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Reasons suspicious for booting beach visitors

Published June 24, 2003

Re: City ponders closing causeway beach, story, June 17.

The city of Clearwater does not want visitors using its beaches, or so says City Commissioner Frank Hibbard. Or is it just the beach along the Courtney Campbell causeway?

Commissioner Hibbard was quoted in the article as well as by the local TV media that the half-mile stretch of sand on the south side of the causeway is used mainly by people from Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Mr. Hibbard also stated that he wants to only "spend Clearwater tax dollars on Clearwater residents." Based on Mr. Hibbard's viewpoint, everyone not from Clearwater should not be on Clearwater Beach either.

Or is it for some other reason, perhaps because the causeway beach area is so small that putting in parking meters is not feasible and does not generate revenue for the city? And accordingly, there is no area available for any business to attempt to generate income, except perhaps an ice cream vendor.

And since when is it the job of the Clearwater police to survey who uses that strip of beach? The police should do the job of law enforcement - period.

The small beach strip in question should be patrolled and all laws enforced stringently. And if City Manager Bill Horne desires a survey, he should stand by the entry and conduct his own survey as each beach user drives onto it.

The city limits of Clearwater also include the portion of the Courtney Campbell causeway up to the county line. Yet the Clearwater Police Department rarely patrols it, and speeding and reckless driving are rampant there. Since the causeway beach is part of the city, it's the responsibility of the Clearwater police to provide law enforcement to protect all citizens that utilize it, just like any public park or public area for any citizen to use no matter where they reside.

Or is it the intention of Mr. Horne and the City Commission to boot off all visitors to all city beaches? I think not. They seem to have a different agenda than what they speak.

-- David Gaskins, Safety Harbor

Fluoride protects our teeth, so please add it to the water

As an 80-year-old man and former mechanical engineer, I attended a Largo City Commission meeting and wrote into this column to protest the building of a city library "that looks like a barn," as Mayor Bob Jackson said, which will cost an additional $700,000 per year to maintain. The commissioners did not listen to the people, so the young people of this generation will have to pay for it.

As a former World War II Marine fighter pilot, honored with two Distinguished Flying Cross and five Air medals, I feel that I should again fight for the young people. They are the ones that are going to suffer for not having fluoride in their water.

About the time my son was born at Omaha, Neb., in 1951, the city started adding fluoride to the water. When he graduated from college in 1973, he did not have a cavity in his mouth. He then moved to St. Paul, Minn., where fluoride is added to its water. Since then, 30 years later, he only developed one small cavity. His 25-year-old daughter does not have a cavity and his 24-year-old son had one small one.

I wish that fluoride had been added to the water when I was a kid. I would not have all the fillings in my mouth now. But maybe fluoride has enabled me to keep most of my teeth.

So please vote to have fluoride added to the water to protect the teeth of our young generation.

-- Bert Hanson, Largo

Cities presented more than frustrations at meeting

Re: Summit turns sour, story, June 8.

I attended the almost four-hour meeting on June 4 for negotiating a compromise on annexation issues between the cities and the county in front of Judge Horace Andrews.

Most of the talking on the cities' positions was done by Mayor Bob Jackson of Largo, the city attorney of Largo, the city attorney of Kenneth City, Mayor Dottie Reeder of Seminole and the city attorney of Seminole. Pinellas Park council members also spoke. All of the speakers representing the cities presented serious, fact-filled positions for more than three hours.

It was apparent that all of the city representatives were frustrated by the county commissioners' changes to the valid planning area boundary lines set by referendum, their disregard for the recommendations of the Pinellas Planning Council and the county's various proposals for changing criteria on which to base future annexation decisions.

County Commissioner John Morroni did not speak for the four hours of the meeting. He offered no comments, no compromise, no solutions. He got his media coverage by criticizing Pinellas Park council member Rick Butler for expressing frustration.

Although other city speakers were more reserved, they were firm in their unanimous position on what the county has done and is trying to do to the valid authority of city government.

It is too bad that the reporter did not quote the serious facts as presented by the various city officials and the nonresponsive record of the county commissioners.

-- Leo F. Mutchler, Seminole

Sand Key isn't as described; take a look at it sometime

Re: If you limit the cars you don't need a beach garage, letter, June 4.

In response to C. Thomas Massey's letter and his implication that Sand Key is a ruined area and that our beautiful Sand Key Park is a landfill, I feel obligated to inform him that on more than one occasion, Sand Key Park and its beach have been recognized among the top 10 in the nation.

Furthermore, Mr. Massey, Sand Key has more than a billion dollars in taxable assessed values and that pays a lot of county and city bills.

And guess what else, Mr. Massey? Eighty percent of the people that own here don't live here full time. They pay their taxes at a substantially higher rate than you do because they are not homesteaded, and they are not here year round as I'm sure you are.

We have a beautiful boulevard, underground utilities, city and county parks and the Sand Key Bridge. Please accept my invitation to drive over to Bay Park on Sand Key, where you will have no problem parking, and use any of our 10 public access walkways to the beach.

Our city commissioners are doing a great job with what they have to work with; and when they ask a question to elicit public opinion, they are simply doing what they were elected to do.

-- James Warner, president, Sand Key Civic Association, Clearwater

Hope your paper is happy now that a pastor's life is ruined

Re: Pastor cleared of DUI resigns, story, June 18.

Well, you have accomplished what your paper wanted to. You have managed to ruin a man's life and hurt his church. You didn't publish my first letter, because that is what I said your paper had tried to do.

Well, maybe the Times is happy now that you've wrecked another life, even though he was not guilty.

-- Carole Hawver, Palm Harbor [Last modified June 24, 2003, 01:47:56]

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