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    Letters to the Editors

    Casino boats bring tourists, but not their money

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 3, 2001

    Re: No cruise ship, city panel says, March 30 story.

    What tourism could casino boats or dinner boats bring to Tarpon Springs? People park, go on the boat, gamble, eat and have a great time, get off the boat, get in their cars and leave the Sponge Docks. So where is the tourism?

    Where do these boats benefit the city? Do they pay taxes? Isn't the gambling offshore? Does the state benefit?

    I personally admire the decision of the Board of Adjustments.

    There is no culture in casino boats. There is culture in Tarpon Springs.
    -- Nikki M. Christu, Tarpon Springs

    Downtown Clearwater needs new players

    Re: County offices in mall? Unlikely, March 29 story.

    (Clearwater Interim City Manager) Bill Horne, you continue to validate why the word "interim" deserves to be nowhere in your job title. In response to an idea for moving county offices into the Clearwater Mall site, you stated that the move would hurt downtown and create a vacuum that could make "revitalization an unreachable goal." Bravo!

    Mayor Brian Aungst, your vision for the Clearwater Mall site is also wonderful. The question is, what happens to our downtown if we put the priority on the mall? Are not the mall and a revitalized downtown going to compete for very similar tenants? Which of the two developments will best complement and provide an alternative to the existing and expanded Countryside Mall?

    The fact is that we must bring in large numbers of new users to downtown Clearwater. A new influx of users would drop the two major "players" in downtown to second and third position (county staff being one of those two players). What a great downtown it would become -- vibrant and alive, as so many have wished, and a valuable asset to our Clearwater Beach (keeping it from becoming over developed with too much retail).

    The Clearwater Mall site's redevelopment will happen in one form or another, with or without city help. It is a very large and valuable property at the gateway of our city. Our downtown, on the other hand, needs great nurturing and is the heart of our city.

    Bill Horne, Mayor Aungst, and city commissioners, our downtown is in a coma. Please do not let it quietly pass away.
    -- Ric Ortega, Clearwater

    Thanks given to voters, but not to newspaper

    Indian Shores had an election on March 13 with three candidates running for two at-large positions on the Town Council.

    Unfortunately, there was virtually no coverage by the St. Petersburg Times from the beginning of the election campaign to the very end -- unless you want to count the one sentence about who won, the day after the election.

    It is sad to see that only the larger cities receive any attention when a town like ours has a 32 percent turnout. What does that tell you? It tells the public that this incredible town has concerned citizens and residents who get involved in the continued progress of their town.

    Our mayor, council and staff work extremely hard in making Indian Shores one of the best places to reside on the beach.

    I am proud to say that I was re-elected to serve a three-year term and look forward to working with newly elected Joan Herndon, who is filling the second seat. I also would like to wish former Council Member Bob Balazs the best of luck.

    A special thank you to all the citizens for coming out to vote and my many friends who volunteered their time with endless energy to the very end.
    -- Irene Anderson, councilor, Indian Shores

    Let police officers earn some extra cash

    Re: Police work for Scientology, March 22 story.

    The Clearwater Police Department has the safety of all of the residents of Clearwater in mind. Chief Sid Klein has done a good job of ensuring this. I am proud to operate my shop in such a safe city.

    The police of this city work hard, and if they earn extra money doing off-duty work, I think this is fantastic. These police officers have families to support, mortgages and other expenses.

    The Times needs to understand that is not for them to decide how Clearwater should be safeguarded. Leave it to the experts who are already doing it.
    -- Dino Zompanakis, Clearwater

    Beach by Design wasn't a one-person decision

    Re: With all the beach traffic, we're prisoners in paradise, letter, March 21.

    Perhaps the letter writer should follow Clearwater city meetings more closely. Beach by Design was a consensus of the community and the entire City Commission based on over four months of public meetings and hearings -- more than 15 in all. It wasn't and isn't any individual's agenda.

    The mayor and other commissioners' only agenda is to do the right thing for the city overall. Most of our citizens recognize this and applaud them for their efforts.
    -- Craig Burley, Clearwater

    Bike lanes on roads will ease congestion

    Re: Road projects must now have bike lanes, March 14 story.

    Applause to the County Commission for its decision to add bike lanes to county roads that are widened or resurfaced as well as to new roads.

    Commissioner Bob Stewart's preference that cyclists use the Pinellas Trail is fine for many who live near the trail and use it for north-south travel. However, for east-west travel and for cyclists who live too far from the trail, the addition of bike lanes to roads will add a much-needed dimension of safety.

    Many cyclists ride the roads, not only for recreation but also for transportation between points A and B. The addition of bike lanes should significantly increase their numbers, resulting in less air pollution and at least some relief to clogged traffic.
    -- John B. Wuertz, Seminole

    Warm welcome missing from drive into Clearwater

    What happened to the Clearwater sign on Sand Key? Before the road repair up and down Gulf Boulevard on Sand Key we had a very pretty sign welcoming people to Clearwater at the Belleair Beach Marina. It was removed during the repairs and hasn't been seen since.
    -- Geri Doyle, Clearwater

    Students, groups made tea event a success

    On behalf of the Palm Harbor Historical Society, the Palm Harbor Historical Museum and the English Tea Committee, I wish to thank all who helped make the tea an outstanding success. Without the help of the Questers, who made hundreds of tea sandwiches, and those who made and donated dozens of different kinds of desserts, we could not have done it. Special thanks also go to the students who gave up their Saturday to help their community.

    Most of all, I want to thank the attendees who supported this fundraiser. I hope you will not only return for next year's tea but will support our other fundraisers as well.
    -- Doreen Prucha, president Palm Harbor Historical Society

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