Today's Letters: Unspoiled, wild places vanishing

Published May 10, 2007

Re: Plan for ballfields in Brooker Creek Preserve

My wife and I lived and worked in Pinellas County for years and I was born in Pinellas County. I still am in Pinellas County often for business and try to always arrange my trips to take me near Brooker Creek Preserve, Weedon Island or Fort De Soto. Pinellas County should be commended for protecting and preserving these places.

With that said, it is deeply disturbing that now, given all the time, effort, citizen support and tax dollars that have gone into acquiring and preserving a place like Brooker Creek, the county would consider projects that would negatively impact its "wildest place."

I write today with a quick, simple message and request: Protect and preserve Brooker Creek first and foremost for nature. Passive recreation, environmental education and well-managed and preserved public lands are as important to county residents as ballfields and county infrastructure. Surely, the children of Pinellas County need nature and nature-based experiences as much as they need ballfields.

I come to Pinellas County for work and for play, to visit and use places like Brooker Creek. I spend sales tax dollars in your county, spend my money in restaurants and hotels when in your county on longer business trips, and believe strongly that the small remaining pieces of open space and natural areas in your county should be preserved for future generations.

Out there, in places like Brooker Creek at the edges of the city and the suburb, is heaven on Earth. The mosaic of life that flourishes in the forests, creeks, wetlands and open spaces of Brooker Creek is simply amazing, given it is within Florida's most densely populated county.

Across Florida, given all that we know about the natural world and our impact on it, we should be able to find the grace to leave alone what is still unspoiled. Yet despite this knowledge, the machine of development marches on. We feed the machine the bodies and blood of all things wild. We steal from our children what we barely know ourselves.

This does not have to happen at Brooker Creek. Protect your wildest place in Pinellas County. Please protect and preserve Brooker Creek.

Joe Murphy, Ridge Manor

Re: A license to kill tortoises story, May 7

It is just sick to bury tortoises

My name is Leah Culkar and I am a sixth-grader at Safety Harbor Middle School. I am writing a response to the article I read in the paper on Monday about the tortoises.

I think it is absolutely horrendous, burying and suffocating helpless tortoises just to save money. I think we as citizens as well as the workers are being lazy by letting this happen. I mean, how would you like it if one day you woke up and your whole neighborhood was buried alive like the tortoises?

I can't just sit around and let this kind of thing happen and neither can the rest of our community. With all the permits being purchased, more than 94, 000 poor tortoises will die. It is just sick and we must stop it before July or it will be too late to save them.

Leah Culkar, Safety Harbor

Re: Condo-hotel project a no go story, May 1

Do beach projects pay, go or no go?

Since Taylor Woodrow has backed out on its commitment to build a $180-million waterfront condo-hotel, does that relieve it from paying the property taxes on the $180-million "best use" of property provision so loved by the tax collectors of Pinellas County? Or do just small-business owners and homeowners get hit with that assessment?

If Taylor Woodrow can't pay its fair and full share of taxes like the rest of us, is the city planning on placing a lien on the property to pay for unpaid taxes? Or is this just another example of corrupt Republican politicos creating a double standard: one for the rich and one for the rest of us?

Every single project owner on the beach should pay the full "best use" tax just like everyone else, whether the project gets built or not. And if they can't afford the taxes, then they should forfeit those properties to the citizens of Clearwater who do pay their fair share of taxes.

Phillip Marmanillo, Clearwater

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