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Today's Letters: City is wasteful in replacing vehicles

Published July 15, 2007


As a 38-year Clearwater resident, I am continuously reminded of the amount of money that has been spent by Clearwater and Pinellas County on vehicles. The number of 2005-07 cars and trucks is staggering.

Just look in the Pinellas County Courthouse parking lot on Sunday - and this represents only a small portion of the total fleet.

Having two major automotive companies as my clients as well as an automotive industry background for 23 years, my experience suggests that many of these new vehicles have been replaced not by length of service life but by what would be called "spend it now while we have all this extra tax money" mentality. I encourage the readers to look at the number of new trucks, cars and sport utility vehicles when they are driving.

It also now seems that in Clearwater, having a small, fuel-efficient parking enforcement cart for downtown is no longer good enough. You now see an air-conditioned four-door car being driven to give out parking tickets.

I realize that replacement is necessary over time, but what has been spent recently has not been for necessary replacements.

As for the Clearwater Trolley, it should be called the "Clearwater Folly." It won't be soon enough before the city discontinues this money pit that has no riders.

Ronald G. Pond, Clearwater


More qualified person not chosen 

Acting manager to stay on July 11, story

Where in the world would members of a city commission select a new city manager who is 70 years old (Norton "Mac" Craig retired as an Army lieutenant colonel drawing top salary) rather than a 53-year-old, more qualified person?

I'm angry, stunned and ashamed for the commissioners who voted in this direction.

After all, Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of South Florida and is better qualified and is not retired from service.

Dorothy Comer, Largo


Zoning decision has repercussions 

One man can fight City Hall July 11, story

I am not unhappy with the decision of the county commissioners to allow the Safety Harbor administration to bring back the Community Redevelopment Area for a third time after it was rejected two times. It is time to bring closure by leaving the Residential/Office/Services-1 zoning in the CRA.

I praise the county commissioners, particularly Commissioner Ken Welch, for saying that Safety Harbor must answer for its downzoning and devaluation of our properties on Bayshore Boulevard. I read that to say, leave the ROS-1 zoning in place or the CRA will not be approved.

We have been zoned ROS-1 since 1992, at the request of the city administration at that time. Commissioner Welch and the other county commissioners did not receive an adequate reason for the downzoning from Mayor Andy Steingold. He again sidestepped the question and did not provide a direct answer.

You can ask, why did the city downzone that Bayshore property without evaluating the repercussions that would follow? Can any of you think that a downzoning and devaluation in the hundreds of thousands of dollars would pass unnoticed by the property owners? Evidently, our City Commission did.

I want to clarify something once again: The CRA ends at the Safety Harbor Museum, and the ROS-1 zoning affects no one south of the museum.

The ROS-1 zoning is a pro-development zoning that could bring your tax dollars back to the city for improvements. The downzoned designation of Low Density Residential-1 (with a height limit of 25 feet) is a zero development zoning that does not belong in the CRA and will bring no tax dollars back.

Only four properties on Bayshore and the three adjacent properties behind them were downzoned by the City Commission vote in January 2006.

Will you stand up and say, "Leave the ROS-1 in the CRA for those properties"?

William M. Turkali, Safety Harbor


Mr. Beckett is not the problem in city 

City manager is offside in absenteeism debate July 12, editorial

It appears as if the St. Petersburg Times and three of Safety Harbor's city commissioners are confusing productivity and job performance, with the number of hours spent doing one's job.

The job of city manager or any manager of people can be difficult, stressful and often times emotionally exhausting.

Safety Harbor City Manager Billy Beckett apparently finds officiating football games provides a release of those pressures. As a manager and chief executive officer, he should be afforded the necessary latitude to do his job without being micromanaged.

If Mayor Andy Steingold is "wondering" or Vice Mayor Kathleen Earle is "concerned," then be specific and clear about those concerns.

Better yet, let's ask the city employees if they believe a problem exists. I guarantee you, it will not be with Mr. Beckett.

John Marakas, Safety Harbor

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

[Last modified July 14, 2007, 21:04:58]

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