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    Letters to the Editors

    Commissioners ignored residents with Omni plan

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 16, 2000


    I thank staff writer Eric Stirgus for his balanced presentation of the unrest that now exists in Largo communities surrounding Taylor Lake Park. This situation is associated with the proposed development of a large sports complex at the Omni Center and the disenfranchisement of the majority of the residents who will be affected by it. I would like to add a number of points that I and other residents living around Taylor Lake Park feel strongly about.

    The Pinellas county commissioners are directly responsible for creating a situation of distrust and suspicion in what was previously a number of peaceful communities living side by side. Their blatant disregard of the majority of residents who will be affected by the widening of 119th Street and the building of a large sports complex is inexcusable.

    The planning of this facility took place in virtual secrecy. There was no notice given to the residents of these communities and no attempt to include them. It was not until after a contract had actually been signed and plans had been completed that most people were even dimly aware that a major sports facility with football fields, high-intensity lighting, parking for 300 cars and a stadium with seating for 500 people was to be constructed in their quiet residential community. The actions of the county commissioners may have technically been legal but they resulted in the disenfranchisement of many hundreds of families and they are directly responsible for creating ill will among the very communities they are supposed to represent.

    The fact that this situation needs to be defused is patently obvious, yet the county commissioners continue to ignore it. They have offered no assistance whatsoever in a crisis that was created by their failure to be inclusive of all residents.

    It is not, however, too late for compromise unless the commissioners continue to disregard the majority of residents who will be directly affected. I am requesting that the commissioners be proactive in establishing a forum where all of the communities affected by these radical changes can meet and discuss their concerns. I am requesting that the commissioners hire a trained mediator who can assist the communities in rebuilding their faith in one another. I am requesting compromise in reaching an agreement where the opinions of all residents will be heard.

    I am challenging the commissioners to work with the city and the families surrounding Taylor Lake Park in resolving this climate of distrust and suspicion.
    -- Ruth Dowling, Largo

    Dog parks' usefulness really is a no-brainer

    Re: Oldsmar tightens park, dog rules, Oct. 5 story.

    I must say that with the exception of City Council member Ed Richards, the rest of the council members must have left their brains at home the night they discussed keeping dogs out of the parks except for designated areas.

    Dogs need a place to exercise with their owners, so why not fence off an area for the dogs? Then there would not be a question as to where the areas are. Also, the city should look into other locations, such as Florida Power rights of way, if available, and establish a dog park similar to the one in Safety Harbor.

    They must also start enforcing the ordinance concerning picking up after your pet. Having people-friendly signs and receptacles for the messy mounds also would help eliminate the problem.

    Dog parks are becoming more popular and are being established throughout the county and in Tampa. I am working to establish one in Tarpon Springs. Cities need to take a positive approach to this problem and put pet owners on notice that they must act in a responsible manner when they are with their canine pals.
    -- Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs

    Babies better off learning from life, not from television

    Re: Business born with baby video, Oct. 9 story.

    I would like to respectfully make a plea to parents of young children to consider that what children desperately need is to learn their native tongue from loving people who model good speech.

    They need to spend their time exploring their world in a safe way by crawling and climbing, examining and tasting, and they need to spend time outdoors hearing bird songs and looking up through real trees. They can best learn about the word "dog" by having a dog.

    Please do not be swept up into the mad rush that says children are to be catapulted through their natural stages of development with such artificial learning devices as videos produced for babies.

    For information about how to relax and accept nature's timetable for your baby, classes for mothers and infants based on the philosophy of the RIE Institute in California (Resources for Infant Education) are offered at School of the Suncoast, a developing Waldorf school. Call (727) 532-0696.
    -- Barbara Bedingfield, Largo

    Publishing more anti-Roberto letters is unnecessary

    Re: An ode to Mike Roberto, Oct. 10 letter.

    Former Clearwater City Manager Mike Roberto has been gone some weeks now. What is gained by printing letters from people with too much time on their hands like the editor wanna-be Bob Coffey? Mr. Roberto is no longer in the public arena in this area, but yet you would publish this nonsense.
    -- Bruce Rabon, Safety Harbor

    Many Clearwater residents show uncommon courtesy

    I moved to the Clearwater area recently and I am continually amazed at the kindness and generosity of community members that I have come in contact with.

    I recently ran over to Walgreens to pick up a couple of things and I began filling my shopping basket with reduced-price school supplies. Many of my students cannot afford supplies, so when I find discounted items, I stock up.

    The manager happened to wander over and I mentioned that I was a teacher. He asked me to calculate the amount of money the items already in the basket would cost and when I gave him my calculation, he hustled me over to the school aisle and filled my basket to the brim for that estimated amount.

    In addition, this past weekend in the Times' Reader's Exchange, my request for books and crafts supplies was printed. The phone began ringing at 8 o'clock Saturday morning with offers of gift certificates to buy school supplies, sets of encyclopedias and books galore. I expected to pick up the offered items myself, but I have had people deliver them to me and offer to mail them. I couldn't have wished for a better response to my request.

    I would like to thank my new community for making me feel welcome and for showing me true hospitality. I am proud to be a teacher in the bay area.
    -- Rachel Winston, Clearwater

    Clearwater's beaches shouldn't be taken for granted any time

    Sometimes it takes a vacation to get a fresh perspective on our life and the surroundings we live in. This all struck home on a recent trip out West.

    We were in Utah crossing Lake Powell by ferry to continue our trip. In the truck next to us a man started a conversation with me when he saw my Clearwater Jazz Holiday shirt. He remarked that he recently attended a convention in Clearwater after not having been on the beach for many years. He was impressed with the new landscaping and the easy access the roundabout provided. In addition, the pier park and the entrance fountain complemented the great beach we all know about. He said that next time he vacations in Florida, Clearwater will be a must-stay.

    As we continued on the Burr Trail (in 70 miles, we saw only 12 cars and great mountains), we made a mental note to visit the beach at least once a week.
    -- John Wiser, Clearwater

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