Today's Letters: City can't host all the homeless

Published May 9, 2007

Now Clearwater's police chief wants to expand the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project (CHIP) shelter. This is the shelter that has already destroyed property values in the "gateway" area of downtown. This is the area where we see the homeless roaming around Cleveland Street all day until they can get a bed for the night.

This is the shelter that St. Petersburg, Largo, etc., send their homeless to and pay on a per-head basis. Yes, this is something that Clearwater has tried to keep a big secret from its own citizens. Those cities can pay to have their homeless hauled up to Clearwater and not have to build any shelters in their fair cities. I know this secret because a few police officers have told me, requesting anonymity so they don't get fired.

Yes, let's expand the shelter to promote the homeless to come to Clearwater to a bigger and better facility.

Why on earth would they want to stay up north when they can come to Clearwater for free and live and eat better than most of us? Why would the other cities want to ruin their neighborhoods?

I wouldn't be surprised if the police chief doesn't have an Internet ad promoting Clearwater for the homeless.

The city asks what services we would like to give up to reduce taxes. How about stopping the huge sign welcoming the homeless to Clearwater? Enough already! Stop spending our money and send the homeless back to Cleveland, Minneapolis and yes, even Largo.

Clark Paulson, Clearwater

Re: Ruth Eckerd low on safety features letter by George R. Fletcher, April 24

Ruth Eckerd Hall has safe design

Ruth Eckerd Hall has been in operation for 24 years. It is true that initially, there were no exit signs over the portal exits in the hall. However, when that oversight was brought to the attention of management, luminous exit signs were installed. The exit signs were updated during the recent renovation of the hall. There never have been cardboard exit signs.

The letter writer criticized the seat arrangement that eliminated a center aisle, fashioned on European design. That, too, was in place 24 years ago and actually, the design is considered one of the safest. Exiting of a full house takes 4 1/2 minutes.

Mr. Fletcher's estimate of 60 seats in a row is a good guess, however that is the average number of seats in a row. There are 12 seats in row A, and the seating fans out up to row FF, where there are 93 seats. The depth of each aisle increases, providing significant leg room.

The information Mr. Fletcher would like regarding who designed the hall is available to him on a plaque mounted on the wall outside the west entry. The designer of Ruth Eckerd Hall was the chief architect of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, William Wesley Peters.

Mr. Fletcher's comparison of the seats in Ruth Eckerd Hall to commercial airline seats is too ludicrous to address. The seats, simply, are comfortable.

Kudos to our Fire Department for its reaction to Mr. Fletcher's letter. Two inspectors visited the hall and found absolutely no violations of the fire-safety codes and gave the hall a clean bill of health.

Now, once again, we can feel safe when attending a performance.

Howard G. Groth, Clearwater

Jacarandas part of area's beauty

We love to see the blooming jacaranda trees on Cinnamon Hill Road in Palm Harbor. It is a joy to see it as a glorious gift of spring. As we travel around Pinellas County at this time, we see several jacarandas. You should plant more!

I am a New York City native (snowbird). We all enjoy your parks in this county, great roads and the diversity of your shopping malls. Thank you!

Anne H. Brandt, Palm Harbor

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