Official calls for native plants in lawns, medians | Dec. 3, story
Small oases add green in many ways
I am writing to give my unqualified endorsement of St. Petersburg City Council member Nurse's proposal to begin identifying city properties that can be relandscaped with native plants and start the renovation of our landscaping ordinance. This is long overdue.
What an opportunity to lead the state again in green initiatives! There are so many spots in the city that can be transformed from fertilized, irrigated, mowed and edged places to small oases of native habitats that provide the right cover and food for our urban wildlife.
I do not foresee our water restrictions easing up. In fact, they may become more severe. We can save water with these measures and improve our environment and quality of life. Imagine how much fertilizer runoff would be taken out of our stormwater after summer rains. Imagine the gas saved from less mowing and edging. Imagine the staff time that could be directed toward removing the ever-creeping Brazilian pepper, carrotwood and melaleuca that is choking some of our parks and roads. Imagine asking for public input on areas in our neighborhood that are good candidates. Imagine saying "yes"!
Beth Connor, St. Petersburg
Invest in returns
Now that the recession is in its initial stages, I have a modest proposal to help spur employment in Florida. There should be a 10 cent deposit required on every beverage container purchased. This includes glass, plastic, aluminum or steel.
As an incentive/reward to the wholesalers or retailers for collecting the deposits and forwarding them to the state, they should not be required to take the actual containers back. Instead, the state of Florida should establish numerous redemption centers throughout the state. The money that the state will net because of the deposits on unreturned containers, plus the money received from scrap dealers when the containers are recycled, should be sufficient to pay for this program.
The benefits for this idea will be many. Our streets and beaches will be free of container litter. Employment will be provided to thousands of unemployed people who will work at these redemption centers. Unemployed people will have a large financial incentive to pick up containers wherever they are littering our environment and return them for the deposit. And hundreds of thousands of tons of containers (raw materials) will thus be recycled.
John Connolly, St. Petersburg
One Mahaffey flaw | Dec. 7, letter
Lay off Mahaffey
The letter writer's astute observation and criticism did not include the fact that the St. Petersburg Boat Show was setting up. This eliminated two of the largest patron parking lots at the theater and their four exits onto Bayshore.
As for the 20-minute wait, the letter writer apparently has never been to the Ford Amphitheatre for an event. Don't let one person's inaccurate observation stop you from enjoying this fine venue.
Bob Bofferding, St. Petersburg
Fellowship sprouts in green city center | Dec. 7
Park has friends
Bill Maxwell's column about St. Petersburg's Williams Park is an excellent segue to the positive actions being designed by a volunteer group called "Friends of Williams Park." Spearheaded by Marilyn Olsen and Tim Clemmons, this group is formalizing its structure and growing its membership to provide the initiative to remake Williams Park.
Each meeting shows increased participation, including a diverse group of interested parties whose intent is simple; make Williams Park the crown jewel of downtown parks. From discussing capital improvements to programming possibilities, no idea is off limits at "Friends" meetings.
The "Friends" are cooperating with city officials and police personnel to design plans that are sensitive to social needs but firm in making the park a functional, fun place for taxpaying citizens of St. Petersburg.
I look forward to seeing what exciting plans the "Friends" come up with to make Williams Park a source of pride and enjoyment for all.
Scott K. Wagman, St. Petersburg
Snap up snipe signs
Forget Peace on Earth, Lord, just help us get rid of these horrible snipe signs springing up on every corner like the ugliest of weeds.
They are dropped by people who don't care whether the property belongs to them, who want a free way of advertising — and never mind that the corner now looks trashy, that the signs clog the gutters and make the city look dirty. Never mind that the business that occupies the property is not the one they are advertising!
Citizens, revolt! Help a snipe sign find its way into a garbage can, and you will be doing your part to make the world a better place. Then, maybe, who knows, that peace thing might not be such a pipe dream after all!
Heidi Hagedorn Sumner, St. Petersburg
Amscot out as bill-pay site | Dec. 12, story
A lot of stamps
The city of St. Petersburg is paying nearly $100,000 a year to keep a bill payment desk open at Enoch Davis Center when the bill payer need only to put a stamp on the envelope provided and stuff the bill into a mailbox?
The woman interviewed for this story admitted she goes to Amscot for money orders. They also sell postage stamps. She can pick up the money order, the stamp and the city can save the cost of keeping the bill payment desk open.
I would be interested in knowing just how many people are served at that desk each year.
Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg