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Clearwater boat slip plan the latest example of inept spending

Re: Boat slip plan's rising cost reason for concern editorial, April 17

Examples of inept spending abound

Your editorial on the mismanagement of the proposed Clearwater boat slips is just another example of how inept local government really is.

The officials have been telling everybody how difficult the budget crisis is and then they have the audacity to propose taking money from "an untouched interest revenue" source to keep annual payments in line with what they promised the taxpayers. It's called a shell game! No matter how they play with the books, at nearly $13-million the marina will never pay for itself and the taxpayers of Clearwater are stuck with an additional cost of nearly $2-million.

Anybody going to ask why they have "untouched interest revenue" lying around?

If you look at local waste and mismanagement over the last few years, you see how poorly run our local governments really are. A few examples:

1. The Clearwater Beach roundabout (millions wasted).

2. The beach parking debacle and resulting disastrous effect on local beach businesses (many millions).

3. The Clearwater Beach small bridge walkway that wasn't maintained (thousands wasted).

4. Provided 180 Clearwater employees free city vehicles for commuting — and didn't even know it was happening ($380,000 per year for years ).

5. Palm Harbor's covered skating facility built so the skaters won't get wet when it rains (improper design, $461,000).

6. Dunedin's new Community Center, which will cost taxpayers an additional $700,000 to $800,000 in interest payments because the officials borrowed too much money and forgot to apply for authorized federal grants of $843,200. Also, an additional $150,000 in architectural fees wasted because the staff exceeded the allowed capital objective and a new design was required.

7. Dunedin constructed a skateboard facility that fell apart in three years ($200,000 wasted).

8. Pinellas County printed and distributed a useless water quality brochure ($100,000 wasted).

9. The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) wasted $2.6-million of federal government money studying a rail system that was never going to be built and secured another $3-million of federal money for Clearwater Beach Rail and Bus Rapid Transit with nothing to show for it over the last two years.

These are just a few examples of wasted taxpayers' money, and unlike in the "real world," nobody is ever held responsible or loses their job.

Over the last few months it should be obvious to the taxpayers that government will seldom try to be more efficient unless you take away the money. If they have your money they will find a way spend it!

Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor

Re: Boat slips to cost $2M more | story, April 15

A better use of interest revenue

This should be a no-brainer, even for the Clearwater City Council. Downsize the project to fit the budget, and some wealthy yacht owners will not have a place to dock at taxpayers' expense. What a pity!

Take the $2-million that suddenly appeared and rehire laid-off library workers.

Robert Biggers, Clearwater

Re: Shame on the Times for photo | letter by Wally Gehlsen, April 24

Photo of burned dog had to be seen

No, Wally Gehlsen, the St. Petersburg Times was absolutely right in showing the photograph of poor Honey, as horrific as that photo of the burned dog was, because it truly showed the cruel and monstrous act that was done to this animal. We as a nation are very good at pretending that horrible things don't happen if we can't see them.

Those of us who deal with rescued animals are well aware of the truly reprehensible acts that humans perpetrate on animals. If more people are made to see and understand the results of this heinous behavior, it will enlighten and educate a population that might otherwise remain blissfully unaware of it.

Linda Luise Treuhaft,

Palm Harbor

Tony Bennett, Kenny G kept crowd humming

What a memorable two evenings of wonderful music at Ruth Eckerd Hall to keep us humming along.

On March 29, a great performance by Tony Bennett, who is well loved in this area. What a showman, and what a voice, still going strong at 82! The show just was not long enough — only 90 minutes. The packed house wanted him to go on and on. And his quartet was terrific. What happy memories brought back by the beautiful ballads from the days of our youth.

On March 24, we loved the fabulous two-hour program by Kenny G. He and his band are tremendous musicians and performers. What a fun show, especially when Kenny strolled through the audience playing his sax.

I purchased his latest CD and asked Kenny to autograph it to my husband, a World War II Guadalcanal Marine veteran, and his response was "Wow."

Keep up the good work, Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Olga and Bob Fincher, Palm Harbor

Re: A shot of adrenaline hits Ruth Eckerd Hall | story by Sean Daly, April 17

Don't underestimate 'white-haired' ushers

You underestimate the "white-haired" ushers at Ruth Eckerd Hall. I know for a fact that several stated that not only was Kid Rock good when he performed there a few years ago, but they would work his show again.

As for the group Panic at the Disco, you were right: Ruth Eckerd Hall was the place to be Tuesday night. With four bands and a full house of enthusiastic fans, the atmosphere was electric and the crowd enthusiastic, yet well behaved.

And by the way, Mr. Daly, the "white-haired" ushers held up quite well, in fact outlasting many of the young crowd. By the time Panic came on stage, several of the "kids" were worn out and bailed early.

Nancy Patula, Largo

Re: 1977: Caladesi: Island of peace, tranquility

Pinellas History column, April 6

A life lived

on Caladesi

What a great article about Caladesi Island! Fortunately for us, former officials had the foresight to preserve Caladesi.

For anyone interested in learning more about this very special, completely natural island, there is a 108-page book, Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise, written by Myrtle Scharrer Betz. Recently, Mrs. Betz's granddaughter, Terry Fortner, updated the book to a 191-page third edition, keeping Myrtle's book intact, but adding more pictures along with recent information. This delightful book is published by the University of Tampa Press. I believe the local libraries have copies as well as local bookstores.

Jane W. Martin,

Palm Harbor

Clearwater boat slip plan the latest example of inept spending 04/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:13pm]
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