County should charge park fees
As a dog owner I visit several parks in Pinellas County frequently. The changes in the last year are disturbing. With budget cuts, areas that used to be mowed are never mowed, bathrooms are locked during the week and trash is seen along the road and paths. This is happening because the members of the County Commission chose to do nothing.
They are afraid that if they charge fees for park usage they will not get re-elected. Isn't that the problem with Washington? Don't do anything to upset someone, because you might lose their vote.
Pinellas County needs to charge fees for park usage so we can have our parks back the way they were two years ago.
Tax revenue is down because of the bad economy, so common sense is to let the people who use the parks pay for what they use.
Jack Stringfellow, Seminole
Traffic cameras won't cut deaths
A key piece of information regarding the red-light camera debate was strangely missing from every discussion by the Clearwater City Council until the very end. Thanks to council member George Cretekos, it was finally presented just minutes before the final vote. His eleventh-hour appeal to reason was totally ignored.
Last year in Clearwater not one person was killed in a red light-related crash at any of the 11 intersections in Clearwater proposed for red-light cameras. Only two of the 14 fatal crashes that occurred in Clearwater were remotely related to red-light running. One of the fatalities was caused by a driver fleeing the police. In the second case, an elderly person died from complications after a minor accident.
This data is extremely significant, since the strongest argument in favor of red-light cameras is that they save lives. When faced with numerous studies showing that the cameras do not reduce accidents, and at the very best lessen their severity, camera advocates fall back on the claim that cameras at least reduce fatalities.
Red-light cameras will not reduce fatalities in Clearwater for the simple reason that they are already essentially zero. Contrary to the impression we were given, the efforts of Clearwater police traffic teams and our Traffic Engineering Department are in fact effective and are saving lives.
If Clearwater officials who support the cameras were genuinely interested in reducing traffic fatalities, they should have examined the data and focused their attention on the major causes of fatalities. Instead, they joined the red-light camera bandwagon created by politicians in Tallahassee with the passage of a bill containing an obvious profit motive.
For Clearwater, red-light cameras are not an answer to a traffic safety issue, but a lucrative "solution" seeking a problem.
Claire McBride, Clearwater
Re: Jail visit to Geer defended | Jan. 5 story
Fire chief was right to visit Geer
I commend and applaud Largo fire Chief Mike Wallace for visiting former Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer in jail. Even though the nature of Geer's alleged crime of sexually abusing a young girl for many years has made him a pariah, Wallace found it in his heart to visit him out of human kindness.
Wallace did what most people wouldn't think of doing. While most prefer to shun Geer, Wallace is able to recognize that Geer is a fellow human being and one that he has worked with and because of that, he personally felt that he owed him a visit. Nothing more and nothing less.
Neither Wallace nor anyone else should have to explain their actions, when they did absolutely nothing wrong, but out of respect for his own firefighters, and also because he continues to work alongside them and therefore wants no friction, he did so. My hope is that the rest of the Largo firefighters finally do get the message.
The visit to Geer's jail cell was as much for Wallace as it was for Geer. In my opinion, Wallace stands taller than the rest.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Thank you for generous gifts
I want to send a special thank-you to Lucy at the Haven for donating wonderful Christmas presents to my two sons and myself. She gave them such awesome toys, and much more than what I was even praying for. They had such a great Christmas! I really appreciate her and the staff at the Haven since I was unable to buy anything for my children.
She was kind enough to even add a mommy bag with goodies and gift cards just for me.
She is heaven sent and I wish she could have seen the happy faces on my 3- and 4-year-old boys Christmas morning. I hope that she knows what a blessing she is to our family, and may God bless you and your family.
Angela Aguilar, Tarpon Springs