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Resolve to embrace change; area's survival depends on it

A resolution for 2009

Let's all resolve to embrace change

As the citizens of Tampa Bay decide on new year's resolutions, one that should be added to their list is to accept change.

Recently viewing a series of photographs of St. Petersburg in its early years, I was struck by how the street benches were filled with both young and old, and everyone had a huge smile on their face, enjoying what our area had to offer. I think they had a lot to smile about: Everything in St. Petersburg was new, dynamic, vivacious and changing … new hotels, recreation, the waterfront, baseball.

Now those people and the generations that followed them have forgotten that change is new and exciting. Now, we hear negative positions on just about everything proposed, whether it be building heights on the beaches, what should be built on the St. Petersburg waterfront, or whether we should even have a new stadium.

The people who propose those changes are willing to take a chance that change will improve the Tampa Bay area, and willing to bet their own money to improve our community. The people who always say "no" to change because they want to keep it the way it was or don't want to pay a higher tax or simply just don't like it should look around and see how long it will be before our local economy just collapses.

This collapse won't be something the financial meltdown of 2008 caused. It has been under way for years in the Tampa Bay area. I'm amazed when I hear people say, "Just build lower, smaller hotels on the beaches." Those detractors don't understand basic economics when the cost of the land alone requires more rooms to spread that cost. That debate continues to turn St. Pete Beach into an economic disaster.

And whether the Rays need a new stadium or not, the Rays think so. They are willing to invest their own money, and almost every other city has a new stadium. Do we need more shopping, as was proposed in the stadium replacement ideas? Perhaps not as our area has been losing the battle to attract the retiring baby boomers, people with money to spend. And that's the core problem: Those baby boomers, when considering our area, don't see the same inviting, exciting metropolitan area that the people in those pictures from years ago saw.

In my opinion, if we don't embrace change as a resolution in 2009, it's a never-ending downward spiral for our community.

Wayne Szczepanski, St. Pete Beach

Truly disabled? | Dec. 28, letter

Eyes don't have it

I agree to a point with the letter writer. And, yes, I have a disabled placard. I have been shouted at and reprimanded for using a handicapped space. Many disabilities are not apparent. It's hard to see a bad heart or an acute lung condition. Most people can't know by looking how much a bad hip hurts or about the loss of mobility from an injured spine.

I do try not to park in a space needed for a wheelchair lift. Everyone should be aware that there are different degrees of limitations and disabilities. I don't think it's asking too much to work on having a little compassion for the other guy.

Lee Wilkes, Pinellas Park

Truly disabled? | Dec. 28, letter

Hard to know

First, let me say that I am very proud of the letter writer's son and grateful for his defense and sacrifice for our country. He has paid dearly for our freedom.

I read his comments about the abuse of handicapped parking spaces. I didn't see a doctor's designation behind his name, so I don't believe he is qualified to diagnose people and decide if they are "violators" based solely upon his "observations."

While I'm sure there are violators, I have serious reservations about the accuracy of his percentage (50 percent) since he has no facts to base it on, only "observations."

I don't appreciate being lumped into the "violators" category. I get the dirty looks that he is probably guilty of giving, and I get the rude comments.

While I am not going into detail about my disability, I will explain it this way: I do not have any outward, physically obvious disability, but my disability is very real nonetheless. And it was properly diagnosed by my doctor, who legally authorized my handicapped placard. I look young and healthy for my age, but looks can be deceptive. The letter writer needs to keep that in mind!

Brenda Richards, Seminole

Truly disabled? | Dec. 28, letter

Most are legitimate

There was a time I would have agreed with the letter writer, and, yes, there are people who take advantage, but the majority of handicapped tag users are legitimate.

Not every disabled person uses a wheelchair, crutches, walkers, etc. Some, including myself, do not look disabled. Some days I need a cane, others I don't. I also have asthma, which makes walking distances difficult. Some people have heart problems. You cannot judge people by how they look.

I understand his frustration. I have many times given up going to places like Wal-Mart because not only were there no handicapped spaces available, but there were also no other empty slots close to the building. I have learned to deal with it.

Nancy Long, St. Petersburg

Fish and chirps | Dec. 29, photo

Don't feed seabirds

Was the title of this picture meant to make it a more heart-warming scene? Pelicans don't chirp and certainly don't need handouts from humans. You quote the feeder saying she got a kick out of feeding fish to the birds. It's always the self-seeking pursuit of pleasure that is important and not what is good for the birds.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission passed a rule last year to ban the feeding of brown pelicans. Your paper should be educating the public that feeding pelicans only makes them more dependent on humans and less able to fend for themselves in nature. Please stop publishing pictures that promote feeding seabirds.

Kathy LaDuke, St. Pete Beach

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Resolve to embrace change; area's survival depends on it 01/03/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 8:54pm]
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