© St. Petersburg Times, published April 4, 2001
The first time I went to the Largo Library, I was impressed. The building itself is a work of art. The computer resources are better than what I saw at the Clearwater Main Library. The library is always full and the staffers always busy but helpful. "This is something I want to be a part of," I thought.
When the Largo City Commission started talking about expansion, I was inclined to doubt that a new facility was necessary. I went back for a closer look. That's when I noticed how cramped it was. The Largo Library crams a lot of quality into a very small space. If the library is to continue to grow, as it must to continue to serve a growing population, it will need bigger quarters.
With an area of 36,000 square feet, the Largo Library serves 38,000 patrons each month. By contrast, the Clearwater Main Branch serves 13,000 patrons monthly with 49,000 square feet. The population of Clearwater is greater than that of Largo, but Clearwater has four libraries to Largo's one.
The Largo Library deserves quarters large enough to hold its greatness. The people of Largo need and deserve a larger, less cramped home for their library.
-- Philipp Michel "Mike" Reichold, Largo
Mayor Bob Jackson, I have lived in Largo for more than 30 years and could not imagine that my local government and elected officials could be so out of touch and arrogant with the very people that they represent.
You do not have a mandate on the library project. As per your own numbers, 60 percent of the current users of our Largo Library do not even live in Largo. More than 50 percent of the Largo taxpayers do not want this expenditure (according to the St. Petersburg Times).
Are you people listening to the taxpayers? The existing library could be upgraded or renovated at a much reduced cost. More important, what about some priorities? Downtown is a mess with very little vision for its future, our reclaimed water project is non-existent, you and the commissioners are looking into a waterworks park at the Highland complex.
If you have not noticed, we are in the worst drought in about 200 years. Water should be the top priority, then downtown and if anything is left, then your precious library, so the rest of the county can use it and trace their genealogy. It would be cheaper to give those people the $35 to have it done on the Internet.
If that is not enough to keep you busy, then you could interview for another city manager since Steve Stanton is so unhappy or thinks he is worth more than the $98,000 a year plus benefits. Commissioner Marty Shelby was correct: If Mr. Stanton were in the private sector and tried his little leverage stunt, he would have been let go. Let him try the private sector and see what his worth might be.
In any case, the priorities of you and the city commissioners are not in synch with your constituents. I have seen some good work come from the commissioners and yourself, unfortunately not on these issues.
-- Dale Alford, Largo
Curlew Road between Belcher Road and County Road 1 has not been resurfaced for more than seven years. Potholes and minor sinkholes that used to appear during the rainy season are repaired by the highway department -- but a major portion of the road is in poor condition.
Traffic on this road is extremely heavy at all times. I am surprised that none of the churches, temples and community centers along this section of the road have complained about this. Are there any plans to pave this road?
-- Venugopal Srinivasan, Dunedin
I moved here in 1975, so I guess that makes me a semi-native. We are facing the same problems as California. Our population has doubled in the last 25 years. We have not kept pace! No new power plants to carry us into the new century. No rain to speak of. No real conservation. No new desalination plants.
Maybe we should take a look at the island of Bermuda, where they wash, shave and shower with saltwater.
We've got to bite the bullet, folks. We are running out of time. Check out California.
-- Richard A. Warwick, Largo
As I walked by the Clearwater water department on March 14 after a day of rain, I was surprised to see their sprinklers going. With all the concern about our shortage of water, you would think the water company would try to set an example. Yet they want to raise our water rates when we are conserving, and they are wasting water. What's wrong with this picture?
-- William G. Mitchell, Clearwater
I was heartened to know that there are others who find the ugly, littered roadways (and yards, and parks, and on and on) to be a sufficiently compelling problem to work toward bringing about a cure.
I can't help but compare my present surroundings (always unfavorably) to other states my husband and I have visited in recent years in our search for a new home for our upcoming retirement (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Tennessee, among others). However, while we're stuck here in "paradise," I nonetheless feel moved to do what I can about about the overwhelming ugliness in this area.
As those who care might have noticed, blight begets more blight, and before you know it, your problem is really out of control, and it seems to be heading in that direction now. (I'm sure the tourists are really impressed.)
-- Brenda Gamache, Largo
I read with much enjoyment the article about Brook Shaffer and her guinea pig named Toby. I must say it was a fine report.
But, with a story like this one with such a great event happening right here in Safety Harbor, you could at least have done a followup story on the event that occurred on March 24.
There's enough depressing news to read in your paper every day. This article was a true pleasure to read and we really enjoyed ourselves at the PIGnic, along with the other 60 to 75 people and cavies that showed up also. I tip my hat to Brook and hope that the PIGnics will continue for a long time to come. There were even top breeders there and lots of great information for cavie lovers and people considering getting cavies as pets.
My 9-year-old daughter even enjoyed reading the article and had a blast at the PIGnic.
-- R. Hutcherson, Safety Harbor
I became a witness to a miracle of events on a recent morning when a golfing friend became seriously ill at Clearwater Country Club. The rescue efforts, including an airlift, were done in merely minutes. I don't know if my friend will survive his ordeal, but I know that no place on earth could he have received better help. Hats off to the wonderful people who responded to this emergency.
-- Bob Coffey, Clearwater