Discerning voters wise to go across party lines | Diane Steinle column, Nov. 9
GOP turnout stayed high
Your article on coattails and turnout in the Nov. 4 election in Pinellas County is accurate as far as it goes. However, it and other commentaries in the local news media have failed to note that turnout remained highest in highly Republican precincts that voted for John McCain, even though turnout there declined a little from the 2004 figures.
Yes, turnout did surge in black-majority precincts in Pinellas County compared to the past (and registration grew markedly in these areas).
Yes, there were a few black-majority precincts where the turnout as a percentage of registered voters even soared above 80 percent. However, only two black-majority precincts (7 percent) of 27 did so: precincts 107 and 112. The average turnout in black-majority precincts was 70 percent, 3 percentage points below the Pinellas County average of 73 percent.
In contrast, the average turnout in the precincts where McCain won by a margin of 2-1 or more in Pinellas County was 82 percent.
As in previous elections, districts dominated by voters of high education levels and high socioeconomic status (such as the Belleairs, East Lake and Harbor Bluffs) generally had the highest voter turnouts. The surge in African-American participation in 2008 in Pinellas County was remarkable and encouraging, but a focus on it should not obscure the continuation of previous turnout patterns, even in the year of Barack Obama's triumph.
Richard Piper, Largo
Clearwater's purchase of the Royalty Theatre
City is wasting money downtown
So the Clearwater city fathers are again going to pour funds into the downtown area. They have been doing this ever since Sunshine Mall, which is no more, appeared long ago and Penney's, two five and dimes, Short's Men's Store, the Town House Restaurant, Morrison's, Jimmy Hall's and others bailed.
So many costly incentives have been tried but no one gets the message. The message is, we don't need or want and will not support a downtown and its businesses, and it will never be a destination. The voices cannot seem to convince the many changing faces on the City Councils. For some reason, they keep beating a dead horse. It's over, over, over, zzzzzzz.
Doris Carroza, Clearwater
Tarpon Springs High School homecoming parade Nov. 7
Parade needlessly caused problems
Approving a parade for 5 p.m. on a Friday evening, cutting off all the main arteries of the city of Tarpon Springs at the time when people are getting off work, getting ready for the weekend, grocery shopping, trying to attend meetings, picking up children, etc., shows there was no thought whatsoever given to the planning or to the public.
My high school reunion of 1954 was planned for many months to be held at the Yacht Club. After reading that very morning of Nov. 7 that the streets would be closed down at 5 p.m., I attempted to e-mail those who have computers, telling them not to try to enter Tarpon by their usual route. Several of them had planned to visit the downtown shops but had to cancel those plans.
Many people I couldn't reach — the man flying in from Alaska for example, two couples driving down from Georgia and South Carolina, people coming from Crystal River and Monticello. Yes, a lot of people were inconvenienced.
In years past, all the celebrating for homecoming was done at the school. The pep rally, bonfire —none of this interfered with the workings of the rest of the city. I genuinely hope that in the future, there will not be this lack of consideration to the rest of the population.
Bonnie Georgiadis, Tarpon Springs
These students deserve applause
I attended the opening matinee of The Phantom of the Opera at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. It was my pleasure to sit in front of a row of eighth-grade students from Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg.
It would have been my opinion that boys and girls of that age would not appreciate this show, but these students were so enthusiastic and excited, not to mention well-mannered and properly dressed. I was very impressed by them and just wanted to be able to say so.
Teachers and parents, you did a good job. It would be a wonderful thing if more young students could be introduced to the world of the arts.
Margery A. Bassett, Clearwater