Editor: "Why should I waste my time voting? They're only going to do what they want to do, anyway. My one vote will have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election or how we govern ourselves." How many times have we heard that remark or one similar to it? Maybe it's so, but I prefer to think that my vote will have a meaningful bearing on how my city governs itself.
As Election Day draws near, many candidates have taken that huge step forward and said, "I can help my city move in a direction that will benefit all the residents." I believe any person who seeks public office deserves our respect and admiration. To devote the time and energy necessary to prepare and then run is something most of us do not wish to do.
Issues important to the residents will be expressed in terms ranging from imaginative to impossible. Each area of any city has unique problems that, in turn, will be focused on by the "runners." This is typically the way a campaign operates. Stay with the popular issue. Shy away from the controversial.
Campaigns also give voters a chance to question candidates, to judge their answers and to assess their vision for office. But there is also a danger of relying too much on campaigns, to the exclusion of past performances.
The people's wants are simple. They want leaders who can offer a sense of "community," where neighbor looks out for neighbor. How do we the people assist our leaders once elected? What direction, if any, do we offer? The people can fault their leaders only to a small degree when they fail in their duty by not making their voices heard.
Our newly elected officials will need our input. By our non-action in civic affairs, we deny "the new kid on the block" the people's voice.
Voters, make your vote count. Listen to your candidates, study their platforms, ask questions.
Your vote can create change!
Possible sale of Camp Soule is only part of the picture
Editor: That many people cannot see the forest because the trees get in the way aptly fits the position of many men and women who have taken part in the controversy over our Scout camp, Camp Soule.
Selling or not selling Camp Soule is of secondary importance. Scouting is a program for boys. To carry on this program, a staff of professionals plus a large number of volunteers is needed.
The program has many facets, all aimed at character-building. No boy ever became a Scout to have his character improved. The program offers inducements to get the boy into Scouting. After he has joined because he likes games, hiking and camping, we try to get in our subtle character-building part.
For the program to survive it must be financially sound. To "Save Camp Soule" is to address the symptom, not the disease. For Scouting to continue long-range in our community, we must come up with a plan that ensures lasting financial stability for the council.
The executive board is not committed to selling the camp. We are committed to solving a problem that threatens the very life of the West Central Florida Council! The sale of Camp Soule is one of several options being considered. Be assured that all plausible avenues will be explored and that the sale of the camp will be a last resort.
To the people of this community, I plead, do not cry "Save Camp Soule," but rather "Save Our Council" for the purpose of continuing a Scouting program for our youth.
Please do not ask me to help you put splints on the leg of a horse if nothing is going to be done to prevent it from dying of starvation.
David T. Mitchell
West Central Florida Council
Blaming whites for troubles of blacks solves nothing
Editor: Re: "Voices unique, anger common," by columnist Elijah Gosier, Feb. 17.
So Mr. Gosier is angry at white people for all the things that they are doing to black people. I hope you give me the opportunity to state why I, a white person, am angry at blacks.
I am angry at the obvious breakdown of the black family and the many black children who lack a most important basis for success in life: a father.
I am angry at the school system for graduating students _ both black and white _ who cannot read or write because we don't want dropouts or to be charged with racist biases.
I am angry at black society for not facing up to the fact that there are black incorrigibles, just like whites, who must be dealt with harshly.
I am angry and could cry for the innocent black youngsters who are killed every day in America.
I am angry at all the liberal do-gooders who blame me or my forefathers for the ills of black society when in reality they _ the liberals _ play a role in furthering this feeling of blaming someone else for their problem.
Finally, I am angry at people like Mr. Gosier who constantly tell white people they are to blame for all the problems of the black people. May I suggest that one should first look at one's own house before blaming others?
Of course past prejudices have occurred, present biases exist and latent discrimination will not disappear in the future. However, if one wants to further one's race in the amalgamation into our society, I suggest we concentrate on ways to get ahead rather than feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming others for our problems. Just check our Asian immigrants.
Thanks for an enjoyable time at a hoedown in Largo
Editor: Four of us recently attended an old-fashioned country-western hoedown at the old Taylor packing plant on West Bay in Largo. This was a farewell to the old building that will be torn down for a park that Largo is developing.
Some committee or group of Largo residents did a wonderful job. We enjoyed watching the dancers, many of whom were very good. We also enjoyed the clever decorations including palm trees strung with small white lights, a shell walkway to the front door flanked by more potted palms and crates of grapefruits and oranges.
Whoever planned this family function did an excellent job. We would like to thank them!