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Letters to the Editors

SPJC Epicenter has a steep price tag

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 6, 2000

Re: County making Epicenter its focus, Nov. 28.

The delegation from St. Petersburg Junior College made a fine presentation to the county commissioners on Nov. 27. The Epicenter sounds like a great idea, bringing all services for business and industry under one roof.

However, if it's such a great idea, why haven't industry and business stepped forward to pick up a considerable amount of the burden? Is this expansion to aid business under the charter of the college? Perhaps more important, can the county afford this showroom for the college?

SPJC is asking for $8-million, which the county doesn't have. To obtain this $8-million, other promised projects will have to be delayed. Now the delayed projects become more expensive. The $8-million will easily become $12-million to $14-million.

Only a few months ago several commissioners voiced how important it was to keep faith with the taxpayer and maintain the integrity of budgeted projects. What a difference a few months make.

Add a few more of these leveraged deals, and you can forget the budget.
-- Leonard Peterson, Palm Harbor

We can help panhandlers

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

It saddens me to hear the letter writer's words regarding our city. We live in a densely and diversely populated county and are bound to pass by people who are less fortunate than most. While this may not be the norm in Tierra Verde, this is more likely to occur in a setting like downtown St. Petersburg. If anything, the writer should mark this evening as a motivating event to make a difference in the lives of these "panhandlers."

We all have time, talent and treasure to give to the poor and downtrodden in our community. An uncomfortable event like this can bring about the change we can make for everyone, and not just the fortunate.

Maybe the letter writer should not venture outside Tierra Verde, and should definitely not travel to New York or San Francisco. "Unsettling" might not begin to describe her reaction.
-- John Tredo, St. Petersburg

Reality outside a ritzy realm

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

How dare the letter writer criticize people less fortunate than herself? She states that, upon going to a popular restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg, she and her group were approached by some "panhandlers."

Perhaps she should get out of her ritzy neighborhood more often to see how homeless people must live! She would do better by donating her restaurant money to a local food bank and/or donating her time serving food in a local soup kitchen.
-- Linda S. Johnson, St. Petersburg

Will work -- for more than food

Re: Letters concerning panhandlers in the Neighborhood Times.

I have empathy for "homeless people," but I wonder if the Dec. 3 letter writers have noticed that a lot of those standing on the corners with signs that read "Homeless Vietnam Veteran" seem to be about 20 to 30 years old and appear to be healthy.

With the availability of jobs now, it would be fairly easy for the homeless to get employment.

About three years ago, I stopped to speak to one of these people on a corner and made him a job offer. He only asked how much would I pay, and when I told him $8 an hour, he told me, "I make more than that standing here. I don't need a job."

I have never given money again to a street-corner homeless (?) person.
-- Art Adams, Madeira Beach

Great concert, mediocre turnout

On the evening of Nov. 28, we who attended the St. Petersburg Junior College Steel Drum Band concert were treated to a rousing, nostalgic trip back to the islands. Director John Shaw and his talented group put on one heck of a show! The acoustics were marvelous in the brand-new 300-seat, $2-million music center, but only about 85 people showed for this free concert.

What's wrong St. Petersburg? Our area has a population of more than 300,000 and a large percentage who have cruised to the islands. How many of you have sat on the deck of a cruise ship and marveled at the music of the ship-board steel drum combo? Here was a chance for your own personal concert in your own back yard -- and for free to boot. It really disturbs me to see such talent get a poor turnout. The turnout Nov. 27 for the Pinellas Youth Symphony at the Palladium wasn't much better. Was everyone home watching television, waiting for the latest election returns?

Again, hats off to the SPJC Steel Drum Band. Watch for the band's next concert in the spring.
-- Bob and Karen Lartz, St. Petersburg

A key name behind the Pinellas Trail

Re: Anniversary celebration of Pinellas Trail.

The Pinellas Trail is a wonderful addition to our community and worthy of a celebration of its 10th anniversary.

However, to rename the trail after Fred E. Marquis is an injustice to Bert Valery Jr., who initiated the development of the trail after his son was killed in a biking accident.

Of course, many residents cooperated in bringing this project to a conclusion, but why ignore someone who was there from the beginning? If it weren't for Bert Valery, there would not be anything to celebrate.
-- Sam Rubenstein, Palm Harbor

Exasperation about Keswick expansion

Re: Planned Expansion of Keswick Christian School.

No offense to anyone intended, but I would advise the neighbors to fight this expansion tooth and nail!

What started in our neighborhood as a seemingly harmless one-story school building with hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. has, in two years, mushroomed into a two-story multibuilding and a mammoth problem for the adjacent neighbors!

The two-story buildings effectively block out light and breezes. The noise level from the playground starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. with music and a bullhorn (presumably gym class?).

Soccer balls, trash and the like frequently land in our yards. After-school care has also been initiated and of course, there are various school functions in the evenings and on some weekends.

An enhancement to the neighborhood? They tried to sell us that bill of goods. Perhaps it is an enhancement to the pocketbooks of the architects, the builders and the school participants.

Ask those pushing for this whether they would be happy to have the structure and the ensuing problems in their back yards. See how they answer that!
-- G. Williams, St. Petersburg

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