Citrus Tree Removers Leave Sour Taste

Letters for July 20, 2000

Infectious sabotage?
I had to respond to your citrus canker article ("Canker Sore,"Kirk Nielsen, July 6). My husband and I moved here eight years ago. The first thing we did after buying a house was plant tropical plants, including trees. The citrus trees were a navel orange, a tangelo, a lemon, a Persian lime, and a key lime. We attended meetings in Fort Lauderdale to learn how to take care of them. We invested a lot of money and time in these trees. When my mother died almost five years ago, I dedicated the key lime to her. She loved key lime pie. When my friend's mother died, I dedicated the other lime tree to her. I thought they would be living memorials to our loved ones.

But then the inspectors started stopping by. We were cooperative. One of the first folks to knock on the door was sympathetic, but the crew members who came to take our trees were very rude. They spoke in Spanish, laughing like it was a big party. When we protested verbally, they gave us phone numbers to call, which had been disconnected. I received no complaint form! The $100 voucher from the state for Wal-Mart does not begin to make up for the financial loss and emotional hurt. The key lime had just produced for the first time this year. (We have yet to receive the voucher.)

I spoke with someone (I won't say who) in a nursery in Broward County. He told me that the canker workers are spreading the disease by touching the leaves of an infected tree, driving a few blocks, and touching the leaves of an uninfected tree. They should wear disposable gloves. They don't. I haven't seen this possibility in any article so far, so I thought it was important to bring up. Thanks for your time.

Shirley Ward
Hallandale Beach

Vouch for this:I'm convinced that [the quote in] the last paragraph of the article said it all: "It's to make their sales go higher…. So everybody has to buy their citrus from them."

What I'd like to know is this: How much of an increase in sales is the citrus industry expecting? Will they share their newly found profits with those of us who sacrificed our trees for them? Are they willing to offer citrus at cost to Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties in partial compensation for our very real losses? Are they going to supply the more exotic varieties of fruit that many of us are losing and that are currently unavailable on store shelves?

I'll tell you this much: The $100 voucher, regardless of loss, is an insult (no doubt funded at least in part by my own tax dollars), and until I get a little sympathy in the form of "actual value" dollars from the growers themselves, I will never buy Florida citrus again.

Shelli Edwards
Hollywood

Enough Ink For the Infamous, Already

A saga not to be missed:It's amazing how a man can lie so much and get away with it like Donato ("Fifteen Minutes of Infamy,"Bob Norman, May 4). If Cuban exiles think Donato is going to gain them favor with the Anglo community, they are sadly mistaken. If anything he makes them look more irrational and fanatical than they already are.

And they wonder why the majority of Americans didn't support their cause. Hopefully the media won't give this nut any more airtime, but I'm sure Channel 7 won't be among those that don't. Anyway, I'm happy that this saga is over and done with. I don't expect anything like this to happen again for a long time…. I think America learned its lesson!

Tyrone D. Kenon
via the Internet

Livin' la vida loser:You wrote an excellent profile of "Dee Dee," a born loser who thinks he can con the American people into believing that he is the savior of Elián González. A man who knows nothing about children, whose life is one that is dysfunctional and belongs to the gutter wants to be a major part of this little boy's life? Give me a break! My message to Donato -- have a life and keep it to yourself. Stay away from people; your failure in life may be contagious!

Rawley Soberano
Germantown, Maryland

 
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