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Today's Letters: Let people decide fate of parks, preserves

Published July 1, 2007


Board weighs control of environmental lands story, June 27

I applaud Pinellas County Commissioners Calvin Harris, Ken Welch and Ronnie Duncan for listening to the concerns of their constituents and for understanding the reasoning behind those concerns.

I give a huge thumbs-down to the remaining commissioners, but especially Susan Latvala, who seems to think the public doesn't have the intelligence necessary to make a decision on water issues in the Brooker Creek Preserve in an emergency. I think she's selling the public short. The Penny for Pinellas referendum passed, didn't it? And when politicians wanted to get rid of Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, the citizens responded overwhelmingly that they wanted to keep their airport.

As with Albert Whitted, Pinellas County citizens want to decide what happens in their parks and preserves. St. Petersburg had the wisdom to tie any disposition of waterfront property to a public referendum, and it has worked splendidly for years. Pinellas County would be smart to follow suit in formulating charter amendments for our parks and preserves.

Don Margeson, St. Petersburg

Board weighs control of environmental lands story, June 27

Referendum vote: yes

A referendum reflects the majority vote and the will of the people. The county commissioners sell the citizens short when they believe that the people cannot comprehend or vote for what is best. They are circumventing the public by creating exceptions in the proposed ordinance that would restrict the sale of county parks and environmental lands.

The fact that the commission would have to "sell" future charter changes to the public is one reason it is the proper vehicle for lands of critical concern. Changes should not be done lightly or quickly and they should be understood and agreed upon by the public after careful deliberation and review. Is it so wrong to take the time to educate the public so we can make an informed choice? I cannot comprehend one instance that would require timely action by the commissioners that a referendum vote would dangerously delay.

Changes to our environmental lands may be necessary in the future, but let's make sure the changes reflect the needs and understanding of the citizenry by requiring a referendum on all changes. Thomas Brookes, Palm Harbor

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[Last modified June 30, 2007, 23:35:36]

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