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    Letters to the Editors

    Energy and water are spread ever more thinly

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 1, 2001

    When my wife answered the phone the other day, she heard a recorded message asking her to conserve water because of our drought conditions. We have been making an effort to conserve water for some time now.

    How do you expect the normal householder to conserve more water when you see in the papers that there is no moratorium on building permits on the west coast of Florida?

    Every year for the past three years, we have had a water shortage. It gets worse every year. We should expect the people who hand out permits for high-rise buildings to stop handing out these permits. We should expect our officials to do their part in conserving our water supply by having a moratorium on building of high-rises that bring more people to our area.

    The problem that is causing the water shortage in the last few years is the increase in our population. Not only do we not have enough water, we do not have enough roads to sustain this population growth.

    I read in the St. Petersburg Times that someone was saying we are probably going to have an electricity shortage like California (Keeping the lights on, April 22). That problem was caused by population growth. Are we going to make the same mistakes?

    The problem is too many people for the resources.

    I have been here since being discharged after World War II. I am not worried about myself, as I am 87 years old, but I'm worried about my children and grandchildren who live in this area.
    -- Clifford Patterson, Clearwater

    Why is spring water wasted?

    Re: Tap springs to solve water woes, letter, April 22.

    The writer has written an excellent letter describing the millions of gallons of clean spring water being pumped from Weeki Wachee and Crystal River into the Gulf of Mexico. I remember a gentleman from Tarpon Springs making the same comments some weeks ago.

    Why is this waste of water allowed to continue when there is such a drought condition prevalent? I think it is time for us to get some answers.
    -- Adele S. Posselt, Tarpon Springs

    Sunday hours will boost use of services

    Re: Sundays prove hot for learning mecca, editorial, April 25.

    Now there is proof that Clearwater residents will use the libraries near their homes on Sundays. Since January, the Countryside branch has been open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. An average of 500 people visited that library then. It took the progressive thinking of the City Commission and the mayor to listen to the needs of the citizens through the Neighborhood Services Department.

    The Countryside Recreation Center will open a new multipurpose addition on May 17 that will be one of the features of the 30th anniversary celebration. (Countryside has been incorporated as part of the city of Clearwater for 30 years.)

    May 15 through 20 will be proclaimed Countryside Week. What better time to add Sunday operating hours to one of Clearwater's finest recreation centers? The people of Countryside and Clearwater have proved that they support this idea.
    -- John Wiser, Clearwater

    Long intervals at lights waste time, fuel

    They just don't get it! I'm referring to those responsible for timing the traffic lights in the Clearwater-Largo area.

    Most intersections in the area force motorists to wait for an excessive length of time, more than in any city I have encountered in various parts of the country, regardless of the traffic load. I first noticed this when driving through the Clearwater area more than 21 years ago, and I see only moderate improvement since then, with the exception of East Bay Drive.

    A motorist traveling on Ulmerton Road waiting for a left-turn signal onto Starkey Road must wait about a minute and a half. Why not take 20 or 30 seconds off the wait in both directions, thus reducing the engine-idling time? In other words, shorter waits and more frequent movements. It might sound simplistic, but I'll wager it works better than the present system. I estimate that I get at least 2 miles per gallon less in this area than in similar medium-to-large city situations.

    The excessive idling time wastes fuel, pollutes the air, frazzles the nerves and tempts motorists to run red lights more frequently. Metropolitan Detroit has tremendous rush-hour traffic, but it runs much smoother with more rapid turnover at the lights. I would like to see one of the Detroit metro traffic-control staff come in on loan for a few months and make suggestions for improvements.

    I contacted one of your traffic officials some time ago regarding this, and he took the position that your traffic situation is somewhat unusual because of street layout and seasonal overload. If the people in this area continue to buy this type of cop-out, they will continue to deserve what they are getting. As they used to say in the old Russian movies, "Citizens, revolt!"
    -- K. Pelkey, Belleair

    Associations give buyers all the details

    Re: stories concerning the Hammer family losing their home.

    First of all, it really angers me (and I'm sure many others) when you see fit to give so much free publicity to people about to lose their homes because of non-payment of fees to their homeowners association.

    When you purchase any kind of property (home, condo, duplex or whatever), you are given the documents that govern your association. If you choose not to read or follow them, then you are totally responsible for what happens from then on. These rules are made so that everyone who lives in an area can share equally in responsibilities.

    The two letters concerning this matter on April 18 were excellent and hit the nail on the head. The directors for each association are strictly volunteers and are paying all the same fees as everyone else -- but they take all the abuse.

    Although I regret the problems the Hammers faced, they bear much of the fault for not asking any questions of anyone and then going to the newspaper for sympathy. Why don't they volunteer to serve on the board so they will realize what goes on and why the documents must be enforced?

    My husband has been president of our association off and on for over 10 years -- and we could write a book about the experiences he has had. The important message here is: Read your documents and abide by them.
    -- Eleanor Lanz, Palm Harbor

    Buyer needs to review deed restrictions

    For what it is worth, here is one more contribution to the discussion regarding deed-restricted homeowner and condominium associations.

    If you are considering buying a home or condo in one of these communities, you need to draw up a "Ben Franklin" balance sheet listing the pluses on one side of the page and the minuses on the other side. In other words, realize you are going to give up some rights and freedoms for the advantages of living in such a community.

    You need to attend a meeting of the registration committee before you go to close the sale. At that meeting you should receive a complete set of copies of the governing documents.

    Make sure you read them and ask questions. You should also receive a copy of their latest financial statement. Pay particular attention to the reserve-fund amounts. Mortgages have been denied because of insufficient reserve funds. Also ask about special assessment rules.

    Obviously, deed-restricted living is not for everybody but for many of us, the relief from worries and everyday details is well worth it.
    -- Dave and Edie Mitchell, Seminole

    Phillies fans should try living by stadium

    Re: Stadium decision based on facts, letter, April 20.

    I'll make my response to the above-referenced letter as brief as possible.

    The writer can't understand why College Hill residents are upset that the city of Clearwater, in partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies, is planning to build an 8,000-seat stadium and concert facility adjacent to our neighborhood. Maybe she would like it built in her neighborhood.

    She is correct in stating that the residents of the College Hill area have voiced their opinions at several Clearwater City Commission meetings. If being passionate about one's home is unprofessional, then we are guilty.

    The writer really shows her naivete in regard to this stadium being used for only one month out of the year. The Clearwater Phillies play from April through August. Concerts are also being planned for the stadium as well as a sports bar.

    If she truly feels that our property values will increase when the stadium is built, then perhaps she would like to make a real estate investment in our neighborhood. I think even she might have more sense than to do that.

    The bottom line on people like her, in their zealous support of the Phillies, is to put yourself in our place. And, by the way, be a little more knowledgeable about the subject before you embarrass yourself in print.
    -- R. Padgett, Clearwater

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