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Girls can benefit from workplace visits

Re: "Send the girls to school" day, April 19.

Was Robyn Blumner short on ideas or is she really so clueless that she misses the point of "Take Our Daughters to Work" day? It's become almost fashionable these days to pick on anything that seems "politically correct," and I think Blumner just could not resist the urge to target this special day set aside to focus on young girls (why would we want to do a silly thing like that?).

She quotes statistics that say more low-income and undereducated people participate in the "day." So what? Surely without meaning to, Blumner has, I believe, insulted a heck of a lot of hard-working folks who labor every day at jobs most would agree are non-glamorous and low paying. But what's wrong with girls getting a glimpse of what their parents do every day? It just may inspire pride, gratitude or even the desire to stay in school and aspire to a more fulfilling, higher-paying career.

Another thing: Why is Blumner obsessed with math and science classes? Of course they are vital to a good education, but so is literature, composition, history, etc. It sounds as if Blumner only values high-tech, high-paying jobs. What about teaching, social work and law enforcement, to name a few? Not everyone, boy or girl, is suited to be a doctor or engineer!

Jennie Ibarguen, St. Petersburg

One day is no big deal

Re: "Take Our Daughters to Work" day.

I have to laugh at the tremendous big deal that is being made of this event. Granted, I do not think that a child should miss testing or anything scholastically important for this day. However, to say that missing one day of school in order to attend this event is detrimental is patently ridiculous.

Alexis Knapp, St. Petersburg

Include the boys

Re: "Send the girls to school" day.

The Ms. Foundation, by excluding boys, is giving girls the message that they can only have a rewarding, self-fulfilling, confidence-building day in an artificial world. How will this day help girls "envision the possibilities of their future" unless their future includes males? Why not find ways to build healthy realistic relationships between females and males in schools and the workplace by inviting all of the children to see firsthand the workplaces of their parents?

The Ms. Foundation is not the group I would expect to exclude people based on their sex.

Patricia Nash Smoot, Seminole

Just admit to being liberal

Re: Wanted: a few good Republicans and Ph.D.s, April 19.

Editor Philip Gailey's attempt to defend the composition of the editorial board was a bust! The Times is a "good" newspaper, which is why I am a subscriber. But its editorial policy is definitely on the liberal side.

The fact, as noted by Gailey, that the Times has never recommended a Republican for governor or president speaks for itself.

Now, there is nothing illegal or immoral about a newspaper's editorial policy. Every respectable newspaper leans either left or right on editorial issues. What I object to is the lack of candidness. Why not just plain admit that the Times has a liberal editorial policy?

Philip G. Buffinton, Belleair

Don't fear opinions

I am simply stunned at the ignorance of some of your readers. I wonder if they have a problem understanding the word "opinion." It appears that your opinion or that of the editorial board brings out the worst in them. This is America, or have some of us forgotten that? I think they should review the Bill of Rights that ensures freedom of speech.

In the '70s I was a political activist in another state. I felt very comfortable sharing my opinions in the editorial section of the newspaper.

The editorial section is often the local forum for average citizens to air their views of society as it personally affects them in the city they live in.

Ten years later, as I was the Republican candidate for alderman, 1,000 people came out to vote for this good Republican because they liked what I believed in, and most of the time it had nothing to do with my party affiliation.

Wake up, those of you who fear opinion. It is just that. It can't hurt you and it makes for a healthy debate system if you're willing to engage in the process. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, what you think is important.

In closing, give Philip Gailey a break. He's doing a fine job!

Gale A. Uberti, Palm Harbor

Get out in the real world

In response to the Easter Sunday biographical sketches of your editorial board and the reader comments generated by them, I feel moved to present another viewpoint. I am saddened by the fact that none of you, with the exception of Bill Maxwell, have ever seen fit to serve our country.

With a few exceptions, most of you indicate very limited job experience in the real world outside of journalism. This could be part of the reason for the "ivory tower" comments. Working a variety of jobs or different positions can only enhance a well-rounded personality. It is my opinion that the value of any corporate or elected board's diversity far exceeds the sum of its individuals. I believe that you have a responsibility to present well-balanced news and editorial comments so that your readers can draw their own informed opinions.

I applaud your motto, "Merely to tell the truth," but I challenge you to change it to "Merely to tell the whole truth."

William C. Maytum, New Port Richey

Another board omission

Re: Editorial board.

It was truly interesting to read about the process used in writing the Times' editorials and information about your individual board members.

While I do not think that it was such a good idea to identify the political party affiliation of each member, it was interesting information.

I generally find that your editorials are either brilliant (that's when I agree with them) or terribly right wing. Since you seem to alienate both liberals and the religious radicals of the current GOP establishment, you must be doing an excellent job of being impartial!

However, I did notice one glaring omission in the makeup of your board: You do not have even one openly gay or lesbian member who can report authoritatively on the lives of at least 10 percent of your readership, i.e. the sexual minority community of Florida's West Coast.

Gil Williams, Spring Hill

Pleased to meet you

Don't want to neglect to thank you for the extra special edition of the Perspective section in the Easter Sunday paper! That's always my favorite part of the paper, but I especially appreciated the short introductions to all the people who make it special! What a nice idea. Thank you!

Some of those people I feel I do know, in a very heartfelt way, because so often it's as though they're speaking for me _ and doing it so much better than I could.

I really miss Elijah Gosier's columns since he left to write his book, but I know he has something worth saying and look forward to reading it when it's finished.

Thank you all, and keep up the good work.

Lela Conner, Brooksville

Pulitzer congratulations

I write you today to thank you for the consistent, excellent reporting by your staff, and to congratulate your staff writer Thomas French for his Pulitzer Prize. We all know that this award is truly for the entire St. Petersburg Times staff and its continual excellence.

I come from an area where the newspaper is so bad that it truly hurt to read it in the morning.

Your newspaper, however, is like a fresh spring breeze and a true delight to read. Thank you.

Richard Deane, Clearwater

Honoring Thomas French

What a first-rate way to honor Thomas French (page 9A in the April 15 St. Petersburg Times). The caption Local focus, national standards sums up the quality of this newspaper with its standards of excellence.

Thomas French is honored in his own right, an honor "shared" by all Times staffers who uphold the daily strength of this newspaper.

J.M. Sitko, Clearwater

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