Straz Center trustees favor Riverwalk tower in survey | July 19
Sell Poe garage to tower developer
To solve the problem of a tight footprint, aerial dominance and loss of riverfront open space, the city should sell the William F. Poe parking garage to the developer. The 36-floor tower could then be sited on Ashley Drive, where it would fit the fabric of the cityscape much better. A bigger and better parking garage could be built on the east side of the Straz Center, with provision for a future twin tower.
The Straz Center, the new tower, the John F. Germany Library and the Tampa Museum of Art would be connected with new pedestrian bridges, equipped with new people-movers, escalators and elevators to facilitate easy movement. For all future developments, the city would require pedestrian bridges to be tied into this system, eventually connecting all of downtown.
Armand P. Brunet, Tampa
Across bay, officials ready to talk baseball July 25
St. Pete waterfront beckons
As a Pinellas County resident and Tampa Bay Rays season ticket holder, I have sympathy for both sides of the new stadium issue. You have a fantastic team that plays each season before a dismally small crowd. On the other hand, you have the city of St. Petersburg trying to enforce a contractual obligation because it is in the best interest of its residents. Can't we find some common ground somewhere? I strongly disagree with a panel's finding that moving the team to Hillsborough County will solve this problem. If that is true, why are the Tampa's football and hockey teams struggling to fill seats? If Tampa is such a great supporter of sports teams, then someone needs to explain to me why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with only eight home games, played to a half-empty stadium last season.
If the Rays move to Tampa, the fans they will gain by being on that side of the bridge will be negated by fans who stop going on this side of the bridge. If improving attendance is the goal, the Rays should move to the downtown waterfront of St. Petersburg, which is teeming with restaurants, museums and nightlife. If the new stadium is in a location that is pedestrian friendly, it should have no problem being in the middle range of attendance compared with other cities of our size. People in this area enjoy going downtown to have fun. By putting the Rays in the center of the action, they will ensure more attendance.
Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo
Hagan keeps eyes on Rays | July 19
To poach is not to lead
Message to Hillsborough County Commissioners Ken Hagan and Mark Sharpe: For Tampa to become a really great city, it needs leaders with intelligence, vision, integrity and the diplomatic skills to play well in the Tampa Bay sandbox. Baseball is already here, brought to Tampa Bay by the courageous people of St. Petersburg.
Fortune 1000 corporate headquarters? See Jabil Circuit and Tech Data. Culture? St. Petersburg will be happy to help Tampa. Talking about poaching neighbors' amenities, teams and companies isn't leadership. We already have what it takes to be great, except for regional transportation. Let's start talking together to make your fantasy an achievable goal. St. Pete leaders are ready. Are you?
Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg
Sheriff launches review of jail after inmate killing | July 25
Individual cells are best
I must be missing something. The Tampa Bay Times keeps discussing how Kelly Harding, charged with a misdemeanor, was incorrectly placed in a cell with Scott Greenberg, charged with a felony.
Do you think something similar would have happened that night if another inmate charged with a felony had been placed in the cell with Greenberg?
Perhaps a better solution would be to house murder suspects, sex offenders and other violent criminals in individual cells.
Judith Manowitz, Tampa
Homeless funding too fickle | June 24
HEP is doing great things
Kudos to Sen. Jack Latvala for his efforts to identify funding for homeless needs throughout Pinellas County. This commitment is particularly notable in light of the severity of the problem and the impact it has on men, women and children as well as its reflection on our communities. As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, the need for funding services for the homeless spreads across counties throughout the state, and for the most part services are scarce and greatly varied. Many agencies and charitable organizations work tirelessly to tackle the problem.
A shining star in the consortium of organizations serving the homeless is the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater. HEP, a 400-bed facility, provides a three-tier continuum-of-care model of emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. It is the only homeless facility in Pinellas that also serves children and families. The newest addition to HEP's campus includes a dedicated housing complex for veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The numbers and operating statistics are outstanding: 1,700 clients served in the past year, more than 100,000 meals served, $500,000 of volunteer dental clinic procedures provided, and 87 percent of clients successfully transitioned out of homelessness. As a nonprofit organization, HEP has earned a Charity Navigator 4-star rating for its quality outcomes, organizational transparency and the fact that 88 percent of its fundraising goes directly to programs and services supporting the homeless.
David W. Dunbar, HEP board member, Palm Harbor
What is America? | July 21, column
White male perspective
I'm not sure what a scholar does at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, but Aaron David Miller's view of American history is somewhat skewed. This sentence shows a certain ignorance or naivete: "Freed from the religious and ethnic conflicts of the Old World, America emerged as a world power relatively free of the heavy burdens of ideology." That is certainly true if you weren't an American Indian or African-American. I suppose he gives himself some leeway with the convenient use of "relatively," but his next sentence belies even a hint of contrition: "In the New World, Americans created a creed based on the centrality of the individual and protection of rights and liberties." Once again that's all well and good if you were a white male landowner. Otherwise it's absurd.
James Suvoy, Indian Rocks Beach