I read with great interest your Oct. 16 editorial Reforming welfare. You asked the question, "Who would you rather have caring for you if you were in need?" My answer is me!
I will take the initiative and responsibility to take care of my family. If the government pumps money at me, I'll have no incentive to provide for myself. I have been unemployed and have never accepted one dollar of unemployment, welfare or food stamps. I lost my job; I went out, put the responsibility on myself, pounded the pavement and got another job.
The working people of this state are tired of supporting freeloaders, high school dropouts and people who partied rather than studied their way through school and can now only get minimum-wage jobs. Two years on welfare is more than enough time to get your life together and start working to provide for yourself and your family. Cutting off the free money puts the responsibility squarely on their shoulders to care for themselves.
Check it out: Total social-service spending in this state has gone in four years from $7.35-billion to $12.46-billion of your tax dollars. When will it stop?
The voters of this state ought to send a clear message: "No more free lunch."
Ken Miller, Pinellas Park
Inspiring leadership needed
Why are some government leaders and candidates acting like "Chicken Little" and "Turkey Lurkey"? Spreading dark clouds of gloom and doom from sea to shining sea blots out the faith, hope and charity upon which our great nation was built. A government for the people was built by the sweat, blood and tears of people with vision and courage, not naysayers and doomsayers. A government by the people will put its trust and taxes in representatives who can lead them through the valleys and shadows of the future. No mountain is too high or chasm too wide to conquer.
Whether the problem is health, welfare or crime, our entrusted leaders must find solutions while avoiding the perilous cliffs of greed, temptation and special interests. Although the storm clouds may gather and our paths may be uncharted, a government sponsored by people with vision and not gloom will find courageous and tested leaders to show our country the way.
So says Henny Penny.
Harold Clark, Beverly Hills
All sides, please
Re: GOP naysayers are poisoning our politics, by William Raspberry, Oct. 14.
Who said the media are biased? William Raspberry, that is who. In his Oct. 14 column, he made it very clear that anything coming across his desk that does not favor Clinton goes into the recyclables bin, many of them unread.
That type of bias is typical of many of the St. Petersburg Times columnists and editorial writers. They do not seem to realize that they are a minority in this great country that continues to back a minority president. Fifty-seven percent of the voters did not want Clinton in the White House, and that percentage has increased as his time in office lengthens.
A democracy is based on the premise that the will of the majority of the people will provide for the best interest of the country as a whole. The growth of our country in much less than 200 years to a world power and leader does much to prove and support that premise.
For any columnist or editorial writer to listen to and read only that which agrees with his own concepts and party lines proves him a biased writer indeed. It does nothing to enhance the image of a paper that proclaims each day that its policy is "merely to tell the truth."
I would suggest that your statement of policy is commendable, but let's have it from all sides of the political spectrum and let the voters express their opinion at the polls.
George W. Freeman, Homosassa
How "festive' is it?
With the festive season fast approaching let's not include veal as a "festive dish" for the holidays.
Please think about how "festive" it is for helpless calves to be taken from their mothers a few days after birth. How "festive" is it to be chained by the neck in a stall small enough to prevent any movement, usually in total darkness? How "festive" is it for their tender, young joints to swell in pain from lack of movement?
Only the kindness of death after 15 weeks of torture finally ends their festivities.
Shame on all who eat veal and, therefore, encourage this horrible atrocity.
Arthur Seitter, Port Richey
On the mark
Re: Judging by the name, by Martin Dyckman, Oct. 18
Martin Dyckman is right on target. If we will not approve merit selection of our trial court judges, we at least ought to use a screening process to ensure appropriate qualifications of a candidate before the name game gets played on the ballot.
S. Michael Ostow, Seminole
Two views on net ban
An old-timer speaks out _ Vote "no" for Amendment 3.
The people who want to ban commercial net fishing are trying to take the birthright away from native Floridians. My grandfather, Capt. Bud Sweat, had a boat named the Ibis. He ran mail from Gulfport to Pass-a-Grille before the bridges. He had the first home in John's Pass before the bridge. Besides being a commercial net fisherman, he hauled lumber to Fort Myers to build the summer homes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone and transported them back and forth to these summer places. Mullet, stone crabs, oysters, scallops and clams were plentiful back then. Dredging and destruction of the mangroves took their toll.
Commercial fishing does not hurt sport fishing. There's room in the bay and Gulf of Mexico for all. I have been to the gulf in December and seen huge spawns of yellow roe with white on top. The native mariners are emotionally involved with this when their life support has come from fishing.
We can take some preventive steps to keep commercial fishing operating by voting "no." You will prevent everyone affected from being out of work and prevent taxpayers from shelling out more for welfare. Some of those affected would also be the net manufacturers, fish markets who sell to restaurants _ the list is endless. Joblessness leads to crime and rebellion.
Once, long ago, we took this beautiful land from the Native Americans. They got even with us and taught us to smoke. What goes around comes around.
Marjorie Meares Spencer, Largo
On Nov. 8, Floridians stand at a historic crossroad. By voting "yes" on Amendment 3 we can forever end the slaughter in the water caused by inshore net-fishing in our state. We can stop the vast killing of our protected sea turtles and porpoises by removing these invisible walls of death. Our pelicans and other shore bird populations will rebound when their diet of forage fish is not swept clean by nets. Our mullet populations will once again thrive to supply a food source for Floridians when their carcasses are no longer destroyed after the eggs are stripped out during the peak breeding season to satisfy the gourmet appetites of the Orient. Jobs will be created when the tourists return to fish our beautiful, bountiful waters. Floridians can follow the lead of Texas, California, Georgia, South Carolina and the Great Lakes states by protecting our publicly owned marine resources for the benefit of all the citizens of our state. The death and destruction caused by these nets is well documented by our state agencies, marine researchers and in the national media headlines.
The issue is a win/win situation for both the environment and the economy. Vote "yes" on Amendment 3, Nov. 8.
Tom Fuess, Fort Myers
"Just a smoke screen'
Re: Gun lobby is perpetuating the "militia myth," letter to the editor, Oct. 19.
The letter writer missed the point completely. The anti-gun movement has a mental block when it comes to seeing anything that gun owners do. All of this propaganda about dangerous militia organizations is just a smoke screen for more gun laws.
The vast majority of honest gun owners have little interest in overthrowing the government or in breaking the law. However, the Second Amendment (as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights) did not create a right; it was intended to enshrine a pre-existing natural right (community and personal self-defense) that has existed from time immemorial. Moreover, as far as the "well-regulated" part is concerned, the regulation was intended to be self-regulation, and militia members were expected to keep and furnish their own personal weapons. The modern National Guard is part of the regular army and is not any kind of true militia.
Perhaps groups like Handgun Control Inc. should blame themselves for the recent growth of citizen militias. After all, it has only been within the last few years that gun owners have really felt threatened as they have seen radical anti-gun fanatics take more and more power in Washington, D.C. Does the letter writer really expect us to roll over and play dead just because people like himself want to push their agenda?
Anti-gun intellectuals always seem amazed at the stubbornness of the so-called "gun lobby." They contrast this "new radicalism" with the old-timers who would compromise on gun control. They fail to realize that years ago the news media were not frothing at the mouth at every opportunity to bash legitimate gun ownership, nor were most politicians out to sell us out. I could see bans on mail-order guns; laws to prevent felons, lunatics and children from getting guns; and an "instant-check" system, which is no threat to the law-abiding.
Now we have all of that, and the gun-ban movement is still not satisfied. What they have become is a well-heeled lobby. It is a little-known fact that Sarah Brady gets paid well for her efforts in that regard. B. Bruce-Briggs once warned, in the fall 1976 issue of Public Interest, that drastic gun laws would drive some gun owners into a corner and make them feel threatened. As he put it: "Nasty things may happen if these people begin to feel that they are cornered."
Leonard Martino, Tampa
No new prisons!
Mexico, Central and South American countries are in need of financial assistance.
We are in need of prison space.
Wouldn't it be prudent to rent prison cells for a mandatory three years from economically depressed countries for felons who use a gun in a crime?
I feel sure that we could save money by doing this. Another plus would be the deterrent to a felon for using a gun in a crime. The criminal would know he would be sent to a foreign country to serve out the first three years of the sentence.
Cruel and unusual punishment should not be an excuse for criminals who use guns.
Stanley Bell, St. Petersburg