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McMullen-Booth "scenic route' not so beautiful

Editor: I have just read the article about new business construction in the unincorporated area east of Lake Tarpon. I am so incensed, I simply have to ask some questions. Does anyone remember (or care) that 10 years ago, when we purchased our home in this area, we were assured that McMullen-Booth Road was a "scenic route" and no commercial development would be allowed except at an occasional corner?

When did a "corner" become 38 acres or more? How does the entrance to the Ridgemoor subdivision qualify as a "corner"?

The article states briefly that residents don't want any more commercial traffic, but does anyone hear this? Certainly not the Dallas-based Timothy Lanier, who decided that "there was a need for service."

The article further states that, until now, residents had to shop either at Publix at East Lake Woodlands or drive to Oldsmar or Palm Harbor "along roads not meant for so much traffic."

Oh, I never realized that the two-lane McMullen-Booth Road was meant for heavy traffic, and I guess the long tieups are just "one of those things."

You admit that East Lake Road is a daytime nightmare for motorists. With all the home building plus commercial development, do you really believe the overpass at Boot Ranch is going to solve anything?

The final sentence in your article is chilling, namely that the Shoppes at Boot Ranch "might be the last commercial development the area sees for a few years."

Might be? For a few years? What new horror is being contemplated now?

A better headline for your article would have been, New store reflects broken promises.

Mrs. William Chambers, Palm Harbor

Road project needs repair

Editor: I have been wanting to write a letter for a very long time but, as just another middle-class taxpayer, you sometimes wonder what good it will do to voice your opinion.

I thought of writing about the Social Security tax issue, or the capital gains tax cut, or a host of other national issues facing our country. However, when I consider that the elected officials in Washington, including "my" congressman, Mike Bilirakis, have very little interest in what one overtaxed middle-class working stiff is concerned about, I decided to get a bit parochial.

This letter concerns the McMullen-Booth Road widening project. A concern shared by the countless commuters who travel that artery daily is this simple question: Is the McMullen-Booth project Pinellas' answer to the Waters Avenue project in Tampa?

You must ask that question when you look at the facts to date regarding the progress or lack thereof.

Consider that the project is scheduled for completion next month.

Consider that, in 15 months, the contractor has succeeded in building a 100-foot bridge over a creek. In that same time span, the state built about a half-mile of the Howard Frankland Bridge over Tampa Bay.

I, as I am sure others who travel the road daily, have some questions:

1. Why did it take 15 months to complete a 100-foot bridge?

2. Why are there so few work crews assigned to this major project?

3. Why does it seem that the contractor is incapable of completing any major sections of this project? Why the "tease" approach?

4. Why does the county allow the contractor to create unsafe and poorly marked lane-change areas?

5. Why are utility lines still in the middle of the right-of-way after 15 months?

I cannot blame this all on the contractor, Overstreet Paving. The County Engineering Department must shoulder the majority of the blame for this project's delays and confusion.

The county allowed the contractor to finish work on a shopping center at the expense of the road project. The county has allowed the hop-skip-and-jump approach to the building of the road.

The county has allowed the contractor to create unsafe lane-change situations from one side of the road to the other.

The people of Pinellas deserve answers to the questions I have raised here, and we should not be left in the dark as to the status of major projects such as McMullen-Booth Road.

A system should be put in place where bi-monthly or quarterly updates or news releases are made regarding these projects. After all, we, the taxpayers, voted to tax ourselves so that these much-needed projects could be completed.

If this section of McMullen-Booth is a sample of what is in store for the remainder of that road's future, many of today's commuters will be retired to Sarasota by the time the entire road is widened.

Frank J. Kruszewski, Safety Harbor

Audience behavior outrageous

Editor: I recently attended a City Commission meeting in Indian Rocks Beach. I was appalled when a member of the audience shouted out, "You bitch!" to a member of the commission who was being neither offensive nor argumentative.

This is the type of behavior that Mayor Piniero is allowing to occur in our meetings. I have been present at many other meetings when shouting and profanity erupted from the audience _ and I, for one, say that Mayor Piniero should not tolerate or allow this type of behavior without evicting that person from the meeting.

Isn't it bad enough that our meetings are allowed to last until such late hours (midnight to 1 a.m.)? Do we as citizens also have to tolerate profanity, filibustering, shouting matches and other rude behavior because of the mayor's inability to conduct productive, business-like meetings?

The end result is unfinished business, which results in more special commission meetings and workshop meetings at the taxpayers' expense and time.

I have lived and worked in Indian Rocks Beach during the last 30 years and have never experienced such inadequate leadership and inexcusable behavior as I have seen in the past two years.

Dan McNally, Indian Rocks Beach

Trial delays frustrate victim

Editor: I read with interest and amazement that Pinellas County officials want to spend $500,000 to study the judicial system.

How ridiculous! All they have to do is survey some victims of crimes, such as myself, and they could get answers and save taxpayers a half-million dollars.

From my personal experience, one very large problem is judges who allow defense attorneys and defendants delays in getting into trial court.

One of the defendants who participated in an armed robbery against my wife and myself has had eight pre-trial conferences and at least three, probably four, different public-defender attorneys.

Here are some of the excuses for delays: Public defender needed more time to take a deposition. (He had the case more than two months.) Public defender left the case. Public defender dismissed because defendant wanted to have a private attorney. Another delay when defendant showed up without one. Defendant needs time to get acquainted with another public defender. The final delay is because the newest public defender is not ready.

It took only 10 minutes to rob us of our life savings, but the defendant has delayed the judicial system and is free to possibly rob someone else for a full year. Totally shameful!

If this were allowed to occur 100 years ago in Judge Roy Bean's court, I'm afraid the judge would have been hung with his own rope.

Dale J. Bissett, Dunedin

Berfield backed for Seat 3

Editor: Election time has rolled around once again in Clearwater. This year we will be electing a mayor and a commissioner.

There is one candidate running for Seat 3 on the Clearwater City Commission who has the knowledge, experience, background and history needed so badly in our new commissioner.

This candidate is Sue Berfield. Sue moved to Clearwater with her parents in 1959. She is the only candidate running for Seat 3 who has enough direct knowledge of our government to be able to represent all of the citizens of Clearwater.

Sue Berfield has enough background information to remember why certain revisions were placed in our charter, and Sue Berfield has the determination to protect our charter intent.

Betty Simpson, Clearwater