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Police officers deserve better pay

Peace officers rate lower than entertainers in St. Petersburg? Be ashamed that we allowed our city to build a new stadium to shelter overpaid entertainers and athletes and then throw a scrap of a raise to our officers who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us. Residents do not need entertainers; we do need professional and competent peace officers (and teachers and firefighters). Give them professional pay and a proper pension. Get it right before things go so far wrong that we lose the whole game.John M. McNamara,

St. Petersburg

New building for city offices is not needed

The full-page ad placed by the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association in the Sunday Times is direct and to the point with its major headline, "Isn't it time for the City of St. Petersburg to get its priorities straight?"

It is long past time, and especially so when referring to the quote, "The city is talking about building a new $15-million city hall."

A city which is presently cutting its essential maintenance, and public parklands, payrolls, which is constantly juggling projects' money (money set aside for planned specific public works) in order to meet cost overruns or costs unforeseen on other projects

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has no business glorifying itself with yet another expensive public building.

Lest we forget, all the current locations of city offices, and locations in the last 15 years were presented as significant "long-term" locations for city services.

First there was the old Sears building, presently known as the Fotomat building. This was acquired and renovated to city specifications, and was in fact an excellent municipal services building. It has plenty of parking, as well as escalator access to second-floor offices. It was then sold, on the cheap, so that the city could move all those offices to downtown, rented locations to bring these services closer to the heart of St. Petersburg. My personal opinion is that this move also served to bail out the developers of these buildings who were getting nearly zero in the way of interest in them.

The offices are perfectly fine, where they are. I frequently have to visit the Building Department and seldom have difficulty finding nearby on-the-street parking. When the ongoing group of parking garages start becoming available, access will be even easier. The city also has a conveniently located payment office for utility bills on M.L. King Street S, again on a block where there is always plenty of short-term parking.

In a town where there are hundreds of thousands of square feet of available or easily renovated office and commercial space ... going begging ... talk of new buildings only leads an intelligent person to one of two conclusions: Either the people pushing this idea stand to gain personally from it or they are so blind to the actual conditions of this city that they would qualify as inordinately stupid.

I do not believe that they are stupid, so who is it that keeps getting enriched by these unnecessary and wasteful new buildings?

Newt Simmons, St. Petersburg

World Series story has no place in newspaper

Re: Superintendent takes his son to the World Series, Oct. 18.

Tacky, tacky trash! Now almost daily when we read our St. Petersburg Times, we experience a cross between extremely well-prepared, educational and informative articles, and pure dirt that belongs in a local National Enquirer-type publication. The most recent example of the latter type article was published Oct. 18 under the headline, Superintendent takes his son to the World Series. So our school superintendent followed school rules in requesting permission to take his son to attend the World Series. So what! What is the news value of the article? Have I lost my perspective of the purpose of a quality newspaper?

What is the value of this article to our community? None! The editors' choice to publish this nondescript item tells us that he/she is sending a very sad message to us and to reporters: The more trash you can dig up, the more you will be published, the more headlines you will grab and, therefore, the greater opportunity you have to advance your career. The message from the editors: Keep digging until you find a daytime soap opera script, a National Enquirer-type article to put in our paper and we will give you the headlines. And, if from your lead you cannot find news, then just prepare a "grabbing" headline and write an article that says nothing. What better way for our paper to send this message to your staff than to publish this "news item" concerning our school superintendent. That was junk and you should have known it. It was a sad commentary from your editors about how they perceive our society and our interests.

Bruce W. Harting, St. Petersburg

Shooting story needed more prominent play

Re: Shots damage mayor's house, Oct. 17.

I see that the mayor's home was shot at four times by suspects unknown at this time. The article was printed in the City Times section and reported on page 3. I would have thought that this spectacular incident was deserving of front page coverage. I also wonder, if "his honor" believes this incident to be a "random occurrence" which shows "the human side" of St. Petersburg, as he stated after his automobile was stolen several weeks ago. After all, "not everything is perfect in paradise."

Hal Imhuelsen, St. Petersburg

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