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A person's handicap isn't always apparent

Re: Handicapped space abuse, letter, July 16.

I, too, have watched persons alighting from vehicles parked in handicap designated areas who appear to be perfectly healthy. For many years I thought I had a right to judge, simply by looking at someone for a few seconds, whether they were handicapped or not.

That was in the days before I was diagnosed as having fibromyalgia. Things are very different now. Now I am one of those people who, on bad days, finds it difficult to get out of bed, never mind my car!

The problem is that I look very healthy. I know that many others who suffer from fibromyalgia will be able to relate to what I am saying. It is part of the disease that outwardly we do not look sick and generally go to great lengths to keep up our appearance. Fibromyalgia is a disorder whose two major symptoms are chronic pain anywhere in the body and chronic fatigue. Some people are able to continue to work with the disorder, but many are disabled. Both the medical profession and members of the community at large find it difficult to understand how disabling this condition is.

I ask your readers to be more aware that "things are not always as they seem" and be more compassionate toward those people who have to battle frequently with discrimination because of their disabling condition.

Enid J. Lythgoe, Dunedin

Re: Handicapped space abuse.

Is this letter writer ignorant of the fact that a handicap is not necessarily a limp, loss of a limb or blindness? A handicapped person could have heart trouble, lung trouble or many other illnesses that qualify him for the sticker. The writer should not be so judgmental as she does not know their situation.

Ruthann Parker, Clearwater

Re: Handicapped space abuse.

The writer of this letter must be the wisest of the wise to have the ability to observe, diagnose, conclude and condemn who is or is not an entitled and acceptable person using a handicapped tag! Education and understanding regarding "disabilities" would benefit, as not all are externally visible, but still legitimate.

Am I to get the impression the writer or any other critics who don't know circumstances of the "disabled" person using the parking space would trade places? If so, I'm sure there would be many willing to accommodate. Coping, often alone, is difficult enough without the undeserved parking permit criticism!

Mrs. D.

J. Gelvin, Largo

Elect Elizabeth

I am concerned _ and I am sure there are others who share this concern. We have two people running for the office of president who have major problems.

The first, currently holding that position, has no character, honor or integrity, but does have a political machine willing to say anything, do anything or promise anything to get reelected.

The second has great character, honor and integrity, but has a problem of putting his tongue in gear before he opens his mouth.

Is there a solution? Yes, most definitely! It is time for all of us, including Bob Dole, to step back and look at the facts. If we don't want four more years of what we have just experienced, with Dole's help, we can change things. A few words to Bob Dole:

Forget your pride _ please step aside. Let us elect Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Dole is a proven leader, a successful individual, highly respected person and knowledgeable of Washington ways, besides having great charisma. Imagine _ a real woman president. She could defeat Bill Clinton; she could debate him easily and come out smelling like the rose she is.

We do want a Dole in the White House, but we want Elizabeth driving. Bob, you can come along as a passenger! Is it too late to start a grass-roots campaign for a different candidate on the Republican ticket? I certainly hope not.

This is not to take away from the fine person that Bob Dole is; I just feel that he is not the man for the job. He will not be elected over a younger, charismatic Bill Clinton, regardless of how sleazy he, Clinton, is. It seems that the American people prefer youth, good looks and personality over character, honor and integrity.

Sarah Lee Smith, Spring Hill

Keep the service in Postal Service

This is in regard to the informational picket that letter carriers held on June 19 at most of the post offices throughout the country. What was written didn't go into enough details, and I think the public has a right to know. Letter carriers were not picketing because of their salaries or benefits or because they are afraid to carry a bit more mail. Letter carriers are very unhappy about postal management's attitude toward the craft employees.

Postmaster Gen. Marvin Runyon, who we affectionately call "Carvin Marvin," keeps complaining that craft employees are 30 percent overpaid and underworked. However, Runyon has asked for a $1.5-million retirement package after only four years in his current position. A letter carrier, after working 30 years and reaching the age of 55, is entitled to approximately 54 percent of his averaged "high three" yearly salary.

Also, on April 15, postal management sent a letter to the National Association of Letter Carriers' president Vincent R. Sombrotto informing him that management was pulling out of the Employee Involvement Process. This was a forum where carriers and their supervisors would regularly meet and solve problems of their job as well as try to come up with better and more efficient ways of doing business. The expression, "Work smarter, not harder," was a familiar sound heard around the workplace. I guess upper management thinks a few thousand of them can come up with better ideas than 300,000 letter carriers.

The latest move from management was to start letter carriers one-half-hour later. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure if I start a half-hour later, I'll probably get out of the office later and get to my customers later. Management's claim that this will make delivery more consistent is a joke. Sure, it will make delivery consistently one-half-hour later. Also, NCDBUs, or cluster boxes, for customers is a big laugh. What kind of service is it to walk down to a central point on your block and get your mail when you've been used to it being delivered to your house?

I have been a letter carrier for 15{ years, and I take pride in the job that I do. It is my opinion that Runyon wants to infuriate the public so much that they will demand an end to the Postal Service. Then, if privatized, it would become a lucrative venture for those with money.

Don't be fooled by what you might read or hear from management. The majority of letter carriers only want to come to work daily and give the public the best service that they deserve. We just want to keep "service" in the Postal "Service."

Bill Van Horn, New Port Richey

Grateful for water testing

Re: Beach pollution report praises city's testing, July 12.

I would like to add my congratulations to the testing program for the city beaches, although they are belated by many years.

We moved to the city 27 years ago, when Venetian Isles was first being developed. The canals were used by both adults and children for swimming, and it occurred to us to wonder about the possibility of pollution, especially as the water drained directly from the streets into the canals, and the effluent from the sewage treatment plant was just north of the area.

The city was kind enough to aid us in setting up a sampling system and do the testing for E. coli, among other things, so that we could judge the safety of swimming, and eating the shellfish and fish that were caught there. The area consisted of nothing but new houses and sand. Therefore, the new grass and shrubs that were planted needed much fertilizer and water.

Much to our surprise, the clear-cut results showed that the water was high in E. coli, showing fecal contamination after heavy rains, but became safe after a few days. The effluent from the sewage treatment plant seemed to have no effect.

The cities' and our conclusion was that the washing down the drains into the water of dog dirt after heavy rains was the source of the problem. This resulted in a program of the use of the Times' plastic bags or "pooper scoopers" with resultant increased safety and civic pride.

Henry R. Kreider, St. Petersburg

A flawed exemption

This is something that has been bothering me since I moved to Florida 17 years ago.

This Homestead Exemption is a wonderful bonus, but we should all pay taxes on the first $25,000 evaluation of property _ then get a $25,000 exemption on the remaining balance.

It is not fair that some people pay no property taxes.

I know it would be a problem untangling this situation, but let's start sharing responsibilities.

Mary A. McConnell, Spring Hill

A failure to educate

Re: Baby boomer hypocrisy, letter, July 17.

To the 20-year-old college student who complained about the apparent hypocrisy of some baby boomers, I have this to say: Every generation decries the hypocrisy of its elders, and we baby boomers deserve your scorn if for no other reason than the poor education we gave you prior to sending you off to college.

While I am no apologist for our current president, only someone poorly versed in American history could honestly suggest that "never has an American presidentbeen so embroiled in controversy and corruption."

Presidents embroiled in controversy and corruption abound in our nation's history. The administrations of presidents Grant and Harding came quickly to mind. Apparently, the letter writer's teachers (who were probably boomers or of an even earlier generation) overlooked these and other shady aspects of our rich American history.

May I suggest, since we have failed him, that our young college senior further his own studies beginning with an examination of a more recent president, Richard Nixon.

Steve Smith, St. Petersburg

Another war hero

I read with interest a July 4 letter (A hero for our nation) in response to the obituary of Gen. John Giruado, praising his military exploits and referring to him as a "man's man."

I would remind Times readers of another deceased war hero, Leonard Matlovich, who also happened to be gay. On his tombstone are the following words: "They gave me a medal for killing two men _ and a discharge for loving one."

Joseph J. Ferrandino, Tampa

Up in smoke

Re: White House workers hired despite drug use.

That's all right. They probably didn't inhale.

Kathryn L. Robinson, Holiday

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