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Consider costs, practicality of projects before beginning

I read in the St. Petersburg Times on Feb. 1, that it was going to cost the taxpayers of St. Petersburg more than expected to continue to operate The Pier, Bayfront Center, etc. The politicians seemed surprised and expressed concern. How is it that the average taxpayers in St. Petersburg knew and expected what the politicians did not? Who could really be surprised at such a revelation? I certainly wasn't. In the paper on Feb. 6 was a further revelation that The Pier will need extensive repairs and, of course, no money is allocated. Some years ago I voted against Pier Park, then a couple of years later I voted for the renovation of The Pier, Bayfront Center and Al Lang Field. I thought these were necessary improvements. I now think that was a mistake and that we never were given all the facts.

Now we all are facing the subsidy of the Suncoast Dome and eventually Bay Plaza. Since nothing has been self-supporting, nor does it seem it will be in any reasonable length of time, why do the city officials think it will be any different with the dome or Bay Plaza? Perhaps that is why we never got a chance to vote. Neither project would have had a shred of hope if the decision had been left to those who ultimately would pay for it.

I only hope this is the last of these mistakes that seem to be a way of life in St. Petersburg. It is a great city. We do need some changes, growth development and progress, but please consider all the costs and the practicality of a project before beginning.

Beverly C. Persson

St. Petersburg

Noise, activity are part of joys of downtown

I am a downtown St. Petersburg resident thoroughly dismayed at the City Council's efforts to keep down the noise. I moved downtown from a quiet residential area two years ago in anticipation of the activity, excitement and, yes, noise that seemed to me to be integral to the city's downtown redevelopment efforts. To my amazement, the City Council seems to think our downtown can wake up and sleep at the same time.

I never have been to a concert at Jannus Landing, but whenever I've been in the vicinity of Jannus Landing during a concert, I've been exhilarated just to see more than a handful of people walking downtown after 5 p.m. The Grand Prix, The Pier, downtown parades, festivals and concerts all affect me similarly. I just wish the vibrancy that these events bring to the downtown were the norm.

I strongly urge the City Council to exercise foresight, rather than short sight, regarding downtown noise. The City Council should be more worried about what happens if the decibel levels don't rise in our downtown. The sounds of that silence would truly be deafening.

C. Patricia Alsup, St. Petersburg

Jannus Landing:

let's get facts

Jannus Landing: Let's get the facts straight.

In 1982 the city of St. Petersburg received a 15-year lease on the Courtyard area for providing a lot of money for renovation of same. This was, at that time, to be a commons area for multiple uses. The courtyard was to be rented and the funds to go to the Block Association for general use and maintenance. After a couple of years, the city re-leased the lease to part of the Courtyard back to R.

B. Roberts. Shortly thereafter, the Detroit Hotel owners solicited and received the remainder of the Courtyard Commons. Later a wall was constructed to secure the area and set it off from the remainder of the block. Take the name Jannus Landing _ It's the name of the entire block, not just the Courtyard. As to the block ownership, it is not city-owned _ the block consists of seven owners, with Bay Plaza owning 13.562 percent. The concerts are restricted to the east end of the block on the property of the Detroit Hotel (19.02 percent of the block). The concerts are strictly private functions and are not shared or condoned by the other owners.

Paul R. Cox, owner of

10.724 percent Jannus Landing

St. Petersburg

City officials sidestep facing up to fiscal failure

Re: Continuing subsidies for downtown projects likely, Feb. 3.

Once again our intrepid City Council has had its collective ineptitude publicized in the St. Petersburg Times. Vice Mayor Robert Stewart and City Council members J.W. Cate Jr. and Dean Staples are quoted as being surprised that continuing and probably increasing major subsidies will be required to support The Pier, the Bayfront Center and the Florida Suncoast Dome.

This political body creates these money-eating projects in a daze and then turns them loose to the management of its own administrators, professional managers, project directors, etc. These high-powered professionals occasionally report back, usually via a press release, that everything is just rosy. Revenues soon will rise, a major-league ball club soon will appear, an angel is coming tomorrow to restore the Vinoy, business at The Pier is so good we had to add more parking lots.

The City Council loves to hear this kind of blather. They have been vindicated and issue a few inane, self-serving press releases of their own. Then when the true facts of fiscal failure are presented, we can watch them perform their little political sidestep and hear their utterances of surprise and indignation, never once conceding that their own misbegotten creation and mismanagement of the projects caused the problems. The most common quote attributable to the council members interviewed in your news article can be paraphrased as, "Gee whiz, how did those guys let this happen?"

William S. Moore, St. Petersburg

Children shouldn't drink, let alone drink and drive

In response to Diane Steinle's Jan. 29 column on "Safe Rides" for our teens who have had too much to drink, I felt as I was reading the article that I should feel grateful for a guaranteed safe driver for my child. If one can be assured his child will return home in one piece, then what could be the matter with such a wonderful plan?

This may all sound great to some parents, but this is skirting the real issue. The real problem begins when our "children" indulge in activities that are illegal. The message to our kids is crystal clear _ it's okay to drink, just be sure you have a safe ride home. Though I certainly would prefer that my child ride home with a non-drinker, my first wish would be that he doesn't drink at all. Our kids are victims of a society that condones drinking _ even by minors. They are bombarded with mixed messages every day. If parents don't unite in their fight to save this generation from a life of alcohol and drugs we will lose the fight.

Basic morals have fallen by the wayside. If we all merely respected ourselves and our lives then we would automatically care for the well being of others. This is a challenge that will require parents to invest more time in their kids, discipline when needed, but most of all just being there.

Mary Anne Fauber, Dunedin

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