You must be wearing dark-colored glasses and lobbying for the developers to endorse the planning and actions of the Clearwater mayor and commission to think that they have really improved the city.
As a 30-year resident of Clearwater, I have seen it go from a sparkling city with one of nature's most beautiful beaches and water playgrounds that were enjoyed by all of the people, to a traffic-congested city and beach of high-rise condominiums for the wealthy. The only ones benefiting from this type of growth are the developers and their greedy lobbyists. The only businesses that the economic development department has brought in are Checkers and Starbucks.
What happened to the high-tech business that the city financially supported with the plant built on the corner of Cleveland Street and Missouri Avenue? It was to have 600-plus employees with above-average, high-paying positions and was supposed to attract many other high-tech businesses.
With all this top-notch brain power, we have a city with travel gridlock if you travel north, south or east. They have converted four-lane streets into two lanes with on-street parking, the traffic signals are ill-timed and the congestion gets worse by the day. They have developed Clearwater into nothing more than a traffic hazard between U.S. 19 and the Gulf of Mexico.
Why worry about a terrorist attack when we are attacking each other? And in case of a hurricane, has anyone proposed a sane and safe evacuation plan?
-- Robert L. Smalley, Clearwater
Please be aware of bicyclists when driving anywhere
Re: Lousy bus system punishes poor and limits the elderly, and Retirees need to stay out of rush-hour traffic, letters, Jan. 11.
Most Americans use the automobile to get around. Near our large metropolitan areas, our roads have become very congested. We in Pinellas County live in such a area.
A solution to some of the congestion would be better public transportation. I don't like public transportation. You have to wait for it. It doesn't always go where you are going or it drops you off several blocks from where you are going. Shopping and public transportation don't go together, especially grocery shopping. It usually takes longer and it is not as comfortable as an automobile. If you forget something, you cannot turn around and go back and get it. And the list goes on.
We could ask some people to stay off the road if they don't need to be on the road. I try to avoid the road during peak times but that is getting more and more difficult. It seems the traffic is heavy all day long and what do I do if I have an appointment at peak time?
If we keep our sidewalks clear, will that help? Probably not, but I will be happier and the few others who use them will be. I ride my mountain bike a lot. I live on Curlew Road east of U.S. 19. On Tuesday I ride to softball in Palm Harbor near the Pinellas Trail and then I go to volleyball at the Largo Rec Center. By the end of the day, I cover about 45 miles on my bicycle. Then Friday I go to Largo again for volleyball.
I ride sidewalks, side streets and the Pinellas Trail. I also have a trailer for my bike for when I go to the beach with my metal detector. I enjoy my bicycle but I have to be very cautious to stay alive, especially on the sidewalks. Every driveway and street crossing is very hazardous. Bicycling is not for everyone.
Is there a solution? Try to be a courteous and safe driver. Do the speed limit, don't tailgate and don't run stop signs or red lights.
Very important: Before crossing a sidewalk or crosswalk, stop and look for pedestrians and bike riders. The life you save might be mine.
-- Delbert Voss, Palm Harbor
Thanks to Pinellas Humane Society staff, volunteers
On behalf of the Humane Society of Hernando County, I would like to acknowledge the assistance and support we have received throughout 2003 from the Humane Society of Pinellas. We would especially like to acknowledge Rick and Mary Chaboudy for all of their efforts. They have shared their resources, contacts and volunteers to help us in the next step of growth as the population of Hernando County expands. More people mean more pets and more demands on our facility. With expert advice and our own team of committed staff and volunteers, we are determined to meet that need.
As we enter the new year it only seems appropriate that we acknowledge those who unselfishly gave and continue to give of their time and talents to improve the quality of life in our world. Thank you to Rick and Mary for countless hours of hard work. Thank you to the volunteers of Pinellas County who made the long drive to Hernando County every day. Thank you to the entire staff of the Humane Society of Pinellas who shared their time and talents to help us plan for the future of animal care in Hernando County.
And thank you to the residents of Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties who, in addition to Hernando County residents, have generously sent donations to assist us in our task.
Bless you all.
-- Joanne Schoch,
director of growth and development,
Hernando County Human Society,
Your voice counts
We invite readers to write letters for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to www.sptimes.com/letters and fill in the required information. Type your letter in the space provided on the form, then submit your letter to the appropriate section of the newspaper. If you prefer, you may instead fax your letter to us at 727 445-4119, or mail it to Letter to the Editor, St. Petersburg Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.
Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.