Letters to the Editor

Cultural Misrepresentation

Re: "Book of Love" by David Jasper (June 7-13)

Not only was the book unappealing, it was totally misrepresentative of Hopi culture. First, the flutist is a sacred symbol and, according to the Hopi, should never be seen outside a religious ceremony. Second, the Hopi live nowhere near New Mexico but are situated on a small reservation within the Navajo Nation's borders (near the Utah-Arizona border). Of course then there is the whole imagery of the characters, which I found hilarious. Where did he get the ideas, from Disney's Pocohantas? Hopi look nothing like what was drawn in those pages. They also don't run around in loincloths because if they did they would burned from head to toe. That is because they live in the desert, not the forest. If you read the Book of the Hopi (which Sterns should have done) they have never mentioned, in any of their lore, a forested or jungle area. I know where good old Sterns got this story. He visited one of the many crappy, gimmicky gift shops that pepper the Southwest and saw some trinket with the flutist on it. Like most of the crap sold out there, it probably was accompanied by a small card which gave a 20- or 30-word distorted story of the flutist, and Sterns latched right on. There are whole series of books written by Hopis that accurately represent their culture.

Jason Smith
Via e-mail

Pickle Boycott

Re: "Picking a Fight" by Rochelle Renford (June 7-13)

Thank you for Rochelle Renford's thorough article about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its efforts to improve working conditions and wages for the farm workers who pick tomatoes used by Taco Bell.

Readers may also be interested in knowing about the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and its nationwide boycott of the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. Thousands of farm workers who pick the cucumbers processed and sold by Mt. Olive have signed union cards asking FLOC to represent them in negotiations with Mt. Olive. Using the same strategy Taco Bell uses to distance itself from tomato pickers, Mt. Olive tries to deny responsibility for the pathetic wages paid to farm workers by its cucumber suppliers. Mt. Olive reaps the financial benefits of the farm workers' plight while refusing to negotiate with FLOC. The boycott of Mt. Olive has now entered its third year. To express support for the farm workers' struggle, letters can be directed to Mt. Olive Pickle Company, PO Box 609, Mt. Olive, North Carolina 28365.

The Tampa Farm Worker Supporters leaflet a local grocery store each month to promote the Mt. Olive boycott. For more information, call Maria at 813-961-8777.

Gail Gottlieb, Co-chair
Tampa Farm Worker Supporters

Independent Press

Re: "Secession Players" by H. P. Albarelli Jr. (May 31-June 6)

Your recent article was a well-written and multifaceted take on a complex issue. The beach is abuzz with the news.

However, I must correct one erroneous point in the article.

In talking about a seeming dearth of reports on the "secession" in papers in the Gulf Beach area, Albarelli acknowledged that the St. Petersburg Times had run a column on the issue and "Even the "beach weeklies, Times-owned papers that are thin on news and controversy," had featured a story about the secession.

While it is true that several small beach papers are Times-owned publications, they are certainly not the only beach weeklies of note. Shoreline Reporter is a small, independent, beach community-based, free weekly distributed throughout the Gulf Beach arena. We take our commitment to community seriously.

While being owned by the St. Pete Times is not necessarily a bad thing, we are proud of our independence. We are a small staff of driven, dedicated and hardworking folks putting out a high quality local paper that meets and I think most often exceeds coverage offered by others in this area.

Shoreline Reporter is a local, independent, free weekly on the Gulf Beaches. Please take note.

Eleanor L. Bailey
Shoreline Reporter