Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are blessed with two great airports, each serving specific aviation needs. Their being only 10 minutes apart gives Pinellas residents, tourists and businesses a selection and variety of services few other areas have.
Pinellas County commissioners want to rezone some of the remaining tracts of land adjacent to the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and extend one runway to allow large overseas jets to land and take off. This will increase noise pollution for the residents and businesses.
If the runway is lengthened and the larger jets fail to come as predicted, the aircraft already servicing the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport would likely then utilize it. So even without the new flights, there could be increased noise disturbance to nearby residents and businesses.
Tampa International Airport was (and I think it still is) rated the most passenger-convenient airport in the world. It effectively serves Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with both domestic and international flights. It is unthinkable to try to have two major airports just 10 miles apart, each competing for the same service.
In the early 1960s, four of the major airlines - National, Eastern, Northwest and Delta - operated out of both airports but soon consolidated their service at Tampa. Then American Airlines tried it several years later and it, too, settled on Tampa.
Busy St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport serves specific needs that Tampa cannot handle and caters to smaller regional airlines, such as ATA, Southeast and, in the winter, a small Canadian airline and charters. United Parcel Service jets use the Pinellas airport, as does the U.S. Coast Guard, plus many business jets and personal flights that cannot go in and out of the Tampa airport.
Trying to appeal to overseas airlines is just not practical. We have a valuable Pinellas airport fully capable and actively providing a special range of services. Let's not waver from our niche. I can think of better ways for the commissioners to waste my tax dollars.
-- Bob Carr, Belleair
Airport plan would add dangers
I don't think you need to be an insider, a politician or an engineer to understand the dangers of any airport becoming too large in an already overcrowded county. Noise is only one of the problems.
County commissioners are talking about a 25-year plan. This is a growth plan. We may start out with only additional cargo planes but that will change if financially strapped airlines are offered cheaper landing fees at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport than Tampa International. Tampa has already increased its flight plans over this area of Palm Harbor and Oldsmar.
Another problem is dumping fuel. This is something that is done when a plane has to return after takeoff because of any type of technical problems. The planes cannot land with a full tank of fuel so they dump it, in the air and over our water.
We can also add the impact that this will have on our property values.
This is not a good deal. If it is a done deal then it should be undone. Recently we witnessed an arms dealer being arrested for selling surface-to-air missiles to terrorists for the sole purpose of shooting down passenger planes.
If these are issues that never had a place in the past, they sure do now in the year 2003. It is time we start putting more thought into what we do and the worse-case scenarios that can ensue.
-- Marianne Kennedy McCarthy, Palm Harbor
Know the facts about airport issue
I think all of us are very grateful that St. Petersburg's city's pioneers, especially Mr. Straub, had the foresight to preserve our parks for the future. However, the current proposal to remove Albert Whitted Airport and replace it with 50 percent park land raises some questions.
If 50 percent is to be "park land," what about the other 50 percent? It is designated "public option." Is this a ploy to allow even more development? If so, what kind? Does anyone imagine that you'll get to vote on it?
Park land, as beautiful as it is, does not produce any revenue. Indeed, it will cost a considerable amount to remove the airport, clean up the site and create a park that will be maintained indefinitely at taxpayer expense.
The airport has played an important role in the history of aviation right here in our community. The Young Eagles and flight training programs are marvelous. With all of the innovations being made by NASA, the prospect of smaller aircraft with shorter glide paths will play an important role in the future.
I support the plan being set forth by the Albert Whitted Preservation group, which extends the runway eastward and combines green space with amenities and aviation-related facilities. I hope that you will ask questions and think twice before you sign any petitions without knowing all of the facts.
-- Connie Kone, St. Petersburg
Fluoride problems outweigh benefits
I am unhappy to hear that the county commissioners have just voted to start fluoridating the county drinking water. You only have to do a small amount of research to see that the evidence against adding this toxin to our drinking water far outweighs the evidence in favor.
Fluoride is only slightly less toxic than arsenic. Areas where there are naturally high levels of fluoride have an increased incidence of arthritis, bone cancer and osteoporosis, to name a few. Fluoride may harden the surfaces of teeth, but it causes brittleness underneath. This condition is called dental fluorosis. I ask you to have someone just check out the truth about fluoride, and write a fair article about it. People should not have to be concerned about the safety of their drinking water.
-- Barbara Lee, Largo
County doesn't need to be dentist
Re: Pinellas joins the flow, adds fluoride, Aug. 27.
Are there no other pressing problems that the Pinellas County commissioners believe they can solve that they feel compelled to dump fluoride into our water to show they have done something for the public good?
We do not need big government to help us take care of our teeth. What special interest group is pushing this? Is this another case of "Alcoa Can't Wait," where a private company comes up with a bright idea for disposing of manufacturing byproducts?
My daughter has brown mottling on her teeth due to the fluoridated water we drank from the tap while living in Colorado for two years when she was very young. Tooth care is simple. Brush and floss your teeth. Eat your vegetables and stay away from sugar. Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste if you like.
But this is America. We should have a choice. I am so upset by this. Now I will either have to filter my water or buy bottled water to ensure the health of my family. I just wonder what will be dumped into our water supply next "for our own good."
-- Kitty Magness, Dunedin
[Last modified September 7, 2003, 02:02:02]