Naked politics intrudes on beach | Jan. 14, editorial
Let's designate a 'clothing optional' beach
I agree with your assessment of Pinellas County getting involved with what is appropriate "beach dress."
I for one don't see anything wrong with designating a portion of Fort De Soto beach as a "Clothing Optional Area." It's done at Cape Canaveral and Haulover Beach in the Miami area.
Appropriate signs say: "You may encounter nude sunbathers in this area." So it's up to the beachgoers to proceed or not.
I also noted that in the Business section Jan. 14 there were photos of billboards marketing the Pinellas beaches to football fans. One says: "Unnecessary clothing. Penalty 15 yards." Another says: "Football Fans are encouraged to go out of bounds." This is from Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, which has paid $150,000 of tax dollars to promote area beaches.
Let's stop being prudes and designate an area for "clothing optional" swimming. I'm sure the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation) and TAN (Tampa Area Naturists) would support this and any extra fee that may be incurred. Other states and countries, even Canada, have a nude or topless beach areas.
Walter Latham, Homosassa
Don't ruin the beach
Okay. You're unable to find a suitable TV show or movie to take the whole family to, so you go to the beach. Then come a couple of women and men with their bare butts in your face. Your solution? Don't look, or adjust the umbrella, or move away.
Great. So every time someone does something incorrect it's up to us to move? Many years ago I took my grandson to the beach and when it was time to leave we went to the public shower. We were in line when a couple of rowdy people butted (literally) in front of us and my grandson's nose ended up nearly touching the woman's bare bottom. Not a pleasant moment.
Lest you think otherwise, I am definitely not a prude, but please quit treating us like people who only want to wear clothes from the 1920s. Fashion is one thing, but leave our beaches for everyone to enjoy.
MaryLou Tuttle, Tampa
Focus on important things
Are you kidding me? With the state looking to close some of our most beautiful parks because of the Legislature's fiscal irresponsibility, we waste our collective time and ever-shrinking resources to debate bathing suits.
The absurdity of the tiniest part of our citizenry's concerns toward their own moral compass is yet again threatening the best interests of the majority. I propose our commissioners concentrate on keeping schools and parks open.
Keith Richardson, St. Petersburg
In my debate with myself over this one, my somewhat beaten-down inner "libertarian" (which often loses out to my interest in necessary regulation) comes out on top. So I fully endorse your editorial position.
(I've tried hard to exclude from the debate the admitted fact that I am often, um, the opposite of offended when viewing adult females in skimpy attire, and not to the exclusion of older such persons like myself.)
Still, I can understand the offense taken for various reasons by others, so I'd encourage beach patrons to be considerate and avoid extremes. We have an increasingly sex-soaked culture, which is probably already encouraging excessive self-absorption and expression (not the high point of human nature), and diverting our attention from far more important things. But, here, allow us to learn without conscription.
Allan Avery, Clearwater
The solution is easy
Your short but very to-the-point editorial regarding the Pinellas County Commission's recent priority delusion — bathing suit enforcement — was right on the money.
And in the interest of saving the commissioners from having to waste their time and talent on how to handle this matter, or saving them money on consultants, I offer this suggestion for free: Designate part of Fort De Soto as a clothing optional beach.
Voila! The people who want to dress skimpy are happy because they get a section all to themselves, along with those who want to go the natural route. And for the people who are allegedly offended, well, if they cross into the clothing optional area shame on them and give them a big button to wear on their skivvies that says "hypocrite."
And the bonus: We don't have to worry about our law enforcement officers spending time lecturing people on what constitutes proper butt cleavage coverage. Let them work on the real crimes. Problem solved, easy as that.
Nanette Angelone, Clearwater
It's like a bad joke
I couldn't agree with you more! With our economy in shambles our elected leaders are concerned about the amount of skin on the beach. They must be kidding.
Good to see our tax dollars hard at work.
Jerry Cobbe, Largo
Just turn away
Here's what dismays me: The evening news. Watching bombs fall and explode, pondering the unimaginable panic of the aftermath. Famine. Homelessness. Hopelessness.
Indeed, it is the easy answer to state the obvious: Turn away. Turning away is a viable option. Perhaps these "dismayed visitors" could elect to turn away from underclad beachgoers. The very idea that this issue is under discussion is insulting.
I personally detested the attire endlessly paraded through San Angelo, Texas, after the state took custody of children thought to be in harm's way. Those giant dresses and peculiar hair styles offended me to the core.
Too much clothing, too little clothing … who cares? Just turn away.
Barbara Audirsch McKee, St. Petersburg
Wise to be wary | Jan. 12, letter
Helping homeless involves healing the human spirit
I strongly disagree with the letter writer's opinion when he suggests transferring the homeless to out-of-state destinations. First, and foremost, does he really believe that would solve the problem?
The more important point is whether the letter writer has a clear understanding of how people become homeless. Experts agree that there are a lot of situations that can lead to a person becoming homeless, such as divorce, the loss of a job, an addiction to, or abuse of, prescribed or illegal drugs or alcohol, or even gambling.
People may also become homeless because of mental illness. People who have served in the armed forces often find it impossible to cope with civilian life. Others may be running from an abusive relationship. Then add to that the indignities that homeless persons must often suffer once on the street.
I suggest that if the letter writer has not had to live in such a situation, that he is not qualified to render such a recommendation. What Catholic Charities is proposing is a humanitarian effort that understands that to cure the problem, one of the important steps needed is to heal the human spirit. Banishing the "leper" to afar offers no such healing.
Jim Kissane, Tampa
Think of Jesus | Jan. 12, letter about the homeless
Take one home
If all of the advocates for the homeless each took one homeless person into their own homes, the homeless issue would be solved. Each advocate would house, clothe and feed the homeless person, thereby eliminating the tent cities and the homeless people's use of private property as bathrooms and garbage dumps.
Street corners in cities would no longer be congested with the homeless and their belongings in the day and residents and visitors would again be able to walk the sidewalks freely without fear or intimidation. It's a win-win situation for the advocates, the homeless, and taxpaying citizens.
Jeanne Gibbons, New Port Richey
A threat to freedoms | Jan. 14, letter
It's about worker rights
The letter writer is badly misinformed about the Employee Free Choice Act.
For example, the writer states that "EFCA would strip employees of the right to vote by secret ballot." This is flat-out wrong. Both secret ballot and card check are already options, and both would still be options under EFCA. EFCA, though, would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if the majority of workers at a site sign authorization cards in favor of that union. This too is democratic, by the way.
The writer claims EFCA would leave "workers vulnerable to peer pressure and manipulation." This claim is laughable, especially considering that currently, all the pressure and manipulation is done by businesses illegally preventing their employees from organizing.
Businesses regularly (and illegally) fire employees involved in organizing unions, hire "union busters" to fight organizing drives, force employees to attend mandatory, closed-door meetings against the union, close plants where unions are certified, or refuse to negotiate with certified unions.
The Employee Free Choice Act would not "take away" a "personal choice" as the letter writer states. To the contrary, it would finally restore to the worker his or her "personal choice" to join a union.
John L. Perry, Tampa
A perilous pick | Jan. 8, letter
A new direction
The letter writer suggested that Americans should no longer feel safe because Barack Obama has nominated Leon Panetta to head the CIA. She claimed that Panetta was a greenhorn and totally inexperienced in the intelligence field.
Panetta has extensive experience in management and budgeting. He worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He graduated from the army intelligence school and was chief of operations of intelligence at Fort Ord in California. He had to evaluate intelligence on a day-to-day basis when he was chief of staff under President Bill Clinton. He is hardly a "greenhorn."
President-elect Obama chose to go outside the agency because he plans to change the tarnished image of the intelligence agencies. In contrast to the current administration, Obama wants accurate intelligence reports, an end to turf battles, budget compliance, and an end to torture. He has chosen someone with an extensive resume to accomplish these goals.
The majority voted for a change in current practices. I feel safer and more optimistic because there is a new direction.
Barbara LeBoeuf, New Port Richey
Stadium would be a real kick | Jan. 13, editorial
It was almost painful to witness the Hillsborough County commissioners agonize over the decision whether to approve or deny the rezoning request for the soccer stadium at Waters Avenue and Benjamin Road. Several commissioners said they were excited about the prospect of having professional soccer return to our area, and of having such a venue developed by private investment.
However, the commissioners did not allow excitement to prevail over reason, and after lengthy debate the applicant withdrew its request. The location is not suitable because it cannot accommodate the parking necessary for the number of seats desired; off-site parking would present a safety issue for pedestrians; traffic congestion would cause cut-through traffic in nearby neighborhoods; and event-related noise would generate regulatory complaints.
The objections of the affected community are not overblown as the Times asserted, and the affected community is grateful that the county commissioners were guided by reason, not emotion. We hope the Tampa Bay Rowdies' owners and investors will heed Commissioner Jim Norman's plea and work with the county to find a more suitable location.
Pamela Jo Hatley, Tampa
A lost opportunity
The Tampa Bay Rowdies were forced this week to withdraw plans to build a 5,000-seat soccer stadium when it became apparent that the Hillsborough County Commission would not support the project because of opposition by a vocal minority of local homeowners from the Twelve Oaks subdivision.
Using politically loaded language that equated the proposed stadium with the Ford Amphitheatre and the noise issues that have plagued that facility, the homeowners effectively cowed the County Commission into opposing this project.
The loss is particularly acute, especially at a time of economic recession. Reasonable people would question the wisdom of opposing construction of a privately funded stadium on private property, especially one that provides affordable family entertainment, creates local jobs and generates much needed tax revenue.
Farrukh Quraishi, Tampa