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Palm Harbor, Ozona and Crystal Beach waiting to vote on cityhood

Cityhood at issue for communities

The elections are over, but not all the people have spoken. The residents of Palm Harbor (including the East Lake communities), Ozona and Crystal Beach are still waiting their turn to be heard in a referendum. Government bureaucracies have stood in the way of these residents' request to vote on whether they would want to band together to solve local issues by becoming a city and putting their tax dollars to local use.

When people hear the word "city," it conjures up images of additional layers of bureaucracy. Fortunately, community representatives of Palm Harbor (including East Lake communities), Ozona and Crystal Beach through the Palm Harbor Coalition (www.palmharbor, have decided that the choice should be "city-light" instead of the traditional city government.

City-light is all about a minimally intrusive form of local government designed with the local community, through the local community and by the local community. It is about managing the services already received through established relationships and contracts and transferring the responsible government seamlessly from county to city-light management.

Why would any citizen during these challenging economic times actually want to become a city and what makes these communities able to consider what some might believe a risky change? These communities are homogenous, exhibiting no serious class or social issues that would require extraordinary government funding. They have a relatively low crime rate. They already independently fund their libraries, fire/EMS and recreation departments. These communities are largely built out, thereby requiring less infrastructure funding. Becoming a city-light will also stave off any annexation by another city.

There are millions of dollars at stake. Currently, the tax dollars paid in these communities are not all returned to them. Some feel that they should shoulder the burden for other unincorporated areas of Pinellas County that need additional services. That's admirable and socially responsible. But there is another viewpoint that any community should also be socially and economically responsible to its own residents. This is a driving ideology behind the right for the residents of these communities to be able to vote on whether or not becoming a city-light, or as the Palm Harbor Coalition affectionately calls this area a "City in the Light," is in the best interest of their own communities.

Steven Poppick, Palm Harbor

Shouldn't Trot help recycle?

Thank you for another successful Turkey Trot. It is an awesome event that we have enjoyed for the last 20 or so years.

But every year the question remains, why are we not recycling? It is a shame that thousands of plastic bottles and cups are thrown into the garbage for lack of recycling bins.

I would hope that most of us Trotters would choose to recycle if given the choice. We end up taking our bottles home.

I think it's time for the Times to see green and step up to help become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Gayle Pilson, New Port Richey

Car towed after parking problem

I ran in the Turkey Trot 5K with my 3-year-old and 6-year-old children. Arriving late, I parked in an apartment complex at 1903 Rainbow Drive along with two other cars at the same time. I parked in a visitor parking space. There were no visible people or signs prohibiting this.

After finishing the race, I got back to my car and found that my car had been towed! The manager was obnoxious, rude and yelling at me in front of my children and my husband who had to come get us. This person wouldn't even tell me where it was towed to, said she didn't care and I should have known better.

I can't believe that my parking for approximately one hour at 7 a.m. was such an inconvenience to her business. The other cars there that parked at the same time were still there. I had to pay $200 to get my car. I feel I was totally ripped off by the towing company as well.

It has completely ruined my belief in the kindness of others and on a holiday no less. I hope the St. Petersburg Times takes better care next year to help with parking.

Lisa Norris, Dunedin

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Palm Harbor, Ozona and Crystal Beach waiting to vote on cityhood 12/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:09pm]
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