1. Archive

Schools need better management, not more taxes

Editor: Taxes, taxes, taxes and more taxes. An article in the Times about a month ago stated that each worker had to work the first 128 days to pay his taxes. If this article was true, then, based on 365 calendar days per year, each wage earner is contributing 35 percent of his income to taxes.

If the 128 days were based on a five-day work week, then the worker would be contributing some 49 percent of his earnings to taxes.

Seems like enough. Maybe we don't need more taxes. What we need is better and more intelligent management of revenue now being collected.

The schools claim to be short of money. I still think that better management and more intelligent spending would be the answer instead of more taxes.

When I attended high school we didn't have $35-a-square-foot carpet on the floor with matching blond furniture, free lunches and hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of computers lining the walls.

Our lunches at times consisted of a container of collard greens and a corn meal dumpling. Not pretty, but filling and very nourishing.

Our floors were made of wood and oiled once a year. A potbellied coal stove supplied warmth.

The only things the taxpayers were required to furnish were building maintenance, teachers' salaries, coal for the stoves and chalk for the blackboards.

Of the 15 students in my graduating class, none failed. Such heights were attained as a captain of an oceangoing oil tanker, two civil engineers, one legislator and a metallurgist, as well as other successful citizens.

My last property tax bill contained an insert breaking down the disbursement of my tax dollars. More than 50 percent went to the schools. I do not wish to deny today's children a good education, but I do think there is enough money there and it should be more wisely spent.

Thomas B. Basnight, Clearwater

Signs bury Pinellas' market appeal

Editor: This is a reply to Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce President Pat Aland's letter pertaining to visual pollution.

I used to live in Largo. Yes, it is a friendly place and I enjoyed the access to the Gulf beaches. Then I left for a job in Venice and later moved to Elkhart, Ind.

I now travel extensively throughout the United States. I recently returned to the Largo-Clearwater area on a visit and was visually shocked.

The sign clutter along U.S. 19 is worse than anything I have seen in my recent travels to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver and other cities. I guess when I lived in Largo I just got used to the clutter.

It seems to me that a vacation area like Pinellas that depends on visitors from other states would be more sensitive to its visual appearance. Isn't attracting more visitors a better way to aid the business community than allowing more signs?

Pinellas is a nice area, but why bury it with visual clutter!

David Ziege, Elkhart, Ind.

Before union, city should study need

Editor: This is a copy of a letter sent to Indian Rocks Beach's mayor and city commissioners.

At the commission meeting of Jan. 15, there was mention that the city has been contacted by a union on behalf of some employees. This raises questions in my mind that I think the commission will have to face. You commissioners may already have thought of these questions and you may have the answers, but we _ and by we I mean the community _ so far have not heard from you.

In the early '80s, there was a period of union activity in the city because there were problems. The union went away after a short time, apparently because the problems went away.

Now we have a group of people talking union again, and that prompts me to ask, loud and clear, what new problem or problems have caused them to do this? This is my first question.

My second and third questions are these. Is it in the best interest of the city to identify and then try to correct the problem or problems in order to eliminate the need for a union, or has it gone too far to head off a union?

If it is too late to eliminate the need for a union in our city, what will the impact be upon our city? What will it mean to the taxpayers of Indian Rocks Beach in terms of employee salaries and benefits, attorneys' fees and time _ time spent by the city administration and employees on negotiations rather than on positive and constructive projects to benefit everyone?

If a union is in the best interest of all, then so be it. But I would hope that the problem or problems can be identified and solutions can be found without anyone having to lose. Is that possible?

Edwina Whitnel, Indian Rocks Beach