Sunday, April 22, 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

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18