduras, etc., where labor is cheap, and send billions of dollars to countries in the Middle East _ while in the United States, people are homeless, jobless and without proper health care.
And consider the coverup of Quayle's involvement with an Italian bank in connection with a $5-billion Iraqi loan, plus letting a deadline pass for filing to investigate Neil Bush's role in the collapse of the Silverado S&L. Unbelievable!
With this attitude and thinking only of lining their own pockets, the country will be in deep trouble until they are all out of office. I pray that everyone will evaluate what has been going on in government and vote for the only man who hasn't held office and tells it like it is, Ross Perot.
S. Park, New Port Richey
I watched TV and read all the papers surrounding Ross Perot's entering the race and I never saw or heard such negativism in my life. William Bennett was repugnant and should have been cut off the air. There was not a kind word said about Perot, while the truth as I see it is that he's done more for this country by forcing Bush and Clinton to center on issues, not trivia.
Anyway, win, lose or draw, Perot has helped this country. He gets my vote.
L. Dominy, Holiday
Why is it that the media always refer to Ross Perot as the "Texas billionaire" and not the "Texas businessman," which he is?
I have never heard any of the anchors from the evening news shows referred to as multimillionaires. Wouldn't that be a switch _ "And now, the CBS Evening News with multimillionaire Dan Rather."
Joe Alongi, Palm Harbor
I am sick and tired of the lies circulating about Ross Perot. Everything he says you twist to your advantage. They are too numerous to mention but you know what they are, but I know one in particular that I personally can say is an outright lie.
I am the Pasco County coordinator and have been a volunteer since I first saw Ross Perot on TV way back in March and I am telling you I do not get paid and never have.
I know personally hundreds of people who have helped me and they have never received one cent of payment for their efforts.
When we opened the office some of us put up our own money for deposits, etc., and got reimbursed for those things, but never any kind of pay.
We have all done this because for the first time in our lives we thought we could change things for the better.
Naomi Spoeth, Bayonet Point
Thanks to H. Ross Perot for confirming what we knew all along _ a man doesn't spend $20-million of his own money on a half-hearted enterprise, whatever its nature. Well, it will certainly cause the other two to sit up and take notice, and while I was temporarily mesmerized by Perot's well-meaning attempts to garner my vote, I guess it's back to the drawing boards, as I make my pick from two less-than-appealing candidates.
Anyway, he will not get my vote, but I sure am going to listen to Bush and Clinton a lot more intensely these coming days.
William R. Bell, St. Petersburg
I censure Ross Perot for his disgraceful manner in making a mockery of the highest office in the U.S. government. We couldn't and shouldn't trust this man in this high office.
I ask you this: What button would he push? He has a see-saw personality and he is trying his best to dupe the American public to elect him to the presidency.
Perot's ammunition is the "deficit." If anything is a deficit for this honorable office, it is Ross Perot.
Ted Hans, Spring Hill
Re: Perot re-enters the race.
I just love it. Wait until the public hears about Perot and education.
Geoffrey K. Hill, St. Petersburg
Kudos to Troxler
Re: Woe to the candidate who has a bad hair day, Sept. 28.
Kudos to Howard "Tweedledee" Troxler for his
column (Sept. 28) about journalists commenting on people's looks. It earned three giggles and two outright laughs on my humor scale.
As a mass communications and journalism student, I especially like his allusions to the journalistic pitfalls inherent in "lookism" reporting.
So what if he didn't get voted the "Best of the Bay" in the looks category. It's like millions of us who were told we might not be beautiful, but we had a great personality (only, since I don't know him, I can't vouch for his personality) _ but, the man can write!
Elvera J. Holroyd, Clearwater
Stronger codes, higher costs
Hurricane Andrew has resulted in several newspaper stories recently concerning alleged shoddy construction of homes, especially roofs. These stories also have speculated on the possible need for stronger building codes.
As a professional organization dedicated to high standards in home building, the Florida Home Builders Association decries any proven examples of inferior construction. However, we think it prudent to have such reports examined carefully by building authorities before passing judgment on the quality of construction.
Construction plans for all buildings in Dade County, including houses, must carry the seal of registered architects or engineers before a building permit is issued. As construction progresses, government building inspectors are required to inspect the work to make certain that it meets the code.
The South Florida building code is designed to withstand winds up to 120 mph. Andrew reportedly had winds up to 160 mph. So it is not surprising that there was extensive structural damage to buildings.
Personally, I doubt whether any single-family residence can be made totally hurricane-proof, short of constructing it to resemble a bomb shelter. But a careful review of the code seems to be in order to determine whether it needs strengthening.
It should be noted, though, that any substantial upgrading of the code likely would mean a corresponding increase in the cost of housing. As Florida embarks on a new program to provide more affordable housing for our citizens, we must be sensitive to the effect of increased housing costs on senior citizens, first-time home buyers and low- and moderate-income families.
Florida Home Builders Association stands ready to assist in any program that results in safe and affordable housing for our residents.
John Infantino, President, Florida Home
Builders Association, Tallahassee
Protectionism concerns protecting industries in a nation using protective tariffs to keep foreign competitors' goods out so that domestic industries can flourish and so that workers remain employed. For example, if the United States placed a 200 percent tariff on all manufactured goods from Japan, U.S. residents couldn't afford to buy things made in Japan, and the big three car makers here would rehire about a million auto workers. Other domestic industries would also expand.
Free trade involves the absence of protective tariffs between nations. Under free trade, nations benefit under the "comparative advantage" theory. It provides, merely as an example, that if one nation produces better and cheaper baseball bats, and another country produces better and cheaper soccer balls, both nations will benefit, one making all bats and the other making all the soccer balls for both countries. The result is better bats and soccer balls at lower prices for both nations.
The problem we face and have been facing for about 13 years in the United States is that we trade free with countries like Japan that do not trade free. Our government has not helped because the Japanese and other nations wanting to sell goods in the United States have lobbyists in Washington who donate heavily to the campaign funds of federal elected officials who support free trade. Whenever a senator or House member does not, his or her opponent is flooded with campaign money to defeat such a "protectionist."
Our large corporations including Chrysler, by Lee
Iacocca, have explained this to the American people to no avail. The corporations, to avoid extinction and to compete, have gone outside the United States to produce things with cheap labor. Over 300 U.S. manufacturing plants are now operating in Mexico. This has created unemployment in the United States.
Solution: Vote for a presidential candidate who will try to impose certain protective tariffs to increase employment in the United States, thereby increasing our income from withholding taxes and decreasing the cost of unemployment checks, food stamps, etc. This will eliminate the budget deficit and the recession.
Kenneth L. Travis, Hernando
If George Bush is re-elected for another four years, Americans will be sneaking across the border into Mexico to get jobs.
Guy R. Davis, Largo
Re: Hunters follow wings of the dove, Oct. 7.
So it is dove hunting season again. The brave hunters are sanctioned in their murder of the vicious dove.
I swear that I simply cannot comprehend the mentality, or whatever, that would condone such cowardly blood lust.
Each year at this time I am reminded of the low standards our species keeps, and I find myself ashamed to be in the company of humankind.
Mike Loren, St. Petersburg
A salute to Sinead
Re: Sinead's insult to pope stirs protest, Oct. 6.
Hats off to Sinead O'Connor, who had the courage to oppose the pope's dreadful decrees as the world becomes more and more overpopulated.
Too bad she didn't tear up George Bush's picture, too, since he is encouraging these monsters. There are many here who agree with her. I do.
Ellie S. Cole, Clearwater
Room for everyone
A recent letter writer, who made such a point of describing himself as a "Christian," should try exercising a greater degree of "Christian" tolerance by not begrudging so vitriolicly what very limited print space is allowed to his neighbors whose values he may not embrace or understand. Those not sharing his mainstream "conservative Christian" views may be honest, law-abiding, productive citizens who must patiently endure a press which generally lauds "family values" at the expense and detriment of those who fall outside of the proscribed and accepted framework.
I greatly appreciate the Times' editors for taking the bull by the horns and printing that sensitive piece of journalism about two women who have established a stable home for themselves despite people like the letter writer. As sensitive as your article is, it is completely lost on people who are caught up in their righteous, moralistic arrogance.
P. Smith, St. Petersburg
White Cane Awareness Month
October is White Cane Awareness Month. It was designated not only to make all drivers and visually-impaired people like myself aware of Florida's White Cane Law, but also of its responsibilities and advantages.
A raised white cane with a red tip distinguishes it from other canes, making it easier for approaching drivers to identify it. Whenever a driver approaches the raised white cane of a visually impaired pedestrian who's attempting to cross in front of his vehicle, he becomes legally obligated to stop!
Any driver whose vehicle hits a visually impaired pedestrian with a raised white cane is liable to suffer severe legal penalties and prosecution under this law.
As busy as our streets are, I can appreciate the fact that some drivers may fear being rear-ended should they stop for us visually impaired pedestrians. Therefore, I suggest that anyone with such fears signal, either by hand or with his rear headlights, whenever he's stopping.
Thanks to the White Cane Law's protection, plus mobility lessons from the Pinellas Center for the Visually Impaired, I've safely navigated our busy streets for years _ alone! Moreover, drivers need not worry about legal penalties for hitting people like me, so long as they comply with the White Cane Law.
Chloe Darrah, Clearwater
How bad is it, really?
The economy: Is it really that bad?
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game where the attendance was over 56,000. It was interesting to see that the people sitting around me were not your Donald Trumps or
your Ted Turners who have more money than they know what to do with. These people were everyday Americans, from a father and his three sons, to four enthusiastic teenage sports fans, to a young married couple enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon, to a bunch of elderly men who look like diehard Bucs fans.
It seems kind of odd to me that with all the reports you hear on how bad the economy is throughout this country, professional sporting events are selling out continuously where ticket prices can range from $10 to $100+ for a single ticket. Add to that concession prices for the afternoon which may cost a family between $30 and $50.
So, sometimes it makes you wonder if this country is really as bad off as we sometimes tend to think.
Rick Shriver, St. Petersburg
I am a 73-year-old widow on Social Security who finds it necessary to work to supplement my income. I do not buy things I cannot afford.
I have been seeing the deficit figures which grow every day by leaps and bounds. I think the economy and the deficit are the most important issues in the coming election.
How can this president or any president promise money to people everywhere he goes, without raising the deficit or raising taxes? We have to start now making sacrifices _ all of us.
Our education process is failing. I have only a high school education but can read, write, spell, add and subtract better than some of my grandchildren. Even with computers these skills are necessary. To get better jobs we must have better education. Parents also must get involved.
I shudder to think what a mess we are leaving to future generations. Will there be a United States or will we also become a bankrupt nation?
Mildred Gendrich, St. Petersburg Beach
Measuring up to Truman
I was watching George Bush on his whistle-stop campaign through my hometown in Ohio last weekend, just as I was completing David McCullough's biography of Harry S. Truman. The
dissonance of the imagery Bush was attempting to evoke caused me to give thought to what I had learned about the Truman presidency.
To be fair, the attempt to muster the spirit of Truman during this campaign is not limited to Bush. While the president has adopted the "Give 'em hell, Harry" come-from-behind metaphor, Gov. Clinton has drawn upon the down-home southern prairie state upbringing comparison, neatly packaged in a stump speech from Independence, Mo.
What I offer to both candidates, as they cloak themselves in the Truman image whenever it suits them, is why not try this one on for size? The salient characteristic _ the true measure of Truman's character _ was his courage to take on the tough decisions and to sometimes make the unpopular choice, regardless of the political fallout.
Karen L. Hoffman, Clearwater
Share your opinions
We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL. 33731, (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.