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  • No gridlock caused by road work? Please


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    Letters to the Editors

    No gridlock caused by road work? Please

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 4, 2002

    Re: Highway to shut down for track repair, story, Sept. 25.

    The plan to completely close off both directions of McMullen-Booth Road for up to three weeks is absolutely ludicrous.

    Clearwater's traffic operations manager is quoted as saying, "We're not looking at gridlock." It's obvious he is not at all familiar with the gridlock that occurred on McMullen-Booth a few weeks ago caused by the tanker accident at Gulf-to-Bay and U.S. 19 that completely shut down U.S. 19 for almost 10 hours.

    No gridlock. What a farce! The man is completely illogical. He is a typical Pinellas County traffic engineer: His head is in the sand. Hopefully, he will wake up and smell the roses or he will smell all the stink that will come from commuters if the present plans to close McMullen-Booth proceed as scheduled.
    -- Dan Stifflear, Palm Harbor

    Not all homeless choose to be a burden on society

    Re: Homeless choose to be burdens on society, letters, Sept. 20.

    This is but one of several letters expressing much the same opinion, but guilty of generalizing from a small sample.

    Are there some homeless who take advantage of the generosity of the community and choose to remain in a lifestyle that contributes nothing to society? Of course there are -- in Clearwater and every other community that has some kind of welfare program, no matter who is paying for it or by whatever name it is called.

    But do all -- or even the majority -- of those who accept food, clothing and shelter for free do so voluntarily as a chosen way of living? Not if you face all the facts surrounding this perennial issue. Among these facts, well-documented by those who work with the poor and homeless, are these:

    Some who are "on the streets" would be in institutions, receiving needed mental care, were it not for a change in our laws and national budgeting priorities that closed many sanitariums decades ago.

    Some are veterans whose income-earning capacity was interrupted and then destroyed by physical and emotional trauma during their service to our country.

    Some have fallen on hard times due to cutbacks in employment or sudden loss of a breadwinner through death, divorce or abandonment.

    Some are in the process of learning skills such as job interviewing and job performance through donated services now a burden to society, but which will have a longterm payoff in the not-too-distant future.

    And some are relative newcomers to our great society who have found the streets are not paved with gold and it takes a while to get on their feet, but who have every intention of "making it," given a little time and free assistance from those who preceded them in pursuing the great American dream.

    These and similar facts are available to anyone who wants to learn them.

    I, for one, realizing that "there, but for the grace of God, go I," prefer to donate a little of my surplus to assist those not as fortunate as I, for the poor we will always have with us. I also realize that I am not in a position to direct that help most efficiently by myself, so I prefer to channel it to the needy through the many wonderful charitable groups active in our community.

    And if a few of those who accept the free food, clothing and shelter really abuse the charity by choosing to remain on the dole, I am not surprised. For what segment of society does not have its bad apples?

    Why is it so hard to accept the bad with the good?
    -- Art Deegan, Clearwater

    Many thanks to planners for denying Dimmitt rezoning

    To the Pinellas Planning Council: The residents of the Lake Chautauqua Committee would all like to express our heartfelt appreciation for your vote Sept. 18 denying the rezoning of the 23-acre Dimmitt parcel in Clearwater from 2.5 units per acre to 5 units per acre.

    You have not only stood up for the rights of the people and helped save our little piece of paradise, but you have helped to save lives on U.S. 19 and have at least delayed more congestion in Pinellas County with your very wise decisions and forethought.

    We won't forget the good you have done.
    -- Don Sutton, Clearwater

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