Add fundamental schools, fill need
I understand that there are a lot of changes going on in Pinellas County schools: budget cuts, school closings, etc. Something has caught my attention, however, that I feel I must inquire about. I keep asking myself why there are not more fundamental elementary schools in North Pinellas.
Looking at the county schools Web site, I see that there are three in St. Petersburg alone! This hardly seems fair to parents in North Pinellas who also want an opportunity for a fundamental education for their children. We have only Tarpon Fundamental and Curtis Fundamental, which only just this year moved up to Dunedin.
I went through the lottery process for my kindergartener last spring, along with what I have been told were 150 other families also trying for only 36 kindergarten spots at Tarpon Fundamental. My son did not win the lottery and was 45th on the list. When I called last week, he is now up to No. 25 — no chance this year.
The point I'm trying to make is, if there is such a great demand for fundamental schools in north county, why can't we make that happen? Why not instead of closing Palm Harbor Elementary we turn it into a fundamental school?
I understand that budgets are tight right now, but I ask the School Board to consider the possibility of making at least one more fundamental school available in north county. I want the best education for my children, and I believe in what the fundamental schools do: back to basics and holding students and parents accountable.
Misty Kirn, Palm Harbor
Re: LeCouris hiring is a bad idea | letter, Nov. 30
LeCouris is ideal as city manager
This is in regard to the letter written by Robert Prescott. If Mr. Prescott has a problem with Mark LeCouris as the chief of police of Tarpon Springs, he needs to take this up in person at a City Commission meeting, not in the media. We work so hard to promote all the great things about Tarpon Springs and create an atmosphere that will bring both visitors and local residents to our city and it is frustrating to have someone who does not participate undo that effort.
In the short time that Mr. LeCouris has been the interim city manager, there has been a complete about-face in this city. We have a manager who actually cares what happens in this city. He was born and raised here and this is his home.
Mark has been tremendously responsive to the needs to the business community at a time when they need all the help they can get. He attends business association meetings and offers help. When the Historic Downtown merchants couldn't get Christmas lights because of the Florida Department of Transportation project, Mark found a way to get them and they were up in less than a week. The Sponge Docks merchants requested a tree, and a tree that has to be at least 20 feet tall appeared along with additional decorations. While this might not seem like much to most people, it was huge for the merchants who are struggling, like everyone else. He said he would help them and he did.
When the rumors started flying about a new sign ordinance, it took only one request to allow the local businesses to have input. Mark set up a meeting and the business owners will be able to help modify the ordinance that drastically affects them.
While Mark hasn't been a pushover by any means, he has done everything in his power to help the businesses in our city thrive. This is the first time in the 7 1/2 years I've been involved in Tarpon Springs that I have not heard, "The city doesn't work with the merchants" or "The city doesn't work with the chamber of commerce."
As well, there is a whole new attitude at City Hall. I have had merchants ask me when Mark will go in front of the commission for the permanent position because they want to support him. When was the last time that happened? Maybe Mr. Prescott would like to attend as well.
Our city has too many good things to offer to be beaten up by people with hidden agendas.
Sue Thomas, president, Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce
Skip shenanigans, just serve on jury
I recently received a summons for jury duty for the fourth time. As it is my belief that serving on a jury is part of my civic duty as an American citizen, I notified my employer and showed up as directed.
What I experienced next was even more disturbing than the other three times I had previously been summoned. I found myself sitting in a room full of people, many of them quietly discussing how they would attempt to become exempt from being selected — sort of a swap meet for jury exemption excuses.
After a short time we were shuttled to our prospective courtrooms for the selection process to begin. I was amazed — appalled, even — to see to what extent some people would be willing to go to not be chosen. I suppose to some the only time a lie is not a lie is when it is given as an excuse to escape jury duty.
Now, I am not saying that there was no legitimacy among the excuses. I am sure there was. I am only saying many seemed a bit of a stretch, to say the least. And you know who you are!
We seem to forget what a luxury it is to have such a fair legal process. Or do we only want to acknowledge that when it is to our benefit?
Miriam White, St. Petersburg
Boycott St. Pete businesses now
I am a resident of Seminole who frequents Fort De Soto Park from time to time. I find it absolutely unconscionable what the city of St. Petersburg has done in annexing parts of Tierra Verde for its gain and the gain of a few well-connected developers. Shame on the mayor and the City Council.
I will not visit or shop in St. Petersburg until the city gives up its land grab. I urge all citizens in the surrounding communities to boycott all businesses, restaurants and museums in St. Petersburg until it reverses its decision.
Al Mathes, Seminole
You're the jolly old elf yourself
Is there a Santa Claus?
Spending stimulates the economy.
We are Santa Claus.
Samuel A. Eaton, Clearwater