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Mayor set city on course of dirty politics

Letters to the Editor
Published July 28, 2006


My family and I came to Dunedin in 1954 from Washington, D.C. Thanks to Mayor Bob Hackworth, what has long been known as "Delightful Dunedin" now has the cloud of dirty politics hanging over it.

When he campaigned for a seat on the City Commission against Cecil Englebert, the trend he has continued to set since then began to emerge. To refresh everyone's memory and to inform those who don't know, the Saturday before the Tuesday election, without giving any time to respond, Mr. Hackworth mailed out a postcard to registered voters that was a disgraceful attempt to tear down the reputation of a man who has given his heart and soul to Dunedin with great integrity over many, many years.

If once wasn't bad enough, along comes Julie Ward Bujalski, who was often seen in the hip pocket of Mr. Hackworth (I'll never be able to call him "Mayor") and she does exactly the same thing against Ron Barnette, a person with stellar credentials compared with her questionable history and minimal experience. Can there be much doubt based on history about who was really behind the orchestration of this slip back into dirty politics?

With this foundation, I now bring you to the present and the recent private party that honored Maureen "Moe" Freaney, who served our city for 22 years, most recently in the position of city manager.

As most of our citizens know, Hackworth, Commissioner Dave Eggers and Commissioner Bujalski put the taxpayers of Dunedin in a position whereby thousands of dollars has been paid to search firms to recruit city manager candidates. The insanity of this can be said in one sentence: Freaney has been selected to serve in a Pinellas County position for which 1,700 other candidates applied.

Thanks to Hackworth, Eggers and Bujalski, we lost the best city manager we could have had.

How Eggers and Bujalski had the gall to eat and drink alongside the army of Moe's supporters at the private party honoring the very person they consistently worked against is beyond belief.

Patricia Rawlings, Dunedin

Resort critics wrongly pointing fingers

Re: Mind their manners, Shephard's, letter, July 12, and Shephard's resort is making Clearwater Beach a landmark, letter, July 25.

I am very happy to see two letters in response to Laura DeVinney's July 12 complaint. I, too, intended to write regarding this issue.

I have nothing to do with this resort except that I enjoy the atmosphere, cleanliness, professionalism and music that they have in place. I always take company there when an opportunity arises, and my husband and I go there also (and we are retired), so we are a different generation from many of their patrons. We even escape there for a short weekend to lie by the pool, listen to the music and enjoy the food that is offered by this establishment.

Ms. DeVinney, why did you feel it was necessary to add that you are a Realtor? Why did you find that commercial on your behalf necessary?

I agree that there are many establishments and public beaches, and a lack of parking for many of the other establishments, and people are not always considerate regarding keeping our beaches and city clean, so why point your finger at one business?

This is a beach community and we have people from every part of the world enjoying what we have every day if we take time to enjoy it.

Betty Elsesser, Clearwater

Shephard's is cause of most bad behavior

Re: It's not fair to single out resort for rude behavior of beachgoers, letter, July 25.

The general manager of Shephard's resort takes strong exception to accusations that his operation is the "sole contributor to ... delinquent behavior" on the beach. He defends Shephard's by reminding us that the property is kept clean, safe and secure, as if that is the only issue.

Apparently, the concept of having an obligation of responsibility to the surrounding community is lost on him. Who can worry about consequences and culpability when one is busy running such a successful and popular resort?

So, it's not his fault that Shephard's caters to a wild and rowdy weekend crowd. It's not his fault that Shephard's renowned "bikini contest" whips the "idiots" (the general manager's own word for a few beachgoers) into a frenzy.

It's not his fault that the Clearwater Police Department and county sheriff have described the boating area in Clearwater Pass adjacent to Shephard's as a "party place," complete with illegal activities such as public nudity, lewd behavior, underage consumption of alcohol, disorderly conduct and illicit drug activity.

It's not his fault that his weekend customers regularly wander out onto the street and fight, pass out, vomit or otherwise create a public nuisance. It's not his fault that Clearwater emergency and fire vehicles are parked in front of Shephard's virtually every weekend afternoon.

It's not his fault that the reason the other bars in the area don't hire off-duty police officers to bolster their security detail is because, unlike Shephard's, they don't need to.

He's right when he says that many of the "brazen and disrespectful" are going to other beach bars. They all know to make Shephard's the last destination on their bar crawl.

As a former beach resident, I can confirm that Shephard's is indeed not the sole source of the problems in that area of the beach. They're only about 90 percent of the problem.

Dave Spath, Clearwater

Seniors need dental specials, too

Re: Health department to check students' teeth, story, July 14.

I was reading the article about back to school dental specials for the kids. What a great idea!

I was wondering if something like that could be provided for us seniors. It is expensive to go to a dentist, especially when one has only a set income. And dental insurance is so high, if you can even get such a thing.

Can you help us seniors?

Nancy M. Edwards, Clearwater

YOUR VOICE COUNTS

We invite readers to write letters for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to www.sptimes.com/letters. 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.

[Last modified July 28, 2006, 00:51:03]


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