Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Crackdown on homeless likely to make problem worse

Re: Homeless crackdown begins | story, June 14

Moves likely to worsen problem

After working closely with the homeless for over a year, I read in horror Clearwater's plans for these people who struggle each day to survive.

Our economic crisis has forced more people, including more children, onto the street. You always have some homeless with no desire to get off the streets, but what about the others? What is Clearwater doing to help those?

Before initiating these cutbacks, the city had a responsibility to its citizens to have something in place to help the homeless. Instead, they've taken basic needs away from a section of fellow citizens — food, water, shelter, restrooms. Who do they think will come for "training" if they have nothing to eat or drink?

And regarding the cellphones given to the homeless by numerous agencies, you can't get a job today if you don't have some means to connect with a possible employer.

And yes, the homeless are looking for shelter at night, especially any place air-conditioned. Who wouldn't with temperatures in the 90s? Is the city helping here?

I'm with Shannon O'Leary-Beck. If the homeless have no restrooms, where are they going to relieve themselves? In your back yard? If they have no water, and you try to close all the "soup kitchens" and stop others from giving food and necessities, don't you think the homeless will be forced to steal?

How much crime will City Manager Bill Horne and consultant Robert Marbut create by their cutbacks?

Pushing a problem out of sight, which is what they are attempting to do, isn't solving the problem. The problem only grows worse in the darkness. Isn't it time for real solutions?

Linda Rodante,

Tarpon Springs

Re: Homeless crackdown begins | story, June 14

To be homeless is not a crime

As we know, Clearwater officials issued a statement a few weeks ago that they want to close all the soup kitchens, many in local churches, because that "enables and encourages homelessness." Seriously!

Homelessness, except in a few rare instances, is hardly what any person would choose. Clearwater officials have gone as far this time as to weld public park restroom doors closed because they were being used "for drug use, sleeping and prostitution." Wow, notice how sleeping (at least for homeless people) is ranked among criminal offenses?

A water hose has been removed from a public building because the homeless used it to get drinking water, a basic necessity of life. Evidently, in Clearwater, Fla., if you commit the sin of homelessness, the city fathers believe you should be denied food, shelter, water and sleep.

I say shame on our public officials for this wanton misuse of power. They were elected to serve the public — all of the public!

Poverty is not a crime.

For all of you who think the homeless are shiftless, lazy, addicts or such, try volunteering at a homeless shelter, food pantry or outreach center. You will meet some amazing, intelligent, loving people — men, women, children — who are simply down on their luck. They are fellow human beings worthy of our sympathy and support, not our scorn.

Linda Dallao, Clearwater

Re: Homeless crackdown begins | story, June 14

Closing restroom is an absurd idea

Closing the bathrooms at Crest Lake Park is the most idiotic thing I have heard of.

First, I heard it was due to budget issues. Then in the paper this morning, I read that it is due to the homeless and prostitution.

On both accounts, this is no reason to close the bathrooms. This is not going to resolve the issue. The stalls have bars at the top and bottom so people cannot get in them unless they open the door, and the doors are on timers, so they are not open at night anyway.

I have been going to the dog park at Crest Lake Park for over a year now. I don't like using the bathrooms there, but just knowing they are there gives me peace of mind.

Interesting thing, since the notice of the bathroom closing went up and they closed, the number of homeless has increased. This plan is not working!

Another concern is the events at the park when hundreds of people come and may not know that the bathrooms are closed and when they go to use them they can't get in.

On the weekends I see a lot of kids and families at the park. I assure you, if a child has to go really bad, the parents are just going to let the kid go out in public. This will happen. If you have kids you know this is true.

I'm sure that local businesses will not like people or the homeless coming in their business just to use their bathroom.

I don't think this was really or fully thought through, considering all the repercussions this will cause. Closing the bathrooms is not the solution.

Linda Pennington, Clearwater

Re: Homeless crackdown begins | story, June 14

Denying water is a form of cruelty

My wife and I were shocked at how low the Clearwater City Council and City Manager Bill Horne would stoop to discourage the homeless in their city parks. His cutting off water to a hose that the homeless drank from seemed particularly heartless.

When Jesus said "I thirst" on the cross, they gave him vinegar to drink. Why didn't you do that, Bill? Really make them suffer — people like homeless teenagers Amanda George and Chris Martinez in the accompanying Thursday article.

Don Jacobs, New Port Richey

Re: City may pick up theater tab | story, June 6

Far greater ways to use city funds

Since when is a theater a necessity? I was under the assumption that a theater is for entertainment and not something the city would fall apart without.

Yes, we have Penny for Pinellas, but why in times of a so-called depression do we want to use taxpayer dollars to save a theater?

How many people have lost their homes in the past couple of years? How many businesses have had to close their doors and no longer have extra dollars to pay to the city for Penny for Pinellas?

If the city has millions of extra dollars, why not build some factories and put some of these welfare folks back to work and try to help the economy?

Shouldn't we get the economy back on track and everyone off the welfare rolls before we worry about entertainment for them? I never knew anyone who suffered due to a lack of entertainment.

Let's wake up to reality and put needs before wants.

Frances Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater

Oldsmar wrong to play favorites

The Oldsmar city government can find $92 million in taxpayers' money to build a water treatment plant for 12,000 residents.

For two years, they have been unable to find money in their budget to repair a fishing dock used by hundreds of families in Harbor Palms Preserve. We have heard so many promise dates, our heads are spinning.

Now they say they are building a new dock at another location.

They built a complete new park several years ago and the parks around their homes have been added to and kept up nicely. All we taxpayers can do is vote them out.

Carol Miller, Oldsmar

Re: Woman accused of road rage | story, June 13

Drivers in Florida disregard rules

I would like to shake Bonnie Coleman's hand. She has done what I would love to do down here in Florida many, many times.

I moved down here two years ago and noticed when you cross the Georgia state line into Florida, all traffic laws are out the window. I mean everyone, not just the seniors, including the police.

Car companies could save a lot of money selling cars down here. They don't need to put turn signals or mirrors on the cars — no one uses them. Is the sun that intense down here that it burns brain cells?

John Huntley, Palm Harbor


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