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Island Estates must defend itself

Island Estates must defend itself

The St. Petersburg Times' May 3 editorial, Keep city's hands off island, noted that the city of St. Petersburg and Tierra Verde "are separated by a waterway and a different community vision." The residents of the quiet enclave of Tierra Verde mostly want to be left alone, while St. Petersburg sees only a revenue opportunity and has little genuine interest in the long-term welfare of the community.

All this applies equally to Island Estates and our relationship with Clearwater, except that we are a captive island, an unwilling partner. We are physically isolated by water, have virtually no city facilities (no library, schools, community center, police station, fire station, public land, senior center, few children, very little crime, one postage-stamp size park). Clearwater has no footprint here; we could just as well be a satellite of Pittsburgh, except that Pittsburgh would probably treat us better and appreciate our disproportionate contribution to their financial welfare.

The only serious involvement between Clearwater and Island Estates was the recent attempt by the city to force zoning changes on our island to encourage unwanted hotel development. This cavalier proposal received no public hearings or discussion on Island Estates, and the protests of our civic association were totally ignored. Only mass protests from hundreds of enraged island residents and signed petitions prevented the council from enacting the proposed hotel zoning. Such is the respect we islanders receive from the city of Clearwater.

The strained relationship between Island Estates and Clearwater reflects the callous indifference of the existing City Council to Island Estates as a unique waterfront community. The lesson we have learned is that this City Council is willing to sacrifice our island community for tourism. We must continue to defend our neighborhood against their intended encroachment.

Arnie Shal, Clearwater

Clearwater Beach shortcomings

Recent newspaper and television ads have been promoting Clearwater Beach. However, I feel that the city of Clearwater is jumping the gun on luring tourists to Clearwater Beach when they can't even meet the needs of the local residents at this point.

Anyone who has been to Clearwater Beach knows that there are a number of issues that need to be resolved before promoting the beach as a tourist destination. Currently, the traffic pattern is horrendous, there is not enough parking, there is a lack of adequate public restroom facilities, and a limited number of hotel rooms are available.

Why bring outsiders in only to have a bad experience, which will result in their not returning to Clearwater? (Several tourists on the beach have already indicated this to me.)

Those who came in for the Outback Bowl, Ironman race, and the beach volleyball tournament will certainly agree with me. Soon this area will be hosting the Super Bowl and at this point I'm embarrassed to have anyone visit the beach area.

When will our city administration ever address these issues?

David Cox, Clearwater

Don't forget

our law officers

On Oct. 1, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726, which designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it appears National Police Week. The 103rd Congress amended this law as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-322, which directs that the flag of the United States on all governmental buildings be displayed at half-staff on May 15.

During 2007, a total of 181 officers died in the line of duty — the second highest annual total since 1989. I would respectfully request that everyone who flies the American flag lower it to half-staff on Thursday to honor these people who have made the supreme sacrifice. These brave men and women died while protecting our homes, our streets and our communities. Please let us not forget them.

Sgt. Robert G. Burdewick, (Retired Nassau County Police Department), Dunedin

>>your voice counts

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Island Estates must defend itself 05/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2008 2:07pm]

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