Waterfront has many attractions
Friends were visiting St. Pete for the first time.
We started our tour with breakfast at the Hangar Restaurant, watching the planes at Albert Whitted Airport. Next, into the Dalí Museum to be amazed.
Then we walked past the yacht basin and listened to the gulls and watched the sailboat masts dance. On to the shops on Beach Drive and then to the Museum of Fine Arts. First-rate. Gelato followed by a mind-expanding explosion of color at the Chihuly. Late lunch at 400 Beach Drive and then tea on the veranda of the Vinoy.
One of the guests asked what the inverted building was out in the bay. When I told her it was the much-ballyhooed "inverted pyramid," she said, "Oh."
Not wow, or that's what we came to see, just, "Oh."
Seems we have more than enough to impress and draw with our art destination and may not need to spend $50 million or more for the Pier.
Mike Walker, St. Petersburg
Re: No real ridership for rail system | letter by Sylvia Fies, July 18
Public transit a necessity for area
Ms. Fies' letter reads, "We are not a train culture." That apparently is the status quo in Florida. However, most major metropolitan areas are public transit-friendly — the Northeast in particular.
I lived in Maine before moving to St. Pete and it was common for people to take the bus or train to Boston for the day, very often at full capacity. The discount bus carrier Megabus is also very popular.
I am flabbergasted that there is not better public transportation between St. Pete and Tampa; you would think there would at least be a bus to/from Tampa International Airport. Many young people prefer public transit and, in fact, don't even own a vehicle. If Tampa Bay wants to consider itself an area that is attractive to employers and employees, a better public transit system is a necessity. This includes not only daily trips between the cities, but evenings and weekends as well. I believe people will be surprised at how popular this type of service would be.
Christopher J. Winters, St. Petersburg
Re: Council issues unusual censure | story, July 18
Politics partisan at every level
Although I live in Madeira Beach and have no dog in this fight, I find it troubling that your article on Seminole City Council member Patricia Plantamura omitted much important information, which would be pertinent to readers about what is going on in Seminole.
I seem to remember when Plantamura first ran for that position, she did so because she disagreed with the way the city was doing many things. A part of that would have been City Manager Frank Edmunds' performance. So her actions should surprise no one.
She is surrounded by a majority Republican council, which has from the beginning made her the focal point of attacks. These may be nonpartisan races, but if you think council Chairwoman Leslie Waters and the rest of that council doesn't function, think and act like Republicans, I have 60 by 100 lots on the moon I am selling for $500,000.
To top it all off, you go out and get Neil Brickfield, a Republican political hack (oh, I mean consultant) to give an opinion on Republicans ganging up on a Democrat because she dares to have a different view of what is happening? That is like Boehner, Rubio or Cruz being asked to give their opinions on Obama's performance.
Frankly, I am tired of Republicans thinking that we should be politically correct while they create policies and laws that are hurting our families. Unfortunately, it is getting to the point that these attacks on elected officials like Plantamura are what Republicans are using to make the public think they are disruptive, when all they are trying to do is protect a way of life that the other half of us believe in.
George A. Gonzalez, Madeira Beach
Re: SPCA Tampa Bay opens low-cost clinic in Largo | July 18
SPCA facility is window dressing
As someone who formerly volunteered at the SPCA for five years, I read with interest staff writer Anne Lindberg's article. The SPCA Tampa Bay's opening of a low-cost wellness clinic is akin to a brothel demonstrating its commitment to morality by hiring a priest and installing a confessional.
The SPCA's primary purpose is to be a shelter for the animals in the community — at which it has failed miserably since 2012. Admissions by appointment — ostensibly to avoid casual surrenders — allows them to preselect the popular breeds, thus inflating adoption rates, while other breeds are euthanized or sent to kill-shelters.
Dogs receive inadequate exercise and socialization. The SPCA canceled the Family Dog Trainer program (staffed almost entirely by volunteers), and thus the last chance at rehabilitation for many animals. The kennels and the surrounding grounds are often filthy.
The SPCA board of directors contains attorneys, bankers and accountants — and no veterinarians. If the SPCA wants to run for-profit and compete with local vets, they should forfeit their tax-exempt status and stop rattling their tin cup before donors.
Low-cost wellness is admirable, and some animals will certainly benefit. But all the lipstick on earth cannot pretty up the pig that SPCA Tampa Bay has become.
Joseph A. Ciccolini, St. Petersburg
Trail lights don't ensure safety
Biking on the Pinellas Trail is always a pleasure. At the pedestrian crossings I find about 90 percent of automobile drivers to be careful. But I consider the placement of yellow flashing lights at the crossings unnecessary. At some crossings, the cyclist can push a button to activate the light and then wait for the oncoming traffic to stop. But nine out of 10 drivers, when they see a cyclist at the crossing, are courteous and considerate and allow the cyclist to cross.
The few who ignore the light make it dangerous to cross even when the light is flashing. Safe cycling involves assuring that cars have stopped before crossing, regardless of the presence or absence of the flashing lights.
Don Mulholland, St. Petersburg