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    Letters to the Editors

    Numbers illustrate need for new Largo library


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 2, 2002

    Opponents of the new Largo Library are trying to stop its construction with bad information. They say the library we have is just fine. In fact, it is too small.

    The new Largo Library is needed to serve a growing population that will reach 100,000 in a few years. The library also serves a large number of patrons from outside of Largo. A few facts put the library debate in perspective.

    The current population of Largo is about 68,000. The area of the current Largo Library is 36,190 square feet. It has roughly 200,000 items. It serves 67,000 registered borrowers. By comparison, Dunedin's library is 38,000 square feet. It serves a population of 36,000 with 113,000 items and has 4,000 registered borrowers. We need a larger library than that!

    The new 93,000-square-foot Largo Library will have room for patrons to read. Room for Internet users to surf. Room for genealogy buffs to explore their heritage. A positive place for teens to explore the worlds contained within the library's walls. Room for literacy and after-school programs to promote learning and reduce delinquency. Room for home school study groups. A coffee shop where Largo Central Park and library patrons can refresh themselves. Less clutter and crowding.

    I believe that when the public knows all the facts, it will support a bigger, better library.
    -- Philipp Michel Reichold, Largo

    Dissident or city leader? Pick one

    Re: Group would keep eye on city, story, June 22.

    Isn't it ironic that Largo City Commissioner Martin Shelby has now taken the course for which he so vocally faulted Mayor Bob Jackson?

    As a neutral observer, I can't avoid honest puzzlement at Mr. Shelby's divisive conduct after he recently flogged Mr. Jackson for not being a team player and accepting the Largo City Commission's consensus regarding the Renaissance Festival.

    Does Mr. Shelby draw some fine distinction between Mr. Jackson's conversing with the Renaissance lawyer and his own organizing efforts for a citizens' resistance group?

    While we don't want a rubber stamp commission, once a clear majority of the commission has spoken within the bounds of its authority, it is time to move on.

    Mr. Shelby is free to do one or the other: function as loyal opposition on the commission or organize dissension as a civilian; to do both is too confusing to us ordinary citizens.
    -- George Mouzakis, Largo

    Boys' honesty deserved a reward

    Shame, shame, shame to the man who had his wallet fully returned while at the Long Center. How thoughtless of you not to inquire about the two boys who so thoughtfully and honestly returned your wallet with $500. Not even a thank you!

    The parents of those boys can be so proud of them. The Long Center worker was considerate and kind to have given $30 to them.
    -- Gilda Simpson, Clearwater

    Transplant story a public service

    Re: A transplant success story: the gift of a second chance, story, June 24.

    Thank you, Ed Armstrong, Rick Anderson and the St. Petersburg Times for the journey through kidney disease, dialysis and transplantation.

    As a 43-year-old woman awaiting a kidney transplant, I was thrilled for those of us with kidney disease to be able to follow Mr. Armstrong through a difficult and heartwarming journey, all the while creating public awareness of this devastating but treatable illness.

    I believe your article has created much awareness in our community and hopefully has initiated many conversations between families and friends.

    Your article brought hope and laughter to my life. I wish you both continued good health.
    -- Susan McAvoy, Palm Harbor

    Weak teachers better as crossing guards

    Re: Why many school dropouts happen to be good teachers, Miriam Hill guest column, May 29, and subsequent letters to the editor.

    I sympathize with today's good teachers. They are underpaid for their superior services and have to bear way too much responsibility for students' welfare and their own personal safety.

    Today's teaching profession reflects the disintegration of society as well as the disintegration of the school system. A majority of teachers and administrators are in the profession today for all the wrong reasons. Way too much money is spent on administrators in Taj Mahal buildings, consumed with selfworth, busying themselves by trying to protect woefully inept teachers who hide behind a union just to get tenure and retire on our tax dollars.

    When good and caring parents get involved in their child's education, they are met too often by teachers and administrators who are ego-driven, selfcentered and belligerent, who want to blame the parents and the students for their own ineptness.

    Yes, some parents have no clue as to what their kids are up to on a daily basis. Entirely too much money is wasted on these loser kids, trying to rehab them from within the system. Whatever happened to the reform school idea? If a few more of these were built, then maybe we could get the class size down to manageable levels and keep the good teachers longer.

    All too often, the bad teacher gets reviewed at the end of the year by the bad administrator (formally bad teacher), and that teacher is shuffled around the system. The teachers union does nothing for our education system other than protect these sorry workers.

    Parents are also partly to blame for this problem. Bad parents of weak students just need someone to watch over their kid for a few hours each day. Parents of average students are afraid to complain for fear of retribution against their child. Good parents of honor students complain often and loudly both in public and private school, but spineless administrators are afraid of the union in public schools, and private schools are afraid to lose the teachers they have groomed.

    It is high time all parents speak up and demand our money's worth for our educational dollar. Taxpayers should be the final judge as to which teacher stays and which ones should find other employment. If only a few more would speak up, the question of good teachers leaving would be moot.

    Not meaning to seem cold and uncaring, here is an employment recommendation for those displaced, sorry teachers: How about a career as a crossing guard? You still get to yell at the kids, ignore the good ones, stay on the public payroll, wear a uniform of authority, blow your whistle whenever you want, and all the time will be a safe distance away from our kids. It's something to consider, huh?
    -- Dean Kuhne, Dunedin

    Your voice counts

    We invite readers to write letters for publication. Address them to Letters to the Editor, the Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Or you may fax them to (727) 445-4119, or e-mail to npletters@sptimes.com. E-mail letters must be text only and cannot include attachments.

    Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and phone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

    Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.
    --

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