Sunday, February 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

North Pinellas letters: Some key details left out of Clearwater Marine Aquarium plan

Details revealed for new aquarium | story, Aug. 7

Some key details left out of plan

I don't believe the latest article on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium really covers enough detail.

The aquarium is to pay the city $150,000 a year to lease the property now occupied by the City Hall, after the aquarium pays the city $7.5 million from 50 cents from each ticket sold.

In order to raise $7.5 million, the aquarium must sell 15 million tickets. Just how long is that going to take? True, the attendance is up due to the Dolphin Tale movie at present, but how long will that last? According to recent newspaper articles, the attendance in 2006 was 79,000. It jumped to 750,000 in 2012 after the movie. Let's assume that the average attendance is 300,000 per year. At that rate it will only take 50 years to raise the $7.5 million.

Let's top that off with the taxpayers paying for street improvements in downtown, removal of asbestos from the old City Hall, plus the loss of four tennis courts. Gee, we get $300,000 back, when?

And of course, where and who gets to build a new parking garage and has to handle the operating costs? And who gets to pay the upfront construction cost of a new City Hall and the moving costs?

And come to think of it, just where is the new City Hall going to be constructed and at what cost? Sure, there will be $7.5 million from the aquarium over a 40- to 50-year period, but what are the planned costs for the whole City Hall move and construction? And where does the construction money come from in the meantime? Probably will have to be borrowed and interest paid over the term of the loan.

I get the feeling this is similar to the sales pitch on the $12 million downtown boat slips, all at the taxpayers' expense.

John Blechschmidt, Clearwater

'Hours stink' at beach library story, July 24

Restoring hours is a drop in bucket

The Friends of the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center and Library are not a "group of beach residents who have become increasingly organized and vocal in recent months." We are a 5-year-old 501c3 organization.

We have recruited volunteers for the library, purchased needed equipment, provided programs and assisted in staffing them. We have supplied two unpaid instructors for a shell crafters group and a writers group, attended by people from throughout the city.

The quote from Clearwater's mayor is also misleading, as all Clearwater libraries, except the beach, have had their hours restored. North Greenwood is the next lowest number, with 41 hours open per week, compared to the beach's 20.

The cost would be $25,000 to restore the Beach Library hours, a drop in the bucket compared to tax money the city expends on subsidizing the Capitol Theatre project and providing luxurious accommodations for the players at Bright House Field.

Anne McKay Garris, Clearwater

Flier in July 21 Tampa Bay Times

America must wake up on guns

I was very upset when I saw the flier advertising the sale of guns by Shoot Straight in Clearwater. Haven't we heard and lived through enough problems with guns within the last eight months?

The insane killing of children should be enough to make us say, "Enough is enough!" Have we become like a third-world country where life means nothing?

I'm 88 years old and I was a teenager during World War II. Guns then were necessary for the military — not for civilians. It's in our Constitution that was written over 200 years ago, when settlers on the prairie might have to protect their homes against those we had put out of their homes — no good example.

Must we have to take guns away from people who don't have the sense to use them properly?

As for "stand your ground," someone who didn't like his neighbor can shoot and kill him, just because.

Let's wake up America and do the right thing so we can remain the greatest country in the world, before it's too late.

Jeanne T. Regueros, Palm Harbor

Clearwater Parks and Recreation summer camps

City right to honor students

We've just returned from an impressive ceremony at Clearwater City Hall with Mayor George Cretekos and 50 attendees from this summer's camp. Those deserving students ranged in age from 5 through middle school. They were recognized for their various character traits.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers these camps at five different park facilities in the city. The camp directors and Mayor Cretekos displayed an excellent program and the city of Clearwater should be very proud.

Diane J. Faulkner, New Port Richey

Details revealed for new aquarium | story, Aug. 7

Some key details left out of plan

I don't believe the latest article on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium really covers enough detail.

The aquarium is to pay the city $150,000 a year to lease the property now occupied by the City Hall, after the aquarium pays the city $7.5 million from 50 cents from each ticket sold.

In order to raise $7.5 million, the aquarium must sell 15 million tickets. Just how long is that going to take? True, the attendance is up due to the Dolphin Tale movie at present, but how long will that last? According to recent newspaper articles, the attendance in 2006 was 79,000. It jumped to 750,000 in 2012 after the movie. Let's assume that the average attendance is 300,000 per year. At that rate it will only take 50 years to raise the $7.5 million.

Let's top that off with the taxpayers paying for street improvements in downtown, removal of asbestos from the old City Hall, plus the loss of four tennis courts. Gee, we get $300,000 back, when?

And of course, where and who gets to build a new parking garage and has to handle the operating costs? And who gets to pay the upfront construction cost of a new City Hall and the moving costs?

And come to think of it, just where is the new City Hall going to be constructed and at what cost? Sure, there will be $7.5 million from the aquarium over a 40- to 50-year period, but what are the planned costs for the whole City Hall move and construction? And where does the construction money come from in the meantime? Probably will have to be borrowed and interest paid over the term of the loan.

I get the feeling this is similar to the sales pitch on the $12 million downtown boat slips, all at the taxpayers' expense.

John Blechschmidt, Clearwater

'Hours stink' at beach library story, July 24

Restoring hours is a drop in bucket

The Friends of the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center and Library are not a "group of beach residents who have become increasingly organized and vocal in recent months." We are a 5-year-old 501c3 organization.

We have recruited volunteers for the library, purchased needed equipment, provided programs and assisted in staffing them. We have supplied two unpaid instructors for a shell crafters group and a writers group, attended by people from throughout the city.

The quote from Clearwater's mayor is also misleading, as all Clearwater libraries, except the beach, have had their hours restored. North Greenwood is the next lowest number, with 41 hours open per week, compared to the beach's 20.

The cost would be $25,000 to restore the Beach Library hours, a drop in the bucket compared to tax money the city expends on subsidizing the Capitol Theatre project and providing luxurious accommodations for the players at Bright House Field.

Anne McKay Garris, Clearwater

Clearwater Parks and Recreation summer camps

City right to honor students

We've just returned from an impressive ceremony at Clearwater City Hall with Mayor George Cretekos and 50 attendees from this summer's camp. Those deserving students ranged in age from 5 through middle school. They were recognized for their various character traits.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers these camps at five different park facilities in the city. The camp directors and Mayor Cretekos displayed an excellent program and the city of Clearwater should be very proud.

Diane J. Faulkner, New Port Richey

Comments

Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18