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Clearwater let other murals slide by

The Complete Angler’s owner, Herb Quintero, says his mural is a work of art covered by the First Amendment. Clearwater says it’s an unauthorized sign and must be removed.


The Complete Angler’s owner, Herb Quintero, says his mural is a work of art covered by the First Amendment. Clearwater says it’s an unauthorized sign and must be removed.

Shop baits code enforcers story, Jan. 13

City let other murals slide by

For decades now, I've seen the city of Clearwater's sign ordinances create headaches for just about everyone who had to apply for a permit. I understand the need for certain guidelines to maintain a clean look to our area, but the inflexibility that the city shows doesn't always fall fairly on all people.

A case in point would be the city's own murals, like the ones showing wildlife on their own parking garages adjacent to the Municipal Services Building. And nearby, on the corner of the bike trail and Cleveland Street, is a huge mural showing an old view of Clearwater.

So let's see … it's okay for the city to promote itself, but others?

And what about the murals that the city turns its back on — the Clearwater Aquarium; numerous produce stands; day care centers with cartoon characters; painted murals on storefront windows; a now torn-down motel that for years had a self-promoting, multistory hot air balloon painted on its side.

One needs only drive around town to see sign ordinance infractions. Apparently, the city only pursues the ones it feels like. Who knows why they chose to go after the Complete Angler bait shop? Just like many years ago when they went after the long-standing butcher on Myrtle Street after he painted cuts of meat on his walls. His battle went on for quite a while.

There are ways to make our area more visually friendly, and art presentation is one of the ways, regardless of whether it's for a business or a private individual. As long as it contains no text and is tasteful, it should be allowed.

The city should drop its intolerance and simply review these murals on a case-by-case basis. After all, an individual business is paying for it without the need for any tax dollars, unlike the ridiculous looking and expensive sculptures that we taxpayers just got through putting up and down Cleveland Street.

Bruce Darling, Palm Harbor

City suppresses the arts with fines

Staff writer Mike Brassfield's article, Shop baits code enforcers, Jan. 13, reveals Clearwater's lack of commitment to the arts.

Many artists earn commissions from private individuals and businesses. Public commissions for artists are relatively rare. City officials are suppressing the arts and the opportunity to make a living, by banning mural paintings.

The painting of fish on Herb Quintero's shop is obviously not blocking traffic or otherwise presenting a public hazard, so the city should not be bothering him.

That Clearwater officials could draw a line from a fish mural to adult business and lingerie stores is ridiculous. Art is not some kind of vice.

As a practicing artist with a master of fine arts degree, I resent the insult to my profession. City officials need to practice a little common sense.

The city of Clearwater should apologize to Mr. Quintero and return the nearly $700 it has fined him.

Joseph Weinzettle, Dunedin

Shop baits code enforcers story, Jan. 13

Look to Dunedin for inspiration

For the most part, I love living in Clearwater. What I don't like though, are the strict codes.

I found the mural to be quite creative and eye-catching, which in turn has the potential to lure in business. And besides, we are living in tough economic times, where everyone is trying to earn a living.

As I read this story, the city of Dunedin came to mind. Why? Only because the shopkeepers are allowed to be creative. They have a people-friendly city government.

This isn't the first problem with a shop owner in Clearwater. Just recently, there was an issue with an awning (on a downtown business) being too colorful. And let's not forget the sandwich board sign issue.

The city of Dunedin is way ahead of the game and that's why it's so popular.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Sentinels help those who have helped | story, Jan. 4

Proud of work of Sentinels charity

Thank you for publishing a positive article about one of my Realtors. Lori Polin is not only a dedicated, hard working agent, but she has been a Tampa Bay philanthropic, civic-minded volunteer for more than 25 years.

Her most recent charity, the Sentinels of Freedom, is a much needed program helping our wounded warriors. She was asked to get involved with this foundation two years ago by the founder and CEO of RE/MAX and, like Lori does, could not say "no." She was the only Tampa area RE/MAX agent who said "yes" to this call.

I am so proud of her dedication and continued volunteering efforts in our community. I know she has inspired others to get involved. I hope to see more positive articles about people, like Lori, giving to those that need us most.

Jeremy Anderson, RE/MAX Power Advantage, Tampa

>>your voice counts

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Clearwater let other murals slide by 01/14/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 5:20pm]
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