Letters for June 13, 2002

Geriatrics, arise!

 You have nothing to lose but your wallets: Susan Eastman's slant on her May 30 story, "Dr. Strange Train," seems to be extremely conservative and "old fogey" (for lack of a better term), a position I rarely see in New Times. This story panders to the retiree population of Florida. Nowhere are young people asked to voice their opinions. Maybe it is because so many would disagree with you. Is New Times becoming the next AARP magazine?

David Goodstein and New Times fail to recognize the contribution tourism (especially the "Mouse") has made to the state of Florida. Do you forget what persuades so many retirees to move here in the first place? We don't have a state income tax and we pay a low rate for sales tax, all because of tourists. In addition, billions are generated in tourist-related taxes. Goodstein seems to be concerned only with what price he and his community will have to pay. Are we to stop progress because some of our newbie residents' retiree lifestyle might be disturbed? If so, I say to Goodstein: You've picked the wrong place to retire. Florida will not sit back and retire with you. We must progress!

In addition, Eastman and Goodstein forget that without tourism, the majority of the restaurants and hotels in our area would never be able to survive. We need tourists! Tourists typically visit one city when they visit Florida; with a bullet train, they would be able to zip between Orlando, Miami, and Tampa with stops at select cities. Also left out of your story is the fact that the train will run in both directions. All the tourists visiting Disney and Disney's cruise ships will also have an easy ride to other destinations throughout Florida. No, a rental car will not be needed. In Orlando, every theme park, hotel, and tourist attraction already provides premium shuttle services to almost every destination. In South Florida, the train will provide an influx of riders who need Tri-Rail and Metrorail. If there is a way to have tourist stay longer and spend more, then it's worth it.

I can remember plenty of "not in my back yard" issues, all of which ultimately benefited South Florida. The Florida Turnpike, the I-95 extension from Gardens to Fort Pierce, Tri-Rail, the Port of Palm Beach expansion bridge, and many others. At each project's start, many selfish residents spoke out against progress. But we must move on, excel, and remain in the forefront of transportation. Or we will end up like Los Angeles, which brings me to my next point.

Toward the middle of your story, you refer to Wendell Cox, who in the '70s served three terms in LA County on the transportation commission. Not a very good source. Have you been to LA? Have you seen the mess people there deal with daily? The current residents, businesses, and politicians in LA are paying for the mishandling and mismanagement of Mr. Cox's transit authority of the 70's! It seems to me, if Cox had spent more time developing mass transit instead of speaking out against it, LA wouldn't be in the mess it is in today. Only in recent years has LA made a dent in the transit nightmare created by past mistakes.

I will agree with you, there are some flaws in the budgeting. But these details can be worked out. I don't believe Goodstein really cares about the money; he cares only about his little retirement community.

At the end of your story, Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson is quoted as saying, "We can't go much lower then 50th in education." This isn't because of a train. To blame current problems on a future project is stupidity. If Aaronson is so concerned with young people in Florida, he should spend more time and money fighting for change in our current education system and less time fighting the future.

Todd Stone
Delray Beach

Listen, Fernando...you're right on: In your May 16 edition, I read with interest Fernando Gonzalez's letter commenting on Ashley Fantz's May 2 story, "Cross Purposes."

Interestingly, I've often had the same impressions on hearing the sanctimonious reverend to whom Gonzalez refers. He is reminiscent of the Pharisees and Sadducees mentioned in the New Testament. There is so much hate emanating from the mouths of "religious" and "Christian" people. Theirs is the attitude that contributed to the violence done in the name of religion throughout history.

Religion should be unifying, not divisive; inclusive, not exclusive; loving, not hateful. No wonder Sunday is said to be "the most segregated day of the week." The same can be said for Saturday.

Wilfred Whittingham
Plantation

Religious right? In regard to the comment made about Reverend Kennedy's messages: First, I don't believe that Fernando Gonzalez has heard Kennedy's sermons. What he probably doesn't know or didn't understand is that God doesn't hate the homosexual.... God hates the sin of homosexuality as he does all sin. The Bible says to hate sin and to love the sinner. I am so sorry Gonzalez misunderstood the message that was written thousands of years ago. You see, sin is sin -- one sin is no different in the eyes of God from another; only the consequences are. Sin separates us from God whether it is the sin of lying, murdering, stealing, adultery, homosexuality, or anything else. So please, Mr. Gonzalez, understand that God loves you so much that he gave his only begotten son to die for you so that you may have life and have it more abundantly.

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