LETTERS  PCR #231     (August 23--29, 2004)

•  Vinnie Blesi On ED's 20,000 Leagues Feature
•  Brandon Jones on Matt's Swiftboat Article
•  Will's Column Inspires Reader's Memories



Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

VINNIE ON 20,000 LEAGUES FEATURE

Nolan,
Wow, once again I am blown away. The Ed Tucker article on the 20,000 Leagues theme park ride was entertaining and enlightening. There is nothing on the web that even comes close to the quality content being offered on PCR. Keep up the good work!

Vinnie Blesi

   Vinnie, thank you so much!! ED will surely see this letter and I'm sure he'll appreciate your comments.
   As for me, support like yours is always even more special not only because you're a good friend and gifted writer, but with a background in fan publishing as well. I really appreciate it. I've always been elated that PCR writers are generally resistant to the jading process of rigorous publishing.
   Of course I will bend over backwards to continue to maintain our high standards that writers and friends like you have helped me achieve! ---Nolan


BRANDON JONES ON MATT'S SWIFTBOAT ARTICLE

Matt
Re: Matt's Rail, PCR #230, "Swiftboat Veterans For Truth...NOT", I couldn’t agree more, well, mostly. Larry Thurlow may be nuts.-- to even enter into the argument that there was NOT live fire on that beach, uh what? In a recent interview I can accept his argument that he’s NOT releasing his public records because he’s not running for public office etc…, but that does lend to his lack of credibility.

I don’t think we’ll ever know, or should it matter, what happened on that beach. I don’t care if he was under attack or not, if he self-inflicted wounds or not – I don’t care. Here’s what matters to me:

Given that you believe these men have the right to say what they want, under our freedom of speech rights, then why suppress the ad or the book? If they are liars, then so be it. But they have the right to speak their opinions when it’s not physically harming someone.

Yes, this is anti-Bush speak because he’s been adamantly opposed to ALL 527 ads -- ALL of them. On the 23rd he was approached by a reporter on the issue and he reiterated: “…that ad, all of the 527 ads.”

Well, there goes that freedom of speech.

So, why is Kerry banning the ads? He’s calling for publishers to halt the sale of O’Neill’s book “Unfit for Command.” First, for those of you that think Bush is an idiot, Kerry just caused a nationwide sellout of the book. Second, is Kerry against 527 ads or just the one targeted towards him? What about the MoveOn.org ads that have been on and off for months?

I guess as long as we don’t have a voice against a candidate, both Kerry and Bush will be happy. Hell, when many people are arguing about the loss of civil rights, why don’t we care about the FIRST one!!! If we can’t speak our opinions and let our voices heard, doesn’t that just put us one step back towards a communist regime. Hmmm…

Brandon Jones


WILL'S COLUMN INSPIRES READER'S MEMORIES

READERS, WILL MORIATY HERE --- On Thursday August 12, 2004, I received a phone call from former Florida Department of Transportation (F.D.O.T.) Operations administrator "Buddy" Marcoux. Marcoux, a native of Lake Wales, Florida joined the Department in 1955 and retired only a few years ago. As memory serves me., Mr. Marcoux, along with former F.D.O.T. Tampa Maintenance Engineer Bob Grimsley, and my step brother, Preston Patton Pender II, all attended the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.

Marcoux's daughter, Cathy, still works for the Department in the same District (Seven) that I work. She had seen my three part articles about the Bee Line Ferry and Sunshine Skyway Bridge in PCR Issues 170-172 and brought them to his attention, prompting his most cordial and informative call to me.

He later went on to tell me about his monthly meetings at a Shoney's in Tallahassee with the surviving members of the Department when it was known as the State Road Department, or "SRD". He was gracious enough to send me a complimentary e-mail about such a meeting where he touches upon some of his own personal history about the Bee Line Ferry and the Skyway. He brought to my attention that a total of four ferries were used, as opposed to the three shown in Issue #170. That fourth vessel was known as the "Hillsborough" and could hold up to 36 cars.

I would like to share with our readers the complimentary e-mail from this legendary figure from the Department who oversaw much of the roadway creation, improvements and operations in Florida that we take for granted decades later in the Sunshine State:

SRD BRKFST CLUB MTG. 8/18/04

I was absent last month because I traveled to South Florida to visit friends and relatives. While visiting our daughter at St. Petersburg, I looked up a friend of mine that worked at the Skyway Maintenance Yard where I had first met him, September 1955, when I started to work with the SRD. YES, 49 years ago!!

His name is LeRoy Slone. We called him "Red" 'cause he did have red hair. He was working on one of the ferry boats that carried auto traffic across Tampa Bay before the Skyway Bridge was built. The ferry service was run by a private company until 1954 when the SRD purchased it, not wanting any competition for the bridge. "Red"started work on the ferry July 1951.

There were 4 vessels:
"Pinellas" .........18 cars
"Hillsbourgh" ....36 cars or 6 semi's (remember they were smaller then)
"Sarasota" ........28 cars
"Manatee" ........28 cars

The ferry saved you 49 miles from driving around through Tampa. With good weather the ferry trip was 45 minutes. The ferry service ran 7:30 AM till 9:30 PM At times the traffic backed up as much as 3 hours. Many people took the ferry as a sight-seeing trip for .25 cents oneway.

"Red" served 3+ years in the Navy and never was seasick. On one of the Tampa Bay crossing he got seasick due to sudden storm. He claims they never lost a car. Didn't mention passengers.

The ferry service closed down Labor Day 1954.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was fun just talking about those good old days when we maintained the road system with nearly nothing. Even used the old sickel-bar mowers and much hand labor by the convicts from the road camp prisons that were run by the SRD.

I strongly urge each of you to try and find retirees that were working/started to work when you did. Then talk about the "Good Ole' Days. There is not many left and not alot of time to hunt them up. GET BUSY BEFORE "THE SANDS OF TIME" RUNS OUT.

"Buddy" Marcoux


To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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