Letters to the Editors
Apartments would worsen traffic, school crowding
© St. Petersburg Times,
Re: proposed Westminster low-income apartment complex in Oldsmar and Nov. 4 letter, Council doesn't welcome newcomers.
How did we all lose sight of what is going on in Oldsmar? Why do we have to have City Council members pitted against each other? We are all individuals that have our own opinions. When has it become wrong to think for oneself?
I have lived in Oldsmar for six years, and I am still proud and not embarrassed to say I live here. On the other hand, I have my own selfish reasons for not wanting the Westminster apartment complex to be built.
When I purchased my home six years ago, the property in question was owned by the Catholic Church. If anything was to be built, I presumed it would be a church-related building, a school or church.
I live within walking distance of my children's elementary school, Forest Lakes. This year, portables had to be brought in to house the additional children in our school. I don't want my children housed in a portable. Shallow-minded, maybe, but I, too, pay taxes and I did not move to Oldsmar to feel cramped.
This is a beautiful city that seems to be growing in leaps and bounds. We have this too-large Wal-Mart that has made it impossible to make a left turn onto Tampa Road, and now this proposed apartment complex is going to add to the impact on our roads and school system.
Discrimination? Personally, that thought never came to my mind. Every person deserves to live somewhere no matter what their income. Impact on our small community? Yes, that is where my mind is at. I also work in Oldsmar and I still haven't gotten the feeling that people are discriminating against other people for their abilities or disabilities, whether they be physical or financial.
I am sorry it has come to this point where the council and citizens are divided. Embarrassed? No. Saddened? Yes.
It's not money or race but welfare of children
The most important issue here is what this project will do to the children of the area. My husband was a principal, and we successfully raised six sons. The frustration of principals, teachers and children on double and triple sessions caused by overpopulation of an area is horrendous.
This is the only card worth playing here. The race and income cards just don't fly. I live in the Forest Lake Villas next to the Garden Condos, which are composed of multiethnic and multi-income (residents), as are the Villas.
The money card doesn't fly, either. We gamble on being sued or building new schools -- a high cost either way. I vote on taking a chance of being sued. The only legitimate card to play, in my opinion, is the welfare of the children, who are the future and should not be short-changed.
Long Center's decline raises many questions
Re: City looking into Long Center's budget, story, Oct. 14.
I have been a member of the Long Center in Clearwater for seven years. Through the years I have seen a steady decline in a beautiful center, the time it can be used by the public and the space the public can use.
I remember when the facility and its surrounding area were clean and well-maintained. The stainless steel cables in the viewing area above the pool glistened, the locker rooms were fresh and clean, the pool area was free of trash, algae and ground-in dirt, and the water was clear and clean. The facility was open to its membership and always had ample space and time for its clients.
Many times through the years, I have gone to the center and returned with foot infections, earaches and staph infections from dirty exercise equipment and facilities. I realize that if conditions are this bad, you may be asking: Why don't you go somewhere else? The location of this facility is perfect for my busy daily schedule, and it offers exactly what I need: an indoor heated pool for yearlong swimming. Also, the price is what I can afford on my limited budget.
I enjoy the center, but I do take necessary steps to keep my health intact. I use ear drops to help prevent ear infections from dirty pool water. I try to keep a barrier between myself and the sweat-stained exercise equipment. I wear shoes and fins on the pool deck to prevent staph and foot infections. But I am growing tired of having to take these precautions and continuing to observe the same conditions at this center day after day.
It appears that there is no preventive maintenance at this facility. Many people have tired of the Long Center and its present state of decline and decided to join other fitness centers, as the dropping membership has shown. Also, the facility has been closing during the week more frequently for special events, and available space for the paying clients has diminished significantly.
I want you to continue to look into the Long Center's function and how it addresses the needs of the local children and residents. I hope your research helps to increase the amount of money used to improve the facility, and increase the public's use time and space available at all times of the day. I see a lot of organized teams using the area but very few families or children using the facility for recreation and play.
I hope the facility returns to its original purpose: serving the local community. When local tax dollars go to the facility, it needs to pay more attention to the needs of the local public, open its books to critique and, hopefully, find a solution to the declining membership and facility function.
I will look for another fitness center after this year if conditions do not improve.
Leaving early displays rude side of audience
I was ashamed of the rudeness of too many audience members at Sunday's marvelous Ling Family Celebration at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The concert received three well-deserved standing ovations and verbal bravos, yet before Maestro Ling could make his first stage exit, people were filing out of the theater.
I cannot believe the audacity and pure rudeness of such a distasteful act. The filing out continued throughout the four curtain calls. I was embarrassed, as I'm sure were many of my fellow patrons. This has happened at almost every event I have attended at Ruth Eckerd.
My husband and I have held season tickets for many years. At Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg, our usual venue, the doors remain closed until the final applause dies down. Because the audience at Ruth Eckerd doesn't seem to know any better, perhaps the ushers should remain guarding the closed doors until the proper time for departing.
Dog park would help raise battered spirits
Re: Petition for a dog park is needed, letter, Oct. 25.
In these difficult times, people need activities that raise their spirits. Watching dogs romp and visiting with their owners are hard to beat.
In honor of all the dogs and owners who add pleasure to my morning walks around Crest Lake, I urge Clearwater to create at least one dog park.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
North Pinellas desks