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  • Voters must take charge for government to work for them

  • Letters
  • Voters must take charge for government to work for them


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    Letters to the Editors

    Voters must take charge for government to work for them

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 21, 2002

    Re: Largo's planned new library.

    I have lived in Pinellas County for nearly 22 years and admittedly haven't taken enough interest in how our local governments were being run. I voted all of these years but only in national elections, figuring the local ones didn't matter. I found out Tuesday night that I was seriously wrong. Local government can rip you off as much as the feds.

    We attended a meeting of the Largo city commissioners who, among other things, were deciding whether to allow us to vote on a new $22-million library. I didn't count how many of us were at the meeting; but suffice to say that it was standing room only in the commission chambers, and there was a large overflow in at least one other room.

    We were allowed to voice our opinions for or against the right to vote on the library issue. It was obvious that the consensus was that most were not opposed to a new library, but we simply wanted the right to vote on it.

    I was so proud to be among those many concerned citizens who came to City Hall to let our elected representatives know how we felt. Person after person came to the microphone and stated his or her position on the subject. Most were against spending so much money for it.

    When all the smoke cleared from a few heated discussions between the mayor and the only commissioner who seemed to care what we thought, they voted. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard what they said. It was as if none of the previous hour and a half or so even happened! With only one exception, Commissioner Marty Shelby, every one of the commissioners totally ignored what they had just heard.

    These people evidently have forgotten who they work for. There is a local election for the commissioners in March. I know how I intend to vote. They don't think they have the obligation to vote the way their constituents want? Fine! Every one of the incumbents, with the exception of Commissioner Shelby, will be looking for another job after that election.

    If you fellow citizens would just register to vote and take a few minutes to actually go to the polls, your government wouldn't stagnate as it has here in Largo. New leadership is urgently needed. If you don't vote, don't complain. If those you vote in don't represent your wishes, vote them out next time.
    -- Dan M. Holt, Largo

    Let's all work together on long-awaited library

    Re: Largo's new library.

    At long last, I hope the library issue is at rest and we can look forward to a new facility.

    After watching the Largo City Commission meeting Tuesday, I want to congratulate the commissioners who chose not to stand by Commissioner Marty Shelby's attempt to derail this project.

    Although I believe the size and amenities of the new building are questionable, a new library is needed; and to stop this project now would be an error.

    And if it went to referendum and only 2,000 people voted -- even if it was split down the middle -- what does that tell you? One thousand people want it, one thousand don't. What about the other 38,000 registered voters?

    I have worked very hard in years past to help some of the commissioners who sit on the dais win their seats. I felt they were the people I was most comfortable having represent me. When projects such as the library came forward, they would be capable of asking the right questions and making the best decisions for all residents of Largo. As one speaker Tuesday indicated, this project did not just "hatch" overnight. This has been in the works for years and has consumed hours of discussion.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for City Manager Steven Stanton and the entire staff of the city of Largo. Through years of sitting on advisory boards, I have come to appreciate their knowledge and depth of dedication to every project presented.

    It would be wonderful if the residents who were at the City Commission meeting would continue their enthusiasm to future projects. Don't say you are not informed; you have seven elected officials who are just a phone call, an e-mail or a fax away. If you are truly concerned about the future of Largo, you will become involved and not crawl back into your holes.

    To Commissioner Shelby: Although I initially supported your effort, your negativity and aggressiveness in "your way or no way" was not the approach to have. Take your energy and turn it into a positive approach, and let's all work together for a wonderful library.
    -- Gigi Arntzen, Largo

    Death shows we should take all surgeries more seriously

    Re: A young life lost, but why? story, June 16.

    Let us hope that this terribly tragic story will serve to exemplify why drive-through surgeries should probably be somewhat curtailed.

    This article explained that Erin Flatley's outpatient operation was a "simple" surgical procedure. But the article also stated that Erin's surgery took a few hours to perform. Given these facts, my impression is that this particular case was more than just simple surgery.

    It is a terrible shame that a bright, attractive and otherwise healthy young woman's life abruptly ended because of a series of medical mishaps that most likely could have been prevented.
    -- JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

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