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Help homeless, don't judge them

Published February 6, 2007


Re: The homeless in Clearwater

I walk a lot. And one of my favorites places to walk is Crest Lake Park as it allows you to walk a mile and end up pretty much in the same spot where you started.

On my walks, it is difficult not to notice the number of homeless people who frequent the park in the daytime. I guess the cops boot them out at night or they go to shelters if any exist.

If the city of Clearwater can afford to build Beach Walk, boat slips and a Cleveland Street streetscape, why can't it build a shower facility for the homeless in Crest Lake Park? How much could it cost? I believe that if the homeless had a convenient place to shower and clean up without being embarrassed or harassed, they would use it. If they had access to facilities to wash their clothes, they would wash them.

I think the all or nothing approach to homelessness is a doomed policy. People for all sorts of reasons - emotional, economic and psychological - will be homeless. Must we make being homeless as hard as possible? Must we judge them? I would rather see my tax dollars go to building a shower and laundry of some sort for the homeless than to the millionaires on the beach.

Who knows? With a fresh shower and clean clothes, maybe the homeless would improve their lot. If not, so what? Remember Jesus' promise: The poor will always be with you. Maybe we can give them a chance to live a little better life.

Phillip Marmanillo, Clearwater

Re: 'Problem' isn't with the homeless letter by John Luttrell, Feb. 2

Education is key in homeless issue

It is a shame, I believe, to categorize the homeless, as Mr. Luttrell seems to have done. Study the homeless and you find much larger issues leading to their dilemma. Seemingly able-bodied men and women are tormented by diseases such as alcohol, mental illness and plain old dysfunctional family issues. Any "choice" to be homeless is pitiable, no matter the reason.

The ignorance of some self-described church-going individuals to categorize the homeless and judge by two standards - the either/or - keeps the homeless on the streets, unfortunately.

The homeless will always be among us, a fact of history and future projections. The only humane "choice" of those of us not in that situation is to educate ourselves so that we may lift those that we can out and away from homelessness. This requires a character of charity of the mind, body and heart, and not just liberalism, as Mr. Luttrell would have us believe.

Judith Durling, Clearwater

In beach battle, we are the enemy

Almost a Florida native, I've spent 60 of my 70 years here. From the 1940s to the 1970s, few people built houses of substance on the gulf or on the ocean.

Land was cheap and waterfront sites were used for shacks, camping and small cottages. Hotels were far and few between and the motels were "Mom and Pop," sturdily built and protected by sand dunes, not sea walls.

This worked. Everyone had unobstructed views of the water and could park anywhere - including on the beach.

Many's the car I've seen set afloat by an incoming tide.

The concept of ecology didn't exist. Wealth meant a big house, big yard, shady trees and domestic help, not a water view.

The Seabird Sanctuary in Redington Shores has some dunes left - ask the director how the dunes and native plants have spared the waterfront there.

So, now our beaches are wall to wall concrete and vulnerable to the weather.

Not only is our ecology virtually nonexistent, breaking my heart, but I'm helping to insure concrete monstrosities, breaking my wallet.

Dear Pogo, you had it right: "We have met the enemy, and it is us."

I'm more afraid of us than the terrorists.

Barbara Day, Clearwater

Kudos for keeping recycling program

Congratulations Largo commissioners, for listening to the citizens, maintaining the recycling program and hiring a new recycling coordinator.

They realized successful programs require continuing public education. Best wishes to the new coordinator!

The cost of the program, though, is being looked at from straight economics.

The justification for a recycling program requires a different paradigm.

Every ton that is recycled actually saves the city $37.50, which is the fee per ton at the county's waste-to-energy plant.

Also, every ton recycled and kept out of the plant means more room for nonrecyclable or nonsorted garbage to be combusted to generate electricity.

Many other studies have been done regarding the cost-benefit analysis of recycling renewable resources (like paper) and nonrenewable ones (like aluminum), but the bottom line is what Commissioner Harriet Crozier said, "Recycling is the right thing to do."

Largo, let's get behind the new coordinator and make the program an award-winning one like in the 1990s!

Rebecca Stone, Largo

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

[Last modified February 6, 2007, 07:02:42]

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