Letters to the Editors
Only select group told of task force meeting
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 11, 2001
Since moving to Florida, I have respected the St. Petersburg Times for the improved way it provided balanced coverage on most articles. Your May 4 story on the Bruce B. Downs bottleneck (Two counties deal with traffic woes) was clearly misleading and lacking in important facts.
While you quote Pat Bean saying that the meeting gave all parties a chance to voice their views, you fail to balance this incorrect statement by noting that only a select, non-representative group was even told of this meeting. The New Tampa Transportation Task Force includes only a minute portion of our population, has its own agenda and there are many New Tampa community groups that are larger, better represent our residents and were not even told of this meeting.
I hope that your future stories will be better balanced and not merely repeat misleading quotes that you have been given.
Next time, invite the whole community
Color me surprised! Why didn't I know anything about the New Tampa Transportation Task Force meeting until I read about it, since it was my idea to schedule such a meeting in the first place?
Why didn't I receive a notice since my neighborhood organization, the Tampa Palms Civic Association, is one of many New Tampa community organizations registered with the Hillsborough County Neighborhood Relations Department? And why didn't all these other New Tampa community groups receive a notice of this meeting, especially the Citizens of West Meadows Civic Association?
Whatever happened to the University of South Florida? USF was supposed to have a representative at this special meeting since USF traffic has the biggest impact, more than any New Tampa subdivision, on traffic congestion in our community. Why didn't it sink in when I publicly suggested at the Metropolitan Planning Organization Town Hall meeting that the New Tampa Community Council and the New Tampa Transportation Task Force are really one and the same organizations and combined don't even come close to representing a small segment of New Tampa? And why didn't it sink in when I stated that both these organizations would and did sell their souls to select city and county government officials for one purpose -- and it wasn't for the good of the community, but solely so they would receive public recognition from these same select local officials in return?
It's too bad, because it would seem by your actions, that you are now one of them. This wasn't a meeting. It wasn't even half a meeting. Next time, invite the whole community and not just a small fraction.
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