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    Letters to the Editors

    Commission is leading city into trouble

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 5, 2001

    In recent years, votes by our Clearwater City Commission have resulted in the expenditure of millions of dollars on projects that were disastrous (such as the beach roundabout), or not as beneficial as promised (such as the Missouri Avenue IMR project).

    Also, the commission has obligated us to future open-ended expenditures in the multimillion-dollar range for a new Clearwater Harbor bridge and a new Phillies stadium.

    Interestingly, the only major expenditure issue in recent years that was sent to a citizen referendum was the downtown bayfront development plan, and this was soundly defeated last July in spite of support from a commission majority.

    With this history in mind, I'm very concerned that Clearwater has become financially overcommitted because of profligate spending.

    Fortunately, there is a solution in sight, in that three new city commissioners will be elected in early March. There are candidates for each of these seats who have indicated that they will work to restore fiscal conservatism to our city budget.

    Thus, if enough Clearwater voters and taxpayers agree with my concerns, we can elect a commission majority that can change the fiscal direction of our city. But whether you agree with me or not, please vote in March.
    -- Bill Schwob, Clearwater

    Seniors deserve our respect, thanks

    On a recent evening, my family and I had a wonderful older couple from across the street join us for dinner. After a terrific evening, we were walking Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Shermeta to their car when Mrs. Shermeta, almost embarrassed, thanked me for taking the time to have a few "old fogies" over for dinner.

    Well, me and my family have a few things we would like to say to the "old fogies" of America.

    Were it not for your courage and sacrifice during the Great Depression, America would not have survived.

    Were it not for the ultimate sacrifice of your generation during World War II, democracy and the free world would not have survived.

    Were it not for the love and devotion and your time throughout the years, family values, respect for others, and the desire and ambition to succeed would not have survived.

    My family and I would like to thank the Shermetas, our parents and all the other "old fogies" of America who have given us all of our opportunities and made our lives so wonderful and successful.
    -- Marty Landry, M.D., Largo

    Fountains do more than just look pretty

    Re: Fountains are a waste of scarce water, Jan. 3 letter.

    Although the use of fountains may appear to be a waste of water, they are, in many cases, used to improve water quality. All fountains in Florida recirculate water, and lake fountains add oxygen to help control algae growth. This aeration promotes the growth of fish and can help to prevent the fish kills that we see every year.

    The healthy fish also eat insects and mosquito larvae, aiding in mosquito control. The added oxygen controls algae, which, if left unchecked, results in the stinking floating masses that can choke the lake.

    Fountains are not just another pretty face, but are hardworking assets to our natural beauty.

    Swiftmud addresses fountains in its rules, and because it understands the value of fountains, does not require curtailing their use now.

    Also, the water conditions and requirements are not uniform statewide, which is why there are six water management districts, and statewide regulations are impossible.

    If water conservation is of real concern to you, then just shorten the running time of each of your irrigation zones by five minutes. This will save 30 to 40 gallons per zone.

    Also be advised that only about 75 to 80 percent of the water that is sprayed into the air actually reaches the roots. About 20 percent evaporates before it reaches the ground, and just look around your neighborhood on watering days and see how much water is running down the gutters to the sewers. Who is wasting water?
    -- James Poehlman, Tarpon Springs

    Council out of control in personal attacks

    What's going on with the Oldsmar City Council?

    At the last council meeting, I was shocked at the behavior of the council. They were completely out of line. In their effort to attack council member Ed Richards, they made complete fools of themselves. Never in all the years of attending council meetings have I ever seen such out-of-control council members.

    With the exception of Mr. Richards and council member Dave Tilki, they should remember that people in glass houses should never throw stones. They have accepted vacations and trips without reporting them. Mr. Richards has always done his best for the people of Oldsmar. As a resident of Oldsmar, I thank you, Ed Richards, for all you have given to the people of Oldsmar.
    -- Grace Robinson, Oldsmar

    Replacing fields with lots is wrong

    As I sat on my back porch on a recent weekend, I enjoyed watching teams and families having a great time playing soccer. The location of these soccer fields is the site of the parking lot for the proposed new Phillies stadium on Drew Street across from St. Petersburg Junior College.

    The present and future Clearwater city commissioners have a unique opportunity to create a wonderful legacy for the youth of our community instead of yielding to the demands of big-league baseball.

    The commission recently voted to turn the tennis courts at the SPJC site into a skate park, a step in the right direction. Why not dedicate the remaining 32 acres to our youth by preserving the soccer fields and the two existing baseball diamonds, as well as using the gymnasium as a recreation center?

    It will certainly be a sad day when I look out from my back porch to see the soccer fields gone, only to be replaced by a parking lot for 1,100 cars.
    -- Jeanne Johnson, Clearwater

    Synchronized traffic lights would help

    I am firmly convinced that the person in charge of traffic flow in Pinellas County has a lot of stock in the oil industry.

    I work in north Clearwater and live in Largo (near Seminole). On the way home daily, I drive down Missouri Avenue/Seminole Boulevard. I have to stop for every light. I drive the speed limit. There is absolutely no synchronization of these lights.

    I have a 20-gallon gas tank in my vehicle. I estimate that I probably use at least 5 gallons of that waiting for lights to change.

    Although I do not run red lights, I can almost understand why some people do. Something needs to be done about this.
    -- Jerry Goralski, Largo

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