Re: City seeks to shut raucous restaurant Nov. 20 story
Avoid battle over restaurant noise
It was with great displeasure that I read that the Tarpon Springs City Commission is attempting to shut down a very popular local restaurant. I'm not sure which has me more outraged — that the City Commission is trying to close a successful restaurant, putting several dozen local workers on the unemployment rolls during a tough recession, or that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being used to fund this disgraceful endeavor.
It sounds like the restaurant has not been the best neighbor. If there are some code violations, of course they should be rectified. I make no excuses for the restaurant.
However, before the matter spirals out of control and costs the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, perhaps the restaurant owner, city staff, and some of the offended neighbors should sit down and try and work through it.
I'm sure owner Don Alvino is not going to sit idly by as the city attempts to shut down his business. The taxpayers will be on the hook for the ensuing legal debacle. In a climate where budgets and services have been cut due to the economy, I am certain most residents object to their tax dollars being spent on such matters.
In the past year, I have lost count of the number of area restaurants that have gone out of business. We have a local restaurant that has managed to succeed, and we are now going to punish it because of a handful of disgruntled neighbors and some code violations which seem minor at best.
If Jack Willie's Tarpon Turtle is so busy that 150 seats are not sufficient, that is a great "problem" to have. The city should be working with Mr. Alvino to help him expand in a sensible manner.
I implore all parties to take a step back from the brink. Please sit down and try to work this out. The Tarpon Turtle is located in a residential neighborhood and needs to be a good neighbor, no question. I'm sure there is a way for the restaurant to address the concerns of the city and the residents without resorting to such drastic measures. The government shutting down a private enterprise should be reserved for the most extreme circumstances. That is not the case here. Once this goes to court, nobody wins, except for the lawyers.
Our city is attempting to close a successful restaurant, refuses to let Wal-Mart build, and has proposed changes to the sign ordinance that are so bizarre and absurd that it would cause extreme hardship to an untold number of local businesses. Unfortunately, our city is earning a reputation as being unfriendly to business.
Tim Dorr, Tarpon Springs
Re: Clearwater homeless program needs funding Nov. 19 editorial
Cut spending on homeless shelter
Oh, please. I just read the editorial about the city of Clearwater worried about funding its homeless attractor — excuse me, homeless shelter. If you want homeless men wandering around downtown Clearwater day and night, if you want them hanging around the library and the parks, then yes, by all means, keep funding programs to support them. I see no better way to insure that they stay.
If, on the other hand, you might prefer that the intentionally homeless not see Clearwater as a free meal ticket, then you might want to do something about the programs that enable that lifestyle choice — and tax burden — in the first place. You don't have to outlaw the homeless, just make Clearwater a bit less attractive to them.
And while you're at it, use that tax money for the people that pay it.
Alfred Jarry, Clearwater