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    Letters to the Editors

    Don't sink taxes into replacing usable bridge

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


    I sure hope Clearwater lawyer Pat Maguire is successful in convincing Judge James Case that borrowing money to build a multimillion-dollar bridge to Clearwater Beach violates the city charter.

    The City Commission's determination (opposed by Commissioner J.B. Johnson) that the new bridge is a health and safety concern is probably the worst of many bad decisions the commission has made in recent years.

    If this matter goes to a referendum, as it should, then citizens will get to decide whether they want to spend a huge amount of their tax dollars to replace a usable state-funded bridge. Just think of all the really important things these dollars could be used for, e.g. fire department upgrades, a first-class main library, road improvements and recreational facilities.
    -- Bill Schwob, Clearwater

    City commission going against voters on library

    In 1999 there were 1,045,146 people who used the five Clearwater libraries. Of these, there were 244,833 people who used the facilities of the main library downtown.

    It is obvious that the people are satisfied with the downtown branch.

    The voters also showed their approval by voting for a new building at the present site. Why is the City Commission considering other sites? Why isn't the will of the voters being taken into consideration?
    -- Joe Venturo, Clearwater

    Street lights appreciated, but more could still be done

    I want to thank the county commissioners for listening to my suggestions in regards to the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and County Road 1 (Omaha Street) in Palm Harbor. Street lights were recently installed and have lit up the area nicely.

    I believe this improvement along with upcoming plans for the downtown area will be valued by local residents, as well as those traveling to and from the area.

    The four-way stop has cut down on the number of accidents tremendously and slowed down traffic. I have, however, seen an increasing number of larger delivery trucks, semitrailer trucks and tour buses using Nebraska Avenue as a thoroughfare. The county has had posted, in my yard a "No-truck thoroughfare" sign for the last six years.

    My concern is for the health of the large number of older oak trees that line this narrow, designated "scenic road" and the fact that the road itself wasn't built to handle this kind of traffic. I feel the truck traffic has other alternative routes much safer than traveling a residential street like Nebraska.

    I still believe the roundabout originally planned for the intersection when the road is widened would be an even nicer addition to the area. It would keep traffic moving slowly and maintain the small-town feeling the community would like to see. It would also deter the drivers of the larger trucks.

    While visiting several Colorado communities this year I found roundabouts to be easily handled by local and visiting drivers. The one-lane traffic circle with a low mound of beautiful flowers moved traffic slowly, swiftly and safely.

    Let's learn from other's mistakes what not to do and not close our minds to those who have done it right elsewhere.
    -- Joann Oakley, Palm Harbor

    Sidewalk offers bicyclers a safer path than busy road

    Re: Sidewalk is a bad place to ride your bicycle, Aug. 23 letter.

    I am sure writer Chip Haynes has never been on 142nd Avenue. This street from 66th Street to Belcher Road is a narrow, two-lane street. Its major traffic flow is from drivers using 142nd as a cross street from 66th to Belcher.

    They have no regard for speed laws, no regard for pedestrians and certainly no regard for the residents of 142nd who number well in excess of 5,000 men, women and children. More than 2,000 are seniors. The sidewalk is nice for our residents to take a stroll, but more important, it is a bike path allowing bikers the safety they need by taking them out of the horrible traffic flow of uncaring drivers.

    I suggest Mr. Haynes come and take a look at the 142nd traffic -- not at midnight, either, but between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.
    -- James W. Jones, Largo

    Loose dogs on beach dangerous for turtle nests and children

    On Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, I took a walk on Clearwater Beach. This was on the north end of the beach which has sea turtle nests clearly marked.

    During this walk, I encountered eight dogs running loose. One ran over a nest. Another defecated in the water's edge right beside a small child playing in the surf. This dog's owner ignored the mess in the surf and walked away.

    Some of these dogs were large and ran very near where children were playing. The owners of these pets were irresponsible and careless. I was under the impression that dogs were not allowed on the beach and I also thought there was a leash law in Clearwater.
    -- Don Foley, Clearwater

    Signs, fines for littering would make for a cleaner city

    I agree with the letter writer (Punish motorists who toss cigarette butts from cars, Aug. 8) who said we should fine persons who toss cigarette butts out of car windows.

    Someone came to a Clearwater City Commission meeting not long ago with a great NO TRASH THROWING sign to alert drivers about the violation and the consequences. I hope the city planners use his idea to help keep our city cleaner. Not only will it help keep the city cleaner, it will cut down on the cost of personnel having to be hired to clean up after the violators.

    It reminded me of our time in Hawaii when he said the cities of Atlanta and Los Angeles both fine offenders. They do the same thing in Hawaii. They also have very few roadside billboards and this makes for a much nicer area too. I do believe that Hawaii is the cleanest place I have ever visited, and I'm sure it's mostly due to the fines they have for the offenders.
    -- Fran Glaros, Clearwater

    If we can afford to build center, we can afford to hold events

    Re: Belleair Bluffs city hall/community center complex.

    In July I attended my first Belleair Bluffs Commission meeting to learn more about the proposed $1.2-million city hall/community center. As a mother of two small children, I was primarily interested in what the community center would provide for the young children of Belleair Bluffs.

    I was stunned to find out that no activities are planned for individuals of this city. The building will be available only for organizations to rent or use. When pressed, the commission did say that children would have access to the community center if they were members of an organized group such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. To my knowledge, there are no Scout troops in Belleair Bluffs.

    So what is left for the children of Belleair Bluffs? Very little, apparently. When asked why the city would not be providing city-sponsored activities for the individual residents of Belleair Bluffs, Commissioner Susan McIlveen said that no activities are planned at present because "we are, after all, a small community."

    I left the meeting bewildered and disappointed. Apparently Belleair Bluffs is big enough for a new $1.2-million city hall but too small to provide city-sponsored activities in the new community center. This makes no sense.
    -- Sandra Daniels, Belleair Bluffs

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