Today's Letters: The merits of mass transit should be apparent to all

Published May 30, 2007

Thank you so much for your "Verbatim" quote from Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Jim Norman. Norman stated his misguided opinion that the only reason the people of St. Petersburg want a regional transit system is so that folks from Hillsborough will attend, and subsequently save, St. Petersburg baseball.

From which turnip truck did this provincial rube fall? Has he never traveled outside Florida and visited some of the larger metropolitan areas of this planet? Obviously Norman is not aware that New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, Chicago and Atlanta (just to name a few) all have subways, elevated trains, or metros on which millions of people daily commute to work, go shopping, go to school, enjoy vacations, visit museums and, yes, go to sporting events.

My husband and I moved here from Alexandria, Va., and used the Metro at least 70 percent of our travel time, usually to go into D.C. to visit museums, galleries, the theater or to dine. It meant an eight-block walk to get to the station. But, even in the dead of winter, it was better than trying to find parking.

We don't live in St. Petersburg but love the city. We are members of the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy going for the galleries and other art-related activities. Neither of us has a shred of interest in sports, but we would use a metro or transit system to get to St. Petersburg, and maybe even Tampa when the new museum opens. Are you paying attention, Mayor Iorio?

In case Jim Norman has not noticed, there are a number of people who live on one side of the bay and work on the other side and maybe a few students who live in Pinellas but attend the universities in Tampa. Or vice versa. There are traffic jams on the Howard Frankland Bridge almost daily and not a baseball game on the schedule. We have a horrible state of affairs in this country with the price of gasoline and the burden it has put on many families.

The ridiculous debate over whether to build a transit system has gone just too far. With the way things are progressing, the number of gas-guzzling cars on the road, the question should not be whether or not but when.

Nel Bringsjord, Safety Harbor

Fans are all around

After reading Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Jim Norman's statement regarding a regional transit system, it is apparent that he thinks only Hillsborough residents have been attending Bucs games all these years.

Without the support of "out-of- county residents, " the Bucs, as well as the Devil Rays, could not exist. And he should be smart enough to realize this. Tampa Bay is not just Tampa.

I.W. Heathcote, Sun City Center

Leftover board uses clout May 26, story

Experts needed in transportation

The Florida Transportation Commission profiles seem to reveal a group of people without a background in transportation technology. If any members do have a transportation background, they do not seem to have any outstanding achievements in that field. Their main backgrounds seem to be in real estate development, banking, law or communications. No wonder we have a mixed up transport system in Florida.

My suggestion for transportation board members is to nominate people who are transportation engineers and have significant achievements in the field. Or at least select some equally qualified professional engineers known as "PEs."

Further, even with some lawyers on the commission, this group does not even have the capability to conform to Florida's "Sunshine Law."

I wish Florida the best of luck in developing an outstanding state transportation system.

Charles E. MacNeill, Crystal River

Development dangers

If you think we have a shortage of water now, let the developers keep building the humongous condos and shopping areas, and it will only get worse.

I think it's time that our state and city officials realize that money can't buy back our natural resources, and at the alarming rate these oversize structures continue being built here, things are only going to get worse. More buildings and more people add up to more drain on our ecological resources. Wildlife is getting pushed out and the wetlands are disappearing - all in the name of progress. Once it's gone, it's gone. No revenue generated by this overbuilding can ever bring back what is gone.

Progress is fine, but when is enough going to be enough?

Carol Levey, St. Petersburg

Water conservation

Stop the madness

I'm not limiting my showers to five minutes as long as the "powers that be" permit high-density housing and biofuel plants to suck up all the available water. Have Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa all built water and sewer lines to accommodate this unfettered water usage? If not, where does the money come from to pay for them?

Thirty-three-story high-rises are just insane, as are huge hotels along the coast. And when you have short-sighted county commissioners such as Hillsborough's Jim Norman making transportation decisions, the situation becomes worse.

Conserving water, lowering greenhouse gases, keeping green belts green are what we pay these people to do. It behooves every citizen to take charge of their future and refuse these idiots another term in office. We must get a handle on our water usage and transportation problems.

Kay Kelly, Clearwater

Ethanol plant a thirsty option May 28, story

Ethanol's no answer

Let me get this straight. The federal government and environmentalists want us to go to ethanol to save what? We will be using tons of corn which will increase prices for food, dairy products and meats and reduce food supplies in poor countries. Also, the production of ethanol uses a lot of water at a time when water is in short supply and we are instructed to use as little as possible.

The new ethanol will most likely cost us more per gallon and get less mileage per gallon. It is time to get our representatives and senators to stop this and start to get oil from here at home. Who is making all the money on these ethanol projects?

Tampa should put its foot down now and say "we do not have the water for you to experiment with something that may or not may work."

Marcia Morris, New Port Richey

Rev. Lyons may try to split Baptists May 24, story

Sounds like a joke

When I read the first two paragraphs of this article, I thought it was Sunday and I was reading the "Satire" column in the Perspective section.

Here is a felon who owes more than $5-million in restitution and he has the nerve to talk about "integrity"? I guess Abe Lincoln was right about fooling some of the people all of the time.

Peter J. Ford, Tierra Verde

Kucinich keeps up lonely campaign May 27, story

Give us substance

I commend the St. Petersburg Times for covering Dennis Kucinich's appearance at Mise En Place in Tampa, but I condemn it for focusing on his wife and his place in the polls.

All voters deserve to hear a candidate's ideas and vision. The Times emphasis on looks and polls is a disservice to voters. Kucinich has great ideas and the courage to speak out. We need more leaders like Kucinich.

"How do you win?" you ask? It starts with the media, like the St. Petersburg Times for example, describing the substance of a candidate's ideas. I wish the Times had reported Kucinich's stand on Iraq, his ideas on health care and his vision for an America that is respected around the world. This way he will get the attention he deserves.

Your article says he is struggling to get people to pay attention. The problem is the media - in this case, the St. Petersburg Times.

John and Eileen Mandujano, Largo

Photos a plus

I just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed the pictures that are displayed daily on Page 3A of the St. Petersburg Times. When they first appeared, I felt they were a waste of an important page, but now I find that they are the first thing I look at after reviewing the headlines.

Thanks for giving us at least one nice thing a day.

Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor