Today's Letters: Gibson still has some support

Letters to the Editor
Published September 14, 2007

Re: Self-centered Gibson must learn to behave editorial, Sept. 9

Gibson still has some support

If Clearwater City Councilman Paul Gibson is indeed living up to his campaign promises, I for one applaud him.

This group of Mayor Frank Hibbard cronies (mostly bought and paid for by local businesses) is long overdue for a little fiscal responsibility and was largely the reason Mr. Gibson was elected.

Their answer to the property tax reduction was, we'll make them hurt and get the money from other places. We are certainly are not going to make do with less money.

I will never vote for anyone currently on that council, except for Mr. Gibson (if he continues to oppose Frank Hibbard).

John Biggs,Clearwater

Re: Boat slip fight in final round story, Sept. 6

Give working stiffs a break

I am writing on behalf of a group of local weekend fishermen that I had the good fortune to meet 10 years ago. They called the Clearwater Beach boat basin (between what is now the Belle Harbor condominium and the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center) "Penny's Cove" in honor of their favorite waitress, who worked at Frenchy's Cafe. She lived in a little upper flat there near the basin. They would bring in their catch, and Penny would cook it up for them.

Twenty years ago, they would all go early morning fishing in their meager crafts and agree to meet at "Penny's Cove" to go onshore for lunch and a couple of drinks. The basin was also a safe harbor when a storm brewed.

Penny and one of the fishermen, Todd, fell in love and eventually married.

We still enjoy early morning fishing and relaxing on Clearwater Beach in the afternoon.

The Belle Harbor residents have their own marina. What? Millionaires don't come home drunk on their yachts after midnight?

Give us working stiffs a break. We deserve a place to relax too. Clearwater Beach was a relaxed community. Don't try to change us.

I am fed up with the nouveau opulent people moving into our communities and changing our lifestyle. You want to be fancy-schmancy, move to the French Riviera. You can afford it! Or move to Sarasota; you will be welcomed with open arms.

We were here before your $2-million condo!

Susan Smith, Crystal Beach

Re: Pit bulls are a danger; ban them now guest column, Sept. 4

Facts don't support rant

While I found Mary Kousathanas' uniformed and ill-conceived diatribe against a specific breed of dog interesting, if only to see the level of ignorance that exists on this issue, I still felt compelled to answer with some statistics.

First of all, dog bite fatalities are extremely rare in the United States. There are approximately 15 to 20 each year from the 64-million dogs that Americans keep as pets.

Is Ms. Kousathanas aware that a child is much more likely to die choking on a balloon and an elderly adult is more likely to die in a bedroom slipper incident than from a dog bite? The chances of her being killed by a dog are roughly 1 in 18-million. She is five times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike, especially in the Tampa Bay area.

If Ms. Kousathanas really wants to save lives, how about going door to door and confiscating handguns? Gun deaths numbered just over 30,000 in the United States in 2004.

Since we can't know who is a responsible gun owner and who is not, let's just take them all, as she advocates we do with the pit bulls.

In addition, anyone who states that pit bull breeds are vicious is factually incorrect. A breed of dog cannot be deemed vicious. Only specific dogs are vicious, not breeds. Generally, dogs that become vicious are taught this behavior through nurture, not nature.

Another salient point to consider is that bite statistics themselves are difficult to obtain accurately. Dogs that are referred to as pit bulls in reports are often a broad variety or mix of breeds that are all lumped together as "pit bull." Taking this into account, the actual number of attacks attributable to American pitbull terriers is considerably lower than represented in the headlines.

Furthermore, by many estimates, pit bull breeds and mixes are among the most popular breeds in the nation. It is only logical to assume that the breed with the highest volume in population would also be the breed with a highest volume of bites.

Having owned several pit bull mixes and breeds myself, none of whom ever bit anyone, I can certainly attest that it is not the breed, but rather the irresponsible and reprehensible actions of owners like Michael Vick who erroneously tarnish the reputation of these fine creatures.

Anne Morgan, Clearwater