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Back to the future

Great article on the Downtown Ambassadors program `"You don't say?," Jan. 29`. Just think: another million dollars down the drain for a program that is going nowhere. Like we have tax dollars just to give away.

The mayor and city council would have been better off revisiting the CETA Program of 1971 (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act). At that time during the money crunch we sent people to school to learn new skills. The CETA funds also helped the police and fire departments with civilian employees to support the officers by writing reports, processing traffic tickets, processing parking fines at the courthouse and much more. Some of the monies went to part-time teachers' aides, whereby parents got involved and got paid and still collected their unemployment for one year while the training took place.

Also enacted at that time was the Safe Streets Act, whereby federal funds were available for additional police walking beats in high-crime areas. This reduced crime and business owners were so pleased to see them.

Now we don't need a rocket scientist in city hall to figure out just what to do with the high unemployment rate and high crime and the cutting of programs; just have the mayor appoint a blue-chip team of housewives that know all about budgets and coupons and how to stretch a chicken. These are the times that we are living in. These programs worked in the late '60s and '70s, and they can work now.

And this is not to mention the after-school program Citizens for Citizens, whereby teens could work at the city garage washing police cars and city vehicles, and at the parks and cemeteries picking up paper and waste.

Edward Lopes, via the Internet

Still prowling

As one of the co-editors of Miles on Miles `"Dare to ask," Jan. 8`, I'd like to thank you for your thoughtful and expansive review. Beyond the brief mentions in the nationals, I really more care about, and appreciate, the many writers throughout the country who have delved into the book and reflected on it and Miles in so many daily newspapers in towns in states as varied as Minnesota, Indiana, upstate New York, California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Montana, Florida, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Somehow, it's comforting to know that Miles `Davis` still prowls in the niches and narrows of America.

Michael K. Dorr, via the Internet

Rise up, taxpayers

Beautiful and articulate! You were right on the money again `"Reality bites," Jan. 22`. Your April 17 article "Don't worry" predicted this eventuality.

Maybe a call should be made for an uprising of taxpayers to have the mayor impeached and for his financial advisers to be forced out of office. I am wondering about the possibility of a public-funded lawsuit against these folks, who would not allow a public vote on such a large undertaking `the downtown venues`, and to sue each of the key players personally.

Greg Cordner, Winter Park

Wes on Bush

I guess you can call this letter "sympathy for the devil" `"The end of an error," Jan. 15`.

The Katrina disaster wasn't all George W. Bush's fault; the levees in New Orleans were poorly constructed, which is why they collapsed. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who famously cussed out Bush and his administration in a radio interview, turned away an empty train that was sent to New Orleans to evacuate people the day before Katrina hit. Katrina was the result of people in positions of power who were ill-equipped to deal with a disaster of that magnitude.

The tenure of George W. Bush has not been kind to the United States, or me. It has given me many moments when I wanted to grab him and say, "What the hell are you doing?," like when he didn't secure the southwestern border after 9/11. But so did the tenure of William Jefferson Clinton, and I think he was the best president in the history of the United States.

Wes Pierce, Orlando

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