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Letters to the Editors

Mass transit can stave off problems

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000

Re: Business groups oppose light-rail transportation, June 18.

I wish that St. Petersburg's business owners had more knowledge of what is happening in other parts of the country. If the owners would travel to other places, they would be able to see the great benefits of mass transportation, both buses and light-rail.

Mass transportation prevents us from needing to widen roads. If we don't install mass transportation, think of what we will need to do to Ninth Street N and Fourth Street N. Imagine installing a double-decker freeway. Imagine the government confiscating people's businesses and homes so that we can widen the roads. Imagine another U.S. 19. What will these changes do to people?

Mass transportation provides inexpensive means to bring in employees and customers. When residents spend less money on transportation, they have more money to spend in stores. I was raised in Lane County, Oregon. In the early 1970s, the business owners there understood this so well that they gladly accepted a special "business tax." The business tax was used to install and maintain mass transportation. To this day, businesses continue to pay the tax so that they have customers.

We Pinellas residents are not asking Pinellas' businesses to pay for improving and maintaining mass transit even though they will greatly benefit from it. Yet, Pinellas' business owners oppose it.

Intelligent, computer-savvy people know better than to believe what the tourism industry and potential employers say. Recently, some of my friends and I received an e-mail from a man in another state. He was contemplating moving here for a job and had an upcoming interview. The man asked some transportation questions. The answers were honest but not pretty: congestion, road rage, red-light running, speeding, poor mass transportation, residents driving without insurance or with revoked licenses because of poor mass transit. We never heard from the man again. Employers are losing potential employees now. What will it be like in 10 years?

Residents don't want to live in a pollution dump. Tourists are not attracted to pollution, either. We need to reduce the need for single-occupant, motorized transportation (cars) and use pollution-free or less polluting forms of transportation.

Is the cost of installing mass transportation high, now? Think of the costs to your businesses, homes, loss of potential employees and customers, air pollution, tourism industry, quality of life and health. If installing mass transportation now costs a lot, think of what it will cost in 10 years when we finally understand that we must install it.
-- Kimberly Cooper, St. Petersburg

Sand castle event is bad idea

Regarding the return of the sand castles in 2001, let's stop this nonsense before it begins. Years ago it was a mess with traffic and drinking.

Now they want it during hurricane season?

It's very dangerous to have gridlock if there might be a fire or medical emergency.

In 1985, I couldn't leave my home on weekends because traffic completely blocked the Treasure Island Causeway.
-- Fred Davis, St. Petersburg

Old-time principles keep love alive

Re: Old-fashioned love by Laura Heinauer, June 14.

That was a heartwarming article about Sol and Anne Levitt who are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary and still have a happy, fulfilling marriage. This couple mentioned that basic respect and loving concern for each other have made for a long marriage. And is not the quality of any relationship based on respect? True love is what makes one feel truly alive, and when you talk the one who loves you really listens. There are many loveless marriages in which folks just plod along.

Nationally, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and given the many domestic violence and spouse abuse calls police receive, many who stay married are incompatible. I think much of the problem relates to the loss of traditional values and the spirit of unselfish thinking. Genuine love is a morale-builder that enhances your sense of well-being and self-esteem. Bad marriages are divisive and demoralizing.

I feel old-timers, with their high sense of principles, can teach the new generation a lot when it comes to caring commitment.
-- Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Fire chief portrayal was too harsh

Re: Troubles found in Madeira firehouse by Amy Wimmer, June 14.

I read this article and became more irritated with each paragraph. I am not a resident of Madeira Reach.

I know Brian Turini (fire chief of Madeira Beach) well enough to know that there have to be extenuating circumstances -- possibly the "number of non-firefighting tasks delegated to Turini" quoted in the fifth paragraph -- that would cause or be the root cause of the problems in this department.

Turini is an experienced, sensible, hard-working public servant concerned about his department and the whole of Madeira Beach, a man whose family has had to take a back seat on many occasions because of his dedication to his position.

I'm certain he is not paid as well as people in the private sector holding positions requiring similar training and knowledge -- let alone the compassion and a willingness to put their life on the line.

A consultant hopefully weighs these extenuating circumstances and produces a fair report. Would it be possible for the consultant to perform the duties of this position at least to the level that Turini does?

I am disappointed that a reporter wrote such a negative column with little or no space devoted to Turini's accomplishments. This is a very unfair image of Turini to leave in the minds of the public. And I am very angry for him, his family and friends. He deserves much better than he received. I believe the people of Madeira Beach who have come into contact with Brian Turini know this.
-- Nancy Allison, St. Petersburg

Save an animal: Spay or neuter

Members of the community are desperately needed to help save the lives of dogs and cats. Overpopulation is the greatest killer of dogs and cats in the nation. Animal control shelters destroy millions of homeless pets each year. Despite an excellent adoption program and a free spay/neuter program for residents on public assistance, Pinellas Animal Services euthanized 12,600 dogs and cats in just one year (1998). This number is far below the national average per county euthanized. Pinellas County residents can rescue a dog or cat by adopting from a shelter or pet rescue organization.

If you are feeding a stray, please have it spayed/neutered; also spay/neuter your household pets. Please do not allow pets to have one litter. Rather than finding homes for the results of "just one litter," homes could be found for homeless pets whose lives are threatened as they sit in shelter cages awaiting adoptive homes. The offspring from one litter can also reproduce additional litters of unwanted pets. This cycle goes on and on. One unspayed cat can produce 18 kittens in just one year.

Please, for the animals' sake, spay/neuter to help solve Tampa Bay's pet overpopulation problem.
-- Wendy G. Szabo, Pinellas Park

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