Saturday, December 16, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Letters: Moving forward with Lens best for downtown St. Petersburg businesses

The Lens

Moving forward on Lens is best for city

Chances are, you've seen the teal-colored campaign signs emblazoned with the words Build the Pier, Vote No popping up in front of homes and businesses across St. Petersburg. And no, it's not a typo; residents really have to vote NO on Tuesday to support construction of the new pier.

Confusion and ballot referendums have long been good company. Yet, our burgeoning waterfront district, whose restaurant and shop owners are relying on the new pier to lure more foot traffic downtown, need voters to understand what is really at stake here.

Essentially, folks are being asked to vote on whether to cancel the Lens architect's contract thus making a NO vote one that supports progress and development. Downtown business owners cannot wait another eight years or more for the design and permitting process to begin anew while the structurally unsound inverted pyramid remains a padlocked eyesore.

Continuing forward with the new pier is our best and only option.

Heather Grzelka, St. Petersburg

No economic gain

There are many piers and boardwalks along the Eastern shoreline, some of the more popular being Atlantic City, N.J., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Ocean City, Md. Some are owned by municipalities and some by developers. These piers all seem to have shops, restaurants, attractions and some have amusement rides. According to National Geographic magazine, the piers are economically vital to the communities they serve like the one at Belmar, N.J., which generates at least $3 million each year in summer revenue for a town of 5,800 residents.

The business model of the Lens is: Spend $50 million on something that generates little or no revenue and will cost close to $700,000 per year to operate. Didn't we make the same mistake on the last pier that operated $1.4 million in the red each year?

William G. Childress, Oldsmar

Three teens in bus beating face judge | Aug. 14

Imagine a reversal

Imagine if the young man who was beaten did not have the protection of the bus seats. Imagine if the bus driver had intervened. Now, imagine if the three teens doing the beating had been white and the victim had been black. We would have been subjected to the race-baiting tantrums of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and juvenile justice would have been pressured to impose a much harsher sentence.

Polly White, St. Petersburg

Boyd Hill

Protect this rarity

Last night I had the distinctive pleasure of taking a night hike through Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. As darkness fell, the calls of tree frogs, the rasp of cicadas and the whisper of the breeze through palmetto fronds created a floating symphony. With flashlights covered in red cellophane, my companions and I took a peek into the surprisingly busy world of nocturnal animals: gators patiently patrolling the edge of Lake Maggiore, a startled marsh rabbit dashing toward the creek and swimming (yes, swimming!) away, an orb-weaver spider repairing its web in busy silence. I will remember this hike for a long time, because it reminded me of the incredible persistence and creativity with which nature's citizens confront the same problem we all face: how to make a living.

That's one thing that makes Boyd Hill so special. As a remnant of Florida's fast-disappearing natural landscape, it is one of the few places in the city, especially on the south side, where you can easily observe a dozen different animal species (and a few dozen types of plants) in a single outing. What you're seeing is not a zoo — many different species functioning separately in their respective enclosures — but the complex ways in which species live together to form an ecosystem, a living landscape. Thanks to a small army of dedicated employees and volunteers, there are numerous programs at the preserve that allow you to glimpse this natural integrity in action, offering everything from kayak trips to day camps.

Sadly, though, the integrity of this special place is now threatened. Though Taylor Morrison's proposal to construct 115 townhomes at the St. Petersburg Country Club is currently stalled, the larger issue is the increased traffic and noise that even a more modest development would bring to the preserve. This disturbance would imperil not only the vulnerable species that live there, but also our ability to enjoy this quiet and wonder-filled corner of our city. Though the development would help to address the financial problems of the country club — itself an important piece of St. Petersburg history — the sacrifice is too great. We need to protect the integrity of Boyd Hill, a rare and beautiful green space, just as we need safeguard the tremendous educational and recreational opportunities it offers to our public and our visitors. As I was reminded on last night's hike, it takes a diversity of agents and approaches to make an ecosystem work. Surely Boyd Hill, unique among St. Petersburg's public spaces, is an important part of our city's ecosystem.

Amanda Hagood, St. Petersburg

Early-morning school robocalls | Aug. 19

Unwise spending

Taxpayer-funded school budgets cover the expense of paying a company based in California to remind parents school is starting and to chat with their kids about school goals? Really? If adults are not aware when school opens after registering they need a lot more help than a phone call. Secondly, it would sure be nice to spend Florida money in Florida whenever possible. Who approved this ridiculous expenditure?

Robyn Dalton, Largo


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Published: 12/15/17
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/15/17

Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17