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    Letters to the Editors

    Local officials should rescind 'pork' requests

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published October 26, 2001

    I am heartened to read the letter from Skip Layton about reconsideration of a new Memorial Causeway bridge (Bridge project should give way to greater needs, Oct. 24).

    My suggestion to the Florida Legislature and the many jurisdictions in Florida is to review the state contributions to all of the "wish list" projects that are not essential to the welfare of our citizens. I don't see how any city or county commission can, with conscience, accept money from the state to build fancy, but little needed, things like bridges while the state budget is being balanced on the backs of needy children and our public schools.

    I'll bet that the Legislature could find, in about an hour, more than a billion dollars of pork projects. I have never understood why the state funds local projects that should be paid for by the local jurisdictions, e.g., parks, senior centers, recreation centers.

    I agree with Mr. Layton and broaden the thought. Jurisdictions all across Florida should help balance the state budget, while sustaining necessary programs, by recalling requests for pork barrel projects. The same goes for projects funded by the federal government.
    -- Kyle Barnes, Clearwater

    It's $1-billion out of $47-billion

    Is it accidental that your reporters do not mention the total state budget of $47-billion-plus when discussing the $1-billion or so in cuts now being considered by the state? A little perspective goes a long way!
    -- Robert Wilson, Tarpon Springs

    Chief appreciates survey help

    Community policing cannot be effective without the participation of the people we serve. I would like to thank the Largo community for its participation in our recent citizen survey. Surveys typically generate a 5 percent response rate. The Largo Police Citizen Survey generated a 10 percent response, with more than 1,300 responses by unofficial count.

    The vast majority of the survey responses rated the services of the Largo Police Department as good to excellent. I would like to thank all of you who voiced your confidence in us and to those of you who provided us constructive criticism.

    The next question is, where do we go from here? After having read each and every survey, my staff is now entering the data from the responses and typing all of your commments into a report. Once complete, our report will be distributed throughout our organization and an action plan will be initiated to address concerns you brought to our attention. For those of you who left your name and telephone number asking to be contacted, we will follow up with personal calls shortly.

    Two significant areas of concern stood out from our survey. Many of you cited a lack of police visibility in the neighborhoods, and you sent a very clear message that you want much more done in terms of traffic law enforcement, with numerous locations being specified throughout Largo.

    It would be dishonest to relate that we have not had significant problems in the past with officer turnover. I am happy to report that we have improved in this vital area and should be up to full strength shortly. Once fully trained and out on their own, these officers will be assigned into the field, generating more visibility and our plans to create a traffic unit will proceed.

    Until then we will continue to strive to provide the best police service possible. Thank you again for your continued support.
    -- Lester Aradi, Largo chief of police

    A tribute to former Largo mayor

    Former Largo Mayor Thom Feaster was kind, caring and helpful. He helped me with a big problem I had of teenage guys and gangs stalking and harassing me. He helped to get our wonderful ordinance in, prohibiting those under age 18 from roaming the streets after 11 p.m. weeknights and midnight weekends. I have had three peaceful years with that ordinance in effect.

    He was the best mayor I ever knew. I was very saddened by his early and untimely death.
    -- Peggy Gifford, Largo

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