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Money spent on pet burial could be put to better use

Letters to the Editor
Published September 25, 2006

Re: Pet's final resting place, story, Sept. 17.

I find it downright obscene that our culture has reached a point where folks are spending large sums to bury an animal. The article describing the "Garden of Angels," "Heaven's Playground," "Garden of Love" and "Trail's End" pet cemetery sections at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor is downright ludicrous.

Children are diagnosed with cancer each and every day and yet people are spending upward of $5,000 to bury an animal? Seems a bit self-absorbed.

Couldn't this money be spent in better ways? Perhaps it could be donated to a charity of their choice. Even donating it to have the pet population controlled would be better than the frivolous act of burying an animal.

People who are spending this kind of money on a "pet burial" are the same folks who are going through life blindly. No regard for anyone else around them.

I find it shameful that the St. Petersburg Times would waste ink on writing about this. Certainly there are other pressing issues in our world that warrant the Clearwater Times front page.

Animals are just that, animals. To waste money that could be better used to help someone in need (schools, charities, hospitals, etc.) is disgusting to say the least.

Rick Kroeger, Clearwater

Scientology attacker doesn't deserve attention

Re: Scientology's scourge, story, Sept. 17.

I am completely amazed that you would waste so much space on the bigoted attacks of a loafer living off the taxes you and I pay.

Scientology is actively working to improve conditions and make this a better place to live. Why not feature some of the truth about what Scientologists are like, what they do and what they accomplish?

Why not report on the children and adults who are learning how to read using L. Ron Hubbard's study methods? Why not report on those who were helped to break free from drugs with his drug-rehabilitation technology? Or how Scientology volunteer ministers have helped in every disaster from the World Trade Center to the Indonesian tsunami?

Perhaps these stories, which brighten people's lives, don't qualify for the pages of the St. Petersburg Times, but sex crimes and hate do?

Doyle Mills, Clearwater

Budget decisions have meant hard choices

Re: Closing community center, library on weekends bad idea, letter by Ginger Francisco, Sept. 15.

Thank you for your recent letter. I certainly understand your concerns. If I thought this city, with the budget it has, was going to close a facility I frequented, I'd be upset too.

It's unfortunate that staff made such recommendations, when the direction was very clear that any reductions to the proposed budget were to be done operationally and should not reduce services. Let me assure you that there was never any desire, expressed or otherwise, to close any facility or reduce operating hours.

You are absolutely correct to say that our working families need our support. I've said numerous times that our population is getting younger, with a median age of 44 years old. We must offer services in the evening and on weekends and should include not only facilities but also our government access. We should strive for more accessible workshop times, better Internet communication and more involvement in our local schools.

The other side of the coin is that our working families may not be able to afford to go to these facilities if their elected officials don't do something to stop the madness of spending, reduce the millage rate and lobby our Legislature to fight the insurance companies. My family, especially my son, utilizes the programs the Leisure Services Department offers. Its importance and value to me personally is of the highest nature. The only cuts I will continue to look for will relate to efficiency.

One thing I've pointed out is that we have spent millions of dollars to add three new facilities for our citizens, however, the operational statements show me that the Recreation Department only brings in $150,000 more in revenue than it did five years ago. The department on a whole isn't producing the sort of revenue it should considering the capital investments made. And now, new employees are requested.

The problem is that we are living in a time where we need to be cutting expenses and making the price charged for services fair and equitable. Did you know we charge $5 for a permit to serve alcohol at a public facility? Do you think if someone were to have a wedding reception at the new Community Center, they wouldn't pay $8 or $10 to serve champagne for the wedding toast?

It is my job to make sure the citizens' money is best utilized and insisting on more efficiency is part of my job. This is what I'm asking from all of our departments, not just Leisure Services.

Thank you for the time you took to question what's happening with your local government. The budget process is never easy. No department wants to be told they may not get as much of an increase in funding as they expected. However, I cannot ignore the tax and insurance crisis that has plagued our citizenry.

Julie Ward Bujalski,

Dunedin city commissioner


We invite readers to write letters for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to 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 September 25, 2006, 07:08:50]

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