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Thanks to lawmakers, Lotto no prize for schools

Re: "Lotto could do more for elderly, needy," Oct. 14 letter.

Let's pick a number for state education funding pre-Lotto, say $1-million for ease of example. Say the Lotto makes $100,000, 38 percent of which goes to education, which should make the total education funding better at $1,038,000. Unfortunately, this is not how it works.

What has happened is that our legislators say, "Since education is now receiving Lotto money, we can cut its funding in our regular budget and spend that on (prisons, the elderly, the homeless _ pick a political cause)." So state funding is reduced to $900,000 and then Lotto money is added, which makes it $938,000. Of course, this is a simplified example using arbitrary numbers and not taking into account Florida's growth, inflation and countless other factors.

Lotto is a business that must attract customers, like any other. Mustang giveaways, jackpot rollovers and other gimmicks are necessary to keep the dollars flowing. Lottery chief Marcia Mann seems to be doing a good job making money and putting most of it where it belongs.

However, as long as our legislators keep robbing education to pay for other interests, education will be hurting _ doubly so if Jeb Bush gets elected and manages to slip his voucher plan into the mixture. Don't blame Mann for their errors. Finally, comparing Florida to Pennsylvania is like comparing apples and clocks: They're not even in the same category. The numerous dual residents seem quite willing to put up with Florida's shortcomings during the winter.

Connie Jean Purdum

Seminole

Downtown is looking up

Re: Oct. 4 story, "Harborview Center's renovation: $9.5-million," and this quote by resident Bob Bickerstaff, ". . .when we lost the Fort Harrison Hotel, that's when Clearwater started to go down."

Bob Bickerstaff, one of the members of the citizen task force that studied the Maas Brothers property, must not have been in Clearwater in 1975.

I was. When I came to Clearwater to attend the Church of Scientology in January of 1975, downtown Clearwater was a slum. Buildings were boarded up, and it just looked awful. Perhaps a citizen task force should be appointed to find the real reason for Clearwater's terrible condition at that time.

Anyone who has been around here since the '70s couldn't help but notice the tremendous improvement in downtown Clearwater since the church moved here. The church has been working with the city to improve conditions in the downtown, and it is becoming a very attractive and prosperous place compared to most towns in Florida on the west coast. I just wanted to set the record straight.

Lyle Roland

Clearwater

Support for sale appreciated

The members and friends of the Safety Harbor Museum are grateful to the Times for the publicity and support you gave to our first Gigantic Garage Sale, held Oct. 8. We also thank the community for its generous response. By sale day, our warehouse and garages were overflowing with quality furniture and household items. We realized a profit of $4,490, which will be used to repay our loan from the city for the construction of a storage room and to enact a summer educational program.

Marilyn K. Bartz, president

Safety Harbor Museum

of Regional History

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