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Reader suggests a moratorium on news from Washington

First off, let me assure you I have nothing against the media, per se. I read the Times from cover to comics with my coffee every morning; I enjoy the evening news on TV and if there is something of great importance happening I become almost a news "junkie." However, after reading and listening to everything the media and the experts have said about our government since Jan. 20 I have a proposal to make which I believe would benefit everyone.

In order for the public and the people in Washington to sort through all of the information which is coming out like a flood every day in the media, I would like to see us declare a moratorium on any news from Washington for the next 30 days. Nothing from the White House, nothing from Congress, nothing from "unidentified sources" _ nothing at all!

Perhaps then our Congress can settle down and do its job of working for the people who elected them instead of sending up trial balloons or vying for sound bites on the evening news. Perhaps all of these "experts" who appear on TV can find some other thing to make them famous and maybe, just maybe, our president can hole up in his office and discover his job is not to appear on TV every day but to work with the Congress for those same people.

Many years ago a leader of the Singapore government told my husband that it was much easier to rule 100 years ago because by the time news of a crisis was heard in distant places, it was all over. Our instant communication of today is wonderful but when all of our officials have to think on their feet to answer the constant media questions, it can create havoc.

Julia L. Solomon, St. Petersburg

She's out there, somewhere

Re: Woman to assume Canada's top post and Turkey poised to get its first woman prime minister, June 14.

When will we have our first woman president? And who will it be?

Canada joins a list of countries that have chosen a woman leader _ England, India, Pakistan, Norway and Iceland. And soon, Turkey?

Some people think we almost have a woman president now, in Hillary Clinton.

We lag behind many countries in infant mortality rates, immunization shots for children, etc. Is our failure to elect a woman president an indication of lack of progress?

We are studying the Canadians' health care system. Should we emulate them in other areas? Are they our laboratory for social change?

One of the great things about this country is our claim that anybody can grow up to be president. Surely, the female destined for that position is living among us now.

Who is she? And when will she be elected?

Hugh Paulk, Belleair

An expensive battle

There has been a recent "up-cropping" of organizations asking senior citizens to make contributions so as to wage a "battle" against raising taxes on Social Security and Medicare.

Where and when did these organizations pop up?

Until recently I had never heard of Save Seniors Benefits Campaign or The Seniors Coalition.

I have contributed to the National Association for Social Security and Medicare (which was headed by the late James Roosevelt). I am a member of the American Association of Retired Persons which is a responsible health care lobbying group that informs its members of legislation that affects them, not only about health care but about Social Security and Medicare.

When I am steamed up about Congress, I write not only to my particular senators and member of the House but also to other members of the opposition party. (I just wrote Sen. Robert Dole asking what proposals the Republicans intend to give for jobs for the unemployed and the young people entering the job market.)

I am getting very suspicious of these organizations that try to collect contributions from people like me who survive only on Social Security benefits. I do contribute to those charitable organizations that help the needy and are reputable.

M. Louise Simmons, Port Richey

In support of oil exploration

Re: On off-shore drilling, June 11.

The letter writer states that "there are numerous reasons to prohibit off-shore drilling along Florida's coasts."

There are also numerous reasons why I believe that oil exploration activities _ and that requires "drilling" _ should be carried out, even in the coastal areas of Florida or any other state, if the potential for oil exists. This also applies to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, which to this point in time has not been nearly explored to its possible potential.

Could these coastal areas or the Alaska refuge be another Prudoe Bay (which to this point in time has been the largest discovery on U.S. soil)? There is no question that both of these areas are very difficult to explore and develop because of the delicate nature of the ecology. However, it can be done. I have been to Prudoe Bay in Alaska and have seen firsthand the procedures in place to protect the ecology. It truly boggles your mind.

You might ask, "But why do we have to invade these "pristine sensitive areas in search for oil'?"

The answer comes from the American Petroleum Institute. Their opinion is that the next major oil discovery, if there is one, will be in coastal areas or above the Arctic Circle.

Why would I give high priority to at least letting exploration proceed? Again I refer to Petroleum Institute experts. They say that from the time oil is discovered in the above hostile areas, it takes about 10 years for the first oil to reach market. A case in point is Prudoe Bay in Alaska. Oil was discovered in 1968. The first oil from that discovery left Valdez, Alaska, in 1978.

The letter writer also states "It's only a matter of a short time until alternate sources diffuse the ruling black gold barons."

What is a "short time"? Nuclear power has either taken decades to develop or has been talked about for decades with no progress. Nuclear power at present is our best alternate source of energy, but we all know the obstacles that confront this form of energy. As of now, we cannot count on further nuclear sources in the future.

Practical, meaningful uses of solar power, geothermal, electrically- or natural gas- or alcohol-powered cars are far in the future, probably decades.

One point that is almost never mentioned as to why we must have reliable sources of oil is that not only is oil one of our chief energy sources, but it is also the raw material for hundreds of items that we use every day and take for granted.

In the letter writer's desire to "slap the powerful, rich oil barons around," the possibility exists that we as consumers may be slapped much harder and with much greater pain.

William E. Blosser, Clearwater

A 102nd use

Re: Don Addis' June 5 cartoon, "101 uses for old Maas Bros. stores."

Regarding Addis' cartoon, I suggest that the City Council regard the tongue-in-cheek innuendo and consider it a lead-in to "102 uses"

Why can't the "almighty" of the city see that a solution to the condemnation of seven properties could be solved by making the Maas Bros. store into a movie building? It would also have parking available to the patrons of the movie theaters, as the building has now.

Oops, I forgot. Bay Plaza (from Kansas City), that runs our town, probably would not like even the idea that a local taxpayer could suggest such a logical scheme!

John Gilbert, St. Petersburg

Wasting a "marvelous medium'

As usual, Mike Royko "tells it like it is" in his June 12 column Showbiz runs on shlock, shock and sleaze. What a waste of a marvelous medium for intelligent writers and composers!

After a busy day, wouldn't you love to be able to sit in your favorite chair, put your feet up, relax and flip to three or four channels and be assured that you would have the choice of a movie with a good plot, without the same old sex and violence; or a musical that contains tunes you'll remember and hum; or a mystery that doesn't show the blood and gore but does have an intriguing solution; or a good belly-laughing comedy with the likes of Jackie Gleason or Dick Van Dyke? We should be able to expect this if enough people protest the trash described by Royko and boycott it in favor of intelligence and good taste.

Margaret A. Wandmacher, Palm Harbor

Wouldn't it be nice?

Re: June 14.

Wouldn't it be nice if every day was a Flag Day?

David Kennedy Smith, Largo

Share your opinions

Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They must include the handwritten signature and address of the writer.

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