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Maybe the job of president is too big for one person

Another presidential election is upon us and members of the major political parties are trying their best to convince the public that they are the ones who can "turn things around." The candidates try to convince us they can and will change things for the better. Whether they are well-intentioned but naive or dishonest, they are all wrong. None of them will ever be in the position to control events that would or could improve things.

The people who do control are heads of secret agencies and a few selected military heads. And until the American people regain their freedom and wrest control from these selected few, there will not be any real or significant changes. Not only do these zealots of war waste hundreds of billions of dollars that could be better used for education, rebuilding the infrastructure of this great country, etc., but they keep a good percentage of the American public in a near constant "Top Gun" mind-set through their propaganda.

President Eisenhower, quite a military man himself, warned us about the military-industrial complex in his farewell speech. The time really has come for change, but no one seems to want this job. Maybe no single person can handle this frightening position.

Jim Ahearn, Clearwater

The last paragraph in a recent letter made me decide to put in writing what my mind has been dealing with recently. Maybe we need three presidents these days: Bush for foreign affairs, Clinton for domestic national affairs, and Perot for the finances. Each could get one third of the salary a president gets because they wouldn't have to work so hard, and if we made this decision right away we could probably keep both Bush and Clinton from wearing themselves out in these difficult weeks before the election.

Florence L. Feth, Dunedin

Multiple choice

Most educated people in the United States have taken many multiple choice tests in their lives.

Maybe now is the time to extend the multiple choice concept to the ballot box:

a) George Bush; b)Bill Clinton; c) Ross Perot; d) None of the above.

I wonder how d) would fare in the polls?

Nick Powers, Sand Key

Attention federal retirees

Attention, retired U.S. military and federal government employees: Are you reading "his" lips? It seems that when the president speaks of putting a cap on all entitlements _ except Social Security _ he's talking about us.

Now he says that the government is too big. According to the St. Petersburg Times Answer Desk, the federal work force has grown just 3.4 percent since 1980. So what is he going to cut?

Although Bill Clinton hasn't been so specific about what he'll do, at least he hasn't openly targeted non-Social Security retirees or federal work force employees as a means of cutting back on spending.

Remember, we did contribute a lot more of our earnings into the Federal Retirement Program than if we were contributing to Social Security.

Another item of interest. Did you know that a substantial amount of money in our retirement fund was "conveniently" borrowed by the government because it was above the projected level of need at the time? Later, they passed a bill that the borrowed money didn't need to be paid back.

Check it out!

Peter B. Ferrara Sr., Largo

On gambling

Much is in the news about government's role in promoting "family values." One steadily increasing role has been in the area of gambling.

Few of us would say gambling is a family virtue; yet many of our state governments not only condone it but encourage and skillfully promote it through state lotteries.

The only justification for such lotteries is the reverse reasoning that lotteries decrease illegal gambling and thus divert some of this illegal net profit to some worthwhile state use. Perhaps, but certainly total gambling is greatly increased, and the cost has been shown to be much like a regressive tax on those who can least afford it.

Wouldn't it be far better overall for government to take and communicate a moral position against gambling, and let the state lotteries exist for those who must gamble, but without the slick, highly professional advertising and promotion? Otherwise, state governments may well be taking us one step closer to the "fall of Rome."

Louis B. Close, Tarpon Springs

A "slap in the face'

I've got this to say to Ross Perot. Your idea for a 50-cent per gallon tax on gasoline is a slap in the face and a colossal injustice to the common working people in this country. I did not cause the national debt problem and neither did the millions of other common working people. Why should we get stuck paying it off every time we buy gas?

The national debt problem was caused by the politicians, economic advisers, bankers, financiers, and corporation executives. These guys (like yourself) will naturally go for a 50-cent per gallon tax on gas because they haven't bought a tank of gas out of their own pocket in years. They ride around in government cars, company cars, limousines and taxi cabs. Why don't you slap all your extra heavy taxes on their personal income to pay off the national debt? After all, it's their fault!

Mary Bump, St. Petersburg

Saint Leo College

In the tabloid section, Suncoast Almanac, Oct. 4, I was gratified to see that Saint Leo College was listed on page 6 with the complete listing of colleges in the coverage area. However, in the section on Pasco County, where the college is geographically situated, only one college was listed under the heading "College," and only one was indicated on the map as a "Point of Interest." That was Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Saint Leo College has been a part of Pasco County for 103 years, is one of the largest employers in the county, and is the only four-year liberal arts college in Pasco. It is the oldest four-year Catholic college in the state of Florida.

The institution has an on-campus enrollment of approximately 1,000 students and more than 6,000 students are enrolled through the Center for Distance Learning. This includes Evening College, Weekend College, teacher education and resident centers on 13 military establishments, including MacDill, which is our third largest program.

Many graduates of Pasco-Hernando Community College choose to pursue a four-year degree at Saint Leo.

Several notable Pasco County officials are graduates of Saint Leo, including County Administrator John Gallagher, Assistant Administrator Harold Sample and Dade City Director of Public Safety Bob Cabot.

We are proud of our Pasco heritage, the base from which we serve the entire metropolitan Tampa Bay area. Hopefully, in the future we will be listed as both a point of interest and a vital resource in any of your profiles of the county.

Judith Rochelle, Director of Public Affairs,

Saint Leo College, Saint Leo

A vision of departure

Funny thing, I've been having this vision of departure. The date is Jan. 20. I seem to see four people in the vision.

There are George Bush and Dan Quayle who have been beaten in the election and are wearily trudging off into the darkness of the future, both staggering under the weight of their family values and trust baggage which backfired. They are having a little trouble finding their way out of town in the dark, their thousand points of light having long since flickered out.

The third party is their evangelistic stalwart Pat Robertson who is walking ahead, leading the way toward Goodbyesville. However, he seems unable to illuminate the path even with his particular oracle of light.

And guess who is the fourth character faltering along the way, clutching the campaign's leftover snake venom for possible future use? Why, it is Patrick Buchanan, a noble patron of George Bush and, incidentally, one who probably would not know a family if he saw one.

What a scene! If this vision were not so pathetic, it would be downright hilarious.

John J. Shelton, St. Petersburg

More on Oneonta incident

I received a copy of your recent editorial titled, An atmosphere of racism. How easy it is for you to sit 2,000 miles away and pass judgment on a situation that you did not live through.

I live in Oneonta, N.Y. We are a small town with about 13,000 permanent residents located in the Catskill Mountains. We also have about 7,000 students who reside with us nine months of the year. In many ways it is an idyllic community where most people know each other and the most serious crime is shoplifting at a local discount store. The rare occurrence of more serious crime is usually committed by someone who does not reside in the community.

The stabbing of a 77-year-old woman in an attempted rape and burglary in the early hours of the morning received a great deal of attention. The assailant had been injured during the attack when the woman fought back, and the woman was able to identify her attacker as a young, black male. The state police bloodhounds traced the suspect to the State University of New York (SUNY) campus and bloody towels were discovered outside one of the dormitories.

A week after the crime was committed, as time was running out for the wounds on the hands of the assailant to be significant, Vice President Leif Hartmark released the list of the names you referred to in your editorial. Hartmark, whose expertise is in budget and finance, was the third in line to be "Officer of the Day," but was acting president that Friday afternoon, the day before the long Labor Day weekend. He made an error in judgment in attempting to help the police solve a particularly heinous crime. I am convinced, along with many others in the community, that releasing the list was not at all racially motivated. The police compounded the error in the tactics they used to question those on the list as well as other black men in the community.

Both the college and the community have been hurt by this incident and the aftermath, and we have and will continue to take steps to improve relations among all the residents of the community, be they permanent or not, be they whatever race, creed or color. I'm sure I won't see an editorial in your paper praising our efforts.

And I have a comment for you: You were quick to condemn the campus, the SUNY administration, Dr. Hartmark, and our town for our alleged racist actions. I didn't see one word of concern for the elderly woman who was attacked. Her attacker has not been apprehended as of this date.

Lynne Downey, Oneonta, N.Y.

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