Let's limit fertilizer pollution
Strong fertilizer ordinances with a four-month ban on rainy-season nitrogen and phosphorous have a strong scientific basis. There's no debate that degraded water quality from increased nutrient pollution promotes development and persistence of harmful algal blooms that plague both inland and coastal waters.
Residential fertilizer is a substantial proportion of excess nutrient pollution in local water bodies, carried there by stormwater runoff. More runoff flows from urban neighborhoods during the four rainy months of the year, June through September, than any other time of year.
There's no scientific evidence that landscapes cannot survive the four-month ban. In fact, Sarasota's two-year experience shows reduced turf disease and replacement costs.
The state's minimum fertilizer management standards, the same practices followed by pest control and landscape companies since 2002, are not enough to restore water quality. That's why 14 counties and municipalities from St. Petersburg to Naples passed rainy season bans. It's time to follow the lead of our Gulf Coast neighbors and adopt measures to effectively reduce nutrient pollution.
Pollution is much cheaper to prevent than clean up. Nitrogen fertilizer costs $5 per pound but costs $235 per pound to remove after deposited in waterways by stormwater runoff. That's why we can no longer afford not to take strong action.
The Environmental Science Forum of Pinellas County recommends passage of a strong fertilizer ordinance by the Pinellas County Commission at Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. public hearing in Clearwater, an important step to restore and protect our vital water resources.
Phil Compton, regional representative, Sierra Club Florida, St. Petersburg
Tax dollars for Dali? Idea needs closer look Jan. 14, editorial
Museum deserves support
According to the Visitor Profile and Economic Impact Study made in 2008-2009, the Dali Museum accounts for $60 million in economic impact to Pinellas County each year. Of the visitors to the museum, more than 90 percent come from outside the county and roughly 70 percent come Sunday through Thursday, which are typically slow days for other tourist attractions.
The same study showed that 115,000 hotel nights are spent as a result of the Dali. This makes the Dali second only to the beaches when it comes to tourism in Pinellas County.
Private donors have stepped up to the plate, along with the state of Florida and the city of St. Petersburg. We are in tough economic times that no one saw coming, and the request to the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council makes sense at this time. This is a tourist issue, and the impact in revenues to Pinellas County is obvious.
I encourage the TDC and our other leaders in Pinellas County to take a good hard look at this request and find a way to help support the Dali. It is truly a financial gem to our community.
Ross Preville, chair, Dali Regional Council, St. Petersburg
A good investment
I cannot think of a better investment for the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council than the new Dali Museum. This exceptional museum will truly put "heads in beds" in our city and county. It will also enhance our international reputation as more than sand and sunshine.
John Mullaney, St. Petersburg
Tax dollars for Dali? Idea needs closer look Jan. 14, editorial
Try a small sale
Why don't the museum officials sell off 1 percent of the Salvador Dali's works in their collection, which are valued at $500 million?
Bingo! There's the requested $5 million without a need to tap tax money. Surely there are other projects more apt to produce the results intended by the hotel bed tax.
Donna Ward, Sun City Center
Nice guys finish last, governor | Jan. 15, Daniel Ruth column
The empty suit
Daniel Ruth, while attempting to slam conservatives who oppose Gov. Charlie Crist, exposed why Crist is so disfavored by Republicans. It is not so much that he hugged Barack Obama, rather, it is his failure to take a serious position on any serious issue.
The danger of electing empty suits such as Crist has been underscored by the excesses of the Obama administration. Crist is very much like Obama in his love of occupying lofty political positions. While many oppose Obama's policies, they can at least identify what they are opposing.
By contrast, Crist stands for nothing. Even Dan Ruth was unable to identify any substantive issue that has led to Crist's popularity plunge. To quote Gertrude Stein's observation about Oakland: "There is no there, there."
Jeffrey Meyer, Clearwater
Why don't we just look at the actions of Gov. Charlie Crist. First, he ran for governor, telling us he was concerned for the state of Florida and its citizens. A short time later, he was making a trip to Arizona to see John McCain and seeking the vice presidential slot on McCain's ticket.
After that didn't work his way, he started to focus on President Barack Obama, hugging him and looking for his own goals with the elected president.
Now, he wants to run for U.S. senator, so overall his thoughts are for his own individual gains and not for the people who elected him. I just would consider these actions at election time, since he is going with the waves, as they say.
Michael Calero, St. Pete Beach
Man bites dog! Also, rate hike rejected Jan. 12, Howard Troxler column
A flawed focus
It is interesting to note on Page 1B that Howard Troxler remarked, "Only half-jokingly, I wonder what kind of strings the electric companies will try to pull with their friends in the Legislature, now that they're on a losing streak" (in getting a rate increase). Then on Page 8B the same day, the story Public utility counsel could lose his job talks about attorney J.R. Kelly, who opposed the rate hike, now facing confirmation from a newly formed legislative committee. I wonder if they are connected.
Our Legislature would better serve the citizens of Florida if it formed a committee to fix real estate tax issues and the insurance problems that its constituents are having rather than having to fix its campaign contributors' problems.
Charlie Rutz, Clearwater
Bridges need attention | Jan. 2, letter
Domestic problems first
I was delighted to read this letter. The problem of bridges going to an early grave is not Florida's alone. It's all over the United States. I can give you a long list if you don't believe me or the letter writer.
Instead of spending billions of dollars on roads and bridges in countries that don't have anything better than a cow path, we should pay attention to those roads and other thoroughfares that are used daily and protect our drivers. Is that too much to ask? We are the ones who are paying the taxes to keep our roads in good repair.
Let's pay attention to local problems. The whole United States is local to us. Everything done in other states affects us.
Helga Curtis, Brooksville