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Swiftmud's legal bills need some explanation

About that big bill the Southwest Florida Water Management District is paying to publicize its job of regulating water use: I received volumes I and II of the districts' Water Management Plan _ all 400-plus pages of impressive research, just completed, and in my view, a model for other areas. It had to involve years of hard study. That is part of the bill I pay for qualified planning for water needs.

I have the Pinellas County attorney's reply to Swiftmud's "pumping order," which challenges the right to issue orders and hints that the order was illegally drawn. I have that order also, and believe me, it is proper.

I have Swiftmud's recommendations to conserve. Our county initially followed them, but Swiftmud, monitoring the system, found we did not continue, increasing water need again. I now conclude we (Pinellas County Commissioner Charles Rainey) have caused the need to force less pumping.

Now I ask our (Rainey's) attorney to prove to me he had the right to charge me $1-million to "protect me." I can do a better job alone.

I don't want to be charged more dollars for waiting for a judge's decision. I already went that route years ago, when Judge Bryson cost us $5-million telling us our water was contaminated after both federal and state inspections revealed no contamination.

As the lawyers say, "I rest my case."

Pat Imperato, Palm Harbor

By all means, extend the trail

I share the concerns expressed by some other readers for the safety of bikers and skaters on the Pinellas Trail.

But I retired to Pinellas because of the trail, and though I can't make as much use of it as I once hoped, I'm out there frequently and I know pebbles, death and taxes shouldn't limit life.

The trail is one of the county's great advantages, and every possible extension and improvement should be seen as an opportunity and a challenge, not as a chance for avoiding pebbles. Make it as long as possible and as safe as possible as soon as possible, and as it grows, pedestrians and impatient and ill-mannered motorists alike will learn to cooperate.

The education of impatient and ill-mannered bikers is always helpful too.

Ray MacDowell, Tarpon Springs

Compassion isn't Christian

Re: June 20 guest column by Elaine Creasman, Compassion, not condemnation, is the Christian path.

Ms. Creasman is to be applauded in her quest to find more compassion toward others in her life. Certainly, this is something we all strive for. However, I feel that her hope that her religion of Christianity can share in these laudable goals is little more than wishful thinking.

Of course, some of the more "liberal" churches have made small strides in accepting the lifestyle and behavior of certain members of society, e.g. homosexuals. But this is beside the point. Christianity is a structured belief system that is open, basically, to Christians and those who are converted to Christianity. No surprise here _ most dogmatic religions are the same.

Because of this, the compassion and tolerance Ms. Creasman longs for from her church are, and have been historically, reserved for her fellow believers. Those of other faiths _ or no faith at all _ have been excluded from the sphere of concern and compassion of traditional Christianity.

Ethical and moral concern for others, compassion and tolerance for all people, stem from the experience of shared, harmonious living in an organized culture, despite claims of many religions. In other words, we don't need a particular deity or holy book to show us how to treat one another kindly.

Christianity likes to claim that it makes its adherents more moral and loving than non-Christians. The concerns of Ms. Creasman over her religion's struggle with such ethical concerns show how true this still is today.

Greg Simpson, Clearwater

Adhere to the golden rule

My full respect goes out to all people of all races, creeds, colors, politics and national origins, but I cannot respect or condone those who would deride or ridicule others' religious or political beliefs.

Unfortunately, we have a few people in our area who do not hold to that theory.

If only all of us or even most of us would treat all others as we would have all others treat us, there would emerge a world of everlasting peace and harmony.

Just think of the astounding implications! Wars, crime, depression, suppression, oppression, poverty and a host of our present world maladies would soon become bad memories.

It's non-taxable. Effort, minimal. Who gets the credit for this action? Everyone who decides to do it gets the credit.

We can't all win the Lotto, but we can win much more than all of the lottos put together.

David Moore, Clearwater