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Judge's critics bitter over failed candidate

Published May 25, 2004

Re: Judge John Renke III should go, letter by Phillips M. Evans, May 11.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge John Renke III is a good and ethical judge who is doing a great job protecting children in family court.

It appears that a small group of discontented political supporters of failed judicial candidate Declan Mansfield want to use smear tactics against Judge Renke.

As a lawyer, Mr. Evans should know that the courts have upheld the right of political executive committees to endorse judicial candidates. John Renke was endorsed by many people and the First Amendment gives everyone the right to freedom of speech.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission made it quite clear that there is no allegation or indication that Judge Renke has been anything but an excellent, honest and caring judge.

-- Brad Yeager, Hudson

First version of The Pier was St. Petersburg's best

Being a transplanted 61-year-old Midwestern retiree who has chosen to live here, I guess I shall live to see St. Petersburg Pier III, according to your reports.

One of the reasons I chose this area to live is fond memories of the first pier, which I visited annually beginning at age 9 while staying out on St. Pete Beach. What a treat it was for this prairie person to see people with humongous fishing rods catching sharks, sea turtles and stingrays from the deep dark waters surrounding The Pier.

Guess I never made it to the ballroom on the top, but I spent a lot of time walking inside the big open building where the outlying walls were lined with shops selling miniature orange crates with oranges inside the size of marbles, glass paper weights with sand dollars and starfish inside that said St. Petersburg, Fla. (not "Made in China"), or alligators made of rubber and handy to scare little sisters.

I remember the entire floor filled with chairs surrounding a piano with a player and singer in the middle and everybody singing songs like I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover, and parking was full. I boarded a real submarine and other naval vessels docked at The Pier.

I got married and came back to the beach and the pier on my honeymoon and wondered who came up with the inverted pyramid as an improvement. Yuck! And every year on my annual visit, I noticed substantial occupant and management changes as it appeared she was trying to find her new identity.

Well, here we go again. Don't shorten it, and remember some of us eventually moved here because of the neat things St. Petersburg had and was famous for like Webb's City, Albert Whitted Airport and the Million Dollar Pier. Good luck and God bless the next commission. I hope the next version will be right side up and more fun again.

-- Charles C. Barnett III, Oldsmar [Last modified May 24, 2004, 22:58:50]

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