Re: Fort De Soto fee proposed | story, March 27
Cut spending, not services
Using the big numbers to embellish and sensationalize a lesser reality is an old political/media trick. A cut of $85 million equates to just over 4 percent of the county's 2008 budget. Spare us the doom and gloom rhetoric and cut wasteful spending, not services.
Our county should be able to absorb this reduction, and much more, without any cuts to services or jobs. We're being played using the oldest trick in the political book, which has become a means of teaching the taxpayer a lesson for expecting some fiscal responsibility and pragmatic stewardship of our resources, financial and otherwise.
For a start, may I respectfully offer the following recommendations for the County Commission's consideration, although it may make some uncomfortable:
Eliminate vehicle subsidies for politicians and exempt staff.
Eliminate free gas for politicians and exempt staff.
Cut salaries that are over $100,000 by 12 percent.
Bring exempt staff salaries and benefits in line with classified staff.
Trim a very top-heavy management structure.
Eliminate in-house/consultant redundancy.
Consolidate Utilities and Public Works.
Consolidate legal department and eliminate consultant redundancy.
Consolidate Fleet Services.
Consolidate countywide recycling programs and invest in recycled product manufacturing as an economic growth mechanism.
Cut one assistant county administrator position.
Locate the missing $68 million from the Cat Fund.
Consolidate the offices of county property appraiser and tax collector.
Implement work groups for nonviolent offenders.
Cut jail food services to essential nutrition only.
Change supervisor of elections, property appraiser and tax collector from partisan-elected offices to administrative hires based on qualifications (see: Buddy Johnson).
Implement one week of social services benefits for eight hours of volunteer work.
Institute government food stores (generic products) for food stamp benefit recipients.
Norm Roche, Clearwater
In need of more left-turn signals
This letter is for the attention of the city fathers (and mothers) of Tarpon Springs, or whoever is in charge of traffic control in that city.
You have created a nightmare on top of a nightmare by granting a permit to Sweetbay to build one of their stores right next to an existing Winn-Dixie store, which is already serving this community fine.
Winn-Dixie has done so much to improve the store and it is a beautiful store with wide aisles, a well-planned produce section and every desirable feature that a store should have, and you are doing your best to put it out of business.
It is frustrating and time- and gas-consuming to travel Alt. U.S. 19 with the construction that is going on, to say nothing of the ambulances and fire trucks that travel this road frequently. The lines of cars extend for a mile or more. To the north of the projected Sweetbay store there is a narrow road that goes nowhere. Pinellas Avenue is a two-lane road with heavy traffic. I shudder to think what it will be like when the new store is built.
When I first moved to Tarpon Springs three years ago, there were no left turn signals and I considered it the worst town for traffic I had ever lived in, and I have lived and worked in cities as large as Los Angeles, Miami and Cleveland, and small towns such as Fremont and Clyde, Ohio, so I have a lot of traffic experience.
After I had lived here about a year, you did put in left turn signals in a couple of locations but you left them out at some very hazardous streets, mainly at the light on Tarpon Avenue between the two malls. I have had so many narrow escapes there trying to make a left turn from any direction.
There should also be a left turn signal from Disston turning left onto Klosterman Road and also turning left from Belcher Road onto Klosterman. There is a rise on Belcher Road ending at Klosterman that prevents a driver making a left turn from Disston from seeing a car racing north on Belcher.
If cost is the issue, it would behoove you to spend money to put in left turn signals for Disston and Belcher before someone gets killed there. I hope it's not me.
Pauline Browne, Tarpon Springs
Re: Firefighters want to respond and transport story, April 7
Patients should ride with rescuers
I have often wondered why the firefighters don't transport patients to the hospital in their fire and rescue vehicles, being that they've already responded and really don't need anyone else.
I believe that their time-saving and money-saving proposal to transport patients is worthy of more discussion and, hopefully, a switch over.
I honestly believe the only obstacle preventing such a change is politics.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater