Re: Sheriff offers more savings | story, April 30
Keep police local for best service
We want to keep our Clearwater Police Department local, where we can get individualized attention by local officers reporting to local government.
They will no doubt argue about cost savings by reduction and improved service, but you can't come close to replicating local service delivered by local officers.
Can you imagine the Pinellas County sheriff being concerned about local establishments? What kind of coverage can be expected from a patrol officer who is in Clearwater one day and another town tomorrow? Police are not merely responders to a computer system. They are out there meeting the public, getting to know the locals, becoming a part of the community.
Yes, they will make arguments about a larger organization being able to deliver a higher level of service, but let's focus instead on collaboration with the county rather than misguided usurpation.
There seems to be a growing tendency to focus power at higher and higher levels of government — not a good idea. Let's keep it local.
Bob Young, Clearwater
Re: Sheriff offers more savings | story, April 30
Sheriff's Office is a less costly move
I don't know Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard or City Manager Bill Horne. I'm sure they're both good, responsible men, but these are extraordinary economic times and may get worse for a while. I'm sure having your own police force is somewhat of an ego enhancer, but it's time to put the needs of the people first.
Mayor Hibbard and City Council member John Doran both have degrees in economics and business. Bill Horne is an ex-Air Force colonel. Surely, they all understand that the vast resources of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will be an invaluable asset toward better protecting the city. They must know this is the best move to make.
Let's stop the insanity of government officials closing parks and limiting other resources when all it will take in this case is the selfless act of thinking about the people of Clearwater first!
I'm not taking anything away from the fine professional men and women of the Clearwater Police Department, but because of its resources and management, the Sheriff's Office will clearly be more efficient. This is not surprising given the extraordinary leadership of Sheriff Coats himself. He has demonstrated his willingness and ability to make the tough decisions necessary to run an organization like the sheriff's office. He's done a masterful job making the department lean yet wonderfully effective.
This one a no-brainer! Let's all hope we're not saying that about the decision makers of Clearwater if they blow this opportunity.
Michael Milhoan, St. Petersburg
Re: Merchants beg for easier sign limits | story, April 10
Please enforce all sign regulations
It was with great pleasure that I read the article on the controversy over commercial signs littering Largo, since back on Feb. 10 I wrote a letter to the St. Petersburg Times on this very topic with, unfortunately, little positive response from the city officials of Tarpon Springs where I reside.
The concern of the merchants is warranted in that signs do attract prospective customers to a place of business, but the signs have to be attractive, informational and not repetitive. In other words, a place of business that looks littered from the outside is not at all inviting.
The argument that because business, at the moment, is suffering and therefore we need an avalanche of signs to attract customers is not valid. The city officials in my city have given me the same rationale to try and explain why the current sign codes are not being enforced, but I'm not convinced that more visual pollution will make for a thriving business environment.
The stretch of road I'm most concerned about is between Klosterman Road and Tarpon Avenue on Alt. U.S. 19, as this is my neighborhood. There are numerous gaudy, duplicate signs on this road. One huge billboard near a gun shop in a strip mall is so dilapidated that one can't even figure out what it's trying to advertise.
As a citizen of the beautiful city of Tarpon Springs, I will continue to pursue my goal to rid the city of unnecessary visual pollution and to stand by the belief that we, as human beings, need not only bread, but roses as well.
Irene Prosser, Tarpon Springs
Re: Build Mango play area editorial, April 21
Playground won't ease real problem
Lacking a playground does not appear to have inhibited the children in the Mango Circle community at all. Like them, I grew up without a neighborhood playground and fondly remember sword fights with sticks. Yes, I also remember my mom yelling at me to stay out of the road from time to time.
The real problem begins when these children trade the sticks for guns, and Domino's refuses to deliver pizzas there any longer. To quote my favorite St. Petersburg Times writer, "That's all I'm saying."
Jon Tenbieg, Tarpon Springs
Re: This comfort comes with licks, tail wags | story, April 18
Victim advocate positions needed
I was impressed and very touched reading about the volunteers who have trained their dogs to be therapy dogs to help children testify in court. Thanks to the gentle dogs, the volunteers and the victim advocates, sexual offenders go to prison because the very young victims aren't afraid to testify against them.
Neither the City of Largo nor the county can afford to cut any of these victim advocate positions, as they would be the enablers allowing these predators to remain loose in our society.
Debra N. Miller, St. Petersburg