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Reader's Forum
Tuesday, September 16
Editor:
This past week I had the pleasure of attending the dedication of the Madeira Beach 9/11 Memorial. While it was well attended, moving and a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives that day as well as testament to the bravery of firemen everywhere, I could not help but wonder how many of those attending gave pause to consider the tragedy we witnessed that fateful day and were now memorializing could have been prevented. To keep this fresh in our minds is equally as important as recalling the sacrifices made that day.

We Americans have a tendency to reduce to slogans the significant events in our history. We then use these slogans to rally the faithful and in so doing overlook the invaluable lessons that were there to be gleaned from these experiences. I refer here to events like the bridge at Concord, the first salvo fired at Fort Sumter or the attack on Pearl Harbor. Nowhere in the slogans that were created to memorialize these events is there a scintilla of information that would help in preventing things like these from happening again, only enough information to rekindle our anger when they are recalled.

This is especially true in the case of the Al Qaeda-inspired attacks in 1991. Here the lesson we should have learned was the fact this tragedy was made possible only because of the failures of our intelligence community.

We must remember, if we have any hope of preventing a recurrence, that had those responsible for our nation’s security not been engaged in their internecine warfare between agencies, more concerned with who received credit for the intelligence gathered than in sharing it between the agencies involved, then 9/11 would have no more significance on the collective psyche of Americans today than 9/10 or 9/12. There is not a citizen in this nation who will ever need a memorial to remind them of what happened on that fateful September day. Unfortunately, there are far too few Americans who can explain how we allowed it to happen. Lest we forget!
 ... Read More 
Re: “Commission says yes and no to ALF rezoning requests,” Sept. 4, by Suzette Porter.
Editor:
There are several points in this article that need clarification in regards to Oak Tree Manor.

First, it was not just several neighbors who opposed this rezoning. A petition was signed by all of the homeowners in the surrounding neighborhood, except two. The variances that were being requested posed safety issues that had to be addressed with the commissioners. Parking spaces were inadequate on the existing property and a reciprocal parking agreement with Winn-Dixie, which was not valid according to the property owner, highlighted these areas of concern.

The neighbors have only opposed two requests at commission meetings. Once when the ALF was built originally and the second at the recent meeting. We have not opposed expansion of this facility when it happened on the existing property.

All of the neighbors understand the need for ALF facilities regarding the future of the elderly in our community. Many of us have experienced this need first hand in our families. We have compassion for the elderly residents at this facility. We also feel like our neighborhood has done its part in accommodating residential facilities for the elderly, as we have two ALFs in our neighborhood.
 ... Read More 
Re: “Racism and bigotry,” by Thomas Michalski, Sept. 4
Editor:
Quite a gutsy article which should have been written long ago, and many times. Good that you are retired, otherwise, no doubt, someone would want to “tar and feather” you for having the courage to say it like it is.

On the white power fanatics, correct, but give the Confederate flag a break. The confederacy after all was made up of gentlemen of the type of Robert E. Lee, and even Lincoln did not start out as anti-slavery. (Of course we all know it is wrong) but he was trying to hold the union together.

Our creed since evolved to say “one nation, under God, indivisible.” Still Texas and other places seem to want to assert “states rights” and our country is totally confused on this as the Big 9 sometimes rule for the states and other times against.

Same sex marriage for example and treading on religious institutions traditional rights. Sometimes it seems we are ruled by one person, the one on the court that tips the balance on an issue to make it 5-4.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
I read an article by Thomas Michalski in the Tampa Bay Newspaper titled “North Dakota is not for everyone.”

It can be read online at this rather long address “www.tbnweekly.com/editorial/viewpoints/content_articles/081914_vpt-01.txt” In his brief transit through the state in August he drew a lot of conclusions that I will generously call uneducated. I guess you could say it put me in a defensive mood.

I have spent time in both Florida and North Dakota during all seasons for the last 40-plus years. I didn’t just pass through one time in August and make snap judgments about the culture and the folks that live in either place. And, I might note, as folks drive on their summer vacations, trying to escape the torturous heat down south, they are using gasoline and oil from North Dakota.

North Dakota produces over 1 million barrels a day of oil in the Bakken. Florida produces about 6,000 barrels, which is about enough to get tourists down I-75 to the toll road going to Disney World.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, September 9
Editor:
I see that Tampa Bay Newspapers editors have been duped into one of the Internet’s oldest tricks, and they have allowed that trick to be played on the rest of us. That trick is “trolling.”

The writer from Clearwater who wrote “Bullets and bombs are the gifts of the United States” is clearly “trolling.”

What the writer is looking for is outrage at his obvious anti-American, Christianophobia beliefs. That outrage fuels his ego.

All I can say is that I am available 24/7 to give him a ride to Tampa International on his trip out of the U.S.A., although Homeland Security may want first dibs.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
Last week I attended a professional baseball game. There were many rows in front me cheering on a famous baseball player while wearing his jersey. This was disgusting. The man made more than $150 million in his short 18-year career and owns a $30 million mansion in Florida. All this for hitting a ball.

What about our teachers and our scientists who alter the lives of mankind. Society should be buying jerseys with famous teachers or famous scientists on them. The mentality of sports fans only boggle my mind.

Why do famous athletes think they could walk on water? While they’re making millions and feeling like a deity, many millions are going hungry and families cannot survive. What must our modern society do to promote a focus on the importance of knowledge? Think about a world in which the poor are middle class and a child is not hungry. Now that paints a pretty picture in my mind.

Gary Neal
Clearwater
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, September 2
Re: “A growing weariness of things Islamic,” by Bob Driver, Aug. 21
Editor:
Your editorial regarding the Muslims contained an egregious error. You say: 

“ISIS is a Sunni terrorist organization, so extreme that not even Al Qaeda wants to be associated with it.”

Then you follow that with the following comment regarding 1.6 billion humans who happen to be Muslim: “The day may come and sooner than we think when persons throughout the world will feel unsafe when in the presence of a Muslim. At such a meeting, the non-Muslim may feel a compulsion to ask, “Are you a member of ISIS? Do you believe that all non-Muslims are infidels who should be opposed, and even killed?”

Logic and reason would suggest that a terrorist organization, which is so unpopular that it is rejected by Al Qaeda, cannot possibly reflect upon the character of billions of Muslims who aren’t members of either organization. Any person who thinks otherwise is nothing more than an ignorant bigot filled with prejudice, hatred and fear. More often than not such people (in the United States) are warmongers who also happen to promote and celebrate violence such as the United States has committed throughout the Middle East for much longer than either ISIS or Al Qaeda have existed.
 ... Read More 
Re: “North Dakota is not for everyone,” by Thomas Michalski, Aug. 21.
Editor:
I really enjoyed your article about North Dakota. I most likely have more knowledge of your visit up there than anyone else in Seminole. My son received his Ph.D. in marketing from USF about five years ago and became a professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

We visited him two summers ago and learned a lot concerning that state. First, Grand Forks is a city of about 70,000. There are no ghettos there. It is primarily a university and Air Force town. He shared with me that the people who are from there are extremely parochial. Classical small town. Will never tell you to your face what they are thinking. I have told him that is typical of a small town anywhere. They have given him a great deal to go there and have treated him well. Unfortunately, he like many others would like to leave. He has two small children and the winters are brutal and long so the children are pretty much house locked.

Since Grand Forks is located on a clay foundation, the houses will literally shift in the winter due to the cold. He gets cracks in the walls in the winter that disappear in the summer when things warm up.

The experts have told him this is normal. He also has to have a sump pump in the basement due to rising water in the ground come spring. The pump puts the rising water in the backyard so the basement does not flood. Flooding is also an issue there since the Red River flows through the middle of the town. Depending on the snow for that year, they will put up artificial dykes to protect the city. The major concern for this town and most in N.D. are services.
 ... Read More 
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9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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