Value of libraries is clear Diane Steinle column, Feb. 15
Closing the east branch a mistake
I appreciated your column on the Clearwater libraries. I fully understand trying to cut the budget and have sad feelings that hours and staff have had to be reduced.
However, I feel that closing the Clearwater East branch library would be a bad decision for the community. The east branch is well used, and now there are many times when finding a parking spot is near impossible. The computers are constantly busy. I am positive that the number of people using that branch has increased a lot.
The community must be served and there has to be other ways to help the budget through these critical times.
Mitzi Kurmas, Clearwater
Value of libraries is clear Diane Steinle column, Feb. 15
East library would be missed
I use the Clearwater East branch library a lot. If it closes, I will not go to the Countryside branch library and I sure wouldn't go to the St. Petersburg College campus library, which Mayor Frank Hibbard suggested.
I understand you need to cut some from the library budget, but why would you shut down one of the busiest libraries? Why doesn't the mayor listen to the library director? I would think that part of her job is letting him know what is the best thing.
Let's not close the libraries that are used a lot. I would hate to cut up my library card, which I would do since I wouldn't be using it anymore. I would not go to a library that is farther and busier than it is now.
I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way. I love reading books. Don't take the East library away. A lot of people would miss it. I hope we are heard.
Sharon Tabbert, Clearwater
Marina a luxury city can't afford
Clearwater officials, please do not further reduce hours of the Clearwater libraries and recreation centers. Where to find funding? Look to the proposed downtown marina. This is not the time to complete construction of the downtown docking facility when our beach full-service facility is under-used.
I understand there are only 10 reservations for the downtown marina. I urge you to mothball further construction on this facility until city government can fully fund library and recreation facilities that many residents use, not just 150 well-to-do boat owners.
Also, reducing docking rates at the Clearwater Beach marina will not fill the empty boat slips there. People simply are choosing wisely and frugally to cap their recreational boating expenditures.
I had hoped everyone had finally gotten the message that we're in a recession, which might approach the severity of the Great Depression. This is not business as usual. This is not the time to build for downtown development because any anticipated economic result will be years away.
I urge you to not reduce hours of the libraries and recreation centers.
Paul R. Koenig, Clearwater
What's up with empty buses? letter, Feb. 3
School buses aren't sitting idle
I am a school bus driver with the Pinellas district. I am writing in response to Harriet P. Sherwood's letter. I would like to give as much insight as I am allowed per School Board policy.
First, let me explain that we, as bus drivers, do not dictate where we go or how many students we pick up. The routing department does.
Second, dispatch will sometimes have us "stand by" at a location in the event we might be needed. Also, in order for them to reach us we must have our two-way radios on at all times. The driver will put the key in the "accessory" position so the radio will be on. When that happens, the strobe light on top of the bus will flash. That strobe light is a safety device all buses have.
Mrs. Sherwood, if you have a complaint, may I suggest you get the bus number, which is located on all four sides of the school bus, and the location, and call our Help Desk. They can direct your call to the proper person.
Third, we sometimes have time between schools.
And finally, there is probably more carbon monoxide emitted from the thousands of cars passing through the area near Countryside High School every day than from a school bus going out in the morning and returning in the evening.
Bruce Maxwell, Clearwater
Annexation plan lacks ingredients | letter, Feb. 13
Tone irritating, not informing
I want to respond to a letter by Jamie Blatman. The writer states that during an "annexation forum" that was held at the East Lake Woodlands clubhouse, "The (Oldsmar) City Council members and mayor were arrogant, condescending and rude in dealing with questions from East Lake residents."
I learned a long time ago that you cannot have an intelligent discussion with "ignorance." So my reply to the writer will be about rude, condescending and arrogant behavior.
I am a member of the Oldsmar City Council and have been a member of that council as mayor and councilman for almost 20 years. I was at the forum that was held at the East Lake Woodlands Country Club that Jamie Blatman writes about.
During the entire forum, I did not say one word publicly. I did talk privately with many of my East lake Woodlands friends during the forum. I was neither rude, condescending nor arrogant the night of the forum.
I resent the condescending tone that Blatman used. I also resent the writer's rudeness in implying that I (as a council member) was rude during the forum. The writer's arrogance throughout the letter is disgusting at best and totally arrogant in the worst way.
The writer accuses the city of not doing its homework and giving the public misinformation. In my opinion, the writer did not do his homework and has definitely doled out misinformation about the character of council members. The writer freely throws around accusations toward folks he doesn't even know.
To the writer of that letter I say this: Don't label me until you know me! When you get to know me, and only then, can you with any intelligence label me.
Until then, you need to work to improve your rudeness, your condescending attitude and your arrogant, misinformed deliberations.
Jerald "Jerry" Beverland, Oldsmar
Assist from police welcome in park
A friend of mine and I have started a walking program to get in shape. We recently decided that Crest Lake Park in Clearwater was a good place for us to walk because of the location and beauty.
While we were walking, a homeless man started screaming at us and following us. He was so angry and looked like he wanted to hurt us. A very kind walker stopped to assist us, however, the harassment did not stop. We decided we should call 911.
Within minutes, the Clearwater police were at the scene. After removing him from the park, they came over to reassure us.
I was so pleased at the quick response from the Clearwater police. These men and women risk their lives to keep people in Clearwater safe, and I appreciate everything they do. Keep up the good work.
Nina Krach, Belleair Beach
Paved parking lot a waste of money
I feel incredibly fortunate that my daughter's elementary school, Safety Harbor Elementary, is remaining open in an era of budget cuts and job losses, and is having an additional building constructed. What I do not understand is why a parking lot on the school property that has been there for 50-plus years without concrete is going to be paved.
Located at Martin Luther King Avenue and Fifth Street N, it does not need to be paved. In our over-concreted Pinellas County, it has been a pleasure to use a parking lot that has crushed shells and oak trees. It requires less maintenance long term, it fits in with the charm of our small town, it's shady, it does not radiate heat, its permeable surface allows the existing oak trees to soak up rainwater and receive oxygen, and most importantly, it does not increase polluted run-off into our already over polluted Tampa Bay.
With a rough estimate of about $20,000 to pave, I feel this money should benefit the children directly in the classroom. I think the general public should know what the county is considering spending their hard earned money on paving while simultaneously making decisions to cut jobs and close schools.
The School Board has an unique opportunity to be both environmentally conscious and fiscally responsible and in choosing to do so it can gain the respect from taxpayers and students alike. If you agree that this is a ridiculous way to spend your money, please contact the School Board and County Commission.
Terrie Dahl-Thomas, Safety Harbor