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Pinellas County public safety services should be centralized

Making emergency service make sense | Aug. 11, editorial

Centralize public safety services

It is past time to have one central fire/emergency and law enforcement system for Pinellas County. Our population is so dense it makes sense for us to have one system. It would be more efficient and less costly, especially for countywide emergencies.

Communications would be better with 911 and law enforcement centralized. Union contracts would be easier with one big rice bowl to deal with instead of a lot of little ones.

I think with the economic situation, it is very much time to get the ball rolling. Egos and political BS need to be put aside, and cool heads must prevail to make sense out of it all.

It will not happen overnight but needs to get started as soon as possible. The Times could start a round table with the heads of the agencies involved to get the ball rolling.

I am not the only one who thinks this way. Action is needed.

Ron Davis, Largo

The No. 1 issue: crime | Aug. 9

Spare no expense to rid city of crime

Crime incidents show with chilling clarity why crime commands our concern in St. Petersburg. Property crimes, especially, have risen dramatically. But general theft, robberies, violence, drug-dealing, etc., are also major problems. I view the situation as a local crime crisis! What is needed is a program policy devoted to the protection of the public.

As St. Petersburg is a city under siege, the first act of city authorities should be to assert a monopoly of force against malefactors. We need a thoroughness with which we can expunge serious criminal activity from our local body. When it comes to crime, there must be no cost considerations. On the contrary, crime funding levels must be increased. We can conserve in other ways.

In spite of the fact that crime is in the public spotlight and should be a hands-on issue, have you noticed the superficiality of many of the mayoral candidates' stances on this serious issue? They sure have the ability to downplay, straddle and evade the crime problem escalations in St. Petersburg.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Rising crime hits the mayor Aug. 7

Story violated mayor's privacy

I do not understand why it was necessary for the Times to print St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker's home address and a photo of his family home.

Our mayor and his family should have their privacy respected. Mayor Baker and his wife have two young children. I hope this will not put them in any further danger. This was very irresponsible in my opinion. While their address is public record, there was no need to advertise it.

Our city officials are taking a beating with the upcoming elections. Never do we read about the great works, and especially volunteer work, our mayor and city officials do. At the recent cleanup of the Crislip Arcade (in the 600 block of Central Avenue) Mayor Baker, his son, Dave Metz, Tish Elston, Leslie Curran, Karl Nurse, Jeff Danner and Jamie Bennett were all present and worked hard! This was a great community effort. That was a great day in St. Petersburg! More positive reporting, please!

Shirley O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg

They have been fined for the last time | Aug. 9, letter

Don't want ticket? Park in the garage

Rather than continue to print articles and complaints blasting downtown parking limitations, why not notify people of the BayWalk parking garage. The fees are very low: $1 after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Muvico patrons pay $1 at any time upon showing their ticket stub.

The St. Petersburg City Council recently voted to have free parking in the BayWalk garage beginning in January.

The merchants petitioned the city for lower time limitations on the streets in order to ensure regular turnover for their customers. Whether you have spent $50 or $500, you still must follow the regulations. What other major downtown cities have free parking?

B.J. Mitchell, St. Petersburg

Music teacher named to hall of fame | Aug. 9, story

Band leader's stern approach pays off

When Frank Williams was hired as band director at Boca Ciega High School in 1981, I came in direct contact with him as a band parent and fundraiser for the band. He was firm and barked orders to the marching band, thus leading the band and individuals to superior ratings at the state level.

In the beginning some of the parents complained, so several of us wound up in the principal's office to have a reconciliation conference. Frank stayed as he saw he had the parents' support.

That year I received the Band Department's Outstanding Service plaque. I also discussed doing the musical West Side Story using the choral, drama and band department. They agreed even though the students had to work hard in this endeavor. That year the band and parents traveled to New Orleans and met with jazz musicians and staff at the Performing Arts School.

I think Frank's sternness helped my son land his position with NASA on the new Ares rocket project and as a soccer coach for girls ages 9 to 15.

Barbara Anne Smith, St. Pete Beach

Panel denies request for Eden Isle boat slips | Aug. 9, story

Smacks Bayou story informative

Your recent article regarding the proposed marina on Smacks Bayou was welcome, and it served to inform the many residents in the immediate area and boat owners who were not aware of the Laramar Group's intentions.

Unfortunately, it came across as a "recurring battle between homeowners and renters." To their credit, four out of five members of the city Development Review Commission rejected the developer's request due to safety concerns about six dock structures, one extending 203 feet, on a curve in a narrow recreational waterway.

The fact that the state Department of Environmental Protection has Smacks Bayou on a distressed list should be of concern for the environment. These are common sense issues that will affect everyone.

Peter Veytia, St. Petersburg

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Pinellas County public safety services should be centralized 08/15/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 15, 2009 4:30am]
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