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When will Mayor Bill Foster crack down on St. Petersburg's homeless?

Panhandling laws

Will Foster crack down on homeless?

Okay, it has been four months, and I am still waiting. One of the reasons I voted for Mayor Bill Foster was his tough stance on panhandling in St. Petersburg.

As a resident of this city, I have seen over the past few years how the homeless and panhandlers have taken over.

At almost every light, in shopping centers, and even on my way to my car after work, I am forced to deal with this ever-expanding group of people, and frankly, I am sick of it.

In a Dec. 22 article published by the St. Petersburg Times, Foster stated, "I want to enforce the laws, the ordinances that are on the books, regarding the homeless."

Okay, I am still waiting …

Lisa Buch, St. Petersburg

Panhandling for the prom April 25, photo

Want to go to the prom? Go get a job!

Time and again I read about the challenge of dealing with panhandling in St. Petersburg. I see it all around town: people begging for food, for money, and sometimes even for charity.

So imagine my surprise when I see a photo and positive caption about two reasonably healthy able-bodied young men begging money from strangers so they can go to the prom!

How dare they think this is an appropriate way to get money for the prom. Do they think the world owes them a free night out (as well as prom tickets, a limo and tuxedos)?

How is it they never learned the concept of working? And just how is this a positive news story?

These panhandlers should have been kicked out of the intersection and sent home to their parents and the money collected donated to a charity.

Then their parents need to take these young men to volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen so they can focus on people with real needs — rather than worry about their own frivolous wants.

These young men need to figure out another way to earn money for prom — or they just don't go.

Diane McSpiritt, St. Petersburg

Letting the Rays go could help city | April 28, letter

We should all support our team

St. Petersburg fought for years to get a team here and, yes, for quite a few years the Rays were not all that great. But now we are looking very good and are a contender for the American League East. If you don't care about baseball in St. Petersburg, just don't go to the games.

As a former Triple AAA player way back in the '70s, I think that we have a team and we should support it to the hilt, even though the economy is in the tank and people don't have the money to go all the time.

When I do have the extra cash to attend a game or two, the wife and I enjoy going to the Trop to watch our Rays play. So the letter writer can voice his opinion and let it go. There are several thousand people who like attending a game or two or many games.

As for Tampa's getting the team, they will be very sorry to try and lure the team over the bridge. The only winners there will be the bloodsucking lawyers who will be lining up on both sides.

As for selling the dome and the area around it, if we build a new complex for the team, I am all for it. Finally, the Rays should stay here, and the big business should support them, as in other cities.

Gary W. Parker, St. Petersburg

Rays need to move to a site in Tampa

I live 10 minutes from Tropicana Field. I love that convenience and the comfort of being cool and protected from evening rains and the summer's heat while I watch the game. But I would gladly sacrifice all that to keep the team in the bay area.

The team needs to move to a site in Tampa, otherwise it will be gone in a few years. Hopefully that site will not be too distant from Pinellas County fans.

A winning team is not sufficient in itself to fill the seats. You also need a larger population base and, yes, a better ballfield. If any one of the three is missing, you are in trouble. Tampa Bay has the winning team but badly needs the other two.

Robert H. MacPherson, St. Petersburg

City not such a swell place for single dad

Being a single dad I don't have a lot a money for leisure time activities. I used to like to take my daughter fishing from the rocks off Gandy Boulevard. The state saw a tax/license opportunity, and I no longer fish.

I used to love going downtown across from the St. Petersburg Museum of History and taking the trolley to the Pier for candy on the first floor and a good view from the roof. Parking meters came, and I no longer do this.

I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but cuts have come there, too. And I am told city libraries are not that far behind. Where does it end?

Yet St. Petersburg has a handful of deputy mayors (that's certainly improving my life), a street sweeper that I saw again the other day (woo hoo for clean curbs) and a neighbor who is being tormented by Code Enforcement because the numbers on his house aren't big enough. This is just so wrong.

Scott Callahan, St. Petersburg

Drug bust? Killers? Nope. Speeders

On the morning of Friday, April 23, at about 7:45 a.m., I observed six St. Petersburg police vehicles lined up behind one another at First Avenue N and Park Street. My first thought was that a big drug bust might be going down or they were there to remove a dangerous felon from a nearby house.

About one hour later, while returning home, I observed four police vehicles that had motorists pulled over, with two more police vehicles waiting in the wings. Lo and behold, a radar speed trap! I wondered if the six police officers were pulled off normal patrols during this time or if they were on overtime pay.

Wouldn't the six police officers have been better used to patrol the high-crime areas of the city, perhaps removing gun-toting, drug-crazed criminals from the streets? But taking a few dangerous criminals off the streets doesn't bring in revenue for the city, for most violent criminals are poor.

At 10:30 a.m. this same day, the six police vehicles and officers were still pulling over speeders. I am sure the revenue that the city and Police Department will get from the traffic citations issued will be several thousands of dollars in fines paid by the offenders. This is all about the money — nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps the city should install radar guns and recording devices like the red-light cameras at certain intersections in the city.

Oh, I shouldn't give the city any ideas … oh, I think I just did.

Gary Gibellina, Treasure Island

Softball player also has a soft heart

A couple of Sundays ago a bunch of us rented a St. Petersburg softball field to hold a fundraiser game for the Ronald McDonald Houses. While a few of us were warming up, a burly looking bearded man walked up to me and asked what we were doing.

When I told him, he said that he and his friends usually practiced on this field Sunday mornings. My immediate reaction was a slight fear that a confrontation might result. He continued by saying that there was really no place else for his friends to play. I said that we had the field for three hours. It also occurred to me that I might need to go to my car and get the copy of the agreement with the city to use the field. Without smiling or making any other comment he walked away.

Several minutes later, I again saw him approaching from the parking lot near home plate. He had something in each hand. As I watched, he took two brand new softballs, which were still wrapped in plastic, tossed them over the fence and said, "Enjoy your fundraiser." He walked away, and I never saw him again.

Now, that's one of the good guys. Thanks, pal.

Scott Stewart, St. Petersburg

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When will Mayor Bill Foster crack down on St. Petersburg's homeless? 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:33am]
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