Fort De Soto
Commission: Keep your hands off
Fort De Soto Park is the crown jewel of Pinellas County. It is one of the few things truly wonderful here and should not be used as a sacrificial lamb to make up for overspending in other areas of the county budget.
Threatening to close the park on certain days and suggesting that toilets will not be available are just scare tactics. I would like to see the budget for the park published, because proposing to charge $5 to enter the park is serious and will affect many citizens of the county who rely on Fort De Soto for primary recreation.
Let's face it, county commissioners will never admit error in spending taxpayer money, but election season is coming. Go to a meeting and ask one simple question of the commissioners: "Do you pay off your credit card each month?" If the answer is no, they aren't fit to budget tax money in times like these, plain and simple.
Hands off Fort De Soto! Soak another demographic for money to fix your budget overspending mistakes!
Pinellas is getting very management top-heavy. I'm not sure the beaches need all the grooming they are getting and I see no need to have a patrol car drive by my blanket every two hours to make sure I don't have a can of beer.
Brian Moore, St. Petersburg
Taking away parks violates tradition
We have been residents of upper Pinellas County for 26 years and use John Chesnut Park almost daily. The park is one of the reasons we chose to live here — we need a place to return to the calmness of nature.
We realize that the current economy is forcing hard decisions. Already, we have seen the effects (decreased attendance) of fees charged for launching boats, parking and reserving shelters.
Now the entire park is a target. Officials are proposing entrance fees and shutting down two days a week. The changes will further diminish use of an important and essential asset of a county that is the most densely populated in the state.
In our park we have met and spoken with people who are either working part time, dealing with reduced wages or out of work. The park is their "breath of fresh air." We see large families use the park and the open space to get together. We meet visitors from other states and countries who learn about Pinellas County flora and fauna from our parks, and we, in turn, learn about their native homes.
Parks are a time-honored tradition and taking them away, even incrementally, is a violation of cherished expectations.
Tom and Joyce Hansell, Palm Harbor
Artists have a license to thrill May 16, Neighborhood Times
Cutting-edge art adds to local color
It's wonderful to see the diversity of arts in St. Petersburg further expand.
We have an embarrassment of riches in our "little" city when it comes to the arts. Encouraging cutting-edge art that is done by and will appeal to young people is a further step in making St. Petersburg a true arts tourist destination.
Based on this wonderful mural, and the demographics of the crowd who went to the 600 Block block party, St. Petersburg is a "happening" place to be!
Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg pursuing ban on road panhandling | May 14
Disturbing words from Karl Nurse
It is quite disturbing to hear St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse refer to the Bill of Rights as "that darn Constitution."
Should we remind Nurse that our country was founded on these "darn" rights and that he, as an elected official, is obligated to respect and uphold them, even if they are inconvenient to him?
Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly mean just that — we are free to stand or assemble on public sidewalks and medians, we have the freedom to hold a sign, and we have the freedom to talk to whomever we want. That is what the U.S. Constitution is all about.
Marianne Huber, St. Petersburg
Bravo to rebuke of mayor on pool
Kudos to St. Petersburg resident Twanta McCrae for her rebuke of Mayor Bill Foster, whose callous indifference to the recreational needs of black residents who use the Jennie Hall swimming pool was on display Wednesday.
Your reporter says Foster is not optimistic about corporate sponsorship being found to keep the pool open because "they're in the same economic boat we're in." You're the mayor, Bill. Make the effort to find sponsors, then get back to residents at the next meeting.
Unfortunately, the story leaves numerous questions unanswered. How much money is it costing the city to keep the pool open? Is it possible to transport youth to another city pool? Also, it would have been helpful had the Times included a locator map, or at least provided the street address of the pool.
Michael Henry, Bradenton