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Hackett treats perks as "inalienable rights'

Editor: The scofflaw attitude of John Hackett, former Belleair Beach City Council member, represents what so many of our citizens are finding more and more offensive in our political system of today.

It is sad to think that someone willing to perform a public service should feel that in return he should be accorded special privileges over and above that of the average citizen. To resort to the tactics of finger-pointing and chastising the Times for pointing out his illegal peccadillos, such as parking in a reserved handicapped spot and using his influence to get the violation expunged, among others, seem to be in keeping with this attitude.

We all know that there are perks associated with public office, and we citizens allow that. It is when these perks become self-serving "inalienable rights" that officialdom begins to lose touch with reality.

Ralph H. Kalb, Largo

So little governing, so much mischief

Editor: No wonder the rest of Pinellas County shake their heads in amazement at the antics of Belleair Beach elected officials. So many with so few to govern inevitably leads to mischief.

Some three or four years ago a council member was appointed an election canvasser to rule on the validity of absentee ballots. In his official capacity, the council member made a good-faith ruling that displeased a voter, who in turn sued the council member.

The Belleair Beach council refused to provide legal counsel or to pay legal fees in defense of this suit. This so incensed the electorate (along with plenty of other stupidity), that they threw the rascals out _ the new broom swept clean.

It was not long before the new broom began molting its straws. Now the City Council is providing legal fees for a council member who received parking tickets in another jurisdiction while totally off duty and non-official. What if the tickets were for leaving the scene of an accident or DUI?

A partial solution might be to reduce the number of elected officials _ fewer cooks to spoil the broth.

James F. Turner III, Belleair Beach

Lowering signs won't ruin business

Editor: Hooray for Clearwater commissioners for standing firm on the sign ordinance. This ordinance has been in effect since 1985, and here seven years later and nearing the deadline to enforce said ordinance, these business people come out of the woodwork.

How they can say lowering the signs will ruin their business is hogwash. Instead of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard looking like Coney Island, take a look at the signs of businesses that have already conformed to the ordinance and see for yourselves how much neater and more eye level they are as you are driving by.

It's ridiculous to have to look up to the sky to read the advertising signs. Better they number their buildings so residents and tourists alike can find them.

Lillian Quinn, Clearwater

Editorial shows signs of inaccuracy

Editor: The "Signs, signs everywhere" column by Diane Steinle was colorful indeed, but not very accurate and very biased. It didn't show that much attention was given to what was said at the Clearwater City Commission meeting or depict that the majority of the people attending were small-business owners and not big business.

Ms. Steinle seemed to have spent more time investigating Sanibel Island than what is being said about the problems in Clearwater.

Most editorials cover both sides of the issue.

Cute words were used like "mild lynch mob," "demand," "shouted into the microphone" and "they plopped down the petitions."

Well, there was no lynch mob, but there were a lot of people worried about getting through these tough times. No one shouted into the microphone.

I think it's about time our City Commission starts working with the business community, and the St. Petersburg Times gets someone who can write a non-biased editorial.

Scott O. Suits, Clearwater

Center thanks volunteers, businesses

Editor: On Sept. 26, the Long Center volunteers had a family picnic at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor.

A small group of volunteers planned, organized and gathered door prizes for the event. This group is our multitalented Adult Ambassadors.

I would like to congratulate the Ambassadors on a terrific event and thank the many businesses that contributed door prizes and/or food items that added to the success of this event.

Mark N. Abdo, executive director, Long Center, Clearwater

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