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BayWalk shops, eateries still have welcome mat out

Take steps now to save BayWalk | Dec. 12, editorial

Welcome mat is still out at BayWalk

I would like to thank the St. Petersburg Times editorial board for its recent position concerning BayWalk. As a downtown business owner since 1996 and a tenant at BayWalk for the past seven years, I appreciate the support of the Times.

The editorial board encouraged the city to take reasonable steps to help revive the entertainment and retail complex. Areas where it was suggested the city could assist included parking, security and staying connected with possible investors and stakeholders. These are extremely important points, and I believe the editorial was spot-on in its recommendations. The success of BayWalk is important for all of downtown.

Often lost in the discussion of BayWalk are the many independent, locally owned, small businesses at the complex that are 100 percent committed to its revival. These businesses are as much a part of the fabric of St. Petersburg as the merchants on Fourth Street, Central Avenue or elsewhere in the city.

Despite economic uncertainty and the foreclosure proceedings, we remain open and are asking the public to not give up on BayWalk as issues beyond our control get resolved.

While the Times is asking the city to help save BayWalk, I am appealing to the public. You, too, can take steps to help save and support your downtown and the entertainment and retail complex. Please come downtown. We are open. Please come back to BayWalk.

Michael Shapiro, St. Petersburg

Creche conundrum | Dec. 14. letter

Back off Jesus

Since the letter writer asked for a reader to explain how the city of St. Petersburg allows a nativity to be placed on city property, it would be my pleasure to enlighten him.

More than 75 percent of all Americans identify themselves as Christians. As Americans, we embrace other people's cultures, traditions and holidays, but that does include mine. That creche the letter writer seems to think is a waste of tax dollars is a depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ. The city allows it because people, at least 75 percent of us, enjoy it.

The city allows it because it is a tradition, in a world where fewer and fewer are honored. The city allows it because families like mine come to see it every year. And if the city wants to set up a menorah or kinara or any other displays that are about goodness and love, then I will take my children to see them, too.

A better question would be: Why do some people insist on spoiling things for the rest of us? To feel that they can dictate what the rest of us enjoy?

In a world filled with war and poverty and disease, is this really all he has to complain about? A few light bulbs lighting some statues? Give me a break.

Back off the baby Jesus.

Heather Nichol, St. Petersburg

Creche conundrum | Dec. 14. letter

Part of civilization

The letter writer asks why a religious display should be supported by tax dollars.

I cannot think of any highly developed civilization in history that did not arise from a religious environment. Our laws were developed in the beginning based on a Christian ethic and Christian values.

Human nature being what it is, after a few generations we tend to forget our history, and many want to act as if our civilization just "happened," or came from nowhere. They use words like "secular" to imply this.

This was the essential message of the novel Lord of the Flies in which civilized innocents revert to primitives when left to their own devices. Much of this lack of ethical behavior can be seen in our political and business world today.

The difference is that we can use Google to find out how to make war paint.

Mark E. Reinecke, St. Petersburg

Creche conundrum | Dec. 14. letter

It's tradition

The letter writer pleads for a reader to explain why tax money should be used to "place a creche each year on city property."

The answer is simple. Christmas was designated as a federal holiday in 1870 in the United States, where it is celebrated by approximately 93 percent of the population. The display of a creche and other decorations is in keeping with this long established tradition.

I personally have witnessed public Christmas decorations in Muslim countries (Malaysia) as well as in countries with a largely Buddhist tradition.

I suggest that the complainer chill.

Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach

Amscot out as bill pay site Dec. 12, story

Taxpayer burden

What started as a way to save St. Petersburg taxpayers $96,000 by eliminating the two clerks at the Enoch Davis Center has progressed to criticism of Amscot.

I am still focused on saving us taxpayers money. I understand that $96,000 may not seem like much to members of the City Council, considering the budgets they deal with, but believe me, ask any taxpayer supporting this city if he couldn't use an additional $96,000 per year.

Based on the information the city provided, 46,000 utility bills were processed last year at the Enoch Davis Center. This breaks down to 3,833 residents using the center each month to pay utility bills. This perk is costing us taxpayers $25 for each of those residents per year.

Let's compromise. Why doesn't the city subsidize 12 stamps for each of these 3,833 residents? They then can get a free money order at Amscot and mail their bills in. This would still save taxpayers almost $77,000 per year.

With the economic woes we are all facing, we'd better start looking at this and other perks that we can no longer afford.

H.J. Weinsheimer, St. Petersburg

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BayWalk shops, eateries still have welcome mat out 12/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 11:49am]
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