Editor: On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, I decided to get dinner at McDonalds on Seminole Boulevard across from the Largo Mall.
The place was pretty busy. If you bought a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, the second one was a penny.
I was in line with about four guys behind me. I was about to place my order when a lady came in the side door, walked up to me and asked me if I was a veteran. I said, “Yes, I am.” She said that I could order whatever I wanted; it was on her, the same for the guys behind me. She thanked us for our service and gave the cashier her credit card.
Things like that don’t happen to me. That’s why I’m sharing this with you. I picked up my order and went over and shook her hand. A little misty eyed, as was she, I thanked her very much. I said I would remember her and her kindness forever.
Editor: America is a strange and wonderful place. Our citizens come in all sizes, shapes and colors. We speak an infinite variety of languages, unfortunately, for the most part only one each. Our choices of religions are limitless or we are free to observe none. We enjoy an unequalled variety of foods, whose preparation and presentation are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. We have the opportunity to choose from an endless number of jobs, trades or professions. We select from fashions that set the tone for most of the people in the western world and beyond. We live in an unparralled variety of homes and apartments that are the envy of people everywhere. We enjoy entertainment that sets the standard across the globe. We have differing levels of education, income and lifestyles. Yet in spite of these differences, or perhaps because of them, we are a nation that can boast of an unprecedented equality in opportunity for all citizens.
However, the true miracle of America will not be found in these differences. It lies in the fact the mixing of all these ingredients into one homogeneous blend of people, fails to prevent the cream from rising to the top. It in fact increases opportunity and encourages achievement, regardless of one’s circumstances at birth. This is what separates America from most of the other nations of the world, places where social status and privilege often limit one’s ability to reach their full potential. Here the exceptional, as well as the gifted, find few impediments standing in their path in their pursuit of the realization of their true potential.
Unfortunately there are dark forces who, in pursuit of their own selfish agenda, would change all of this. I refer to the wealthy in America who see in our capitalist system only the possibility of personal gain. At the same time, in their pursuit of selfish goals, they see no shame in destroying the American dream for their fellow citizens. Like the robber barons of the late 19th century, those engaged in these activities will not be satisfied until one winner has cornered all of the nation’s wealth. To them it is like a giant board game, one that consumes them as they pursue the ultimate victory. So intent are they in their quest they ignore or worse are unconcerned with what happens to America, that strange and wonderful place of which I earlier boasted. Yet all the while this is happening, most of us appear content to sleep, oblivious to the impending danger. I fear the barn is ablaze as we sleep, and no one appears concerned enough to release the horses.
Re: letter to the editor, Nov. 20 Editor: I thought George A. Gonzalez’s letter was very well written. He had every right to speak his mind. In his letter, Tom Rask calls it “vitriol.” That is Tom Rask’s opinion.
The last time I remembered, it’s a free country and we all have freedom of the press, so everyone has the right to voice their opinion. That is why we have a letter section or an editorial page in our newspapers. Mr. Rask goes on to say, “Your Nov. 13 issue caused me concern as to the direction of your newspaper.” Why is that Mr. Rask? You do not like the Beacon printing letters that have a Democratic slant? Are you afraid that the Beacon is headed in a Democratic direction? Heavens, not that! I believe a reliable, non-biased paper should print both sides and opinions. I commend the Beacon for printing all opinions. That’s what a good newspaper does. Thank you. Keep up the good work Tampa Bay Newspapers.
Editor: Your Nov. 13 issue caused me concern as to the direction of your newspaper. To begin with, the Beacon published a 744-word letter from Mr. George A. Gonzalez of Madeira Beach, despite the Beacon’s own guideline that letters be no more than 500 words. Mr. Gonzalez’s letter called Republican policies “Neanderthal, oppressive, anti-environment and exclusionary,” as if putting an R or a D label on a person fully describes that person.
Mr. Gonzalez has displayed this kind of vitriol before. In 2012, he accused the Beacon itself of “spewing right wing conservative baloney.” Later that same year, he insulted Beacon readers by claiming that they “want to believe whatever they want, even if it is not the truth.”
Also on substance, Mr. Gonzalez deserves criticism. He claims that money determines elections. Then how would he explain Greenlight Pinellas losing by 62 percent to 38 percent. No Tax For Tracks was outspent 12 to 1, and yet they, and the people of Pinellas County, prevailed. In addition, local government agencies also spent millions of dollars pushing the Greenlight plan.
While I agree that money has corrupted the public policy process, I do not care for Mr. Gonzalez’s insulting and counterfactual vitriol. I did not see him on the ramparts, working to defeat the thoroughly rotten Greenlight Pinellas “plan” to enrich special interests. I was on the ramparts, so I know who was there, and Mr. Gonzalez was not there.
Editor: Being a political newbie has opened my eyes to the political process and how quickly things can move during one’s own campaign. Timing and planning are everything. Running for Seminole City Council was my first attempt at winning elected office and it certainly will not be my last.
I want to thank the 1,165 voters in Seminole who took the time to vote with my name selected as their candidate. I know I did not personally meet the bulk of them, but it speaks volumes that they not only took the time to exercise one of the most precious rights we have but also that they thought me worthy to represent them.
Lastly, to Roger Edelman and Bob Matthews I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming terms in office.
Editor: My friends, several years ago as a member of the previous city of Seminole Charter Revision Committee, we put forth several changes to the charter for your approval. They were endorsed by the electorate and became part of that document that governs how we conduct our city. One of the changes offered then has come into practice recently. That is the combination of our local elections with the general election. It appears to be quite the success.
Our thinking was that far more folks take part in a general election, such as this past election, so there would be more interest in the local races as well. And we could save the cost of twice yearly elections. This would seem to be the case judging from this our first election under the current format. Take for example our robust third place finish. We received over 1,700 votes. Far more then any of the current folks on our City Council who did not participate in this election cycle.
By the way, a warm and heartfelt thanks to all the folks who participated in the election and made it the success it was. A very special thanks to a great staff and all the folks who displayed signs and such. It was a difficult year to maintain signs. All of the signs we put out initially went missing. We were forced to order more and those signs began to disappear promptly. We gathered up less than half the signs with your permission we placed out there. These politicians. At the rate we are gaining a loyal following, one day soon we may put one of us on the City Council. Warmest personal regards and have a safe and happy rest of the year.
Editor: I heard Simon & Garfunkel singing “My Little Town” the other day and thought how fortunate I am to live in Belleair. The impressive community spirit here was evidenced recently by the dedication of Hunter Memorial Park. Turnout from my little town was amazing, over 300 attendees. This inspiring memorial to our veterans was made possible by the efforts of the Belleair Community Foundation.
For a town this size, we’ve constructed an awesome Rec Center hosting numerous annual events for not only our residents but surrounding communities as well. We maintain our own police department. In order to promote safer travel through my little town, a roundabout is being constructed. Infrastructure is being addressed and the old Biltmore Hotel will finally be revamped. Not to sugar coat everything, my little town is sometimes faced with contentious issues, but we are able to agree to disagree without throwing spitballs across town hall.
Belleair Community Foundation is committed to encourage, support, and enhance the lifestyles of the residents of my little town. Their main goal is to make a lasting difference by creating a powerful community spirit that will endure the test of time. Wonder what the BCF has in mind for their next project - maybe replacing dead palm trees along IRR.
If you care to belong to this impactful organization and promote community spirit in my little town, call 446-8204 or email email@example.com.
Editor: These next two weeks will be spent by politicians, pundits and the media telling us to come together, analyzing the election trying to give their opinion of how and why the Democrats got trounced.
Republicans will gloat about their win and call it a mandate for their Neanderthal, oppressive, anti-environment and exclusionary policies that leave many Americans without any hope for the future of their families.
Democrats will blame poor candidates, low voter turnout and corporate money permeating the political process. If you have enough money or media access, your opinion will be heard just like the lying ads used during the election.
If you are like me, even though our opinion may be valid, all you can do is hope some newspaper prints your letter if it’s not too long. That is sad because it is families like mine that are most affected when voters continue to vote for the same people that they give an 11 percent approval rating to. Anyone believing one president among so many politicians is the fault of all your perceived ills is either ignorant of the facts or smoking funny weed.
Letters do not necessarily reflect the views of Tampa Bay Newspapers.
Letters to the Editor Policy
We are proud to offer a forum to our readers. Please type letters to the editor (or print legibly) and include your name, town of residence, phone number and signature. Phone numbers will not be printed.
Letters can be mailed to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772, or send a letter by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to the editor also can be submitted online, click here. Letters submitted online or by e-mail must include the writer's name, town of residence and phone number.
Guidelines for submitting letters to the editor, include:
• Letters are printed on a first-come, first-served basis. Letters may be edited to correct grammar, spelling and factual errors. They also may be edited for clarity.
• Please keep letters to editor to 500 words. Longer letters may be cut due to space limitations.
• Letters should address issues or current events. Please refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations. The newspaper will not print letters that contain slanderous or racial statements.
• Please don't use profanity.
• We don't publish poetry or songs in letters to the editor.
• We cannot return letters to the editor to the author.
• We do not print letters that are submitted anonymously.
• Writers may submit a letter every 30 days.
• Priority will be given to letters that deal with local issues by local writers.
• We won’t print letters that are submitted merely to promote a business.
• Thank you letters are accepted.
• Please allow two weeks from the time you submitted your letter for it to be published before inquiring as to its status.
• Effective with the Aug. 24 2014 primary, we will not publish letters on candidates within three weeks of the election, unless the letter is in rebuttal to another letter.