Pier designers listen, tweak plans | July 19
Design needs more than a tweak
It will take more than tweaking St. Petersburg's proposed pier plans to sell it to the 20,597 of us who see this as Foster's folly.
The "giant canopy," where it is said everything from a beer garden to special events and dancing could take place, needs to be given second thought. A canopy with no sides to fend off rainy thunderstorms, our fate during the five long, hot summer months in Tampa Bay, seems ridiculous.
And then there's the occasional Debby that blows through. What a disaster that would be to the artistic but very impractical Lens.
Gemma O'Donnell, St. Petersburg
On Pier, council flunks leadership test July 21, editorial
Officials are out of touch
The purpose of the Fourth Estate is to give voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless and to protect the defenseless from the oppression of a government that would run roughshod over the wishes of the citizens. At these tasks the Tampa Bay Times has failed miserably.
Rather than stand with a lawfully presented petition, this newspaper has chosen to side with a minority in the St. Petersburg City Council to deny this petition a legitimate place on a ballot.
The question is asked: Where were the citizens when the plans for the pier were in their infancy? We were right here hoping for a place on the citizens committee, but we were denied a voice as the committee was made up of hand-picked people. We then hoped the concept for the new pier would be an intelligent, useful structure that would be emblematic of the city, combining free enterprise and logical design to make it a destination for both locals and tourists alike. Instead, we got a lump of water pollution that is nothing and does nothing. It was at this point that citizens took to the petition.
A city administration that chooses to build a structure that few want, with money we don't have, yet fails to meet the vital needs of our community — i.e., a new police station — is a city administration out of touch.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Stickers won't stop a killer
Of all the articles in Saturday's newspaper on the senseless tragedy that took place at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., one caught my attention.
I read that Tampa's AMC Veterans 24 movie theater posted stickers on the doors declaring "No weapons allowed" with the image of a gun with a slash symbol through it.
If the theater in Aurora had had those stickers, would the gunman have changed his mind? I think we all know the answer to that. On the other hand, if there were one or more people in that audience with a licensed concealed weapon then, just maybe, the gunman could have been taken out early.
Tim Harman, Tampa
Public must get involved
On July 19 I attended the "conversation with the (education) commissioner" in downtown St. Petersburg. Based on articles I read of similar events in other cities, I assumed, even hoped, this would be a well-attended event.
To my dismay, I counted six people in attendance who were not with the Department of Education or the press.
There are issues with our education system. We have many community members who are concerned and even angry with the changes taking place. However, we can't be both frustrated with our education system and not take advantage of the opportunity to voice those frustrations with the education commissioner.
I hope the next time high-ranking officials take the time to talk to the local community, we take the time to ask questions and talk back.
Brian Kerekes, St. Petersburg
Stop the steep rise in health costs | July 19, letter
A lack of competition
It is encouraging that the writer has realized that "something has to be done about medicine in America." At the same time, he refuses to appreciate that the new health care law is trying to do just that.
The standard answer from Republicans has been: Let competition and the market bring down costs. Where is the competition when there is only one hospital in a community?
The only Republican proposal I have seen was the sarcastic bumper sticker that read: "The Republican health plan: Don't get sick!" I know that the Republicans can do better than that, but only after they venture into the real world of suffering people.
Alfred J. Lilienthal, Brandon
Choose words carefully
As to President Barack Obama's recent comments relative to how there are many people and events that help us to be successful or possibly help us build successful businesses, he needed only two words to avoid the distortion by the Republicans — "alone" and "helped."
He then would have said, "You did not build that alone. Somebody else helped make that happen," and it would have been much more difficult for the Republicans to distort his statement.
Donald W. Chandler, Clearwater
Few open tables during the RNC | July 20
Out of touch
We so often hear candidates for political office, of both parties, claim their opponents are "out of touch" with ordinary Americans and "can't relate" to the common man. Well, these claims are often correct.
Is there anything that could possibly illustrate better the insularity and "out-of-touchness" of the whole American political class than this article?
All sorts of restaurants and public attractions will be closed to the general public and made the exclusive private domain of the conventioneers — in some cases for days in advance of the convention.
Can it really be true that the Tampa Bay History Center is closed to the public from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1? That's 11 days. Guess they had to do that. Otherwise conventioneers might be brushing elbows with the ordinary rabble of America.
And the most infuriating aspect is that these conventions are subsidized by the American taxpayer.
Paul and Barri Boudreaux, St. Petersburg