Letters to the Editors
Largo needs library on festival site
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002
Re: Keep renaissance fest, ditch library, letter, April 7.
I sincerely doubt that the letter writer (and many of those who do not support the new library) have ever set foot in the current Largo Library. If they had, they would understand the need for a larger and updated facility. The library is crowded. A larger building would allow expanded services to the Largo community. The students who attend the nearby schools (there is a high school, middle school and elementary school all within blocks) use this library, and it would greatly increase their educational opportunities to expand the available offerings.
I have never been to the library when it has not been busy, and increased services would benefit many of the people of Largo.
The letter writer states that many signatures have been gathered to support the Renaissance Festival. How many of those people live in Largo? Should those outside the city make decisions for the city? This would be like saying that people who live in Florida but visit Texas get to decide how Texas conducts its business. This does not make sense to me.
I have also worked at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival and I have witnessed a blatant disregard for the city and its inhabitants by the owner and his staff. As an example, read Jim Peterson's comments in recent articles in this newspaper. He is condescending and appears to treat the Largo City Council members as if they are children who do not know what they are doing.
Many (including Mr. Peterson) have argued that the festival has a great economic impact on the area. I don't see it. Most of the patrons drive in, spend their money at the festival and then drive away. What I do see is that it has a great economic impact on Peterson's bank account.
If he were smart, instead of fighting the library he would donate money to it! Support the needs of the city year-round instead of just his own needs for six weeks. Show that he is interested in the community. Then, I believe, the city would be more than willing to find a way for everyone to get what they want.
A galling decision on Renaissance Fest
Re: Largo's decision to oust the long-running Renaissance Festival.
The city claims it has "outgrown" the festival. Largo believes that it has gotten too big for popular events like the Renaissance Festival. It seems to feel that to be a successfully progressing community it needs to build more buildings!
Several years ago the city built its "cultural center," which, as it stands today, is one of the ugliest monstrosities I've seen in Pinellas County. The land could have been used as parkland.
The Renaissance Festival, while admittedly a small nuisance in the matter of traffic congestion and parking, is still only a temporary thing. A passing rite of spring for many people in this area.
What is especially galling is that the city has chosen to break its five-year agreement with the festival. Many people had assumed the festival was safe for at least that amount of time.
I plan on writing the city of Largo and complaining on behalf of the festival, which, although some seem to disagree, has put this former citrus-growing community "on the map!"
Parade, fireworks end with ticket
Re: Festival of States Illuminated Night Parade.
St. Petersburg wants people to go downtown to the events it stages for the Festival of States. I went to the illuminated parade and got a parking ticket for $17.50.
It seems quite a few of the streets downtown have a 90-minute parking limit. You would think that for an event like a parade and the fireworks that followed that city officials would ease up on that law. I am sure that quite a few other people received a ticket. I just hope that they will complain to the mayor, as I did.
Needless to say, I won't be going to any more events downtown.
Voter rolls would yield smarter juries
I recently had an opportunity to do my civic duty by serving on a jury. This was the fourth time I've been called; twice I've been selected to serve on a trial. Both times I was selected to be jury foreman, mainly because no one else wanted to do it.
I can tell you that this was a frustrating experience for almost everyone involved, except maybe one. The trial was about an auto accident (which I'm sure loads the dockets of civil courts), and it was in the courthouse in St. Petersburg.
My observations, from jury selection to the actual trial, are that there has been a dumbing-down of the jury pools. This has never been a duty most people care to do, but I think even less so now. Many of the people had just one thing on their mind: how not to get selected. I would assume they feel the same about going to the voting booths.
After we were selected for a trial, which involved a plaintiff who couldn't get the defendant (a major insurance company) to pay the medical bills, we listened to a fairly complex mix of "legalese" and "medicalese," which was clearly above most of our heads.
In my opinion, of six who were in the room, only three of us should have been selected. The case ended in a deadlock (not three to three), which I believe gives the major insurance company an advantage because the plaintiff has probably exhausted all his resources and will have to give up.
It is my opinion that using the voter registration database gives you more intelligent jury pools, which, in turn, will give you people who can reasonably decide these issues in an objective manner and not cause the clogging of the court dockets. This will not give any side the advantage in a deadlocked decision and thus will not waste taxpayers' money on retrials.
Nudity has no place at Fort De Soto
Is the beautiful Fort De Soto Park in jeopardy? Or is the freedom we tourists from Ohio and other Northern states enjoy in jeopardy by turning a portion into a "clothing optional" beach?
We spend time in Florida and choose the wonderful gulf side because we can invite our children, grandchildren or friends to our favorite place, Fort De Soto, without fear of meeting with unclothed adults, or having to avoid areas where that is acceptable.
If Florida appreciates the tourist dollars, keep the state parks and beaches open and respectable. I suggest that natives who want to sun bare get a sun lamp and an indoor pool.
If not, then we could choose another place to vacation in. No problem.
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