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Downtown upscale enough as it is

Letters to the Editor
Published July 5, 2006

Re: Shops shaping up at Beach Drive condo complex, June 21.

As a downtown St. Petersburg resident, I would like to view John Hamilton's marketing research results showing "the unmet demand ..." for another jeweler, another flower shop, another high-dollar dining facility, etc., as he states will grace the new condos on Beach Drive.

My own simple polling of a variety of downtown residents doesn't list a single request for any of the new businesses mentioned in the article. Gee, scanning my own results, no male or female requested another boutique either. Imagine that.

Until St. Petersburg's movers and shakers wake up concerning downtown land use (stop condo land grab and apartment conversion; encourage true retail shopping for the masses), downtown's shopping choices will be priced out of most tourists' pockets, not to mention residents'.

D.W. Stiles, St. Petersburg

Treasure Island speeding being ignored

The big issue on Treasure Island right now is drivers speeding through our neighborhoods. The city has spent thousands in consultants' fees and has received several recommendations on how to slow these irresponsible drivers.

Of course, our commissioners have discounted - well, actually ignored - the recommendations of the professionals. Proclaiming themselves experts in the field of traffic calming, the commissioners have decided that the recommended speed-calming devices such as raised crosswalks and speed bumps are too much of an inconvenience and that more passive approaches need to be taken.

One of those passive approaches targets speeding business vehicles such as those from pool cleaning and lawn maintenance companies.

This program would involve writing a friendly note to the business whose vehicles are seen or caught speeding, letting the owner know that his employees are operating his vehicles in an unsafe manner.

Sounds great, doesn't it? You and I are going to pay a Treasure Island city employee to track the speeder, write the letters, mail the letters and then field the calls that the city is going to receive from the business owners who will tell the city that there must be some sort of mistake because he just talked to the accused employee who says he didn't speed and ... well, you get the point.

Another passive speed-calming device being looked into is the use of digital readout radar speed signs. You know the ones: They flash the speed your car is traveling as you drive by the sign. When you add up the cost of purchase and maintenance, the city is spending thousands per sign. Great idea, you say?

Think a minute. The next time you get in your car or truck, look down behind the steering wheel. I bet you will see an instrument built into the dashboard that has numbers progressing from 0 to more than 100. It's commonly referred to as a speedometer and is federally mandated to be placed in each and every vehicle sold in this country.

Bottom line: We are going to spend thousands of dollars to tell drivers what they already know - they are going too fast!

So Treasure Island residents, rest assured that your commissioner is doing as little as possible to make your neighborhood safer.

Gary Becker, Treasure Island

Running red lights worse than speeding

Re: Police staffing levels defended, June 25.

I agree with the comments of Mayor Rick Baker and police Chief Chuck Harmon and have always thought that our police do a good job for the most part. I will admit that I have not agreed with all of the policies during the years but think we have a pretty safe city.

Like most residents, I would like to see more of a police presence in my neighborhood. I think that is a large factor in crime control.

I have a degree in police administration but have never worked in the field.

I do have one complaint: During one week last month, I saw approximately six marked cruisers and two unmarked cars on Tyrone Boulevard using radar and writing tickets.

I do agree that speed is a problem at times, but I think a larger problem in this area is people running red lights. If a person does any driving in this town or county, he will see people running lights every day.

I know that our officers have a lot to do on a shift, but I think that in the course of a day it would be about impossible for each and every one of them on the street not to see a car running a red light.

I do think that, overall, people running lights cause more accidents than speeders.

Please do something about this.

Larry Boyd, St. Petersburg

Congrats, St. Petersburg Collegiate

Re: Tiny high school earns biggest honor in county, by Rita Farlow, July 2.

I am highly impressed by St. Petersburg Collegiate High School receiving the greatest number of points among county schools on the state's Department of Education's school accountability report. That speaks highly of college family and high school staff working in union to benefit students.

I am impressed with principal Linda Benware's comment, "We try to direct our lessons to higher-level thinking."

Through educational programming and bonds of kinship between teacher and student, an intellectual elite can emerge. Unlimited initiative can plainly be put out of countenance by low standards and mediocre, uncreative agendas.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Chick-fil-A owner also good Samaritan

This is the first time I have ever written to a newspaper, but I think a good deed should not go unnoticed.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, almost 90 years old, and I went to lunch at Chick-fil-A across from Tyrone Square Mall. It was a hot day, and when we came out of the restaurant, we saw that we had a flat tire.

While we were standing by our car, trying to decide what to do, a young man and his friend came out of the restaurant and offered to replace the flat tire with our spare tire. Even though they had on their dress clothes, they got down on their knees and worked long and hard to replace the flat tire.

This man was the owner and manager of Chick-fil-A, Andrew Cathy. When we offered to pay them, Cathy said, "It's our pleasure - no charge." He really made our day.

Frances and Casey Gadd, St. Petersburg

Story helps keep nesting birds safe

Re: These islands are for the birds, too, June 28.

Thank you for publishing Theresa Blackwell's excellent article on the beautiful beach-nesting birds that are trying to raise their chicks in our area.

Many people in the Tampa Bay area don't know that the birds are nesting.

Once they understand, most people are interested and happy to avoid disturbing the birds for the short nesting season.

We need more articles like this one on a regular basis. Keep them coming.

Lois Copperman, St. Petersburg

[Last modified July 4, 2006, 23:48:45]

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