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Nature loses with new law on mangrove cutting

Re: Mangrove cutting? Now you can hedge, June 21.

Man's narcissism continues to reign. This time it's our precious environment. It's in our way? Let's chop it down. State Sen. Jack Latvala should be ashamed of himself for sponsoring a bill that's so destructive to the mangroves and our ecosystem. And for what? A view? People can move; the mangroves can't. It's for the comfort of human beings that nature is being raped and pillaged.

Latvala sites finding "a balance between the needs of nature and the needs of people." What is this? There is balance here! Who is he trying to con? Nature loses _ bottom line. And let's talk about South Pasadena Mayor Fred Held. Who are these "scientists" who "privately" told him "selective pruning is best for the trees"? Well, mayor, your new law exposes all trees now. There's no "selective" pruning here. I say he heard what he wanted to hear.

It's men like Latvala, Held and Gov. Lawton Chiles who represent the view of narrow-minded, egocentric people and have not a clue as to the magnitude of destruction they support. It's a shame because future generations will be looking back and shaking their heads at the needless extinction of plants and animals they can only read about in a book.

Michelle H. McKline, Palm Harbor

Go with big Chris

Re: 416-foot Columbus may discover Pinellas, June 21.

Let's go with big Chris. The ideal location would be in the shallow water just offshore of Lassing Park. This would "adrenalinize" the Old Southeast neighborhood.

Remember, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and changed the world.

Gerald Mahnken, St Petersburg

Statue fantasies

Re: 416-foot Columbus may discover Pinellas, June 21.

I read with interest the proposal to have an incorrectly rendered giant statue of Christopher Columbus erected in St. Petersburg. While I hope that this particular structure will not be selected, the idea of placing a large commemorative artwork downtown is intriguing.

Since the statue is in several different pieces, we could avoid wasting all of that bronze by incorporating parts of it into a more fitting display. Perhaps we could just have Columbus seated on a 200-foot-tall green bench. Maybe we could construct a huge Bay Plaza Cos.' desk, laying the sail from the Santa Maria on it as a blueprint, while the grounds around the desk are littered with other crumpled, discarded blueprints. Of course, we could always just have an inscription added at the base of it all, as if Christopher Columbus were saying, "Follow me to Seminole Bingo!" Or we could move it to the parking lot of the ThunderDome and place a sign in front of it that reads, "The Lightning Rod." How about melting it down and casting a 416-foot-tall Webb's City mermaid? Now, there's history. Heck! Have the mermaid sit on the big green bench! No controversy, local significance, and even I would pay to climb the spiral staircase within and look out on Tampa Bay through the windows in her nostrils!

I was in Columbus, Ohio, recently and happened to go downtown to the area where there is a giant statue of Columbus and a floating replica of the Santa Maria. While in town I also toured their municipal rose garden, the 15-acre Columbus Park of Roses. Hint: There were people of all ages at the rose garden. No waiting at the statue and boat, folks.

Gosh, maybe we should just invest the $15-million into continuing to restore neighborhoods and protecting/marketing St. Petersburg's natural beauty. For some odd reason, tourists from all those smoggy, heavily industrial, concrete-laden cities actually find nature attractive.

Nah! Not ludicrous enough!

Tony Buchwalter, Largo

No way to fight crime

It's interesting that Newt and his "contractors" praised the FBI, ATF and all the civil servants for the great job they did in Oklahoma City. Then they hunkered down to slash and gut these very same people's retirement program.

For example, in the June 21 Times, FBI Director Louis Freeh states that the Tampa Bay area stands to lose up to one-third of the most street-seasoned agents if Congress approves a plan to cut federal retirement benefits.

The legislation would raise federal workers' pension contributions by nearly 36 percent while reducing retirement benefits. The bill, which was passed by the House and is being considered by the Senate, is designed to save money to offset proposed federal tax cuts.

Way to go, Newt. Now you're really getting tough on crime.

Lee Gendron, Clearwater

No time for space

Re: Space programs.

We are trillions in debt. We spent millions on the Hubble Space Telescope, millions more to repair it, and countless millions on the space shuttle. And now we are going to spend another billion or so on a space station.

We can't balance the budget. We argue about where there is waste _ in food stamps, Medicare, etc. Social Security is going bankrupt. Why are we throwing the money away to be futuristic, and trying to balance the budget on the backs of us working slaves, the poor, the elderly and our children? Remember when it was "for the people, by the people"?

I feel that we should cancel all space missions, except ones for defense and communications. Save exploration until we are back in the black.

Joe Besel, Pinellas Park

Colm Meaney fan

Re: Steve Persall's review of the new film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (May 12).

In his review, Persall praises actor Colm Meaney's performance, but goes on to state, "We can't imagine many moviegoers buying a ticket to the film because it's the new Colm Meaney film." Obviously, Persall is not a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine. We already know what a wonderful actor Meaney is. I cannot speak for everyone, but I would gladly buy a ticket to one of his films, and I am sure many other fans feel the same.

Patricia Roane, Safety Harbor

A new kind of education

Liberal thinking on the most recent welfare issue tends to divide all of welfare-dom into two opposing camps:

(a) The Good Guys _ Unmarried welfare mothers struggling to support their offspring.

(b) The Bad Guys _ Legislators who want to cut off their funds.

But is it really that simple? When teenage girls, in defiance of parents and society, run off to do their thing maybe they don't deserve an old-fashioned, butt-whacking reprimand. Okay. But do they deserve to be rewarded with government funds? And, if so, why shouldn't we give the same reward to girls who are chaste and obedient? And to couples who are decently married? Why discriminate against them?

And why satanize legislators who, like us, are only groping for solutions to problems which seem insoluble? Is there a way out?

Real solutions come from within each community, each family, each human soul. We must discover ourselves through a new kind of education _ something never tried before.

A new system of personal life counseling must replace our present assembly-line classes.

Specially trained teacher/counselors, in small classes, must impart the academic, psychological, family planning, genetic, spiritual and vocational guidance which our young people in the modern era so urgently require.

Under firm parental authority, and in consultation with family doctors and the specially related personnel of each local school, church or synagogue, young people should thus be guided toward the right decisions in regard to marital partners, careers and family planning.

From the earliest age students should be personally assisted in developing their innate academic abilities, in discovering the pleasures of the spiritual/intellectual life, and in learning correct goals in family planning for the benefit of this and future generations.

With American families and schools thus united in the task of promoting not racial, but spiritual/intellectual goals in family planning, the perennial problems of crime, racism and birth control, quantitative and qualitative can be solved in the only fair way possible _ the way of direct democracy. To avoid this benign control will be to invite the harsh totalitarian controls that will surely come if the problems continue to increase.

If we so choose, this will be the last battle that Americans will ever have to wage _ the battle for our own souls. It will be waged by all families and ethnic groups working together. It will be our grandest victory, and it can begin now.

John Jay, St. Petersburg

We need skeptical juries

Re: Simpson trial influencing juries nationwide, June 19.

This prosecutor mentality is frightening; we're not sending people to Disneyland, we're sending them to prison and some to their death. For any prosecutor to say "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing" and complain that "a lack of hard physical evidence to tie the accused to the crime is being raised too much" sounds like they're trying to hide some dirty little secrets.

The Simpson trial may be the best thing that's ever happened to our justice system. If jurors start asking for more hard physical evidence we may not be reading about so many innocent people in prison, our prisons may not be so full and the potential victims of the real criminals no one is looking for may be safer.

Henry J. Booher, Clearwater

Let Melone self-destruct

Granted, Sam Wyche is a martyr for accuracy and sometimes he gets frustrated trying to fight the media in defense of his actual statements, in full context.

I have a message for Sam. It says, "When the enemy is in the process of self-destructing, stand in peace and allow them to continue."

I thought he should have that missive in moving forward with the season. Mary Jo Melone has written a story suggesting he was not qualified to act as a community leader (Pass the big bucks beyond the Bucs, June 18). That notion in and of itself is ridiculous because there is no qualifying.

Many "community leaders" are the guys who left the room when the voting was taking place or find themselves in a job where they preside over a large company. Some just give money to charity.

But Sam is all of these things. He hosts golf tournaments. He helps numerous charities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. He and his wife give generously to the community. He also holds the responsibility of making the $192-million investment of the Glazer family a winning situation. If that's not leading a community what is?

The people who read this column and know Sam knew she was off base, way off base. But let Mary Jo Melone self-destruct. There's no reason for Sam to do anything other than stand in peace and watch.

Sherry Sacino, Pass-a-Grille Beach

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