Light rail won't work
I have to question the intelligence of the elected officials in Pinellas County including the city officials in the county as well. They want to lay the burden of an unrealistic pipe dream of light rail on the backs of the taxpayers to the tune of $1.5 billion.
The so-called mass transit system we are currently saddled with in Pinellas County is less than stellar in its performance as it is. It runs at a deficit now. How do these same officials expect light rail to be profitable?
The last few days there have been articles extolling light rail's virtues compared to other large cities that operate light rail or subway systems elsewhere.
One major flaw I see in the light rail pipe dream for Pinellas County is the lack of concentrated work locations in Pinellas County compared to places like New York City, Chicago and Dallas. Florida is not conducive to major office buildings above 30 stories or more; we do not have a stable soil condition as it is. The cities touted by the current studies sit on solid bedrock, not limestone. Just look around. Why are there no 50- and 100-story skyscrapers in Florida? Do sinkholes and hurricanes come to mind? I would hope they do.
Just look at the history of Pinellas County. It is the product of Florida land booms. Pinellas County started out as an area of lumber and then citrus groves. As the county grew, it became a tourist stop and sleepy retirement community, which contrary to popular belief, it still is, minus the tourist attractions we once had in Pinellas County.
What was our last big building boom? It was retirement condominiums along the Gulf Beaches that has stressed the ability of the municipalities to provide water and sewage removal today.
David Bellinger, Largo
Tebow for the troops
I just wanted to tell your readers about the good people who live among us.
I was with 12 other people celebrating a 50th birthday at Maggiano's in WestShore Plaza. I stood at the end of our large table to get a picture of everyone. Upon backing into a booth with two couples, I noticed one man was wearing a Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow NFL jersey. After snapping the picture I asked where he had purchased it and he replied that he ordered online back when Tebow was drafted. It cost about $170.
I told him I had been looking for a jersey to send to my son in Afghanistan and all I could find were T-shirts. He asked what my son was doing there and I told him he was in Special Ops in the U.S. Air Force and would be there for a few more months. The man stood up and took the jersey off his back (revealing a Gator T-shirt) and gave it to me to send to my son. I told him there was no way I could take the jersey, but he and his wife insisted.
Everyone at our table was extremely moved by this random act of generosity. I said to my girlfriend that it is a sign that I must do something for others to "pay it forward" and when she went over to thank them they said that was exactly their intent also.
I had them email me so I could send them pictures of my son wearing the jersey in Afghanistan. He will be so excited as he's part of a small group of Gator/Tebow fans.
You always hear of friends who would give you the shirts off their back, but this was a complete stranger that wanted to support our troops by giving me the NFL jersey to send to my son.
After dinner we went to the Tampa Airport Post Office and put it in a priority box with a couple of cards. I sent him an Internet message telling him to Skype or Facebook me when he received a "special" package. I have not told him what is coming and am not sure if he is in an area where he can receive mail but I am confident that we will soon be seeing a picture of my son wearing his new Tebow jersey in Afghanistan.
I still get goose bumps thinking of that day (Jan. 14, 2012) and how someone simply gives away a NFL jersey, that obviously meant something to him, to show support for our men and women overseas. I have their names also as I sent them a small gift and thank you while promising to send any info and pictures to them of my son receiving their gift. Wow is all I could say and feel since that day.
Michael Sullivan, Largo
Subject: Law Enforcement Judgment
Walk in their shoes
In a recent edition an editor has decided that local law enforcement hasn't used good judgment.
The article of Jan. 8 is old news. The chief and city officials will decide if there was a lack of judgment based on the sheriff's report. In the article, the investigation has not been completed, yet the paper has printed its judgment.
The results of actions taken by law enforcement officers sometimes produce collateral damage. Those decisions are made in seconds. The public demands they be professional; most are.
As both a retired civilian law enforcement officer (Illinois Sheriff's Department, lieutenant) and retired military law enforcement (U.S Air Force Security Police Senior NCO) I can say that every day LEOs use their judgement to maintain the peace and order. They will not appease everyone with their decisions.
Before anyone else prints the judgement of LEOs, I suggest they attend a citizens academy or better, apply for the job and wear the uniform and badge.
Dan Mancini, Pinellas Park
Subject: Fluoride Decision Sends a Bad Message
'Ignorant' fluoride vote
Recently St. Petersburg, in particular, and the Tampa Bay area, as a whole, have had some successes in the very competitive game of getting companies offering high-paying jobs to relocate to our community. The arrival of SRI and Johns Hopkins give us some big names to use to attract others.
In the quest to lure new high-paying and desirable jobs to this area, we are reaching out to companies that are desirable to communities. Austin, Texas and the Research Triangle Area in North Carolina are aggressively courting high-tech and science-oriented businesses. This has become very competitive.
Commissioners Morroni, Roche, Brickfield and Bostock have chosen to send an antiscience message to the world and supply those we are competing with ammunition to use against us. This story has been reported in USA Today and on MSNBC to my knowledge. The competition knows that we have an antiscience county government.
There is absolutely no doubt that the benefits of fluoridation are settled science and, in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled adding fluoride to public water as one of the "Ten Greatest Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century." I can find no evidence that the dean of any dental school in the entire country is opposed and the majority of the commission chose to ignore the leader of the local Dental Society.
A friend of mine says "knowledge and science will always triumph over ignorance and superstition." In Pinellas County, it looks as if ignorance and superstition are the winners to the detriment of the entire area. This decision is an embarrassment to the community and unfortunately we have a County Commission majority not intelligent enough to be embarrassed.
Jackson Bowman, St. Petersburg