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Letters to the Editors

Stop signs won't solve this problem

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2000

This is truly ironic. A few years ago my wife, Janet, and I moved to Isle of Palms in Treasure Island from Northern Virginia. In Virginia, we had a wonderful new home in Prince William County near the Quantico Marine Base. Unknown to us at the time we purchased our Virginia property, the neighborhood civic association petitioned the county commissioner for the installation of stop signs to curb speeding in the residential area. (Sound familiar, neighbors?)

The stop signs, including the one placed at the very end of our driveway, did not solve the speeding problem. What they did do was encourage people to litter. I had daily cigarette butt and beer can patrol as a result. They increased the noise level dramatically as people came to a squealing stop and then quickly accelerated at all times of the day and night. We were "treated" to the musical tastes of our neighbors as they stopped at the end of my driveway with their car stereos blaring through open windows.

These stop signs ultimately became a joke after people realized they were not policed. Many people stopped slowing down altogether! The large number of stop signs blighted the neighborhood and drove down property values. (We lost $12,000 on the sale of our home because of our stop sign.)

We moved to Isle of Palms to get away from the stresses of Northern living, only to find that some people in the Isle of Palms community are just as shortsighted and too quick to act as the folks in Virginia. I am writing to warn you of the negative results that we will all endure if stop signs are installed in our neighborhood. More success would be had if we put a $250 increase on all speeding fines on the Isle of Palms wherever posted. More stop signs are not the answer! Higher speeding fines, police patrols (which we pay for) and self-policing through peer pressure are the sensible ways to achieve success in reducing speeding on the Isle of Palms.
-- Leonard R. Kaul Jr., Treasure Island

Synchronize lights, minimize frustration

I have noticed that a lot of people get frustrated at red lights, the reason being that if they (we) catch one, we will catch the rest. Could you imagine New York City if the traffic lights weren't synchronized? The murder rate would skyrocket. As stress in the workplace increases, why should we increase tension by having a traffic system designed to aggravate already-volatile people?

First Avenue N and First Avenue S are partially synchronized and they work well. Why aren't the same conveniences available on the other main arteries of travel in St. Petersburg? Doesn't it make sense to do it all over? I hope this will be heard by someone who can do something about it. Designed frustration is unnecessary.
-- Kevin Haggerty, St. Petersburg

Oppose cost to hurricane-proof building

Re: Plans for Broderick Park get pricey, April 26.

There is a sentence in Anne Lindberg's report that disturbs me: "Officials want to use the building as a shelter for employees and their families in case of emergencies." Does this imply that only employees of Pinellas Park and their families have access to the building during a hurricane? Tax dollars are being used to build this facility, and the extra cost concerns me.

I suppose they will send the taxpayers to a school shelter while they can have this special building with kitchen facilities etc. for their personal use. It is time for the taxpayers to wake up and see what is happening in our community. Attend the May 9 workshop and oppose the $500,000 or more extra to hurricane-proof this building.
-- Pearl Moroski, Pinellas Park

Critters aren't problem -- people are

Re: City Life? Not with all these critters, by Eleanor Ryan, April 19.

I know this is going to be a shock to you, but opossums and raccoons (and even snakes!) have always been in our neighborhoods. Remember, they were here first. With spring, of course, you will be seeing more of them.

They are not the problem, we are. Humans have taken over just about every square foot of land, with concrete everywhere you look. The solution is to get used to living with them, instead of complaining. If you don't want them in your attics, make sure there are no holes. You probably won't be able to keep everything out, but for now, you have Wildlife Rescue.

One of these days, there won't be any place left to "relocate" these animals that belong here in the first place.

Live and let live.
-- Nancy Beckwith, St. Petersburg

Troubled teens find better path

Re: Program guides troubled teens, by Christine Graef, April 19.

I wish to commend Advanced Aftercare, the private, caring program that aids teens in the juvenile court system. So many of these teens have a negative sense of self-worth and pent-up frustrations. The Advanced Aftercare program can help kids overcome their sense of self-rejection and low self-esteem. Such a program can help teens come to terms with themselves, develop positive principles and learn to better themselves.

So many of these young people come from unhappy, dysfunctional and broken homes -- and crime and bad home lives go hand in hand. A mean milieu can develop mean motives in men. Truly, all kids deserve the dignity a decent home provides. But too many come from homes in which they are rejected and disrespected. And it is the bite of the need for acceptance and respect that sometimes drives teens to crimes.

Real persuaders, like Advanced Aftercare, that guide and counsel teens can put them on the proper path.
-- Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

No welcome mat in Gulfport

Warning to tourists and shoppers! Beware of Gulfport! We tried to make our first visit there recently but were practically run out of town by the local police.

A Gulfport officer was on our bumper the moment we arrived in town and tailgated us on and off as we cruised the main drag looking for shops and a restaurant for a late lunch. While we were trying to turn around on a side street to get back to a parking place we had seen, he was so close behind us, we couldn't even back up.

He finally gave us an $80 citation, saying, "If you weren't so worried about me, you might have stopped for that stop sign." We do not know where the stop sign was that we supposedly missed, but we do not plan to return to Gulfport to verify its existence.

At no time were we driving in a reckless manner, nor were we speeding. Why did the police officer target us the moment we pulled into town? Was it our 15-year-old car that made him think we don't belong in Gulfport?

Are the Gulfport business owners aware that their potential customers are being run off this way? We left town feeling shaken, intimidated and defenseless.
-- Gloria Halajcsik, Indian Rocks Beach

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