© St. Petersburg Times, published July 26, 2000
Re: Street-light fee puts some in dark mood, July 14 story.
I waited to write this because I wanted to see how Pinellas County would try to justify its plan to charge a "fee," "surcharge," "franchise fee" or "'tax" (take your choice of word) to those of us who live in unincorporated areas under the guise of doing great things for residents' safety.
The July 14 story suggests that those of us who have paid a lighting assessment might not be paying enough. Hogwash! I've paid the special assessment for nearly 20 years and those who want lights in their neighborhood can do the same. It works out a little less for us to pay the assessment than an increase in such "taxes." That's a good thing!
I am totally against raising taxes -- excuse me, the street-light assessment -- because the Sheriff's Office wants more money. Don't we all. I wish I could tell Social Security that I need more money so they should raise my pension. You think that would fly?
When I don't have enough money to maintain my lifestyle, I have to adjust my wants and needs to fit my budget. Would it hurt the county to do the same?
County Administrator Fred Marquis and commissioners: If you want to raise taxes, be honest and say so and don't try to slide in an increase for the sheriff's already fat budget as a street light benefit. The time appears right for those of us residing in unincorporated areas to solicit our nearest city to request annexation.
-- Dorothy Slupski, Largo
Well, here they go again! Our tax-and-spend county commissioners are planning an attack on just unincorporated residences this time.
If I live long enough, and I hope I will, I honestly believe in the not too distant future there will be another revolution, only it will not be repressive England we will be revolting against, it will be our repressive local, state and federal governments. Citizens are working till the middle of May to pay combined taxes now. It won't take much more to push everyone over the edge.
It's refreshing to see a little relief from our taxes from our fine Gov. Bush (though it is only a start), and hopefully many more tax relief bills will come from our conservative House and Senate representatives in Washington.
It's time for some fiscal conservatism in our local representation. I hope everyone is paying attention. We need to vote all of the tax-and-spend commissioners out next election.
-- Robert E. Guthrie, Seminole
I would like to submit a suggestion to the Clearwater City Commission that might be acceptable to all parties.
Let the commission vote to use part of the severance money for former City Manager Mike Roberto to commission a statue of Mr. Roberto that can be mounted on the roundabout.
This would be in keeping with their penchant for strange ideas (land for a dollar, Clearwater's Beach, etc.). Roberto supporters could spend time each day stuck in traffic at the roundabout fondly remembering Mr. Roberto, while members of the other faction could derisively throw things at it while they slowly circle the great multimillion dollar waste of public funds.
-- Nigel Evans, Clearwater
Re: Blame bad service for tourism woes in Tarpon Springs, July 21 letter.
I am the co-owner of Santorini Seafood and Grill and a lifelong resident of Tarpon Springs. My husband and I have been in the restaurant business for 15 years. We employ more than 25 people and take great pride in our business.
I opened the newspaper and read what a Palm Harbor resident wrote about Tarpon Springs and its "bad service." We have monthly employee meetings at our restaurant and we are always discussing the importance of customer service. We do our best to maintain the highest quality and freshest food for our customers. Our restaurant is very clean and well-maintained.
Unfortunately, equipment breaks down and it is very difficult to find a repair service for a cappuccino machine on a Sunday afternoon.
The man claims that the business owners are missing the picture by the parking lots charging tourists $2 to park. The parking lots are businesses, too. These people are trying to make a living also. I am sorry that the Palm Harbor man complained that he was "nailed" paying $2 to park in a "construction site" parking lot. I hear that people pay up to $20 to park a car in New York. I believe that $2 all day with attendant parking is the cheapest in the Tampa Bay area.
Santorini's Seafood and Grill reimburses its customers for their parking. After parking in one of the major lots, you may ask for a parking voucher from an attendant and your server will gladly refund the $2 after lunch or dinner.
We live in a charming, quaint, historical and very inexpensive city. We value the tourist industry and we work hard to preserve what we have built. I am sorry that you had an unpleasant day in Tarpon Springs.
By the way, the cappuccino machine is fixed.
-- Tula Manglis, Tarpon Springs