Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Safety Harbor ex-mayor: 'I have a right to voice my opinion'

Re: Mayor, ex-mayor face off | story, June 26

I have a right to voice my opinion

Safety Harbor is a great place to live, work and play! That is why my wife and I moved there and are raising our children there.

In the past, I have encouraged citizens to be involved with their city. Like any other citizen who resides in Safety Harbor, I also got involved and intend to remain involved with our city.

I sincerely believe that our City Commission's heart is in the right place. However, sometimes I will agree with decisions our City Commission makes and sometimes I will disagree.

Again, like any other citizen who resides in Safety Harbor, including former elected officials, I have a right to voice my opinion. Former elected officials don't just ride off on their horses into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again. Appearing at City Commission meetings or voicing an opinion as a citizen certainly is not scandalous and does not rise to the level of interfering with city government.

Andy Steingold, Safety Harbor

Please stop the whining, Mr. Mayor

Having read both the article regarding Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub and predecessor Andy Steingold's alleged interference (Mayor, ex-mayor face off, June 26) and Janet Muller's response (Ex-mayor shows his self-interest, letter, June 30), I thought it was imperative to write a letter with another perspective.

The Messenger property controversy was created and fueled, quite simply, by the fact that Mayor Ayoub proposed selling the property shortly after he took office. His fellow commissioners declined to move it forward. Had this proposal never been made, I doubt the residents in that area would have given it a second thought.

What Ms. Muller calls "tough decisions for the betterment of our entire city" is her opinion, of course, and belies the fact that hundreds of residents expressed themselves in opposition to Mr. Ayoub. His continued refrain for ignoring his constituents, "I am doing what is best for the city," is tiresome and self-serving.

I believe our residents do know what is best for their city and we should not have elected officials who are dictators, but ones who listen, are responsible and responsive to his/her constituencies. Former Mayor Steingold did listen to the will of the people and did respond accordingly.

It is important to mention that during the hearing for the Richman/Firmenich apartment complex proposal with the Pinellas County Commission, Commissioner John Morroni publicly admonished Mayor Ayoub for obviously not knowing his own constituency!

Ms. Muller also mentioned that Mr. Steingold "led the commission when voting to deny the application for a group home for disabled children on Harbor Woods Circle, ultimately costing the city over $200,000 after the city was sued by the group home owner."

The reality is the city's legal counsel advised the commission that the denial met city ordinances and state law. Also, the city's insurance covered the claim. Blaming Mr. Steingold for the outcome of this case because of the city's legal advice is absurd.

It appears our city is extremely divided and this division occurred when Mr. Ayoub became mayor. Mr. Ayoub has been a disappointing mayor who repeatedly opposed the will of the people while supporting the self-interests of a few.

My suggestion would be for Mr. Ayoub to stop blaming other people (in this case Andy Steingold) for "stirring up trouble" and review the decisions he's made. Hopefully, he will draw the conclusion that he is solely responsible for the dissension in this city, not Andy Steingold. Andy Steingold is a resident and has every right to express himself, even if the current mayor is unnerved by it.

Please stop whining, Mayor Ayoub, and take responsibility for the climate in our city. Perhaps it is time to start listening to all of the residents!

Dennis Spicer, Safety Harbor

Re: Jail misses signs of stroke | story, July 7

Medical care was lacking

There are two parts of this story that bother me immensely. One is the part that the Times has highlighted well: the questionable role of Armor Correctional Health Services.

The other is what happened at the scene in the first place. According to attorneys for Allen Hicks' estate, Hicks was examined at the scene by paramedics, who suggested he be transported to St. Joseph's Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Paramedics, also, must be alert to signs of a possible stroke, but certainly if there's reason enough for them to suggest transfer to a medical facility, shouldn't that happen first, rather than later? Who made the decision to ignore that advice, and why?

I can't help but note that Hicks appears to be African-American. That he has some priors is no mystery. Many people have small charges on their record, and anybody with a vague knowledge of how criminal justice actually plays out in real life is aware that African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to be charged and convicted of even minor crimes, a fact that may very well be a result of bias in law enforcement.

So I ask again, why was Hicks not seen first at a medical facility?

My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Rebecca Hendricks, Clearwater


Wednesday’s letters: Don’t step on local government

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Updated: 11 hours ago

Do you have a gold star yet?

Do you have a gold star on your Florida driver’s license, and are you REAL ID compliant?Florida is a federal REAL ID compliant state, which means that driver’s license and identification cards here meet federal law as to security standards and confir...
Published: 01/22/18

Monday’s letters: Tampa Bay deserves rail as an option

New transit option: BRT | Jan. 12Tampa deserves rail as an optionI was disheartened by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s statement about his exhaustion with public transit discussions. It sounds like the government of Tampa has given up on ever realizin...
Published: 01/21/18

Sunday’s letters: Bay area shortchanged on foster care funds

Opioid crisis herds kids to foster care | Jan. 9Bay area foster care shortchangedAs mentioned in this article, the growing opioid epidemic is unfortunately bringing more children into the Florida foster care system. While substance abuse has hist...
Published: 01/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Diagnosis by journalist playing doctor

Trump’s sanity grades | Jan. 19, commentaryAn inept journalistic diagnosisI was worried the Tampa Bay Times wouldn’t find someone qualified to rebuke the findings of noted physician Dr. Ronny Jackson. To the rescue came the brilliant Gail Collins...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/22/18

Saturday’s letters: It’s not the word, it’s the racism

Presidential precedent | Jan. 14It’s not the word; it’s the racismThe Times went in the wrong direction and printed information that is rather useless. And that is strange. You usually get it right.I am talking about President Donald Trump’s prof...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s letters: Help for boaters against modern-day ‘pirates’

Marine towing and salvageHelp against modern-day piracyAs an avid recreational boat owner and sixth-generation Floridian, I know there’s no better way to enjoy our state’s spectacular waters than taking your boat out. Unfortunately, the fun of boatin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18

Thursday’s letters: All Americans need health care

Doctor: Trump got perfect score on cognitive test | Jan. 17All Americans need health carePresident Donald Trump’s extensive health exam has apparently declared him physically fit for office. As I was reading about the battery of tests he received...
Published: 01/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: St. Petersburg’s culture, vibrancy impresses

St. PetersburgImpressive culture and vibrancyI recently visited Tampa Bay and celebrated New Year’s weekend in downtown St. Petersburg. I was awestruck by what I encountered and experienced. It has been several years since I last visited, and the tra...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Published: 01/16/18