Shell Key hosts a tamer party July 9, story
Boaters are left with no place to have fun
This article described how Pinellas County officials were pleased with the reduced number of boaters at Shell Key Preserve over the Fourth of July holiday.
I personally agree with Dick Granger of the Recreational Boaters of Florida: Boaters have virtually no place to go to enjoy our beaches and let their dog have some fun.
I particularly take exception to the comment from Bruce Riker of the county's Department of Environmental Management, who stated, "Shell Key is not a place for self-indulgence."
Loosen the drawstring on your corset, Bruce! Self-indulgence?
The problem at Shell Key was very simple: underage drinking by hoards of unsupervised rich kids in daddy's boat. What the county has done is locked out a huge number of law-abiding, responsible taxpayers from enjoying a cold beer on a nice beach.
I work 50 hours a week to pay my ridiculous property taxes to support a county government that continues to overstep its bounds and limit our personal freedoms.
Have you been to Sand Key Park lately? In the early '70s it used to be as pristine as Shell Key, that is until the county allowed it to become a concrete jungle of condominiums, complete with a park, parking lots, hamburger stands and, of course, the hallowed parking meter.
I guess government self-indulgence is okay as long as it is profitable. Drinking a beer at Shell Key doesn't affect the birds one bit, but having a government that dictates what you can and can't do affects us all.
Wake up, people We pay their salaries through our taxes, and we aren't getting much in return for our investment.
Alan Bieling, Seminole
Crime surge feared
The Pinellas County Commission has finally shown its true colors.
If you live in, work in or visit Pinellas County, you will be affected by commissioners' decisions.
They have slashed the Sheriff's Office budget at a time when crime is going up nationwide.
The results could unfortunately be seen in the next six months to one year. Life-saving first responders might not get to the next emergency in time. Maybe the commission should put some projects on hold, slash other areas and focus on saving lives.
The sheriff has brought crime down the past four years while giving money back to the county.
Let him do his job and give him the funds to do it. The commission crunches numbers and has no idea how to fight crime.
Bill Zazeckie, Palm Harbor
Increase in fees
Curb spending now
Remember when a child whispered a phrase to another child at one end of a classroom and passed it on until it reached the other side of the classroom? The phrase never was the same at the end.
Remember when the citizens of this state sent a clear and decisive message to state and county lawmakers, elected officials and budget department heads? Amendment 1 said, "Curb your spending because we can't afford to live here anymore." Families are leaving the state because taxes are too high.
The way public officials are running our public facilities is out of control. They are spending money like drunken sailors on leave. What our lawmakers should have heard was: No more money from the tax rolls. Find another way to feed the social services pig!
Now every fee imaginable is being raised. I'm sure this trend will continue to haunt us. Now, the state lawmakers think that speeding tickets and traffic violations are not high enough, up 25 percent. I'm sure the whining Sheriff Jim Coats will appreciate the help. He'll have his boys out there doing what is needed to raise the revenue. Forget about the crack addicts. They cost us money to prosecute. Let's round up all our state and county police officers and go get Aunt Mary driving 5 miles over the speed limit. That will save us all.
Let's try one more time, short and simple: Stop spending money!
Roy Herdman, Pinellas Park
Stunned at tax hike
These are very difficult economic times. I am absolutely stunned that the Pinellas County Juvenile Welfare Board increased its tax rate.
Many, many families are doing without and just struggling to keep their homes with the enormous pressure of property taxes, fuel costs, increases in food costs, rising power bills and insurance.
I believe most of the board members are appointed so we, the public, cannot vote them out. Higher costs will continue to keep the economic engine of Florida, the housing market, depressed.
Until the housing market recovers, revenue for the government will continue to decline. Now the Feds are considering a 10-cent tax increase on gas. Are government officials really that out of touch? The answer is clear: Vote 'em all out!
Glenn Bradley, Seminole
My Safe Florida Home program to end
Great program ends
I have just two words for the My Safe Florida Home program: Thank you!
Last October I just happened to read an article in the Times about My Safe Florida Home. I had never heard of it before, so I went to the Web site to learn more.
I applied for a free wind inspection in October '07. Then I applied for a matching grant in November and was approved in January.
I contacted several contractors on the MSFH approved list.
In March the company I chose installed all new vinyl impact-resistant windows and a reinforced garage door. The contractor and his workers did a terrific job.
I sent in the paperwork in April and received a check for half the total cost just eight weeks later. I couldn't have afforded the $9,000, but half of that cost was manageable.
It's a great program, and I feel much safer facing this hurricane season. Plus: I received a discount on my homeowner's insurance!
Grade Torre, Pinellas Park