Privatization puts profit ahead of us
While attending a Clearwater candidate forum, I heard a lot of rhetoric about privatizing city services under the disguise of saving tax dollars. This is usually made by a candidate who has a personal agenda or an axe to grind with the city.
Privatization never saves taxpayer dollars and usually costs more over time. Some examples: A city privatizes its sanitation department in the early 1990s because a mayor believes the city cannot afford to start a recycling program. The low bidder is awarded the contract and their idea of recycling was to throw the contents of the recycling bins into the truck along with the regular trash — same thing the city-operated department did, however the residents no longer get large bulk trash and yard waste picked up. They have to pay extra for that service and the cost of trash pickup to the city has become a major burden.
A city privatizes the management of its wastewater and water plants. The first thing the new management team does is give themselves large salary increases. Residents now enjoy the highest water and sewer rates in the region and a decaying infrastructure.
These are just a few failures of privatization, and I'm sure there are plenty more right here in Florida. If you lose your city employees, who's going to come out and unplug a sewer line when sewage starts spilling out of a manhole cover in the middle of the night or if water starts gushing from the street from a water main break? These same employees will be the ones who will be there to clean up and clear the path for police and fire after a major hurricane or other natural disaster. Private companies will respond to the people offering the most money.
So remember, citizens of Clearwater, privatization is for profit, while public employees work for you.
Matt McCombs, Clearwater
Re: Clearwater city election
Let's send council members packing
Walk along downtown Cleveland Street and you can smell the decay coming from all the empty storefronts. In spite of this, we continue to re-elect councilmen who are responsible for the permanent demise of downtown Clearwater. Bill Jonson and Paul Gibson should be run out of town, not elected to another term. When will we ever learn?
Ward Wilson, Clearwater
Re: Despite challenges, experience prevails March 10 story
City Council needed change
With no "new blood" voted onto Clearwater's City Council, I expect Clearwater will remain stuck in their current mode of giving small business owners a difficult time, with no changes for the better any time soon.
Look, up in the sky. No, it isn't rain. Will those hayseeds ever stop falling?
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Re: Changes begin at Hopkins | March 10 story
Parents should be involved, too
While law enforcement officials, racemongers seeking to make hay out of an educational disaster and extraordinarily ineffective bureaucrats were heard from, nobody seemed to have an interest in addressing the critical issue of parental involvement in, and parental commitment to, the education of their children.
So long as the primary influences on student behavior are peer pressure and other insidious and destructive forces, shuffling students around to different schools will accomplish nothing.
Spending scarce dollars on so-called behavior experts evidences the inability of interested parties to effect actual change, because behavior experts are not a substitute for parental inculcation of a value system that places a high priority on academic achievement.
Jeffrey Meyer, Clearwater
Vale: Thanks for campaign support
I would like to thank all the people who did support me in my campaign for mayor of Oldsmar. We all knew it was an uphill battle against the incumbent mayor, who told me himself he would beat me but I decided to run anyway. I don't regret it for one minute. I gave the people of Oldsmar a choice on whom to vote in as mayor, and he won fair and square. I sincerely wish Jim Ronecker and the citizens of Oldsmar the best. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the residents on the City Council for six years.
Suzanne Vale, Oldsmar