Re: After Hillsborough fails in bid for light rail, Pinellas will try | Story, Jan. 17
Light rail here? Flawed thinking
I have to question the intelligence of the elected officials in Pinellas County including Pinellas city officials as well. They want to lay the burden of an unrealistic pipe dream of light rail on the backs of the taxpayers to the tune of $1.5 billion.
The so-called mass transit system we are currently saddled with in Pinellas County is less than stellar in its performance as it is. It runs at a deficit now. How do these same officials expect light rail to be profitable?
The last few days there have been articles extolling light rail's virtues as compared with other large cities that operate light rail or subway systems.
One major flaw I see in the light rail pipe dream for Pinellas County is the lack of concentrated work locations in the county as compared with places like New York City, Chicago and Dallas. Florida is not conducive to major office buildings above 30 stories or more — we do not have a stable soil condition as it is. The cities touted by the current studies sit on solid bedrock, not limestone. Just look around. Why are there no 50- and 100-story skyscrapers in Florida? Do sinkholes and hurricanes come to mind?
Just look at the history of Pinellas County. It is the product of Florida land booms. Pinellas County started out as an area of lumber and then citrus groves. As the county grew, it became a tourist stop and sleepy retirement community which, contrary to popular belief, it still is, minus the tourist attractions we once had in Pinellas County.
What was our last big building boom? Retirement condominiums along the gulf beaches that have stressed the ability of the municipalities to provide water and sewage removal today.
David Bellinger, Largo
A Tebow jersey has a new owner
I just wanted to tell your readers about the good people that live amongst us. I was with 12 other people celebrating a 50th birthday at Maggiano's in the WestShore Plaza in Tampa. I stood at the end of our large table to get a picture of everyone.
I was backing up against a booth with two couples in it and apologized for intruding. I noticed one man had a Denver Broncos Tim Tebow NFL jersey on. I asked him where he got it and he replied that he ordered it online back when Tebow was drafted and it was around $170.
I told him I had been looking everywhere for one to send to my son in Afghanistan and all I could find were T-shirts. He asked what my son was doing there and I told him he was in the Air Force and would be there for a few more months. He is in special ops.
The man asked again if he was really in the Air Force stationed in Afghanistan and again I replied yes. He stood up and took the jersey off his back (revealing a Gator T-shirt) and gave the jersey to me to send to my son.
I immediately said there was no way I could take it — a real NFL jersey with Tebow's name and number — from him. He and his wife insisted.
Our whole table was extremely moved by this random act of generosity. I said to my girlfriend that it is a sign that I must do something for others to "pay it forward" and when she went over to thank them, they said that was exactly their intent also.
I had them email me so I could send them pictures of my son wearing the jersey over there. He will be so excited, as he has a small group that are all Gator/Tebow fans.
You always hear of friends who would give you the shirts off their back, but this was a complete stranger who wanted to support our troops by giving me the NFL jersey off his back to send to my son overseas.
We went right from dinner to the Tampa Airport Post Office and put it in a priority box with a couple of cards. I sent him an Internet message telling him to Skype or Facebook me when he received a "special" package. I have not told him what is coming and am not sure if he is in an area where he can receive mail, but I am confident that we will soon be seeing a picture of my son wearing his new Tebow jersey in Afghanistan.
Michael Sullivan, Largo
Re: France honors World War II Navy veteran's service, Good for You column, Jan. 5
Hat's off to you, William Bowers
The Legion of Honor is the highest decoration in France, open to men and women of all ranks and professions. It is awarded solely on merit or bravery. Each year France awards up to 200 medallions to appointed knights.
William T. Bowers of Clearwater is one such recipient. Both world wars provided a significant turning point in France's history. Any honorable or courageous contribution to that history deserves to be recognized.
The French have an expression they use when congratulating someone. They say "chapeau." Therefore, "chapeau," Mr. Bowers. Thank you for your contribution to our history.
Roselaine Pennino, Paris, France
Prayer already exists in schools
The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to allow prayer in our public schools.
They need to concentrate on more important things like the economy. We already have prayer in our schools.
I retired recently from 30 years of teaching. We always had a moment of silence after announcements for kids to reflect, pray, remember if they have their lunch money, contemplate their navels — whatever.
A silent prayer prevents others from having to hear prayers that do not apply to them. Since God is so all-knowing, he will certainly hear a silent prayer.
Believe me, as long as we have tests in school, we will have prayer. "Help me, God, to pass this algebra test."
Melanie Woods, Palm Harbor