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Letters to the Editors

Respect the authority of parents

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 2000


Re: Inattentive parents make curfew necessary, letter, May 26.

It is time for my complete opinion regarding the teen curfew to be stated for the record. The passage of the teen curfew concerns me as an American citizen and as a city commissioner.

Every liberty that we enjoy today was won through blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers years ago. I oppose this curfew ordinance because I believe it shakes the foundation of our future freedoms.

Do I believe in placing limits on our children? Absolutely! I also assert that authority would emanate from the home. The real answer with respect to juvenile problems is to strengthen family units. What our nation needs is a revival of accountability, perseverance and commitment to our young people. My family imposed a curfew over me when I was an adolescent, not the state.

To the letter writer, although you disagree with me, I won a three-way race for Largo Commission Seat 2 with these strong values and ideals. I will never favor conceding parental rights and responsibilities over to the government without a struggle. God bless America, land of the free.
-- Mary Laurance, city commissioner, Largo

Firetruck will replace rescue vehicle at Sand Key

Re: Clearwater wasting money on unneeded services, letter, May 26.

A recent letter regarding the Fire/EMS response in the city of Clearwater does nothing but show how naive and uneducated the writer is about this topic. I am an officer and have been in our department for 20 years and feel I have some more accurate information.

We have no intention of adding a firetruck to the rescue vehicle at Sand Key. The rescue vehicle will be removed and the firetruck will be in its place. This will enable us to provide a more efficient fire and EMS presence. Currently, the nearest engine is on Mandalay Avenue and has a long response time.

We have no control over how many responses occur in a particular area of the city. Does this mean the citizens who live there deserve less service than anyone else? I think not. The supposedly underutilized vehicle at the Coast Guard station recently received kudos from a citizen and family doctor for a rapid response resulting in saving a man's life.

In our county we have a two-tier EMS system. Fire departments provide a first response and Sunstar, a private enterprise, provides the transport. While the ambulance may occasionally arrive first, the fire departments average a 3- to 4-minute response.

On my last duty day, we waited 25 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. This hardly sounds like things were fine in the hands of Sunstar. I challenge the letter writer to find even one incident where Sunstar was able to produce a "jaws of life," a boat, a rope tech or hazmat gear from their units. This is why we have a fire department response.
-- Lt. T. Allegretti, Clearwater Fire & Rescue

Media blow hurricane threat out of proportion

Re: Media add to hysteria over approach of hurricanes, letter, May 28.

Hurrah for the letter writer; he has hit the nail right on the head. The media have always and will more than likely continue to blow the hurricane situation out of proportion.

I grew up in Rhode Island, where they had severe hurricanes almost yearly (noreasters, as they were called) and all the media would do is pass on locations. Today, they say "the worst ever" or "take measures, evacuate flood zones A, B, C and D," or "plywood is running low; stock up on water and batteries."

The people who live by the water probably know by now that these things are just facts of life. I have been here since 1969, and even the strongest hurricane has not warranted the exaggeration the media have put on it, especially Channel 13's Paul Dellegatto. He is the worst of all about trying to put the fear for life into us out here.
-- Paul Johnson, Palm Harbor

Let's invest in projects that benefit the taxpayers

I have read enough on the bayfront in Clearwater. Is this for real? Lease the property to George de Guardiola for 99 years at $1 a year.

I would suggest using any bonds on a desalination plant, not on an open contract on the bayfront. That way we would know where the money will be going.

We have had two surprises now, on Harborview Center and the roundabout. Let's put our money where the citizens who pay taxes can benefit from the results of the tax.
-- Arthur D. Kidder, Clearwater

Children learn from parents how to behave in public

Re: Rowdy students put bus route in jeopardy, story, April 30.

Public tax dollars are subsidizing Coachman Fundamental Middle School, a public school that provides an upscale education for affluent kids. We are allowing public transportation to be used as a school bus. To whom does the responsibility for the students belong: the school system or the PSTA?

Like parents, like children, I say. The parents disregard traffic regulations. (A petition has been filed with the county and the city protesting the school's use of two streets with 16 combined houses and the blatant disregard for the well-being of residents in our neighborhood.) Children learn from their parents.

I have no children, so why should I contribute to the tax rolls?
-- Damon Castle, Clearwater

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