Letters

To go one step further, respected golf course architect Michael Hurdzan points out that "all university and Environmental Protection Agency studies show there is no solid evidence that golf courses have a negative environmental impact." It should be noted that Hurdzan holds a doctorate in environmental plant physiology. In fact, Mr. Semple blatantly omitted the positive impact golf has on the environment. Your readers would have learned that golf course turf provides oxygen and is an excellent natural water-filtering system, among other benefits.

When Mr. Semple did attempt to cite a study or provide support of its "anti-golf course" stance, he failed miserably. Much of the so-called environmentalist opposition is based on the 1991 New York Attorney General Office's study regarding pesticides on golf courses. Several subsequent university research projects determined that the study's conclusions were unsupported by fact, and were inaccurate and misleading.

Another attempt was made to use the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America mortality study to support the "golf courses are bad" contention. While Mr. Semple had the actual study in hand, he failed to note the researcher's conclusion that the results of the survey should not be used to suggest or refute a causal relationship.

Lastly, the booklet "Environment Principles for Golf Courses in the United States" should not be dismissed because only one environmental group, the Sierra Club, did not endorse the publication. Not mentioned was the fact that groups such as Audubon International, National Wildlife Federation, Save the Bay, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others signed off in support. Obviously there is widespread support for the golf industry's environmental stewardship initiatives.

It is my hope that your publication will re-examine the issue of golf and the environment, providing conclusions based on sound, universally accepted research. Unfortunately the use of qualifiers such as "may," "might," and "could" are convenient when attribution and evidence are absent. I believe another look at the issue would be of great service to your readers.

Paul S. McGinnis, president
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Lawrence, Kansas

Farewell to a Dying Breed of Bigoted Drunks
I read with interest Ray Martinez's article about the Coral Gables Elks Lodge and the decline of social and fraternal organizations ("Fraternal Reorder," March 6). I am glad to see them gone from the scene. They are an anachronism and leave a bad taste in my mouth. I wish I could say they fill some kind of role in our society, but I would be lying.

I believe them to be a breeding ground for bigotry and racism, and they appear to be nothing more than a place where a bunch of drunks get together and tell war stories. I find them destructive rather than constructive. They are all offshoots of the whites-only secret societies that date well back to the last century.

The only group I have ever heard of that was in fact truthful was E. Clampus Vitus, from California, whose members proudly asserted that their only aim was to get sloshed, which they had done since the Gold Rush.

I actually believe you wasted space by even mentioning these clubs. It will not be long before they are all gone.

David T. McKibben
Miami

The "Waste" in Waste Management
I am writing with regard to Sean Rowe's article "Put a Lid on It, Pal" (February 6), which covered the Waste Management/Savon Trash Services situation. I wholly support Greg Davis in his claim that Waste Management does not honestly serve the needs of its clients. In fact, at a recent meeting our executive committee [at the Oceanside Plaza condominium in Miami Beach] had with two representatives of Waste Management, I publicly berated them for selling to our condominium services that were unnecessary and were never performed.

Six years ago the condominium board was induced to contract for pickup seven times per week. It was only recently and quite by accident that the present board investigated the matter with our head cleaning man, who is responsible for placing the garbage on the loading dock. He has not worked on a Sunday during all these years; ipso facto, there has never been a Sunday pickup.

We then delved into this matter further, only to discover that the average number of weekly pickups was four, and only rarely five. Therefore, in almost six years of Waste Management services that were paid for, fully one-third of those services was never performed. The excuse we were given was that the drivers were scheduled to make the pickups and always reported completion of the scheduled stops, which is about the lamest excuse I've heard in my 50-plus years of business experience. The net result is that we are terminating Waste Management, at an annual savings of approximately $13,000.

I don't doubt that many people would say the successive boards have been negligent in permitting such a situation to develop, but no board can be composed of members with expertise in every phase of building management and in something as mundane as garbage disposal. My regret is we didn't have Greg Davis on the scene much sooner.

I wish him well and cordially invite him to call me if I can be of any service in his dispute with Waste Management. Finally, I urge our city manager and the city commission to take into account the experience of my condominium association. I believe the penalty for such deceitful practices by any licensed trash hauler should be immediate cancellation of the license and a substitution of that company by another, forthwith.

Martin Riengold, director-treasurer
Oceanside Plaza condominium
Miami Beach

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