Friday, June 22, 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


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18