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Taking on St. Petersburg mayor's rationale for annexation, point by point

Annexation explanation Jan. 15, commentary by Mayor Rick Baker

Taking on Baker, point by point

In this opinion article, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker attempts to justify his attempts to annex parts of Tierra Verde. I believe his arguments are flawed and would like to address them one by one:

First, the mayor says it is the city's policy, requirement even, to increase its tax base and reduce costs for its citizens. The amount of tax revenue that would be realized from the annexed properties is somewhere between $135,000 and $200,000, which is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the city's revenue. Hardly worth the grief involved, particularly when the cost of providing services, such as police protection on the other side of a drawbridge, is factored in.

Second, Mayor Baker states that the annexation request was initiated by the developers, not by him. The implication is that he had no choice but to act on the request. In fact, the mayor could have simply said, no, your request is not in the best interest of the citizens involved. But Mayor Baker has never met a developer he didn't like.

Third, the mayor states that the city agreed to limit the height of potential future construction to eight stories, as opposed to the city's normal allowance of 15 stories. (The county only allows five stories.) What the mayor failed to mention is that a clause in the annexation agreement states that the height reverts to 15 stories if the annexation is challenged, which was inevitable.

Finally, the mayor says, "I have never sought annexation" of Tierra Verde homes in an attempt to suggest the city has no further designs on Tierra Verde. But the city's long-range comprehensive plan specifically includes a goal of eventually annexing all of Tierra Verde, even if it is done piecemeal.

Wanna guess whether Baker goes to work for some developers when he leaves office?

Philip R. Thompson, Tierra Verde

Annexation explanation Jan. 15, commentary by Mayor Rick Baker

It's about money

For those of you who lacked either the time or the inclination to read St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker's approximate "explanation" (It read more like an attempt at justification to me) of the recent annexation of part of Tierra Verde, let me condense it for you: "We need the money."

That's all there is to it folks. In my opinion, everything else is just fluff. The fact that an ordinary citizen like me can tell you in four words what it takes a politician some 800 words to say might, in some way, explain why the city of St. Petersburg is short of money to begin with.

As I understand it, for years those persons residing in their boats at the Tierra Verde marina were residents of that particular address. Then the proposed annexation comes along, and suddenly these persons are no longer residents of that address. As my daughter used to ask when she was 4 years old, how did that happen?

Also, as I understand it, there is a "contiguous" stipulation included in our present annexation law. St. Petersburg and Tierra Verde are separated by a body of water. Why did the contiguous stipulation not apply to this annexation?

Is the mayor's statement that "it would take a voter referendum of the residents of Tierra Verde to bring them into the city" (of St. Petersburg) accurate under current law?

I would appreciate any light the Times could shed on these three questions.

James Williams, Tierra Verde

Annexation explanation Jan. 15, commentary by Mayor Rick Baker

Who are they?

I would like to know who the property owner' are that St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker refers to in this article. How many property owners are we talking about? It certainly must be an influential group of people for Baker to risk such an unpopular stance, not only with the residents of Tierra Verde, but also with county officials, as well as his own residents of St. Petersburg.

Kent Eyink, St. Petersburg

Unwanted wake-up call Jan. 14, story

Noise rule a failure

The people in Childs Park who are suffering because of the noise from the Alsco linen services plant are just another example of why St. Petersburg's noise ordinance does not serve its citizens. The ordinance enacted last summer should have taken this sort of noise into account, but no one would listen.

Our elected officials should take the well being of its citizens into account. The city and the Police Department should be working together to curb "other" noise disturbances in our communities. The "soft letter" program to deter car "boomers" should be enforced and escalated.

When is someone going to take the initiative and step up to the plate for all of us, the taxpayers?

Michael Middleton, St. Petersburg

Beach city seeks to define "blight" | Jan. 14, story

Let them have filth

Code violations are abundant everywhere, not just in St. Pete Beach. Many complaints are unjustified, though, and emanate from bored, petty-minded busybodies who mind everyone's business but their own.

I walk for fitness and see code violations galore. For instance, walk along the 4100 block of 38th Avenue N and you'll see properties where the upkeep is shockingly pathetic. People unlawfully parking on their front lawns are common.

Most people are clean and conscientious, but public life is full of folks of the most inferior character who could not care less about property maintenance. These people deserve due disdain because they lower the general quality of a neighborhood.

Even so, I am a believer in live and let live. If neighbors wish to live in filth, let them!

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

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Taking on St. Petersburg mayor's rationale for annexation, point by point 01/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 11:25am]

    

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