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Letters to the Editors

How about a little sympathy for panhandlers?

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 3, 2000

Re: Who wants to run a gantlet of panhandlers?, letter, Nov. 29.

I find it difficult to work up much sympathy for residents of Tierra Verde who are inconvenienced by the panhandling of the homeless population downtown.

Poverty is a fact of life in most major metropolitan areas. If one chooses to venture outside the gates of one's six- or seven-figure home on an island paradise, one must accept the consequences of being confronted by some of the real world's grittier realities.

The conventional wisdom these days is that the current robust economy will crash and burn soon. When that happens, those who patronize the finer restaurants, luxury condos and upscale shopping centers downtown may find that they suddenly have a lot in common with their panhandling brothers and sisters. Life can be funny that way.
-- Christine Allamanno, St. Petersburg

Embarrassed for another reason

Re: Who wants to run a gantlet of panhandlers?

The letter writer was "very embarrassed for our visiting friends" as their group was approached by panhandlers on Thanksgiving eve -- four in less than 10 minutes -- which she finds excessive. She hopes this issue will be addressed. How does she propose it be addressed and by whom?

My embarrassment is that in this wealthiest of nations so many people's basic needs are not being met.
-- Mary Berglund, St. Petersburg

BayWalk clients need lesson in manners

I am writing in disgust after an evening out at BayWalk. The facility is beautiful, the parking garage is convenient, and there was plenty to see and do at this early stage. What disgusted me were the people with whom I shared my evening.

Getting into the parking garage, I was cut off twice by cars too good to wait in line like everyone else. Inside the garage was a medley of honking horns by drivers with no patience, courtesy or idea of how a parking garage works. One driver was heard shouting at a parking attendant, "If I knew it was this much of a pain, I'd have gone to Crossroads."

When I entered the week-old theater, it was beautiful -- clean and tidy, music playing, illuminated murals and much comraderie among patrons. Then began the saving of seats, the stealing of seats, the yelling and fighting over seats and the intervention by Muvico ushers regarding seats. During the film, screaming babies, noisy children, ringing cell phones, late arrivers and early departers took much away from the movie-going experience. Upon exiting, I had to stop and gawk at the bedlam of trash scattered all over the theater that was so spotless 90 minutes before.

Please, bay area residents, let's be a community that cares about our development and each other with a little common sense and decency.
-- Becca McCoy, St. Petersburg

Ticket forces downtown boycott

Re: Boat show gave police another reason to ticket, letter, Nov. 26.

No matter how much improvement downtown St. Petersburg undergoes, I still will not shop downtown regularly due to a parking ticket I received about eight years ago. My car was parked a few inches over the front parking space line due to a car doing the same in the space behind. For that, I received a $15 fine.

The few times I have ventured downtown, I have used valet parking at the Columbia Restaurant on The Pier or at the Vinoy Hotel. Otherwise I do all my shopping at Tyrone Mall.

I am sure there are thousands of others in this area who have the same feelings and avoid downtown as much as possible. Until the city truly becomes user-friendly, I shall continue to boycott downtown.
-- James E. McNally, St. Petersburg

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