Glenn Beck rally
An honorable gathering for all
Several days ago Daniel Ruth wrote an extremely negative and biased opinion on Glenn Beck and his rally in Washington. Ruth went to great lengths to demean Beck and his days in Tampa. But because of his bias, Ruth failed to point out that Beck had substance abuse problems while here in Tampa and by his own admission was not a nice person. But faith completely changed him. That was a "minor" point that Ruth did not choose to mention.
Well, I still chose to watch the "Restoring Honor" rally Saturday and every American, Republican, Democrat, independent, black, white, even Daniel Ruth should have reveled in the patriotism and the recognition of our men and women in the military, as well as the honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Daniel Ruth should tell us what was wrong with that event.
Don Letzring, Palm Harbor
I noticed in the second paragraph of your Aug. 28 story (At Beck rally, traditional values urged) a comment that the rally was "overwhelmingly white." For all of "its overwhelming whiteness" you must have missed the group that sang the national anthem or one of the main speakers, Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., and the many other blacks in the audience.
While emphasizing the "whiteness" of the Beck rally you failed to mention that the Al Sharpton rally was "overwhelmingly black." This must have been just an oversight on your part. It was also significant that none of the Beck rally speakers even mentioned the Sharpton group but at least two, per your article, chastised Beck and his audience. Now where is the "racism" coming from?
Dayle Stevens, Largo
Gathering the gullible
If the lemmings who follow Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are really serious about restoring honor in America they should start by insisting that Palin return to Alaska and finish her term as governor. That would be the "honorable" thing for her to do.
They should also take a good look in the mirror and realize how they have failed America by not seeing Beck for what he is: a con artist in love with the sound of his own voice. His kind is always ready to separate gullible people from their money.
Dennis Bush, Tampa
Let the public be served
Whatever form the new pier in St. Petersburg takes, please include a water taxi/streetcar station on it. Heed the call from a local group rallying for this update in our transportation system for three years now. Also, recreate the true magic of the present fifth-floor veranda of the inverted pyramid, as most St. Petersburg residents and visitors cannot afford to buy a Beach Drive condo and the present Pier is the only place that they can get this magnificent view. It will be challenging to achieve this closer to shore. Let's hope that we are successful in this.
It doesn't take an expert to know that there was some real soul in the present Pier to serve all of us in St. Petersburg, regardless of income. Hooray to St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton for fighting for us and his attempt to get some feedback from the residents on this important issue.
Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg
A fine old fellow
Buildings, like old men, show their age after 40. Tribal tattoos and toned pectoral muscles start to sag. Hair thinning on top sprouts from the ears.
Buildings suffer from corroding foundations. Floors crack. Fixtures fall out of fashion. What felt cool in 1973 now feels hopelessly out of date.
And so it is with the Pier. The most dangerous time for any building approaching historic status is 40 years. Infrastructures crumble. A bold design, the inverted pyramid, wears like an old leisure suit. Vendors complain that locals will not go there to buy goofy hats and overpriced ice cream. Planners call for demolition.
Do I have to point out that middle-aged men also become grandfathers? Given current tastes, a redesigned Pier will probably take the "traditional" style. And given the budget, the new Pier will lack the construction quality of the classic St. Petersburg landmarks. We will probably end up with a cheap knock-off of Snell Arcade. Think BayWalk, 10 years after.
Consider instead the long view. Turn over the Pier to the city's thriving creative class. Improve the approach, which is the real problem. But keep the building as it is. Our children's children will thank us for it.
Thomas Hallock, St. Petersburg
Fifty-two years later and my arteries are still clogged from the glorious fried onion rings sold at the greasy-spoon restaurant on the St. Petersburg Pier.
I arrived in the summer of '58 to work at WSUN Radio and Television, which had studios in the crumbling, old mausoleum. It was a bright, August day (hot, of course) and even in my tie and best Palm Beach suit I thought I had arrived at Heaven's Gate.
The TV studios were at ground level and there were winding flights of stairs in and outside to the radio floors above. As program director, I had to turn down a highly qualified broadcast applicant because he was wheelchair bound. No way to get around in that building.
Our offices had thin, plywood walls and leaky ceilings, and we had damage when a hurricane gave a glancing but heavy blow to the Tampa Bay area. It was Donna in 1960. We abandoned the Pier and had many good hours broadcasting the storm from Red Cross headquarters downtown. After we returned, we found water ankle-deep in the offices and studios. Crumbling, yes, but I loved it out there and hope the City Council builds something to last another century.
Robert Vaughn, Oldsmar
How can new Pier stay new? | Aug. 20, story
Attraction for the kids
I was incredulous while reading former St. Petersburg Mayor Randy Wedding's comments about the lack of "family oriented entertainment" in Pinellas County. Wedding must not have gotten the memo that it's no longer 1990 and Tampa has "St. Pete envy" and not the other way around.
Case in point: Great Explorations, the Children's Museum at Sunken Gardens. For less than $10 per person, children, especially from 3-12 years old and their exhausted, overheated parents or grandparents, can enjoy a myriad of hands-on activities in air-conditioned comfort. Compared to overpriced, scorching Busch Gardens, Great Explorations is the affordable, educational, very fun activity right here in St. Petersburg.
Great Explorations is moving into the future with some great stuff, including plans for a return of the Touch Tunnel and a freshening of exhibits. St. Petersburg doesn't need to wait four years while surrendering to Tampa in the area of family friendliness.
Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg
Mother publicly shares her loss | Aug. 27
The grief of mothers
I commend the mother of Cpl. Nathaniel Schultz for publicly airing her grief over the death of her son. During the three months he was in Afghanistan I know she lived in constant fear and worry. Since 2003, mothers of servicemen and women all over this country have lived with this fear. And many, such as Liza Natkin, are having to deal with the death of their child. No matter their ages, they are still our children.
I am the mother of two sons, one who is returning from his second deployment to Iraq, and one who will deploy to Afghanistan on Sept. 11. It is so frustrating to see life going on as if there were no war. But to those of us who have loved ones in harm's way, the war is a reality we live with every second of every day.
Your poignant article on the death of Cpl. Schultz and on his mother's grief is a powerful way to let the citizens of our country realize the tremendous sacrifice being made by our military men and women.
Jan Kokernot, St. Petersburg