Clearwater's Pier 60 provides a great service for the public, but I have seen a problem that I'm surprised hasn't been addressed.
On any given evening, you have vendors set up hawking wares and street performers showing off their talents - all good for tourists and local folks, too.
But when street performers take up the middle of walkways and people crowd around, it presents a safety issue. Individuals are unable to access the pier area unless they negotiate loose sand areas.
It is quite difficult to push a baby stroller or wheelchair through loose sand. What if an emergency were to arise and emergency personnel needed to make their way through the area?
I do hope that the organizers of these activities will pursue correcting the issue. There isn't a lack of space throughout the playground or to the side or front of the Pier 60 entrance. It would seem to me, for safety and accessibility, walkways would be open for walking.
-- John Thomas, Largo
Speeding is a crime and should be treated as such
Much has been said and written in the papers concerning the hit-and-run accident in Tampa on the night of March 31. As always, everyone has an excuse for their action or inaction.
Speeding is a crime, the same as selling drugs to children. Reckless operation of a motor vehicle must be treated as a crime just like bank robbery or armed robbery of a convenience store. The schoolteacher who allegedly hit these children had a past record of traffic violations, including 8 points already on her license. So why would we be surprised that this person could hit children and then run to the safety of middle-class America before the "real world" could close in on her and make her pay for her criminal actions?
And this is not a black or white issue. This person would have left these children to die after hitting them regardless of race or religion, as criminals are color-blind and without a conscience. And schoolteachers are not exempt.
I pray for the families of this tragedy. And I pray our system of justice will prevail and hold those involved accountable for their crimes, as the people who still work in the real world and do not break the laws have lost faith in both.
-- Doug Hughes, Largo
Out-of-towner uninformed about Clearwater issues
Re: Reporting, editorial were both off the mark, letter by Jill Rommel, April 14.
I had to reply to Jill Rommel of Oldsmar regarding her many comments on Clearwater, especially since she is not even a resident of our fair city.
I have been a resident of Clearwater Beach for more than 24 years. Firstly, I do not find the Times' coverage of the mayor's snub of Bill Justice ridiculous. I think the Times was right to highlight our mayor's childish outburst, but I applaud him for apologizing.
Where does Rommel come off saying that the refusal by voters to accept these bilateral changes (on the downtown waterfront) means major negative financial and quality of life impacts to residents? We, on Clearwater Beach, find the way the City Council is bending over backward to satisfy and reward the developers is disgusting. Look what they allowed Mike Cheezem to do. And the roundabout. It is still a mess, with people afraid to enter it.
Rommel's remarks about Save the Bayfront are unfounded and untrue. The members only speak for the residents, have not harmed us and are totally visible, unlike other groups that buy up downtown covertly.
For you to criticize the Times as an out-of-towner is preposterous. I feel the newspaper has always covered both sides of all issues.
Clearwater is a family community. Leave us alone and go beat your drum elsewhere.
-- Keith Eaton, Clearwater
Lighter colored clothes might keep bikers safer
Re: Tired of burying friends, bikers rally, story, April 20.
Okay! Maybe louder motorcycles do make other drivers aware of where the bikes are. And leather may be protecting the bikers if they do "go down."
And I don't believe they should be forced to wear a helmet. Too many freedoms are already being taken away from us.
What I don't understand is, why they must wear black. I believe they make leather in white, red or whatever color you want. It just makes sense to wear a bright color so that other drivers can see you.
I have observed that many motorcycles are black. Doesn't black absorb the hot sun in Florida? It seems to me that a lighter color would, No. 1, make the bikers more comfortable in the heat, and No. 2, make them more visible in our heavy traffic - especially when you are sharing the roads with tourists who are lost and there are so many drivers who have to drive together in such a congested area.
-- Bea Warren, Clearwater
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