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    Letters to the Editors

    Library plan should incorporate Spanish influence

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published July 13, 2001


    I am concerned about the architecture of Clearwater's proposed new library. As a student of architecture for some years, I am sensitive to the elements of architecture needed for a building to become an intrinsic part of an area's topography, climate and history.

    While I have a great respect for Robert Stern and can see where his design is unique, I don't feel it will become timeless. I believe he is on the right track, but feel more Mediterranean Revival elements are needed. Perhaps a hipped roof, more substantial columns, a better cupola -- I don't know. I do know Mr. Stern has done other fine traditional architecture in other parts of the country, so I know with a little revision we can achieve a building around which a downtown renaissance could happen.

    An earlier article suggested that the simplest solution would be to borrow the architecture from our beautiful Spanish post office downtown. It was built in 1933. But after 69 years of Clearwater architecture, guess which building remains timeless? The rest pale when compared to the post office.

    I am not saying replicate the building. I am saying Mediterranean Revival architecture is part of our past and is adaptable to the Florida climate. Let's let Mr. Stern do a little revision and present us with his version of a grand library -- a library which will stand the test of time for our city's future.
    -- Mike Sanders, Clearwater

    Story on police survey accentuated the negative

    Re: Survey finds city police mistrust leaders, story, July 3.

    I was disappointed at the spin your headline put on this article about the survey Largo police Chief Lester Aradi had taken. I believe your headline should have reflected the major tone of the survey results. In fact, the predominant responses, as measured by the highest percentage (positive or negative), were:

    85 percent positive to the question, "My supervisor has always been fair in dealing with me."

    82 percent positive to, "I trust the people I work with."

    81 percent positive to the question, "I'm proud to work for this department."

    Yet you chose to highlight a negative comment that received the fourth highest percentage: 80 percent disagreed that "there is a positive atmosphere of trust between officers and management."

    Why did you slant the story by choosing an inflammatory headline? (I also had to wait until the end of the third paragraph to hear mention of anything positive.) Shame on you!
    -- Carol Bailey, Largo

    Government already making health care costs rise

    Re: A health care solution: one national system for all, guest column, July 6.

    In Mr. Willan's radical reform model (for socialized medicine), he purports that the government should assume control over our health care system and vested interests should be ignored.

    Apparently, the Health Care Financing Administration, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the General Accounting Office and 44,000 pages of Medicare regulations just do not provide the government with enough input to make the suggested changes.

    Today's health care industry is awash in government regulation and the cost of ensuring compliance with these regulations is astronomical. Though these agencies have made great strides in raising the standards of care for hospitals, they have also greatly increased the cost of providing that care.

    There has never been an incentive for the government to be cost conscious. More bureaucracy creates more government jobs, creates additional hurdles for the health care industry and raises costs. Mr. Willan failed to address the financing of his theory.

    Mr. Willan also states that "vested interests should be ignored." Does Mr. Willan believe that the government is not susceptible to outside business/professional influence? Is he aware of the concept of lobbying? Though I also believe that the influence of lobbying groups in government is self-serving, it would be naive to think that they do not also benefit for the common man. If the drug companies lobby for quick FDA approval of a new class of HIV drugs, those affected by the AIDS virus will certainly benefit.

    Mr. Willan decries "high cost-high tech care because" (people) cannot accept the inevitability of death. Would Mr. Willan like to be the one to deliver that news to the family awaiting a bone marrow transplant for their child?

    Mr. Willan's myopic view of the health care system fails to recognize that it is the potential income derived from medical advances that drives hospitals to invest in new technologies and research. Like it or not, it is also money that spurs the drug companies to search for a cure for AIDS or cancer. The community unquestioningly supports the concept of organ donations, for example, however, it is only a donation for the person donating the organ; the rest of the system is driven by profit. It is the desire to capture profits that makes service industries compete for business by offering better services or cheaper costs. Competition works to control costs and increases the breadth of services.

    Contrary to Mr. Willan's simplistic view, the cure for our ailing health care industry is very complex. We must realize that the government does not have all the answers. We must also realize that our system of free enterprise does provide incentive for increased services, lower costs and medical research (witness the recent implantation of an artificial heart). Profit is not a four-letter word.

    "Not-for-profit hospital" does not mean that the facility does not intend to make every bit as much money as a "for-profit hospital," nor does it mean that the facility provides lower-cost care, is more frugal or that it provides more indigent (free) care than a "for-profit." It does mean that they pay fewer taxes.
    -- Richard Murphy, Clearwater

    Rule imposed at free concert forced many to spend or leave

    My wife and I just returned from the "free" concert at Clearwater's Coachman Park with the Grass Roots and BTO. I picked my wife up at work with a picnic dinner to be enjoyed at the concert.

    To our surprise, when we arrived at 5:30 p.m. we were told we could not bring our meal into the park or even our soda and water. I understood that no coolers were allowed, but a KFC dinner and soft drinks? We sat outside the gate on Drew Street and ate our meal while we watched literally dozens of people dump their drinks or turn around because of the restrictions.

    After we entered the park and sat down to enjoy the concert, we observed numerous people entering the same gate with fast-food meals and drinks. Before the concert was over I questioned one of the volunteers. He informed me that the restrictions were put in place by Parks and Recreation and that sometime before the concert started the "coordinator" of the event lifted the restriction.

    What were these people thinking of by banning water and food? Were they concerned that the vendors would not make enough money? Or, did they want to keep out families who could not afford the fare that is served at such events?

    Whoever was responsible for such a blunder should apologize to the hundreds of people who were turned away or who had to throw out their drinks and wolf down their meals. I was disappointed when Mayor Brian Aungst did not step up to the plate when he addressed the crowd and apologize for the actions of a city department.
    -- Jeff St. Onge, Clearwater

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