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Include the public in discussion on digital billboards

The City Council decided Thursday to postpone a decision on Mayor Rick Baker’s plan to allow Clear Channel Outdoor to replace 110 billboards in the city with 10 digital ones.

Photo courtesy of Bill Jonson

The City Council decided Thursday to postpone a decision on Mayor Rick Baker’s plan to allow Clear Channel Outdoor to replace 110 billboards in the city with 10 digital ones.

Vote on digital signs put off Dec. 11, story

Include public in signs discussion

St. Petersburg's City Council made the right decision Thursday when it voted to table an ordinance change that would have allowed digital billboards in St. Petersburg.

The ordinance was admittedly crafted by Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. and was being hurried through in the waning days of the mayor's administration. This "swap deal" was negotiated between the mayor and Clear Channel and involved a single city staffer, to the exclusion of other billboard industry players and the public. When the deal became public, there were simply too many questions and too few answers forthcoming.

The incoming mayor should follow the advice of the Council of Neighborhood Associations and his Development Review and Planning and Visioning commissions and start over, this time engaging the public in crafting a future vision of the city's landscape that may or may not involve billboards, digital or otherwise. Once we know what kind of skyline we want, we can talk about what kind of sign regulations we should have.

Travis Jarman, chairman, cityscape subcommittee, Council of Neighborhood Associations, St. Petersburg

Cell phone use is the real distraction

I cannot believe the recent uproar and debate concerning the safety issues of digital billboards. If our city and state leaders were truly concerned about driver distraction and safety, they should be talking about the use of cell phones while driving.

Sam Jordan, St. Petersburg

Let blind person's cane "talk" to hybrid | Dec. 9, letter

Cane device would raise concerns

Adding a receiver (if and when available) to a blind person's cane is probably cost-prohibitive to most users. This does not solve the problem for the many guide dog users out there.

My son, Mike Jernigan, was blinded in Iraq five years ago and faces many challenges, and a new one is hybrid cars. The answer? We're not sure. He has a guide dog, Brittani, that he works with about 90 percent of the time and uses a cane the rest of the time.

Again, if and when a receiver is available, does he have one in his cane and in Brittani's harness? And who pays for this? The VA? That means our tax dollars. Although I personally have no problem with that, other people might.

Tracey Willis, St. Petersburg

Future of Pier in doubt | Dec. 8

Pier's roadway needs to be fixed

There's an interesting misconception regarding the Pier in St. Petersburg that continues to go largely unnoticed. In the eyes of many of the Times readers the pier has been confused with the Pier. If you're confused, the Pier is the jewel of the redevelopment of downtown St. Petersburg, resurrected in 1988 with a well needed renovation. The pier is the roadway approach to the Pier and is in need of its own renovation. Simply put, concrete and steel pilings, over a period of years, deteriorate in saltwater.

The rejuvenation of the downtown began and was at least partly due to the success of the Pier's renovation in the late '80s. Let's fix the pier and if the Pier needs some fresh paint and updating I think it's another giant step away from the green benches.

As a business owner at the Pier for more than 20 years, I expect our employees to again be spending time answering questions about the crumbling of the Pier instead of the pier. Maybe tourists would rather visit the pier when it's repaired.

Fred Snook, Homosassa

Ferris wheel can be a draw for Pier

We will do anything necessary to help keep the Pier. We are from Chicago and are used to a pier as a landmark, as we have Navy Pier.

Chicago uses it effectively as a tourist draw. They have built a beautiful Ferris wheel that is brightly lit every night. Every Wednesday and Saturday evenings they have a fireworks show. We can do the same, and make money with the Ferris wheel rides if nothing else.

The trick is to get people to the Pier … period!

Dr. John Sanderson, Tierra Verde

A big thank you for SPC concert

Thank you to Vernon Taranto Jr. and the St. Petersburg College Department of Music for yet another enjoyable Candlelight Concert. To anyone who hasn't attended one of these concerts, be sure to attend next year. You won't be disappointed.

Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg

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Include the public in discussion on digital billboards 12/15/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 1:42pm]
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