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Letters to the Editor 

'Support Oceana's Boycott'

The "Making a Stink" cover story (Nov. 18) hits very close to home for me. I grew up in south Florida, which offered me the opportunity to spend a lot of time snorkeling and scuba diving as a kid. After graduating from the University of Florida, I decided to pursue a career that would allow me to work outdoors, an environment I prefer far more than an office building. As a commercial deep-sea diver, I have worked for years on the ocean. This experience offers a close view of the ocean's fragile and beautiful ecology from many feet below.

It is vital that we preserve our oceans for future generations to enjoy. The cruise industry can assist in this effort by halting its practice of dumping untreated waste into our precious oceans. I urge other readers and our local leaders to support Oceana's boycott of Royal Caribbean and other cruise ships until they clean up their act.

--Michael McKenzie


Oceana Responds

The exposé on cruise ship pollution ("Making a Stink," Nov. 18) took a courageous and revealing look at the dirty underbelly of the otherwise "glamorous" cruise industry.

Due to a lack of adequate regulations for cruise dumping, this harmful pollution has gone largely unchecked and unnoticed for far too long. What goes on just under the surface of these floating cities could have dire consequences for native marine species and for anyone who is drawn by the ocean's allure -- the latter, incidentally, being exactly whom the cruise industry depends on for its business.

Royal Caribbean's record is especially shameful. It promotes itself as an environmental leader yet is under court-ordered probation for past environmental offenses. It has paid millions in fines for illegal discharges -- more than any other cruise company.

I applaud Gambit for bringing this important issue to light, and I hope Royal Caribbean and the rest of the cruise industry will start taking it seriously now that both the media and the public are.

--Dana DuBose
Campaign Director, Oceana


Real Economic Development

Residents of the Bywater and Marigny have been closely monitoring the plans for a new cruise ship terminal in the Bywater. Many hope that the terminal will be a good neighbor in the community, helping the city's economy, sharing the benefits of a well-designed facility with the community, and helping the community and the city leverage one of its great assets, the Mississippi River.

The article "Making a Stink" (Nov. 18) has to make one wonder about the wisdom of allowing minimally monitored cruise ships into our communities under the guise of economic development. All the economic benefits of the cruise ship industry are for naught if discharge from cruise ships threatens our seafood industry, our citizens' health or our environment. Rather than saying an outright "no" to this opportunity, government should be partnering with the industry to make sure that all ships are in publicly accountable and strict compliance and that there is strong oversight from city and state environmental agencies. Good environmental practice is long-term economic development and would demonstrate real progress for New Orleans and Louisiana.

--Edward Melendez


Back Where Huey Came From

While I agree with Clancy DuBos' commentary about Huey Long's shadow over Louisiana ("A Long Shadow, Nov. 18) and the problems it engenders, I think more is needed than hoping our term-limited legislators and new governor "do the right thing." We need to remove Huey's other shadow -- the actual shadow -- from the steps of the Capitol.

We need to remove Huey's grave site and his "memorial to corruption" from the Capitol grounds so that our legislators and governor are not greeted by what looks like his hand coming out of his pocket waiting for the next payoff. (As a bonus, we taxpayers get to stop paying for Huey's upkeep!)

Send Huey back to Winnfield and maybe, just maybe, our legislators and governor will be brave enough not to follow Huey's shadow -- the corrupt one or the "something for nothing" one.

Let's hope!

--Mark E. Peneguy


Defending Soble

In perusing the Gambit, the article wherein a student has filed sexual harassment complaints against a UNO professor caught my attention ("Too Much Information?" Oct. 21). Since I am a student of the same Alan Soble, my curiosity was piqued, and I read on.

I was shocked by the road of vengeance Margaret Marion has embarked upon. She requested the university to sanction Professor Soble. If the university does not, she will take the issue to court and sue him for sexual harassment. Her main contention is that, while he was making an educational point, he informed the class that he had "masturbated five times until his penis was sore." Due to this remark, she became hell-bent on hurting this man. How could these eight words inflame such vindictiveness? The article quoted her as saying, "I want this guy stopped." Why should this woman hate this man so much for so little, since his statements were aimed at the whole class and not just her?

She attends UNO to attain a degree in psychology. People who pursue such a course usually intend to treat persons with emotional problems. I am 76 years old and had been in the treatment field for many decades. From my experiences, I know of the vast amount of libidinous material that comes across a therapist's desk. Would she consider the content of these sexual utterings pornographic? How then could she deal with a patient's expressed sexual fantasies? Sue them for sexual harassment? Being so judgmental and moralistic would make her unfit to practice.

--Murray Sollender


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