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Letters to the Editors

Real color of discrimination is green

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001

Re: Beach towns younger but still very white.

You have attacked my neighborhood, and it's obvious that your scorched-earth-at-all-costs agenda continues. You've found yourselves without an issue to hang your flag on since the recent election season fervor is gone. So, instead of simply reporting facts about census figures as responsible journalism dictates you should do, you choose inflammatory words like this April 1 headline.

How about some facts? Boundaries of almost every community everywhere are determined by economics and not skin color. Look in your own back yard. Lining the waterfront neighborhoods throughout our whole county -- including those in southeast St. Petersburg -- are homes that cost substantially more than similar ones located inland. We also pay higher taxes based largely on the value of our land, since many of our homes are almost 50 years old and quite modest. So this is not just a beach phenomenon as you suggest.

But do you ever spout such words of balanced logic? No-o-o-o. You instead choose to beat your drum in an apparent attempt to drive the wedge deeper between people of different ethnic backgrounds. I am a member of the 91.4 percent of our county's population that happens to be of a color other than black, and it certainly seems to me you're doing your best to build walls between us instead of opening doors to communication and community. Is there no voice within the walls of your institution that speaks for reason?

The real color of discrimination is green, as in the color of money. Black, Hispanic, Asian, Eskimo, other minorities and the majority of whites don't live on the beaches for the same reasons. They either don't want to, can't afford it or they choose to do other things rather than pay exorbitant taxes and insurance, battle the tourist traffic and stand in long lines at our stores and restaurants frequented by out-of-town visitors.

I guess it's difficult for those of us in the beach communities to realize that we have so few minorities living here, because maybe we just don't focus on the color of our neighbors' skin, as you seem to be provoking us to. And it could be that we just don't notice because we're too busy -- happily sharing our community with the thousands of new visitors of all ethnic backgrounds who descend on us every weekend.

Silly me. I truly thought that racial harmony existed when people paid attention to what was really important -- character and integrity.

It's too bad that we in Pinellas County don't have a real choice of newspapers, one that doesn't inflame just for inflammation's sake, one that finally speaks calmly to the majority -- even though we are normally silent.
-- John Ware, Redington Beach

Take a cue from California, Bermuda

I moved here in 1975, so I guess that makes me a seminative. 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

St. Petersburg wastes reclaimed water

Re: Mayor gets keys to sprinklers.

It astounds me that there is talk of limiting the use of reclaimed, or affluent (er ... effluent) water. It seems to me that much could be saved by the city if St. Petersburg limited its own use of reclaimed water.

The city parks are watered every night! The sprinklers run even after deluges of rain. Obviously there are no moisture sensors on city property as the city implores residents to use.

There is no resident allowed to water every night. So why the city? If the claim is that the pressure is higher in the evening, then the residents with reclaimed water should be encouraged to set their systems to run at night. There would then be sufficient reclaimed water for all.

I do not have the luxury of reclaimed water on my property. Unfortunately, my neighborhood was not affluent enough to justify it. I installed a well and pump for irrigation. I water once a week. On weeks where there has been a good rain, I do not water at all. I am all for water conservation, as is the city of St. Petersburg, allegedly. I have low-flow shower heads with turn-off valves, and I replaced toilets with low-use ones.

I suggest that the city invest in moisture meters to prevent watering when the ground is sufficiently moist and limit watering in any case to, say, three days a week maximum.

Maybe Mayor Rick Baker should review the city's watering practices before placing any restrictions upon residents.
-- Woody Richey, St. Petersburg

BayWalk is nice; parking situation isn't

My family enjoys BayWalk and the environment it presents. With family and friends, we visit the area for entertainment and dining a minimum of three times a week.

Why is parking such a constant cause of frustration? There are signs of 90-minute limits all around the central area. To add insult, one is ticketed during after-working hours until midnight for parking while spending -- contributing to the economy.

Surely the city can save the expense of meter people driving around to ticket cars. I also notice there is a charge for attending the movie if the parking garage is used.

We are encouraged to attend downtown events and then given a ticket based on a time frame while spending our money. Confusing?
-- M. Joseph Batone, St. Petersburg

Dog parks benefit everyone

Re: Dog park delay unfair, letter, April 8.

Although I am some distance away from the St. Petersburg neighborhood, I have some insight on the issue of dog parks. Here in Tallahassee we have a beautiful dog park that is popular with locals and college students alike. Some people go there who don't even own dogs.

The joy my dog gets from stretching her legs is second only to the joy I get from seeing her asleep at my feet as I write this. A tired dog is a good dog. Dog parks are a benefit to the entire community.
-- W. Brian Overcast, Tallahassee

England stops red-light runners

Re: Camera may police red-light violations, April 8.

Having lived in England for three years, I can attest to the success of using cameras at intersections to identify and ticket drivers who run red lights.

A number of years ago, England introduced camera systems at many major intersections. The result? Running red lights at these locations stopped immediately.

I applaud the Legislature for allowing pilot tests in Pinellas, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Camera systems work. I can attest to that.
-- David Wladaver, Palm Harbor

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