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Today's Letters: Volunteers make all the difference

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published August 5, 2007


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Relying on volunteers risky July 31, editorial

What do you do when the city threatens to take away your library and recreation center, yet again?

You figure out how to save it and keep it permanently.

In 1999, a little bit of the soul of Clearwater Beach was destroyed when the Memorial Civic Center and Library was demolished to make way for the roundabout. I have heard people talk about the old Civic Center and the fun they had there.

And yes, in recent years we have neglected the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center, but not the beach branch library. We allowed programs to be cut at the recreation center and generally the community did not support it as we should. It was allowed to wallow, so the city thought it could take it away without a protest.

The old-time residents of Clearwater Beach will tell you that volunteers started the first library on the beach. When the recreation center was first built, there was only one staff person; the rest were volunteers. Gradually, the city took these over. But the threat of losing the offspring of the Civic Center and Library has energized the beach community to act.

The editorial sounds like a conversation I had with an elected Clearwater official at the beginning of this process. If I had listened to him, there would not be 30 volunteers eager to work at the Recreation Center and Library, including many who have held professional and managerial positions.

From the beginning, it has been a negative road: "Volunteers can't do this," "They are not reliable," "They do not have the skills." What a terrible lesson for our children - wait for the government to do it; it is not your job.

Well, the fact is we cannot do it all. We need city staff. We need professional librarians. We need professional recreation staff. But we can do a lot and we will.

If the choice is no services or volunteers, I say volunteer. Come join us next year and you will see a new and revitalized Beach Recreation Center and Library.

Pat Power, Clearwater

If we need to cut, let's cut sports

If community budgets need to be slashed, why can't professional sports allotments from our taxes be a good (and a large) place to start? They are certainly not necessary to our lives.

And why can't some sports money at schools be cut and instead used for academics - books, teacher salaries and schools? Always, enough money is found for expensive stadiums - school or professional.

The dumbest use of (tax) money was for "beautifying" street medians. Now, there has to be labor to trim them, often by shutting down the lane nearest the median.

J.L. Farley, Clearwater

The solution is quite simple

It seems that many letters to the editor now begin with "How dare" or "outrageous" or other strong descriptions. The king's English is now used not so much for beauty, but for expressing "outrage" of one sort or another.

Three volatile issues are at the head of the line: property taxes, school choice and waste.

Eliminate school choice completely and our exorbitant property taxes may level off, our environment will be cleaner and our children will be going to school in our neighborhoods, which we paid a pretty penny in taxes to live in.

Common sense, folks, not selfishness. It is simple.

Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, 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 August 4, 2007, 22:44:13]


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