1. Archive

Why build the same roads over and over again?

Editor: I think your reporter Teresa Burney failed to ask some important questions about the latest round of construction on the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

1. Why is it necessary, for the third or fourth time in as many years, for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to wreak havoc with traffic on the parkway to work on essentially the same area?

2. Why is a third lane necessary? There have been no traffic problems here since the last road-widening project.

3. Is there, as your article suggests, a plan to add a third lane to the overpass from Eisenhower to Spruce Street? Is that really necessary?

4. Is the DOT wasting a tremendous amount of money by repeatedly working on the same intersections? (A similar event is now occurring at the south end of McMullen-Booth Road where it intersects State Road 60. As part of the 49th Street bridge construction project, a retention pond and drainage system, along with roadway and sidewalks, that were completed a year ago are again being torn up and replaced!)

Perhaps Gov. Lawton Chiles could find some of this money to hire more teachers. We may need roads in Florida, but we certainly don't need the same roads built over and over again.

Michael C. Grohman, Safety Harbor

Editor: This letter is in response to your story about the closing of one of the two lanes at the merge point of the Courtney Campbell Parkway and Eisenhower Boulevard at the Tampa end of the causeway.

The tone of your article seemed to be one of hopelessness and acquiescence. You quote people who say they have taken up the hobby of watching airplanes take off from Tampa International Airport while waiting in traffic. You quote Lee Royal, spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation (DOT), who says, "We realize it is an inconvenience, but there isn't much that can be done to make it better."

Actually there is much that could be done, and still can be. The DOT is simply displaying the ultimate arrogance of a government agency that does whatever it wants whenever it wants, regardless of how it may inconvenience thousands of citizens.

I have been commuting from Dunedin to my job in Tampa for 22 years. I could count the number of months on one hand when there was not construction at some point along the way.

However, in every instance until now the situation was not made worse during construction. There may have been some uneven pavement, some lane shifting, but never an extended period of time when there was complete closure of half the roadway.

This is a first. It is costing me and thousands of other commuters a half-hour a day, which will total 100 hours each before construction is finished.

And, yes, Ms. Royal, something could have been done to make it better. There are multiple ways in which two lanes could have been retained during this construction phase. I have voiced my displeasure to David May, DOT's District 7 director of operations, and have written to his boss, William H. McDaniel Jr., district secretary for District 7.

I suggest that other angry causeway commuters join me in letting Mr. May and Mr. McDaniel know how we feel. Demand that a second lane be provided during this lengthy construction. McDaniel's address is 4950 W Kennedy Blvd., Suite 500, Tampa 33609.

Ronald D. Emrick, Dunedin

Personal ads don't promise results

Editor: Re: Alice Levine's Feb. 11 guest column, "Ads for meeting people a little too personal."

I have a confession to make, Alice Levine. I answered many personal ads during the decade of the '80s. Before the responses became boring, the results mundane and my perspective more dynamic, I reaped (?) at least $167 worth of dinners at some of the nicest restaurants in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Even though I always have considered myself an intelligent, secure, upbeat, single person, a breach must have occurred in the transition from marriage to singleness. I found the social scene of single life barren, and so I answered some personal ads in various and sundry local magazines.

Yes, I made sure that we always met in a public place and then just for coffee. But with agreement, many of my "dates" and I planned further to meet for dinner. You see, there even is a ritual with this up-to-the-minute search for Prince Charming.

I was wined and dined everywhere. I met an English professor on leave from UCLA who was looking for "a partner who could share fine madness." I found out what "one who enjoys nature" meant from a chiropractor in Tampa. His residence was Lake Como!

I was enamored for a moment by a man in transportation (a truck driver). On the first encounter, a delightful professor from another Ivy League college asked me to be his sixth wife!

Another response also was an invitation to his own singles group! Still another response chided me for being too late. I just couldn't get around to all my correspondence, I guess.

But never was there any hidden horror. Maybe my conservative upbringing was so obvious that my potential suitors chose not to pursue. Maybe I was just too cautious, too normal, too orthodox for vicarious and sensual relationships.

And so we see the mores of social life for singles evolving even further. Singledom is here forever, and singlesomething has become a part of our culture.

Marilyn McDonald, Clearwater

Fire district voters need information

Editor: The voters in the Indian Rocks Beach Fire District are being asked to vote an increase in the flat rate for each home.

The rate in 1988 was $54; in 1989, $81; and we are asked to approve $120 for 1992. This is an increase of 122 percent in four years (233 percent in 10 years).

While this increase may be justified, little or no information has been given the voters. The fire district board should inform the voters why it is needed and what it proposes to do with it so they can vote on its merit.

Ernest B. Gaunt, Largo

Safety Harbor acts are unprofessional

Editor: We the residents of Safety Harbor are fortunate to have a highly capable and professional city manager.

Our city charter provides that the city manager is responsible for the administration of our city. The charter also details the responsibilities of the mayor. Nowhere does the charter say that the mayor is responsible to unilaterally judge the correctness of the city manager's evaluation of subordinate city employees.

Only a few years ago our mayor strongly defended the city manager when job performance became a City Commission and public issue. The statement then was that the commissioners and the public shouldn't meddle in the management of the city. He also maintained that the city manager's performance should be evaluated in total by the entire City Commission, not by individuals taking a single matter out of context.

Recent newspaper articles have commented on the evaluation of the city finance director as completed by the city manager. The periodic performance evaluation of city employees is the responsibility of the city manager, as detailed in the city charter. The senior administrative professional gauges the performance of the subordinate administrative professionals to accepted standards and objectives. This is professionalism.

Also recently reported were the comments of the mayor and others who publicly take exception to the city manager's evaluation of the finance director. By inference they are questioning the manager's professional ability while directly defending the finance director's performance.

None of the commenting parties are educated, trained or experienced to qualify as professional to judge the finance director's performance or to question the city manager's standards of performance. To have done this is not professional of them.

Sy Albin, Safety Harbor

Thanks for making downtown lively

Editor: Hard work, enthusiasm and cooperation pay off! Just ask anyone who attended the Downtown Comes Alive concert Feb. 7.

Several hundred people grooved to the music of James Peterson and the Blues Express in Station Square Park. One lucky lady even won flowers, balloons, champagne, dinner for two and the use of a red convertible on Valentine's Day.

Downtown Comes Alive is a monthly themed event that takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Best of all, it's free thanks to a dedicated group of individuals from the Downtown Development Board and the city of Clearwater.

On behalf of the Downtown Comes Alive Committee, I would like to express our appreciation to everyone who has helped make these events so successful. In particular, our thanks go to the following sponsors: Deli in the Park, the Atrium at Clearwater Square, Citizens Bank of Clearwater, Moss Feaster Funeral Homes, Lee Arnold and Associates and Creative Contractors.

The involvement of these major downtown businesses gives witness to the spirit of support and cooperation currently "alive" in downtown.

Helen Wheelis, chairman,

Downtown Comes Alive Committee,