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Responses to "Too Old and Too Centured by Rochelle Renford, "Blunder Storms" (April 10-16) by Fawn Germer, "Israeli Pacifist" (April 3-9) by Rochelle Renford, St. Petersburg Times' and The Tampa Tribune's coverage of the Democratic state convention and Democracy Rising event, and a couple corrections

Nader's No Phony

Re: "Too Old and Too Centered" by Rochelle Renford (April 17-23)

While reading about the rally in Orlando that the Democrats held I was struck by remarks by Casey Roberts who called Ralph Nader a phony. Ralph Nader has spent his entire career fighting corporate greed and power. Without Nader there would be no safety standards in cars; we wouldn't have the freedom of information act. The citizen action groups he helped create have helped millions. I guess it's easier to call Nader a phone than to admit that Al Gore simply ran a horrible campaign. That the Democratic Party couldn't rally millions of registered Democrats who didn't even bother to vote. That Al Gore took every progressive voter for granted. That Al Gore couldn't even drum up enough support to win his own state.

It's time that Al Gore and the Democratic Party took some personal responsibility. You lost the race. Nobody else. With a candidate like Bush and the economy we had, Gore should have had a slam dunk.

Herbert Ragan

Storms Seeker Radar

Re "Blunder Storms" (April 10-16)

If this Ronda Storms had her way, we would all be lily -white ultra right wing Christian conservatives watching the 700 Club everyday. She's great for comedic relief though, with her idiotic crusades that matter to no one but herself.

Charles Jackson
Via e-mail

Could you please tell me how to get in touch with Commissioner Ronda Storms? I would like to write a letter, send an e-mail and leave a phone message asking her to stop wasting my hard earned tax dollars on her personal witch hunt. It's bad enough they are supporting that monstrosity on Dale Mabry and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Dean Millard

Editor's reply: You can call Ronda Storms at 813-272-5740 or visit hillsboroughcounty.org/mail/e-mail for an e-mail link to her.


Re: "Israeli Pacifist" by Rochelle Renford (April 3-9)

What was once a somewhat enjoyable and educational exercise in reading your paper seems to have transformed itself into an excessive expression of anti-establishment (in this case anything white) propaganda. Why in this particular article for example does a paragraph have to be reserved for Firestone's trip to Australia and New Zealand and her revelation on "what the white man has done?" What does this mean? From the incoherent paragraph that follows it appears she means the environmental damage that the white man has done. This is not what this article is about. It is supposed to be about one woman's fight for peace in the Middle East, yet it seems that many articles in this paper have to have something negative to say about the "white establishment." Why is it OK to write articles that denigrate that one element of our society while championing the rights of everyone else?

Andrew Remsen
St. Petersburg

Dissing the Dailies

Re: St. Petersburg Times' and The Tampa Tribune's coverage of the Democratic state convention and Democracy Rising event

Political. Civic. Historic. Empowering. Well attended.

The Florida Democratic meeting in Orlando?

No. The Democracy Rising rally in Tampa.

This event drew well over twice as many participants as the Democrats' event. The numbers were historic; the last time a civil/political gathering of this size occurred in the area was more than a decade ago (Ronald Reagan in 1989).

Yet The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times chose to report on the ho-hum Democratic meeting on the front page while the Democracy Rising event was scarcely discussed and was shunted to the local sections of the papers. Beyond this shortcoming, the stories were full of biased descriptions. Of the 120 nonprofit organizations at the rally, St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer John Balz chose to list three: Sierra Club, VOCAL and the Tampa Bay Naturists. Balz is sure to point out that the Naturists are on a "quest to promote 'clothing optional beaches.'" This reporting is completely sensationalized. Balz could have discussed the aims of ACLU, ACORN, The Center for Voting and Democracy, The Civic Media Center, Greenpeace, Collier County Anti-War Coalition, Community Coalition Against War and Terrorism, the Moratorium Campaign and the 100 other organizations. But the Naturists were more intriguing to describe.

In addition, Balz described the "body piercings and hemp clothing" of the rally participants. Nowhere in the front-page story on the Democratic meeting was there a description of Gore, Reno, or McBride's wardrobe. Nor was Gore called a "cult hero," a title that belittles the immense amount of work Nader has done during the more than 40 years he has devoted to consumer, environmental, social, civic, and political change.

Cary L. Hopkins Eyles
Via e-mail


Dunedin teacher Kai G. Rush is campaigning for Clearwater's District 50. A story in the April 17 issue of the Planet misspelled his name and misidentified American Family Voices as American Family Values.

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