Letters to the Editors
'Fixation' on youth curfew took slight time on city clock
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000
Re: Curfew fixation is waste of time, Oct. 26 editorial.
Thanks for providing me with this opportunity to present some facts relative to your recent editorial regarding curfews.
Because no one from your editorial staff ever contacted me on this issue, I was very surprised to read in the headline that I was "fixated" on the issue and even more surprised to read that I believed the city may need a curfew to keep juveniles off the street at night, when my views are quite to the contrary. I have always questioned the constitutionality of curfews and believe strongly in parental authority.
After the events surrounding Greek Easter, several of residents talked to the police chief and me and asked that we look into the feasibility of imposing an annual curfew to be used solely for that event.
Following up on these citizen comments, the police chief and I discussed the issue for about five minutes this past spring. In addition, I recently ran across an article regarding the benefits of the curfew in Ybor City. I took one minute to write the following memo to our police chief: "Some months ago, we had a discussion about the possible use of curfews. As a follow up, please contact Tampa Police and provide me with information on the process they are using for enforced curfews. Thanks." A copy of the Ybor City article was attached.
Perhaps the Times and I have differing definitions of a fixation. Six minutes of my time and what may result in 20 minutes of the police chief's time to research a request that has been made by citizens does not appear to me to be an inordinate use of city time.
In my estimation, Tarpon Springs city commissioners are very pro-citizen. I cannot imagine that they would direct me not to research citizen inquiries, as you have suggested.
I might add that since more than 98 percent of the editorial presented the Times' views and concerns with St. Petersburg, Tampa, Largo and Pinellas Park, perhaps someone else's picture, a picture of someone with some relevance to the issue, should have appeared rather than mine.
Pinellas Planning Council sends opinions with water bills
At a time when all elected officials should be on their toes because of elections going on and citizens wanting more accountability, Pinellas county commissioners allowed the Pinellas Planning Council to include a biased flier in water bills.
I can't get the privilege to speak out on the three illegal annexations that recently took place in this county, let alone get the Board of County Commissioners to send my opinion to every water user. Every citizen of Pinellas County should get good information on every issue, but to tell them how to vote and use taxpayers' money to do this is a crime.
A group of citizens who live in unincorporated Pinellas County recently went to the state attorney's office concerning these three illegal annexations and the means used to enact them and now are told to spend its own money to follow the law. Why can the Planning Council use paper, printing and postage costs to send a biased paper to my home to tell me how to vote and not have to account to the citizens or use their personal funds to pay the costs?
I am so disgusted with the Pinellas County commissioners that if I had enough money, I would pay for large signs and advertisements to throw them all out of office.
Because I don't have enough money to follow through, I urge every Pinellas County citizen to vote for changes in the future for the Board of County Commissioners and let's just get rid of the Pinellas Planning Council. The state and county laws should apply fairly to everyone.
Bike lanes are for bikes only, and thus should be safe routes
An article printed Oct. 22 entitled Officials wary of bike lanes stated that some members of the County Commission had a concern with the safety of bike lanes.
I serve as chairman of the Pinellas County Bicycle Advisory Committee. I have been a participant on this committee for many years and therefore have a good knowledge of how the policy for bike lanes originated and how it has been refined.
The BAC was concerned with the fact that bicyclists, when placed in the mix with vehicles on the highway lanes, create a very unsafe situation for all parties. As everyone is aware, Pinellas County has one of the highest rates of accidents and fatalities nationally. This is due to the fact that many people in Pinellas County desire to travel this way or have to travel using this mode of transportation. It is for this reason that the BAC had earlier proposed the use of bike lanes.
A bike lane is a specially striped delineation of the pavement at the edge of the roadway that is usually 4 feet in width. That small lane is set aside for the use of bicyclists. Vehicles are not permitted to cross over that line, except when turning or making some other maneuver.
The advantage of the bike lane is not only that it separates the bicyclist from the vehicles, but that it also makes driving easier for all parties. The motorist no longer has to slow down behind a bicyclist that is in his lane and wait to pass. In reverse, the bicyclist does not have to be concerned with an extended rearview mirror or other such protrusion from passing vehicles. It must be pointed out that the concept of bike lanes is nothing new and has been extensively used across the country with good success.
It is, therefore, the Bicycle Advisory Committee's strong view that bike lanes should not only be built as part of new roadways, but should also be retrofitted into our existing roadway network. It is only through such an initiative that we will be able to get a handle on the serious safety issue we have at the present time in Pinellas County.
Commission is misguided, deaf to the people's message
Is it any wonder that the young people of today don't trust our government? The mere suggestion by our Clearwater mayor and city commissioners to reappoint Commissioner Ed Hooper represents the perfect ending to the sad state of affairs at City Hall.
First, they ram a roundabout down our throats, then they try to trick us into giving our waterfront away for $1 and now they expect us to welcome back a man whom we just soundly defeated in his bid for higher office. These people just don't get the message.
Afraid of a deadlocked vote at commission meetings -- who are they kidding? Who else but Mr. Hooper can guarantee more votes against the people's wishes? The citizens of Clearwater better pray for a 2-2 deadlock until we vote this misguided commission out of office in March. We can't afford more damage.
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
North Pinellas desks