Is it abuse or empowering? | May 12, story
Disabled people deserve access
Kudos to Allen Fox! How can you even hint at abuse with what he is doing? If the merchants and providers would abide by the rules of the Americans With Disabilities Act, then there would be fewer lucrative cases for attorneys.
You cannot know the frustrations disabled people face unless you are one. Try navigating an aisle full of extra counters and promotional items. Try going through a door to reach a restroom, when the door is too narrow for the wheelchair, then maybe squeezing through only to find the restroom isn't wheelchair accessible!
Try shopping in a wheelchair only to find that an entire section of a store is out of reach because the aisles around it are filled with "impulse" items. Think about trying to shop at a furniture store when half of the stock is on the second floor and the only access to it is a metal staircase! Think of even trying to get into the furniture store in the first place when there is no automatic door and the walkway slants upward!
I'd like to see all those lawyers put out of business because no one had cause for complaint, because all the store and office managers made sure those of us who require wheelchairs have full access.
We are by no means "second-class citizens." Whatever misfortune has lessened our mobility is a cross for us to bear. Do you know how much heavier that cross becomes when the thoughtlessness of others prevents us from doing those same things the fully able people can do?
Bobbye Blackburn, Clearwater
How clear it is that the kindest word to describe Allen Fox is unprintable.
He is an example of the new tyranny empowered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and a source of easy income for a few attorneys. It's a simple case of an overboard response to what was a need for more access.
It is totally illogical to assume that people without legs must be able to go everywhere those with legs can go. In their view, art exhibits are an insult to the blind and Mozart an offense to the deaf.
How nice it is to see so many places where handicapped people have easy access. How insulting to think we must alter every place to allow their participation.
Visit the VA and see how the handicapped learn to cope, and how naturally the abled reach out to help them when they see an obstacle. Of course, these are people who didn't learn to expect somebody to provide for them. They're not professional victims.
Max R. Loick, St. Petersburg
On July 26, 1990, legislation for the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed. Eighteen years later, and still we have business owners who have not complied with it. This is absolutely unacceptable. Good for the moxie of Allen Fox, who is filing lawsuits to force business owners to comply with the law.
My father suffered with his mobility issues due to a neuromuscular disease. So many times he was frustrated and upset with the lack of grab bars in restrooms, stairs he couldn't climb, not enough parking spaces allotted for handicapped drivers. We'd mention our concerns to a manager or business owner and they'd fall on deaf ears. Grab bars are an inexpensive solution and yet, months later, when we'd visit an establishment that had assured my father they would "take care of it," nothing had been done.
Bravo to the Allen Foxes. Keep up the good work! Remember, we are all aging. It could be you and your loved ones eventually who'll be glad the ADA legislation is complied with.
Elvina L. Bergmann, St. Pete Beach
Where are fans? | May 14, story
Tropicana location limits attendance
Where are the fans? Answer: Tampa, Lutz, Lakeland, Carrollwood Village, Plant City, Brandon …
You get the idea. I know no one likes to hear this, but if you drew a 50-mile circle and a 75- mile circle around Tropicana Field and compared the population of those circles today and when the field was built, you would answer your own question.
The baseball fan might make the drive to the Trop a few times, but those looking for a "social activity" have too many more convenient options. You can keep calling them the Tampa Bay Rays, but we all know that in fact they are the St. Pete Rays.
The rule has not changed and you cannot make it change: It's location, location, location. Draw those same circles around the other American League teams that have a better attendance record and I bet they have a more convenient population base to support those teams as a social activity. Build the new ballpark so it is convenient to the population and the people will come!
Bill McCracken, Lutz
Where are fans? | May 15, story
Other options are available
The article says. "People always believed that if the Rays won, fans would flock to Tropicana Field."
I'm not sure just who those "people" are. The simple truth is that in this area, there are far more enjoyable forms of summer entertainment than sitting in stands watching Major League Baseball. But few are more expensive.
This year there is another factor that may depress attendance. Rays senior vice president Michael Kalt tries to tell us that the new stadium concept isn't some gigantic scam. Many of us simply don't believe him.
Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo
Make games affordable
Don't you get it? Your article asks, Where are fans? Let me make this very clear. Mr. Silverman, this is for you, too.
Send us free tickets and you will see where the fans are. We will not come to watch the Rays defeat the Yankees because we refuse to pay such high ticket prices, parking, and then, perhaps, have money left over to buy a soda pop. No way.
Make the event more affordable for a family of four and you'll see where the fans are.
Toni Gross, Oldsmar
Trouble with the traffic
In the May 14 St. Petersburg Times, Aaron Sharockman asked Where are fans? Perhaps my recent experiences will help answer.
Twice in April, I had tickets to see the Rays play at Tropicana Field. The first game, on a Thursday afternoon, was against the Mariners. Getting to the ballpark was a challenge. Lack of signs around the Trop was, quite frankly, surprising and quickly became frustrating. But we kept heading toward the dome and eventually we made it there. After the game, getting out of the parking lot (even though the park had been half empty) was very difficult; it took more than 40 minutes just to exit the lot even though we had parked near the way out.
Getting to the second game, on a Sunday afternoon, proved even worse. Since the Red Sox were in town, we expected more traffic but not the 1 1/2 hours it took just to get off the highway ramp. . We did not get into the ballpark until well after the third inning had started. And getting out of St. Petersburg was no easier.
So, until there are improved and more frequent signs, better traffic management to and from the ballpark, and some people to help with parking options, this fan will continue to stay away.
Marcia Hoch, New Port Richey
Good seats at home
The headline asks, Where are fans? I think they are watching on television rather than spending $5 to $10 in gas, $10 to $15 in parking, $40 for a decent seat, $5 dollars for a hotdog.
I think it is hard for the Rays to try to get baseball fans from Charlotte County or from the Orlando area to come to the dome. The cost of gas is only one of the issues. Food is at an all-time high, the insurance issue has never been settled by an incompetent Legislature, and on and on it goes.
I am afraid the Rays' timing is terrible, but I love the team. Finally, a winning ball club. And I am sitting at home, watching, with a beer that doesn't cost $5.
Herb Snitzer, St. Petersburg
Ray's financing taps team, taxes | May 16, story
Reject this boondoggle
After a decade in this stadium, the Tampa Bay Rays want to spend a half a billion dollars to relocate to just a few blocks away? Does anyone else think this is insanity? I do.
I cannot support any such plan that will use tax money for the benefit of a few multimillionaire baseball players, managers and owners.
Any politician who is in favor of this "new and improved" boondoggle had better think this through, lest they find themselves unemployed. There are any number of worthwhile causes and things we can do with this money. A new stadium is not one.
Al Kaspar, Gulfport
Ray's financing taps team, taxes | May 16, story
Who will help the needy?
Why is it that we don't have such a nice spread on the front page detailing how we can increase taxes in Florida to pay for: nursing home care, the Medically Needy program, Pinellas County Health Department, DCF sheriff's investigators? All the programs that will affect the young, vulnerable and frail in our society. Who is putting a "plan" together to figure out how we can save all the programs that benefit those in our society that need this help the most?
Which "team" can these programs rely on to keep money flowing to ensure quality control? Without the much needed funds, children, families as well as our elderly will surely suffer.
Jesus said; "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Jean Cavaliere, St. Petersburg
The price of innovation | May 11, Latitudes
Don't hamper the orchestra
It is oddly sad that the orchestral music of an entire century can be thought of as cacophonous, as if it all were written by one composer whose sole aim is to offend all the credit card-bearing critical listeners intent on restricting the repertoire of the Florida Orchestra.
There is a wealth of music written in the 20th and 21st centuries that is loved by huge numbers of listeners, most of whom have no special educational advantage other than a willingness to expand the amount of music they enjoy.
I can't imagine a music lover who wouldn't want to learn of new ways to hear and appreciate the art they adore. The "risk" in hearing new music is nonexistent. The possible gain in hearing a new piece to love is immense.
It isn't difficult to understand that this fine orchestra must make money in order to exist. A reasonable balance in programming between well-loved 18th and 19th century warhorses and equally well-loved music of the last century cannot be impossible to find.
Everyone in this community who loves music must want this orchestra to thrive. Limiting the great music heard here by bullying management is supportive of neither the music nor the organization.
Pete Temko, Belleair Beach
Protect our young people
So much has already been said about what the police did or did not do to protect this young lady. Many people share in the opinion that this tragedy was preventable.
I only knew Rachel as a child, but I do know her parents. I know how much they loved her, and that she was raised well. I know that they would never agree to her being in this situation. It matters not that she was 23 and an adult. She's still her parents' child, and they had to bury her this week.
I don't believe anyone is asking to absolve her from her involvement in drugs. But our children do make mistakes. Scientists believe that the brain is not fully developed until the early 20s. If this is true then we, as parents, are still needed to guide our children. Our officials and law enforcement need to guide and protect them as well. Any parent will tell you this girl was sent to do a job she was not equipped to handle. So shame on the Tallahassee police, shame on anyone involved!
I pray for Rachel's parents and family, and I pray that every parent in Florida cries out against this practice of using "lay" people to do police work before someone else's child is sent into the hands of thugs like the ones who took her life.
Lois Brown, Hudson