Saturday, April 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Pinellas leaders should protect natural areas

Not in my back yard | story, Aug. 11

Time to protect natural areas

I realize that officials and developers may be hearing "not in my back yard," but I think that is limited listening. Just because they are hearing from affected parties due to the process doesn't mean people that live in other areas do not oppose.

The proposals outlined in Sunday's story are just a handful of the proposals out there.

I have heard from residents in Seminole (The Tides), Largo (Briarwood Travel Park), Dunedin (Union Street), East Lake (four development proposals in natural areas) and Tarpon Springs (natural acreage around Lake Tarpon), all voicing their concerns about losing natural areas near their homes.

Many trees are about to be lost and water demand is about to go up.

I appreciate the Tampa Bay Times for writing about the cumulative projects and impacts. None of these are in my back yard, but I oppose based on the fact we seem to be going in the wrong direction.

I feel if you listen closely enough, what will be heard is "Not in my back yard, not in my city, not in my county, not in my world." We are reaching a concrete saturation point.

It has nothing to do with how many parks and preserves we have. It has to do with natural spaces we see and experience on a daily basis.

All natural areas are part of our habitat, too.

Let's imagine we developed every square inch of Pinellas. After all that is complete, what are we going to do for the economy then?

We have a lot of good leadership in Pinellas County and in our cities, but we need more vision and that vision should include sustainability.

Right now, all I see are dead ends.

Barbara Walker, Clearwater Audubon Society

Former nursing home finds buyer | story, Aug. 11

Vote to rebid offer for aging facility

The Tarpon Springs City Commission is presenting a voter referendum for the March 2014 city election authorizing them to accept an $813,000 offer for the 3.46-acre site of the old nursing home on Walton Avenue. The existing old structure would be converted into an Alzheimer's nursing facility.

The recent Times article detailing the background of this potential sale identifies facts that should be disturbing to the residents of Tarpon.

Of significance was the fact that the city also had an offer of $900,000 for the same property. A construction firm with a higher bid offered to build a new housing complex.

Such a new complex would obviously offer a higher property tax base than an old, refurbished nursing home with rooms with one bed. However, as the article pointed out, the city could not accept the higher bid because of some technicality with the construction firm's check. For whatever reason, legal or procedural, the city could not start another bid process.

The nursing facility bidder is getting a bargain from the city by getting a structure already built as a nursing home. Cosmetic changes to the existing structure would minimize their overall expenses.

The construction firm would build a new housing complex from the ground up and pay $87,000 more to the city, which proves that such a new complex would be the highest and best use of the land, compared to an end-of-life Alzheimer's nursing facility.

It should be obvious to everyone that over the long run, the higher tax revenue for the city from a new housing complex would be substantial.

The voters of Tarpon Springs should give their city government the opportunity to rebid the nursing home property by voting against the March 2014 referendum to sell the property for $813,000.

Indifference and inertia is a condition that has overtaken our federal government. At least on the local level, our government and the press keep us informed and our vote can have a significant impact.

Kal Spirides, Tarpon Springs

Selling a new vision | story, Aug. 11

Avoid aquarium location problem

I don't understand why the city of Clearwater is trying to sell the public on having the proposed aquarium on the remote City Hall property located in no-man's land on Osceola Avenue instead of keeping it on the site of the (previously scheduled for demolition) Harborview Center, which is currently home to the Dolphin Tale attraction, a gift shop and the former production studio for the movie that put Clearwater on the so-called map.

Keeping the proposed aquarium on the Harborview Center site on Cleveland Street is about the only way the city could compensate for the economic devastation resulting from the Florida Department of Transportation re-routing beach-bound State Road 60 traffic off of downtown Clearwater to Court Street, and would maximize the millions of dollars the city has already invested in the Capitol Theatre and in revitalizing the Cleveland Streetscape.

Nancy McKibben, Palm Harbor


Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18