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Today's Letters: Pier Aquarium needs continued fiscal support

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 20, 2007


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Sorry, don't ask for money May 4, story

Last weekend marked the grand reopening of the St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium and the new touch tank. This entire renovation was paid for by money carefully saved by the Pier Aquarium over its nearly 20 years in existence. It is a remarkable example of a successful partnership between St. Petersburg and others committed to public marine education.

Our city enjoys many forms of enrichment that are made possible by the nondepartmental funding budget. To the Pier Aquarium's credit, it has become largely self-sustaining through careful stewardship of its resources. Dependence on the city for funding has been reduced, as requested by the city, through implementation of a nominal entrance fee. However, the city should continue to honor this partnership and support this educational mission. The Pier Aquarium will suffer greatly with the loss of the non-departmental funding by the city.

It will be a sad day for Floridians when everyone heads for Wal-Mart with their newfound property tax "savings" to purchase a giant flat-screen TV. Of course, there won't be much else to do then. Parks, pools and libraries will be closed; there will be no orchestra, no marching bands in the streets in April, no family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration, and nowhere to turn for help when someone suffers from the disease of alcoholism. People may still fish off the seawalls but won't know a snook from a sheepshead because there will be no one around to educate them about the beautiful but fragile ecosystem of Tampa Bay.

Don't let this happen to our fabulous city! Please retain the nondepartmental funds for our future!

Susan Wallace, St. Petersburg

 

Baker, the 'Condo Kid' 

Mansion by the Bay will have to make way May 6, story

It would appear that under the stewardship of Mayor Rick Baker (or, as I am wont to call him, the "Condo Kid"), building permits are being handed out like party favors.

A case in point are the condos being built across from Presbyterian Towers. They are kicking up dust, chewing up earth and causing traffic jams, not to mention the 7 a.m. wakeup calls caused by the sleep-shattering groans of heavy equipment being put into operation.

Now it seems we will be faced with another project, the Mansion by the Bay condos. It would seem that Dan Harvey, owner of Mansion by the Bay, and Mayor Baker know with certainty that there is not enough "breathing space" between the condos proposed by the Mansion and Presbyterian Towers.

I think these men operate on a different concept - namely, that if a dollar bill can be squeezed between the two buildings, it is a viable proposition.

Eleanor P. Foley, St. Petersburg

 

Sweeney did a great job 

PSTA chief to retire this July March 29

For many of us who are users of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority system, the announcement of Roger Sweeney's retirement brings feelings of both sadness and apprehension. So many good things have occurred during his 16-year tenure.

For me - besides the increased service - the shelter program, the bikes on buses program and the "go card" introduction are standouts. PSTA "bikes on" is one of the most successful in the nation. To accomplish that took careful planning, creative marketing and, most of all, fiscal responsibility. Sweeney and his staff should be applauded for their many accomplishments.

One can only hope that the PSTA board will choose a successor with the wisdom to continue growing in the right direction.

Good luck to the PSTA, and thanks and best wishes to Roger Sweeney.

Dorothea Miller, St. Petersburg

 

Emulate Seattle market

I doubt I'm the first to suggest this obvious idea, so please add my name to the list of those in favor of a marketplace at the port of St. Petersburg.

I read that the Saturday Morning Market must move and that the city isn't going to become a cruise-ship destination. No matter. I could see a market like Pike Place in Seattle at the port of St. Petersburg. Combine the Saturday market with a fresh seafood market.

I'm talking fresh food, waterfront atmosphere, new airport terminal, USF, Web cams, souvenir T-shirts, etc., all tied together with a marketplace open to the public.

All those in favor, say aye, aye captain.

Roy Jones, St. Petersburg

 

Cure for safer roads 

Focus on driving May 13, letter

I agree with the letter writer when he describes how Pinellas County roads have become overrun with reckless drivers. I disagree with his suggested solution, however. A law banning cell phone use while driving sounds good, but we already have numerous traffic laws that are not enforced. (Try speed limits, for starters. Excessive speed is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes.) The real solution is more officers on the streets writing traffic tickets and enforcing safe driving laws.

Scott Bravard, St. Petersburg

 

M&M's never made it

The Letter Carriers Food Drive to "Stamp Out Hunger" was May 12. I have to wonder how much of the food actually reaches the needy people for whom it was intended.

The reason for my doubt is this: On May 11, I put two bags of various food items in the lobby of my condominium building, where our mail carrier would be picking them up on Saturday. Each bag was tied with a knot at the top.

It was early on Saturday morning when I thought of a few more items to put in a bag and brought them down to the lobby. Well, to my surprise, I noticed that one of my bags had been opened, and missing were two 14-ounce bags of dark chocolate M&M's. Whoever the culprit was couldn't have really been hungry. Someone was just looking for a tasty snack.

Now if the individual(s) had been shrewd enough to retie the bag, I never would have noticed. But instead, the thief left a telltale sign. People will be people. And so it goes.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

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We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site at www.sptimes.com/letters. They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

[Last modified May 19, 2007, 20:27:55]


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