Make Clearwater live within means
I was appalled to read that the city is going to raise its tax rate. The citizens of Clearwater need to wake up and start writing, calling and protesting these increases.
When a family makes less money from one year to the next, they have to adjust and make sacrifices, tough choices and cuts. When our city brings in less money, it threatens to close a few parks, fire the librarian, pull down the flag, then raise the taxes and collect more money from people who have endured layoffs, foreclosures and pay cuts. Landlords have to pay more money for buildings for which they can't find a tenant, even though they have lowered the rent to levels not seen in years.
The city needs to make do with what it currently brings in. If anything, it should cut taxes, not raise them. Mayor Frank Hibbard, become a true leader and lower taxes. City Council, do what you would do if this were your budget at home and you had no tax increase to bail you out.
Steve Trizis, Largo
Re: Belleair Bluffs fire plan flares up | story, Aug. 9
Be grateful for strong leadership
This most recent controversy over fire service has to be deja vu for longtime residents of Belleair Bluffs. Providing good, affordable police and fire protection at a reasonable price has always been especially challenging for small communities. Belleair Bluffs is no exception. It has been a frequent visitor to the commission's agenda.
The citizens of Belleair Bluffs should be grateful that they have a mayor and commissioners who were willing to stand up to a department leader attempting to subvert their authority. Left unchecked, this type of individual can cause irreparable harm to the city by stirring up citizens with inaccurate and misleading information. Swift, decisive action is a must. Good job, Mr. Mayor!
It appears the writing is on the wall so far as to the future of Belleair Bluffs being a fire service provider, unless the citizens of the community are willing to pay dearly for it. Hopefully, they will understand that price when they go to the polls to make their decision.
J. Larry McElveen, Safety Harbor
Re: Chief's firing was justified, letter by Paul Kuykendall | Aug. 9
Unions are part of a democracy
The fire union is not the Great Satan that Paul Kuykendall of Belleair Bluffs would have us think. He could not be more wrong in his thinking, or lack thereof.
The union did not cause any trouble whatsoever. And if standing up for one's rights is wrong, then let's just do away with democracy altogether.
A union is a group of like-minded people who band together for protection, benefits, causes, etc. Did you ever donate to a religion? Or maybe a political party?
Look at "unions," beginning with the United States. A group of people decided that oppression from a ruler on another continent should cease. They even wrote a paper which started out, "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union …" A joining of two people in love is called a union. Union Station is where many forms of transit come together. There are credit unions, etc., etc.
I'm sure that Mr. Kuykendall enjoyed getting raises, health care and vacations while employed. That's what unions do — work for their members. Florida is a right-to-work state. You can be in unions, but their word is not final. The raises and benefits that union members have are because they bargained with city leadership for them. Union members have taken zero wage increases. They've also had their benefits cut.
Now let us look at the merger with the city of Largo. Merging the two departments means that you take the new employees in at their rate of pay and years of seniority. Why should they start all over again? That makes no sense whatsoever.
Do you even know what a merger is, Mr. Kuykendall? I'll try to make it easy for you. Let's say you want to get onto Interstate 275 at 54th Avenue N, in St. Petersburg. Do you wait until all of the vehicles that have been on the interstate since the Skyway Bridge have passed or do you merge into traffic and drive with your fellow motorists as if you had also been on the interstate all along?
I, for one, enjoy living in a democracy as well as being a union member. I do not want to work as a serf. If that's what you want, there are plenty of countries out there that fit the bill. Go live in one.
Craig Cramer, Clearwater
Let's make people work for money
I'm not averse to the stimulus payments. I disagree with how they are given.
I grew up in the Works Progress Administration times and when we received government money, we had to work. It was not a gift.
There is so much work that could be done, like cleaning up the beaches and highways. Some people who are working give volunteer time to do these jobs, when nonworking people receiving government money could do them. I believe people should not get money free unless they are disabled.
I want to tell you how much I enjoy your newspaper and thank you for all those beautiful color photos you put in the paper. To me, some of them are so beautiful and emotional. I cut them out and save them. Keep up the great work.
Kathleen Pellegrino, Dunedin