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Clearwater solicitation ordinance would make firefighters' fundraiser illegal

Solicitation rule shouldn't change

I am writing this letter in response to the April 15th Clearwater City Council discussion of Ordinance 28.041 regarding solicitations. The proposed ordinance would make it illegal for the Clearwater firefighters to conduct their annual "Fill the Boot" campaign to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The International Association of Fire Fighters is the largest sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with over $275 million raised since 1954. The "Fill the Boot" campaign conducted by the firefighters is the method used to raise the money.

This is a no-overhead fundraiser with 100 percent of the money collected going to the MDA. The money raised by your Clearwater firefighters stays here in the community to fund things locally such as summer camps, medical supplies, transportation, research and other needs. The firefighters give their time off duty to this important event.

This commitment of the Clearwater firefighters to the cause of MDA has further elevated their status as extraordinary professionals who not only put their lives at stake to save citizens from ruthless flames and sudden illness, but also give their time to save the lives of the innocent from equally merciless neuromuscular diseases.

The devotion of IAFF members has not only helped MDA, but also united firefighters in the community, where they share their team strength and brotherhood and sisterhood to give better meaning to lives and hope for the future. Here is a quote from Jerry Lewis: "Firefighters are my heroes. They have given selflessly of their time and resources to help MDA, and it never ceases to gratify me that so many of you care so much about 'my kids.' "

This is not about us, this is about the children suffering from neuromuscular diseases. The Clearwater firefighters only want the ability to collect money for the MDA without retribution from the City of Clearwater.

Florida state Rep. Ed Hooper, a retired Clearwater firefighter and former Clearwater City Council member, sponsored a bill that was enacted into law named the Iris Roberts Act. The act gives groups like the firefighters the ability to conduct the type of solicitations the City of Clearwater wants to make illegal.

There are several stipulations in the Iris Roberts Act that must be met in order for us to conduct a legal boot drive. Some of those stipulations are that we notify the municipality and have a written safety plan, signage notifying motorists of the boot drive and insurance. Since its inception, the Clearwater firefighters have followed the state law while conducting our boot drive. We are not asking to be treated differently, only the same as every other firefighter across Florida under the state law.

I am asking for your support against Ordinance 28.041 being changed back to the 1999 language. The Clearwater firefighters will be conducting our Fill the Boot campaign for the children of our community who suffer from any one of the awful diseases covered by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We only ask to be allowed to do so in accordance with Florida law. Thank you for your time and support.

John Klinefelter, executive vice president, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1158

Why does Fla. lack texting ban?

Shortly after dark one recent night my family and I were driving southbound on McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater. In the right lane was a teenaged, future Darwin Award winner on a scooter, wearing no helmet, driving 15 mph under the speed limit and obstructing the flow of traffic while texting on a Blackberry.

Even my 8-year-old daughter commented on how "stupid" that was. How is it that Florida still doesn't have a ban on texting while driving?

Bob Lasher, Clearwater

Re: Family fight sends grandma to jail | story, May 1

Sheriff should replace police

Hey, can the Pinellas County sheriff replace the idiot Largo Police Department? What a disgrace. Zero tolerance, zero thinking, and they proved it. Disband the entire bunch of idiots and let the sheriff do the job.

David Bezemek, Dunedin

For oil spill, turn to higher powers

Every person involved in the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can help stop it. Envision/pray for/intend a giant angelic hand to cover the leak, much as we would stop our own hemorrhage of blood with pressure.

Most of us believe in a higher power or powers, which can accomplish what humans cannot, and we access those powers through prayer or meditation. Working together, we can stop the Earth's hemorrhage, with a little help from our friend(s).

Sue McIntosh, Clearwater

>>Your voice counts

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Clearwater solicitation ordinance would make firefighters' fundraiser illegal 05/08/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 8, 2010 2:19pm]

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