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Laws that limit churches' charity are heartless

Re: Soup kitchen's food could go elsewhere | story, April 28, and Soup kitchen backers riled | May 2

Laws limiting charity heartless

Let's encourage churches to help the homeless, rather than thwart their desire to be charitable. The whole idea presented by the homeless consultant hired by the city of Clearwater, Robert Marbut, seems heartless to me — stop churches from feeding not just the homeless, but hungry families!

I think laws that prevent churches from helping further should be re-examined. Do you know that churches are not allowed to let the homeless take showers on church property? Being able to get clean is very important for job interviews. Churches can't let the homeless sleep on their property either, unless the temperature is below 40 degrees.

Talk to some homeless people. You'll find that most want to work. What programs do we have to encourage businesses to hire the homeless? What are we doing to encourage industries to come to this area to hire and train the homeless?

What about converting hard-to-sell properties, especially large ones, into work exchange shelters that move the homeless toward production and independence? These properties often need painting, repairs, etc.

Charity is a big part of the Jewish and Christian religions. Jesus was, after all, homeless. Helping is not only basic to these religions, it is basic to mankind. Mr. Marbut, have you ever heard the expression, "But for the grace of God, go I?"

Elyse Van Breemen, Clearwater

Re: Dunedin bans ads on bus shelters | story, May 4

Kudos, now keep trail ad-free, too

Congratulations to Dunedin for banning ads on bus shelters. There is too much visual clutter around us.

Recently, the Tampa Bay Times ran an article about the possibility of putting "tasteful" ads on the Pinellas Trail. There are few places where a person can walk or bike and feel like they are in a refuge from the assault of commercial intrusion. Please keep the trail commercial free. No ads, please.

John Wynne, Dunedin

Re: Dunedin bans ads on bus shelters | story, May 4

Partnerships benefit riders

We seem to have a discrepancy between the city manager (whom we hired) saying more shelter advertising "moves us in a bad direction," and the elected city mayor, who says the advertising has "real value to people."

The fact is these (advertising) partnerships are a win-win-win for the taxpayer, riders and company. Without these partnerships, those bus shelters would have never been built.

Sunshine is great for tourism, but not when you have to hide in the shade of a telephone pole waiting for the next bus. Think about that the next time you drive by with your AC on.

Christopher Pettet, Dunedin

Re: Dispute in the Sand Key Civic Association

Board's purpose: to protect, defend

Being referred to as one of "the gang of five" does not accurately reflect my passion for this island.

Over the past four years, the island has dealt with many challenges concerning development, redevelopment and beach renourishment. Unfortunately, even though the Sand Key Civic Association provided in some instances "seed money" to protect the island, what it did not provide was the leadership required for the island and the total amount of resources needed to meet those challenges.

Consequently, the fate of Sand Key was left to those residents who were not leaders of SKCA.

When the zip line was first proposed, the benefits for the local hotels and tourists were touted. What should have been recognized and been the major concern was the quality of life of the residents who would be affected. The same holds true for the impact of the site of the Cabana Club restaurant and the potential redevelopment of the Shoppes on Sand Key.

Over the past couple of years, SKCA moved its focus toward social activities, which became the primary focus of the time and resources (including financial resources) of the board. While I agree it is important to build community, the purpose of SKCA since its founding in 1991 has been to preserve, protect and defend Sand Key.

I believed a refocus of the board was needed, and I decided to run for a seat on the board in 2011. As the result of the election process, the wheel of change rotated and the new majority of the Board of Directors — five directors — determined it should return SKCA to the original purpose stated in the founding documents: to protect, preserve and defend Sand Key. In order to do that, SKCA has been realigned with its purpose and the bylaws updated, with funds dedicated for preservation of the unique characteristics of Sand Key in place.

I hope in time, everyone recognizes the value of the efforts.

Doug Chandler, Clearwater

Ready to roll out the white sand | May 6

RNC is a gamble with the weather

Tampa Bay has a reputation for steering clear of gambling, yet it is playing for the highest stakes imaginable by staging the Republican National Convention on the three or four days in the year when the Tampa Bay area has experienced some of the worst weather of the season. Google Tampa Bay hurricanes and you will see that Aug. 23-30 is one of the most likely windows for a blowout!

End of August is not a good time for a several-thousand-person conga line along Clearwater Beach. Best to keep your moneybags weighted and your ID around your neck.

Elin Toona Gottschalk, Palm Harbor

>>Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our website at tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

. Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our website at tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Laws that limit churches' charity are heartless 05/15/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:17pm]

    

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