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    Letters to the Editors

    Too much law and order can become burden


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 9, 2002

    I have been a resident of Pinellas County only one year, so there is still much I have to learn about life in Florida and Pinellas County.

    The year has brought many good times and nice surprises in Florida, which is known as the one state where most Americans would want to live other than their own.

    However, there also have been disappointments. The biggest has been watching the governmental and political scene. Divided commissions, arguing legislators, angered citizens and silly administrative regulation and burden placed upon the citizens of our city, county and state.

    As a local church pastor in Largo, I was completely surprised one Monday morning to arrive at work to discover that we had received a city code violation for having two small banners on our fence.

    This fence is on our property, and the signs were advertising a Vacation Bible School program and new worship service hours.

    I have lived and worked in four municipalities in three states and have never seen such a micromanaging of city residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses. Granted, a community without law would be anarchy; however, a community with too much law and/or bad law approaches communism. I hate to throw around the "C" word, but many times it feels that way as a new resident to Pinellas. Government seems to focus on what cannot be done instead of empowering its citizens to better their community and providing the freedom to do so.

    Perhaps we need to elect city, county and state leaders who would seek to lessen some of the administrative and legalistic burden placed upon the citizenry.

    What other community would allow a land speculator to buy up underwater property, and yet prohibit banners on private property to advertise nonprofit charitable organizations?

    This discrepancy has me concerned about the future of life in Pinellas County, where appearances are more important than community cohesiveness.
    -- The Rev. James Welch, Christ Presbyterian Church, Largo

    On teachers and commitment

    Re: Lack of respect for teachers fuels frustration, letter, June 3.

    After reading this letter by Melanie Woods about the teachers not receiving respect, I had to agree, but for different reasons. The lack of respect for teachers does not come from the disintegration of society, as Ms. Woods contests, but from disintegration of commitment from the teachers these days.

    Being a teacher is a tough and demanding job, but I cannot tell you how many times my wife and I had to call or write to our son's teachers to ask them to check his grades as we believed a mistake had been made, and when they checked they found that a mistake had been made. I know this can happen, but if we did not keep up with this our son would have been cheated out of the grade he deserves.

    I cannot tell you how many times this has happened, because there have been so many instances we have lost track. We have our son ask for printouts or progress reports every week so we can keep track of how he is doing. Many times he is told that the teacher is too busy to do this, and we have to wait for the next week to request the report again. We have found errors in class work, attendance and test scores, all of which would have hurt his grade if it were not corrected. When a report is due, he hands it in on time but has to wait up to two weeks for the grade.

    This, I believe, is why teachers do not get respect. I do believe teachers should get paid more, but if this is the profession they chose to study for and now work in, they should be committed to giving the best form of education they can. I am all for giving the teachers respect, but only if they deserve it.
    -- Jack Saccente, Palm Harbor

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