Re: Pipe's problems known story | Jan. 16
Millions to patch instead of real fix
Your article regarding the water pipe debacle on Belcher Road should serve to educate the public how incompetent local government really is.
The fact that the county knew of the problem since 2001 and kept wasting millions trying to patch it is indicative of government which can't manage or set priorities.
Last year the St. Petersburg Times reported that Pinellas was being fined nearly $300,000 for illegally pumping untreated wastewater, for many years, into the eco-system. The county claimed it didn't have the money to fix the problem, and yet at the same time spent $23.8 million for Eagle Lake Park, which is within a few miles of Taylor Park, Ross Norton Park and many small city parks and athletic fields in Largo and south Clearwater.
Do we need more parks or do we need a good water system and sewerage system? The answer should be obvious!
For many years the county was sending all water customers an expensive water quality report, costing thousands more than necessary, when they were well aware of less expensive options. The report is required by EPA, but is so complex nobody can understand it and the water customer throws it away — facts well known by county officials.
How is it possible that the county can waste money building new parks, baseball fields, soccer fields, bike trails, discuss light rail and a new Tropicana Field, etc., and can't fix the most important investment — our basic infrastructure, water and sewers?
The answer is: a lack of management expertise and inability to make difficult decisions.
One might ask how many other serious problems exist with our infrastructure we don't know about? That's really scary!
Jim Harpham, Palm Harbor
Return on money for downtown: nil
If ever there were an expression that precisely fits downtown Clearwater's "revitalization" efforts, it is "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Having lived in Clearwater for 31 years, I have witnessed untold millions of dollars spent on "revitalization" of downtown Clearwater. However, expending more money toward this goal is throwing good money after bad. How long will city leaders continue to waste tax dollars on this effort? They are beating a dead horse. The primary beneficiary of all this effort and expenditure of tax dollars has been and will continue to be the Church of Scientology. Most residents of the community-at-large avoid, whenever possible, going into the downtown area.
In a time of severe recession and a shrinking tax base, one would think the city administration would focus and prioritize on matters of crucial importance, such as how to meet funding requirements for current and future retirees. Instead, Mayor Frank Hibbard and a majority of his cohorts on the City Council concentrate on how to spend as much money as possible on efforts that return virtually nothing to the average resident of the city.
All this begs the question: Who benefits from "revitalization" of the downtown area? Well, the Scientologists as stated above. Then there are the contractors who do the "revitalizing." Let's not forget the business owners who hope to garner more customers from the effort. And last but not least, the elected officials who expect to receive campaign contributions for the next election from all of those just listed. In each case, just follow the money.
But what is the benefit to the average taxpaying citizen of Clearwater? Little or nothing.
Will Perry, Clearwater
Re: Street project to begin Feb 7 | story, Jan. 21
Few benefit from downtown work
With all due respect to Clearwater taxpayers, why allow your city government to spend another $2.9 million on "improvements" to Cleveland Street when no one goes down there except for government business or to the church downtown? This new streetscaping, like the original phase, is a waste of your tax dollars.
When was the last time you went downtown to spend time there for fun?
Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor
Re: Hyatt Regency gives $15,000 to help homeless story, Jan. 19
Nice to see Hyatt helping homeless
It was so nice seeing the article on the Hyatt giving $15,000 to the Clearwater Homeless Emergency Project to help the homeless in our area.
It is so uplifting when you hear of a local business in your own area helping those in need. To me it's good business, since you tend to keep that kind of owner in mind when folks ask where is a good place in our area to stay or to eat and such.
When we help others, God helps us, and we always hope that charity will begin at home. Giving back to the community is always a plus.
A big thanks to the Hyatt Regency.
Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater