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    Letters to the Editors

    We should spend more to get rid of schools' portables

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published August 21, 2001

    How can anyone look at the abomination we call "portables" without feeling shame?

    Kelly Ryan's Aug. 8 article, All boxed in, tells us we have 744 of these dehumanizing boxes in Pinellas, 1,900 in Hillsborough and heaven knows how many more in the rest of Florida. She and Pinellas school Superintendent Howard Hinesley tell us what the problems are in "upgrading" the boxes, also replacing them with school buildings, and it all boils down to not enough money.

    The real question is not addressed: How is it that the residents of one of the richest states of the richest nation in the world have so little love for their children, so little regard for their children's teachers, that they force education to take place in these squalid little boxes and refuse to tax themselves sufficiently to fund buildings that adequately house the most important of human activities?

    Each time I hear someone say, "More money isn't the solution to the problems of education," I feel the urge to box ears.
    -- Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg

    Scientology has done wonders for downtown

    Re: A city divided, story, Aug. 12.

    Can you possibly imagine what downtown Clearwater would look like if the Church of Scientology had not restored the Fort Harrison Hotel, Coachman Building, Sand Castle, the Osceola and other properties to the pristine condition we now see them in?

    The Church of Scientology has brought life and citizen commitment to Clearwater and its downtown. Thanks to the countless hours that Scientologists give annually to community service without fanfare, our city is a better place in which to live and raise our families. Through the legacy of L. Ron Hubbard, church parishioners administer the extraordinarily successful literacy, drug and criminal rehabilitation programs.

    We should be praising the Church of Scientology and its members. I, for one, welcome them.
    -- Ward Wilson, Clearwater

    Real "smart growth' would be no growth at all

    Re: Florida's future depends on creating "smart growth,' guest column, Aug. 13.

    After I read this, I got the same feeling as I get when I read other smart-growth articles -- a feeling of futility, maybe of fooling ourselves.

    Do we fool ourselves into believing that if we contain our population in ever more dense quarters and "examine the public school system . . . to better relate to the population's growth," etc., these things will improve our quality of life?

    Maybe I don't understand, but how do we continue to cram a 10-pound population into a 5-pound bag? Sure, we can plan and we can squeeze in more density, but eventually don't we have to change a part of the equation here? Don't we have to start limiting the sheer numbers of the population itself? And, if that's true, why don't we start a campaign of gradual reduction and limitation right this moment so that there's minimal initial impact on the economy?

    Does this make sense to anybody else?

    Why not stop fooling ourselves? Instead of falling back on politically correct mythologies to justify our proliferation, why not start valuing the one or two really wanted children per family?
    -- Sandy Oestreich, North Redington Beach

    Leave Starkey Road alone; focus on east-west routes

    I just wanted to let you know that I and several of my neighbors are opposed to any widening of Starkey Road. We have the threat of the city of Seminole taking over our neighborhood and now the added threat of more noise and pollution in our residential area!

    I have lived in my home for 28 years, and I raised my three children in this area. Instead of putting more traffic within 1,000 feet of my residence, I would like to see the county make more east-west routes to evacuate this area in case of a natural disaster here.

    Wouldn't it be cost-effective and more sensible to make improvements to the already-existing Seminole Boulevard and Belcher Road for our north-south roads? Since residents in the Keene Road area of Clearwater have already asked the county to leave their neighborhood intact, I would like to ask the same for the Starkey Road area.

    Seems like the commission would want to spend road funds in the most effective way possible.
    -- Dorothy Book, Largo

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