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Disney and others discover Pinellas: Where have they been?

Re: Disney discovers Pinellas, after all, Oct. 13.

Disney and others discover Pinellas! Would someone like to tell me where they have been? Suddenly, with the threat of casino gambling on the horizon, the big money-making tourist attractions acknowledge that we are actually part of Florida. Gee, seems like a slap in the face to me.

Like most, I, too, enjoy visiting Disney, Sea World and others, but life isn't all "Mickey Mouse." Adults, especially seniors, need to realize the importance of good-paying, quality jobs for those of us who must work for a living. Casinos are ruled by a state commission, pay taxes and, without a doubt, located in Florida will draw more tourists who spend more money, thus creating even more jobs.

Florida's minimum wage is $4.25 an hour. Try living on it. Most places of employment think you should.

No job is no self-esteem. Casinos, or any other form of employment, can eliminate crime; however, the proposed "limiting of casinos" in the state will employ many residents who are now collecting unemployment, imprisoned on welfare or just plain existing in a hopeless, no-win situation.

Don't just say "no" to casino gambling. Investigate. Find out who has the most to gain by the issue's demise. Who is the force behind the "no" vote?

If I remember correctly, didn't we take a chance on a gigantic attraction for children? Now it's called a "world."

There is room for everyone. Competition is healthy. Look what it's done for us already. We've been discovered!

James P. McGuigan, Clearwater

I couldn't help but laugh when I read the two articles in the Oct. 13, Times. The first, Disney discovers Pinellas; the second, Bridges line up for renovations. Of course, the first refers to Walt Disney World including Pinellas County hotels in its marketing package this winter for the first time. Here's where the laugh comes into this picture. One of the three main bridges to the Pinellas County beaches will be out from Jan. 3 until March 31. Won't the tourists get a giggle out of that? If it wasn't for that bridge thing Pinellas County wouldn't have any traffic problems at all! Wasn't there a better time to fix that bridge?

Jan Fry, Indian Shores

I have observed casinos in operation _ over one year in Atlantic City. How will limited casino tourism affect Florida's current tourism? The average casino patron is looking for action. Anxious to arrive, anxious to play, slow to leave, running late and in a hurry to get back home; little time, or desire, for anything in between the home and the casino. Little or no spin-off business.

The average casino promotes a "free spirit," which means, in part, breaking down the barriers. There are no visible clocks, no windows to look out _ day and night is all the same. Keep the patrons active at the tables and the slots: no worries. Escape to excitement. Players must exchange their money for plastic chips; psychologically, chips become "a thing," something that is of less value than money, easier to part with! Liquor flows like water, often lavished upon the players at no cost _ it helps to break down the personal money-value barrier, thus the person takes the risk, or makes the bet.

Each casino is a self-contained city. It provides for every need or desire so patrons will not have to leave the building _ doctors, nurses, policemen, your room, shops, saunas, restaurants, swimming pools, etc. are provided. The finest of everything is located in each casino: Gourmet foods, for example, at a very modest cost. Gambling, not amenities, brings in the big money. All is provided so as to eliminate competition. Players never need go elsewhere.

The policy of each casino is isolation. Keep the patrons, and their money, inside the casino. Do what is needed to accomplish this. The huge winnings are channeled into the big out-of-state banks. An unwholesome atmosphere, pimps, prostitutes, a criminal element, seem to gravitate to this industry.

An open, wholesome atmosphere generally surrounds our tourist industry. It is made up primarily of families that visit the attractions, beaches, relax in the sun, swim, fish, golf, etc. One tourist establishment may well depend upon another that's in the area. The money is generally kept within the state. Limited casinos is not a good idea for the state of Florida.

Arvil Dunaway, Panama City

The recent ads promoting casinos by stating that Indians and employees of offshore gambling are taking "our" jobs is appalling. For me it reflects the true character of those promoting casinos. I was on the fence on this issue, as a voter, but now I shall actively work for the defeat of casinos in Florida. Except for the Seminoles.

Ken La Porte, St. Petersburg

Use not necessarily abuse

With the death of one young man and the wounding of another while attempting to buy marijuana, we can expect to hear the usual cry for more police and stricter enforcement. This is, however, the wrong approach and will only succeed in harming more people.

The young man killed was an honor student and an athlete. It may be best if all people, both young and old, would avoid drugs and alcohol, but that is unlikely. It must be understood that contrary to the prattling of government officials, all drug use is not abuse.

The individuals involved all must bear personal responsibility for their actions, but the laws that make drugs illegal are, in part, responsible for this tragedy. If marijuana were not illegal, there would not be the commerce in it by criminals. Those wanting it would not have to go to undesirable places in search of it.

Currently, the greatest threat to users is that they can be killed or injured when they buy, and if apprehended by the law they can be imprisoned for a long time.

William Joseph, Clearwater

Column cheered

Re: Emotions clouding the issues on schools, Oct. 6.

Three cheers for Elijah Gosier's column on school busing, pupil ratios and neighborhood schools. His commentary was so straight to the point and marked by such good common sense I had to glance at the top of the page to make certain I was still reading the Times.

And, what a refreshing change from the usual fuzz-brained, liberal fluff normally found in that space.

F.A. Derek, Clearwater

Amtrak's safety record

Re: Amtrak pulls ads on NBC, Oct. 15.

How dare Amtrak's advertising department piously pull NBC ads because of Jay Leno's stinging observations about their dismal safety record over the past year!

It is my impression that Amtrak's advertising department doesn't care a whit about safety.

A case in point: As many of us I-95-Northeast-to-Florida "commuters" can confirm, during those long, boring and empty 100-mile stretches in the Carolinas, Amtrak Auto-Train billboards litter the highway, asking rather dreamily, "Are you getting tired yet?"

In the advertisement the Amtrak billboard words are fuzzed up, further suggesting sleep to overextended drivers who may already be nodding off.

Amtrak's attitude toward safety is as bad as its actual record.

Keep it going, Jay! Maybe Ralph Nader's transportation safety group should backfill the advertising slots vacated by the rickety-clackety railroad.

Jerry Miller, North Redington Beach

Immigration study

Re: Profile of immigration, Oct. 15, a summary of immigrant costs to Florida as reported in a study by a Rice University economist. While the sources of the study's data and its assumptions were not outlined, its figures appear devastating even if one assumes a 5 percent margin of error. The study, centered on 1992, stated immigrants cost Florida taxpayers $3.3-billion, displaced 226,000 Floridians from employment and repaid only 27 percent of the social costs they generated. There were other figures listed which undercut the value of immigrants contrary to other studies which purport to find long-term goals from immigration. Who is to be believed?

The study by the Rice economist should give great comfort to Gov. Wilson in California and make Clinton look heroic in halting the Cuban and Haitian immigrants. Based on this study Chiles should be headed for political sainthood for his actions against Washington.

James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg

Easing the pain

Re: Fathers confront daughters' killers, Oct. 12.

Finally, the members of a victim's family have a chance to speak their piece _ legally. I can't imagine sitting through an entire trial in the same room with your family member's killer, listening to all those gruesome details and sometimes hearing prosecutors defame the character of your loved one while you remain silent. Maybe just knowing your turn will come to be able to express your hurt and to share your pain with the one responsible for it would help ease it somewhat. Perhaps it would give the criminal some insight as to the many lives affected by the loss of the loved one or maybe even spark a sense of remorse. The paper stated 35 states have adopted this practice. Why not Florida?

Gini Oliva, St. Petersburg

What's wrong with defense?

Re: Chamber gives agencies the biz, Oct. 13.

It is not clear to me why the Florida Chamber of Commerce has chosen to target the Southwest Florida Water Management District as wasteful or anti-business.

Since when is it bad to defend yourself when you are on the receiving end of frivolous litigation?

To attack one of the better, more responsible government agencies may be fun and cute, but it should be based on something tangible.

Steven A. Kent, Lutz

Crimes against society

Re: "Domestic Violence Awareness Month."

We are changing old systems as we recognize that violence against women and children are crimes against society. "Domestic violence" now has been properly judged assault and battery; the victims are no longer responsible for crimes committed against them.

Doctors are now alerted to question women about their injuries so they are less fearful and reluctant to acknowledge the damage inflicted by their mates. They are now treated with medical care and compassion. They are no longer treated as "hysterics."

There is room for healing now. We must continue with education and research. There will be equality for women when we are all informed. We can learn that the "curse" is a source of mental as well as physical creativity. The hysterical shroud needs to be buried.

Esther D. Liebler, Port Richey

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