Spirit of sunshine laws violated | June 13, editorial
Council should put all meetings on TV
I have requested that the St. Petersburg City Council televise all City Council workshops (as well as City Council meetings) several times over the past year. I was told it was too expensive. In reading the 2010 budget, I found this: "The object of the Television Division is to increase the hours of original programming." They expected to produce 320 hours of original programming in 2010 with a $700,000-plus budget.
I understand that not every meeting held at City Hall can be shown live. However, the money should be spent first on meetings where the decisions impact how our city is governed and how our tax dollars are spent, not on employee-recognition events or magistrate hearings (the city's version of Judge Judy).
Council members have said the majority of the discussion and decisionmaking takes place at workshops. In that case, there is absolutely no excuse not to televise all City Council meetings and workshops.
In addition, the City Council needs to change its rules and allow equal time for opposing viewpoints before decisions are made. In the Clear Channel billboard case, for example, Clear Channel has had hours of negotiation with city staffers behind closed doors as well as an opportunity to speak to council members on more than one occasion. So far, no one from the public who opposes this special interest ordinance has been allowed this same opportunity. Those who do oppose it will be allowed to speak for three minutes at the final hearing. By that time, the decision will already have been made.
This needs to change, now. More sunshine for the Sunshine City!
Jean Corsetti, St. Petersburg
American Legion offers its thanks
A big thank you to the people of St. Petersburg. The American Legion Auxiliary, Post 14, distributed bright red poppies on Memorial Day in front of the Northeast Publix in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The national average donation per poppy has been 45 cents. You, the people of St. Petersburg who participated in the poppy exchange, more than doubled that amount. You know who you are. Pat yourself on the back; job well done.
In 1923, the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion Family in memory of soldiers who fought on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I. Poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soil of battle covered the poppy seeds, which allowed them to grow and forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed of war.
The poppy also honors the hospitalized and disabled veterans who make these red, handcrafted flowers.
Jill A. Schall, public relations, American Legion Auxiliary, Post 14, St. Petersburg