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Fire chief's release was arrogant, unjust

Published May 12, 2004

Re: Release of Jeff Parks as chief of East Lake Fire and Rescue.

Daggers to fire district Commissioners Charles Dedman, Jim Nobles and James Galloway! Roses to Commissioners Dan Bobel and Bill Cannon!

I was appalled to learn that the commission voted to release Chief Jeff Parks without providing him an evaluation or any reason for letting him go. I was also shocked to learn that the board had permitted Chief Parks to work for a long time without a written contract and on a probationary basis. Good business practices were not followed.

I have known Chief Parks for many years and consider him a fine administrator and leader of East Lake Fire and Rescue. He has a good rapport with the officers and firefighters/EMTs/paramedics and has provided invaluable assistance to the board. This action of releasing him reeks of one with an ulterior motive (e.g., another individual waiting in the wings for the job?) or an exercise of power for its own sake.

In addition, the apparent smoothness with which the action was undertaken also indicates to me that discussions among the commissioners who voted for release probably took place out of the Sunshine. If such nonpublic discussions did take place, state law has been violated.

As a citizen of the fire control district, I demand that the board undo the arrogant and egregious injustice perpetrated upon Chief Parks and immediately hire him to a firm contract to continue as chief of East Lake Fire and Rescue.

-- Wayne Ferguson, Palm Harbor

Finding fault with new, nice library

Have you had the opportunity to visit the new Clearwater Main Library? It is really nice, as most new things are. Bright and airy.

Being a traditionalist, I am not overly fond of the design, especially the outside feature that some have referred to as a sail. I have no real problem with it, but feel it is just another thing that will cost me and others money to repaint and repaint. In some places inside, the ceiling rises to the height of the building and made me wish I were a Dunedin or Palm Harbor resident, thinking about my tax dollars to cool and heat the area with the high ceilings.

The first time I went to the library I could not park. There are about 36 spots. Three are designated for handicapped (I have seen more handicapped reserved places in front of local bars) and two were reserved for the staff. On my first attempt to visit the library I weaved my way through the maze to find no parking. There was a library van parked in a space for normal visitors.

My second visit to the library was by bike. Had I driven, I again would have had no place to park. I was told that visitors can park down the hill if there is not an event going on. I can see mothers dragging their kids up that hill, or women in high heels, or those with a disability trying to get up that hill, especially on a hot or rainy day.

There is a coffee shop in the library which will open shortly. It will be strange walking around a library sipping a cappuccino; it will be just like Borders. Usually libraries don't want any beverages for fear you will damage a book or the carpet with a spilled drink.

The patio area is landscaped nicely. There is a nice view of Coachman Park with a waterfall flowing from under the patio. And to think, this patio is only a short hill climb for the homeless to leave their beds at Coachman Park and enjoy it, or bum a buck from someone and go have their own cappuccino in the cool of the library.

-- Jake Anderson, Clearwater

Traffic complaint slightly off-base

Re: Vulgarities are promoted in the name of tourism, letter by Arnie Shal, April 30.

After reading Mr. Shal's letter, I figured he must be over 55. I also wondered if Mr. Shal has ever driven anywhere else in Pinellas County. He complains that every two to three months, his drive home to Island Estates is slowed by traffic due to a community event occurring at Coachman Park - the same events that give the younger people in our community something positive to do other than just hanging out at the corner.

I guess what I'm trying to suggest to our community leaders is that, if Mr. Shal gets these events stopped due to his slowed drive home, then every time my drive home is slowed due to an older person driving the same speed as the guy walking down the road, we should stop them from driving.

-- Chris Wags, Safety Harbor [Last modified May 12, 2004, 01:55:26]

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