Editor's note: The first three letters refer to a proposal by a private developer to develop downtown Clearwater. Clearwater residents will vote on aspects of the plan July 11.
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000
I was very much in favor of the downtown master plan, but now that I've had more time to think about it, I find two issues troublesome.
One is that the library is not going to be big enough. It's being built in a fine location, but we should have the 120,000 square feet that was originally planned and not the 50,000 square feet they've cut it down to. If there's not enough room, they can always build it up.
I don't mind if the developers have a 99-year lease, but I do object to them paying only $1 a year for that length of time. They are NOT a charitable organization. They are for profit. Maybe $1 for the first 10 years, but then it should be raised to a reasonable amount of money commensurate with the times and rent.
The plans for downtown are beautiful, and I was planning to vote yes. But I am not going to vote yes unless the above two issues are resolved in a more equitable way. The library needs to be bigger, and the $1 lease should not run for more than 10 years.
The young voters should be very concerned with this. They could be supporting the developers for years to come.
-- M.L. Kulaas, Clearwater
In Penny for Pinellas, I thought I was voting for a fine new library. Forget it! Since I live here, I don't count.
Tourist visitors to Clearwater can get along quite well with a small library if only they have a monstrous new bridge, a dysfunctional roundabout and parking garages expensive enough to discourage us residents from cluttering their beaches.
And we will have lots of new movies for them in addition to the dozens of movies that are already useless for us, or will be so, at Clearwater Mall. We will have 99-year leases and a park controlled by developers profiting from rock concerts, etc., at our expense. We will pay to tear down what we just put up at Harborview Center. But it's not for us, stupid!
Here's what would benefit us: Pick up the debris that is turning our streets into junkyards. Start with little things, as New York did so successfully.
As to the library, why put it downtown? Why not put it in a central, traffic-free location where parking is free and where the residents have maximum access to it, perhaps at the junior college? A branch library is enough downtown. Then enlarge Coachman Park as much as possible.
-- Gilbert R. Fischer, Clearwater
Re: As bluff vote nears, the pressure builds, June 4.
I am writing you as the owner of the "small hot dog restaurant" which you stated in your article has folded and is presently occupied by the Citizens for a Better Clearwater.
We made our excess space available to the group to allow them to combat the numerous misstatements and distortion of facts certain parties have made regarding downtown redevelopment.
The fact is that the downtown has deteriorated through years of neglect, many of those at the hands of the people who now oppose redevelopment. I urge voters to visit downtown to view the dilapidated state of the area before casting their vote on July 11. I also urge voters to take the time to study the facts on the proposed redevelopment plan, not to accept the biased view of those who wish the continued deterioration of downtown.
We are, incidentally, still in business. The reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. We are continuing to use the location as our home office but no longer sell our products to the general public. We learned during our year of operating downtown that it is impossible to operate a profitable business in the current environment. Like many downtown businesses, we earn our revenues from outside the area. And that is unfortunate and why we support the downtown redevelopment.
-- Paul Gibson, Clearwater
I am a Largo property owner. I have just read the June 11 letter from Michael D. Morton of Largo regarding fees for reclaimed water hookup. That letter strikes a sore spot. I agree completely with what Mr. Morton has written.
If we want a significant number of people in Largo to use reclaimed water for irrigation, we cannot have start-up fees for using the reclaimed water that amount to hundreds of dollars. It just won't work, politicians! Wake up! I was interested in using reclaimed water when I first heard about it. Then, when I was told what it would cost me -- I think, $250 to have it hooked up -- I categorized it as just another governmental pipe dream and forgot about it.
Later, when there was talk of eliminating the ridiculously high fee, I became interested again. Just like Mr. Morton, I've now dropped the idea again after finding the fee has been "reduced" to $125 for hookup plus a "water hose bib" for a tidy $175. Most people can't come up with that kind of money for reclaimed water.
Things like this make us wonder once again what world the people live in who dream up these fees.
Let's get real, and get rid of the outrageous fees, and let the reclaimed water system -- a great idea -- became really available to the real people of our city.
-- Charles C. Groth, Largo
Re: Police: Mother left boy with sexual predator to buy crack, June 1.
I am outraged that police know this place to be a crack house and they allow it to remain open for business.
I also want to know why this obviously troubled woman has been permitted to retain custody of this baby. I wonder how many foster homes this boy will experience before the state finally terminates her parental rights and places him for adoption. How many emotional scars must he endure?
No child should be forced to stay with an unfit parent and no child should have to live in a neighborhood with a known crack house.
-- Vicki Glow, St. Petersburg
I can't understand why it isn't necessary to have a license to operate a boat. I see a lot of articles in your newspaper about people getting injured while boating and record numbers of manatees dying from boating accidents.
I am 15 years old and last year my father bought a boat. The first thing he and I did was to take a U.S. Coast Guard course that taught us how to operate our boat safely and responsibly. The course also taught me important things like which boat has the right of way, what different signs mean, how to read maps, the importance of not drinking and driving on the water, and the importance of protecting our underwater environment.
I have found that many boaters have no idea of how to properly operate their boat -- or any of the rules of the road. I see a lot of boaters who drive too fast in places or situations where they shouldn't. Many of them speed, cut other boaters off and don't slow down in situations where it would be safer to do so. Drinking seems to be the rule and not the exception.
I think that licensing and increased enforcement of boating laws would, hopefully, lead to increased safety for all of us on the water, and, hopefully, to increased safety for endangered species like manatees.
-- Christopher Marrazzo, Palm Harbor
Brianna Satinoff might have gone farther in the Scripps Howard annual spelling bee June 1 if she had been provided a more-to-the-point description of her challenged word, "aureate."
This adjective is simply described by my American College Dictionary as golden, brilliant, splendid.
They gave Brianna a mish-mash definition which appears to read "marked by a rhetorical style that is affected, grandiloquent and heavily ornamental." There is no doubt that a reference to golden would have been Brianna's clue to the spelling.
I excelled in spelling bees 70 years ago and feel qualified to say, "Brianna, u wuz robbed!"
-- Ludwig Pesa, Seminole