Consolidation of fire and EMS in Pinellas
Combining service would save millions
Consolidating Pinellas County fire departments and EMS services would save taxpayers millions of dollars by cutting waste and redundant service. For example, some fire stations could be eliminated as some fire districts overlap.
The county would not need to have 18 fire chiefs. The fire command structure could be altered to be more cost-efficient.
Almost all fire departments in Pinellas County do not have or need captains. These positions could be eliminated.
A county department would save money through economies of scale by greater purchasing power.
Also, what is a for-profit company doing providing EMS? This could and should be handled by the fire department.
The list could go on and on. I appreciate St. Petersburg Fire Chief James Large's arguments (Statements on fire service not accurate, letter March 7). However, there is too much waste and redundancy in Pinellas County in regard to fire and EMS. Viewing consolidation as a fire department chief is no doubt disturbing. Ask the 18 fire chiefs in Pinellas County their opinion, and I am sure they would have some of the same arguments Chief Large puts forth. I am certain that any unbiased third-party study would do little to change Chief Large's opinion regarding consolidation of fire and EMS.
Taxpayers cannot, and should not, continue to support a bloated and costly system. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability report is accurate, and Pinellas County leaders should push forward with efforts to consolidate fire and emergency medical services in Pinellas County.
Paul Lee, Tierra Verde
Pinellas County parks
Let's keep parks as educational venues
Pinellas residents need jobs and education. Don't cut the park educators, the rangers and the maintenance workers who provide Pinellas residents with a better quality of life.
Educators in our natural places teach us about the ecosystems that sustain us. Neglecting the educational opportunity of our recreational areas will have a long term, detrimental impact on human health through the loss of plant and animal species and water and air quality degradation.
I've attended learning events in the classrooms at Weedon Island, Brooker Creek and Sawgrass Lake, and I appreciate the special opportunities afforded there. Support earth science education in our local recreational areas.
Carla Porter, St. Petersburg
Police perpetrating a stop sign scam
I have been the victim of a "rolling-stop heist" committed by the St. Petersburg Police Department. My feelings are similar to the ones I experienced after being the victim of an armed robbery.
I was driving through Carillon with my son, with no traffic on the roads. After stopping at a four-way stop, I noticed a police car following me. After a few blocks, the lights came on and the officer told me he was stopping me because I had made a "rolling stop" at the four-way stop sign. I disagreed with him, but he cited me for a stop sign violation.
The St. Petersburg police got their cut of the $166 fine for the violation.
As a business owner and a homeowner in St. Petersburg, I can't avoid being in the jurisdiction of the St. Petersburg police gang, but I can minimize my exposure to the gang. When I go to Home Depot, it will be the one on Park Boulevard; when I go to the mall, it will be to WestShore Plaza; when I go to the movies …
As St. Petersburg police officers have nothing better to do than stake out four-way stop intersections in Carillon, it is clear to me that we have too many officers in the Police Department.
Gordon Moore, St. Petersburg
Mustard, relish, onions, irony March 3, story
Would free sidewalk help hot dog vendor?
If you really want to talk about irony, maybe Joy McGhee should demand that the city of St. Petersburg give her the sidewalk underneath her hot dog cart, a la BayWalk.
That giveaway of public land has worked so well for them, it's sure to do wonders for her business — not!
Now that's irony.
J.R. Sedley, Gulfport