Homeless plan criticized July 21
We need shelters, social workers
Maybe St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's homeless plan was criticized by some people, but there are many others in our city who think a homeless shelter is a good beginning in our effort to help the homeless. Our social problems cannot begin to be solved until the homeless have a roof over their heads, not an overpass. We are very fortunate to have a mayor who wants to help the homeless as well as the city. I would like to see the statistics that show that cities that have enough homeless shelters also have more arrests. We already know the causes of homelessness. What we need are homeless shelters, social workers and psychologists to help these people.
The reporter who wrote the article did not say why the federal grant fell through. And was the cost estimate at $500,000 too costly to help people? There are plenty of millionaires in our city who operate on theistic principles and would gladly contribute to this worthy cause. We must get these homeless people off the streets and help them. We send billions of dollars to foreign countries, but our own people should come first.
There will be many people who have a negative attitude toward the homeless instead of having a helping attitude. Isn't it part of our mission in life to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves?
It didn't help taking away the green benches, did it? The shelters should have been built then. How much longer do the homeless have to wait? Are the homeless going to be known as "the forgotten people"? I think not with Mayor Foster. As the title of Norman Vincent Peale's book says, "You can if you think you can." Let's think positive.
Clare Doyle Craig, St. Petersburg
Mayor: Enough street sleeping July 20
Panhandlers should have no home here
I'm certain his intentions were good, but St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has stated that he is endeavoring to find a way to house homeless/panhandlers in St. Petersburg.
However, he has no idea as to where to locate them or how we, the taxpayers, are to pay for it. Such talk from the mayor will only encourage panhandlers to tenaciously dig their heels deeper into St. Petersburg's turf with the thought of making our beautiful city their permanent address.
It is my thought that when this word spreads, every panhandler in the country will descend on St. Petersburg in such numbers that it will be impossible for us to house them all. Just ask any well-traveled panhandler why he chose to come to St. Petersburg. He will tell you that it was not only the moderate climate, but also the knowledge, widely known to the homeless, that St. Petersburg is a generous city where one won't go hungry. We must stop encouraging these people and discourage wherever possible.
I worked hard all my life and paid my taxes to be able to choose my friends and to live the life I dreamed. That dream is no longer available to me. I chose to reside, in what is considered to be a nice area of town, adjacent to Straub Park. However, the area is not available to me or my family anymore. There are days when one cannot find a bench on which to sit due to the panhandlers occupying them.
I'm tired of hearing complaints that the females can't walk in the park because they get ogled. I'm tired of watching these people desecrating our streets and parks. I'm tired of having panhandlers knocking on my car window for money when I'm on my way to work in the early morning hours. I'm tired of them occupying my space when they are not wanted.
It's time that we, the taxpayers, put an end to this. Mr. Mayor, I hope you're listening.
Ronald C. Cole, St. Petersburg
Bullying the poor is not the answer
It has been reported that the mayor of St. Petersburg is considering arresting the homeless or anyone for sleeping on the sidewalk.
If true, then I urge everyone to boycott St. Petersburg, including the Rays games and the Times. The answer to our failed economy is not to bully poor people. The answer is that America needs money for jobs, not war.
Ron Kuhler, Lutz
City Council workshops
It's time for sun to shine brighter
The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area believes that the city of St. Petersburg should assure adequate opportunity for citizen participation in government decisionmaking. The current workshop process does not allow for this. Often only the time of the workshop is published, not the topic. How can the average citizen voice support or opposition, or even become educated about a topic, when the decisions are already made by the time an issue is presented at the council meeting?
We realize that televising every meeting/subcommittee/workshop can be cost-prohibitive, but let the sun shine on the entire process through all appropriate avenues of transparency and open government.
Lisa Meyers and Amanda Patanow, co-presidents, League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
Dog park struts its scruff July 25, Sandra Gadsden column
Be part of solution at Fort De Soto Park
As a registered Pinellas County volunteer at Fort De Soto Park, I take criticisms of the park to heart. I do everything from picking up trash and removing invasive plant species, to painting picnic tables each year and keeping the main office open on weekends, as there are no longer enough employees in the park for someone to be in there.
Since I am in the office I answer many questions about the park and deal with the complaints that come in, many having to do with the nozzles on the hoses at the dog park. People break them regularly, but they are not a necessary amenity; medical emergencies will always take precedence over a nozzle for you to use for cooling off your dog.
Keeping the lawns mowed is a challenge. Volunteers help sometimes, but many aren't willing to help during the hottest part of the year, which is when help is needed the most.
Before people complain about the state of the park, they should please consider spending a few hours volunteering to help solve the problems.
Monica Craig, St. Petersburg