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Letters: Wal-Mart's Tarpon Springs site choice was all wrong

Commissioners had clear bias | letter, Nov. 4

Wal-Mart erred in its site choice

In a recent letter to the editor, Joe Sharkey accused Tarpon Springs Commissioners Susan Slattery and Peter Dalacos of bias and totally ignoring the facts in voting on the Wal-Mart concurrency issue.

While bias is a subjective term and could easily be directed toward anyone involved in this emotionally charged issue — not just these two commissioners — facts speak for themselves.

The facts concerning the certificate of concurrency issue are contained in the agreement itself. I encourage anyone considering the merits of this case to read the agreement. It defies belief to suggest that developers as experienced as Wal-Mart, and the city planners as well as city commissioners, would draft and approve an agreement with the intent of extending concurrency for 10 years by using phasing as the basis without using the words concurrency or phasing even once in doing so. The agreement simply establishes a 10-year deadline for completion — nothing more.

Mr. Sharkey's allegations and another letter thanking these same commissioners, along with Commissioner Robin Saenger highlight the divisiveness that the proposed Wal-Mart supercenter has created in Tarpon Springs.

The major problem with this proposal and the reason Wal-Mart continues to have problems obtaining the necessary permits and approval to proceed is that they chose the wrong location. This unique site on the bank of the Anclote River, which is literally the life blood of the city of Tarpon Springs, is a small, solitary island of tranquility that is home to an abundance of trees and wildlife, including nesting bald eagles. It virtually cries out to be preserved as a park.

For certain, it should never be paved over with a thousand-car parking lot and converted into a bustling 24-hour shopping center that will greatly exacerbate the traffic problems on U.S. 19 and significantly increase the potential contamination threats to the river and surrounding wetlands.

It is time for Wal-Mart to admit that it made a mistake and find a more appropriate site.

Andy Ennis, Tarpon Springs

Knitting needles okay on planes?

While on an AirTran flight from Gulfport, Miss., to Tampa on Oct. 23, I noticed a female passenger knitting with 15- or 18-inch needles. I asked the flight attendant how she could get past security. She replied that they are okay.

Am I missing something?

Robert Bingham, Palm Harbor

Ironman World Championship 70.3

Apathy rampant for Ironman 70.3

As a resident of Pinellas County, I am dismayed by the amount of negativity regarding the recent Ironman World Championships 70.3. Witnessing this incredible world-class event is something I and many others look forward to each year. Where can you see a world championship where professionals, amateurs and the disabled all compete together? This event is truly awe inspiring.

Athletes, their families and friends (from all over the world) visit our area and bring with them much needed tourist exposure and revenue. It should make our community proud to see the enormous efforts of the triathlon staff as well as locals who volunteer to make this event the success that it is. It is a team effort.

Having attended this event the last three years, I have to say that this year, in particular, showed incredible organization. People were notified well in advance of the road closings and should have planned accordingly. Yes, there are some inconveniences to the local community, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

To all you naysayers, plan on watching the TV coverage of the event in the spring. There you will see the inspirational stories of many of the athletes as well as the beauty of Clearwater Beach and the surrounding area.

What better publicity for our beautiful world-class beach? It is my hope that just as Hawaii is the permanent location of the Ironman competition, Clearwater Beach will always be the home of the 70.3 Ironman.

Dr. Joel Epstein, Palm Harbor

Visitor says event brought 'raves'

Clearwater, you were awesome! I was totally impressed with everything you had to offer. This was my first championship here, although my relatives live nearby and I visit twice yearly.

Clearwater was astonishing: incredibly friendly people everywhere, innumerable helpful volunteers (out on the water, in the transition areas, on the course, everywhere), outstanding traffic control, spectators who cheered to the bitter end, a gloriously golden day!

You should be proud of yourself for hosting such an impeccable event. You had Olympic athletes participating, the top athletes from 59 countries, both professionals and us everyday "age-groupers." Everyone raved about the location and the people and surely will recommend it to others!

Susan Roberts, Crescent City, CA

Brit visitor: folks friendly, helpful

We have recently returned to Great Britain after spending a few days in Clearwater for the 70.3 World Championship. Alex, my son, was taking part.

We were both overcome at how helpful and friendly the people we met during our stay were. Not the brash, loud Americans we are used to seeing either on TV or visiting our shores.

You should feel proud of yourselves and give yourself a pat on the back. I am sure that your friendly and helpful, well organized way of doing things will mean that the 70.3 will be held in Clearwater for a long time ahead.

Steve C. Thompson, Luton, UK

>>your voice counts

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Letters: Wal-Mart's Tarpon Springs site choice was all wrong 11/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 16, 2008 11:01am]
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