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Letters to the Editors

Just say no to curbside mail delivery

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000

Re: Post office to wait on curbside delivery, Dec. 6.

Before it goes any further, Mayor David Fischer had better start getting some input from residents and voters. I'd like to enumerate why the new postmaster should not be allowed to get his way: curbside delivery.

Thomas W. Pawlowski may want a feather in his cap so he can look good in the eyes of his peers, but curbside delivery would be a really sad loss for this city for the following reasons:

1. We already have suitable mailboxes.

2. Those who want curbside boxes are in the minority and perhaps have their fences closed and/or locked, making home deliveries too difficult.

3. Street parking would be lost to the needs of the postal workers driving to curbside boxes. If not that, then the curbside delivery would be useless, because it would entail drivers getting in and out of their trucks ceaselessly.

4. Despite postal increases almost yearly, quality management within the system is non-existent. Ask any postal employee!

5. Almost no one continues as a manager, because many of their policies are too difficult to enforce or lack the force of reason and logic. This discourages capable workers from pursuing those positions. Again, ask any postal worker.

6. Money is continuously being spent fruitlessly. Dec. 1 at the Euclid Station, a line of some 16 people awaited counter services in an office where there were at least four counters set up but only two were manned.

7. The post office is supposed to deliver both letters and packages, yet it has the audacity to charge for insurance for a service for which you pay upfront. No, you don't have to pay for it, but you are intimidated into doing so.

8. No matter how decorative some may get, curbside mailboxes are generally unsightly and also more vulnerable to both theft and abuse.

I could go on and on, but need I say more? No curbside delivery for St. Petersburg, please!
-- Bill Maranto, St. Petersburg

Keep public restroom open

The city of St. Petersburg may not roll up the streets downtown when the sun sets, but it does close the one and only public restroom (other than the one at the entrance to The Pier) at Williams Park well before then and as early as mid afternoon one day.

To deny restroom facilities to the public, downtown workers, shoppers and bus riders contradicts the city's proclaimed desire for a vibrant business and recreation center, including the evening hours.
-- John Royse, St. Petersburg

Two kinds of homeless people

Some of your readers wrote about the problem of seeing homeless people in the neighborhoods, and some of the poor actually demonstrated at the Chamber of Commerce, raising a lot of concern and anguish.

I moved here last year from Washington, D.C., where the homeless are a fact of life. Thousands of them are everywhere. It was a small problem until Ronald Reagan entered the White House and slashed budgets to ease your tax burden and mine. And we all said thank you very much. Thousands of mentally ill people were released onto the streets when institutions were closed. Reagan felt that families should take care of their own, but it doesn't happen that way.

There are two types of homeless: those who are truly ill, who wander the streets, the drug addicts, the drunks, those who have lost all touch with life and who deserve our concern and help. They are weak, old, sick and crippled. Then there are those who make homelessness a career. They beg, they don't pay taxes, they feed off the good will of caring people. They are young, strong and healthy.

I have seen the homeless relaxing at the entrance of a parking garage that had an electrical outlet, watching a small TV. I've seen them lying on street benches reading Barron's and the Wall Street Journal. During a Veterans Day celebration, I saw two vets, one in a wheelchair being pushed by another, and my heart went out to them. Later, the one doing the pushing was now seated in the wheelchair, being pushed by his friend.

I walk rather briskly, eyes straight ahead, and if one should approach me ("got some change?"), I give him a look that clearly says "get out of my face." One day, I encountered a couple of homeless men chatting amiably, when suddenly one said to his friend, Uh-oh, gotta get to work. I was upon them at that point, ready to give them "The Look," but they caught the tourists behind me instead.

We in the D.C. area loved the winter, when the streets seemed to have fewer of the homeless than usual, because many went to shelters. We used to joke that during the summer they went to the beach, and during the winter, they went to Florida. Hurts, doesn't it?

I worked hard my entire life, just like millions of Americans. I was talking with a friend and said that I was tired of this rat race. I thought I might want to be a street person. No responsibilities, live off people, panhandle a little -- I certainly knew how -- no taxes to pay, no abuse from employers. Yes, that's what I want to do. And my friend said, "Yes, that's okay, you can do that, but sometimes it rains in the office."
-- Alice Sherman, Redington Beach

Road warriors have taken over

Re: Traffic violations are low priority, letter, Nov. 29.

I would like to second the comments of the letter writer regarding police response to traffic violations. When I moved to the area in 1989, I was astonished by the flagrant running of red lights, aggressive tailgating, passing on shoulders, weaving through traffic and speeding at 20 mph over the speed limit that I routinely observed in Tampa, where I worked. Returning to Pinellas County each day was a relief.

Now there is no difference whatsoever. I still commute 60 miles a day and routinely encounter these anti-social, accident-causing behaviors wherever I drive.

I disagree with the letter writer about the priority that should be placed on ticketing speeders. It seems to me that people speeding in the left-hand lane, where they can be caught on police radar based in the median, are the least of our problems. The current pattern of feebly attempting speed-law enforcement pushes speeders who don't want to be caught into the right-hand lane, where they interact with those of us who are trying to avoid being run over. This leads to accident-causing situations of lane weaving, tailgating, passing on the right, etc. I challenge readers to identify more than a handful of isolated incidents in which anyone has gotten a ticket in this region for these behaviors before being in an accident. I don't know of any.

I believe public safety would be far better served by focusing on enforcement of the laws against behaviors most likely to cause accidents. The Florida Highway Patrol's own estimate is that excessive speed is a factor in less than 3 percent of collisions.

Of course, sitting in the median and catching speeders is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's easy. Going after the behaviors that actually are most likely to cause accidents would call for police work.
-- David Bassett, St. Petersburg

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