Editor: Does Largo need a new $1.8-million theater in the park now?
First, I'm not opposed to the center, but our city has two theaters and the Showmobile which are not being used to capacity.
The Largo Recreation and Parks Department brochure lists the following facilities available for public use: Largo Community Center, Largo High School auditorium, high school football field, the Southwest Recreation Complex gymnasium with a full stage, the new 1,000-seat auditorium at St. Paul's Church, or the Showmobile, a portable amphitheater for rent that can be moved easily from location to location. It can and should be used in the Central Park location. The Showmobile was purchased by the commission Dec. 2, 1992, for $90,000 and has been used only twice.
Largo's total budget for 1994 is $58,977,400. The Parks and Recreation budget is $6,158,800. The Parks and Recreation Department is listed in the city budget as a "non-essential service." The commission is split 4-3 on the theater construction. I propose a referendum. Let the taxpayers decide how, where and when their tax dollars should be spent.
I encourage city residents to call Mayor Thom Feaster and commissioners Bob Jackson, Harriett Crozier and Jean Halvorsen. They all need to know how you, the voters who pay their salaries, want your tax dollars spent. These are the people who are in favor of spending tax dollars on this project.
Robert E. Martin
Even gun experts can miss targets
Editor: During my introduction to the use of a pistol, the sergeant said, "This weapon has killed more people accidentally than ever on purpose."
Later when I wore one for many years _ immodestly I admit to being rated an expert shooter _ the rule was, "Don't point the pistol at anyone unless you intend to shoot, then aim to kill."
Reading the Feb. 19 paper, I learned that an experienced pistol shooter fired three shots, missed his target, and hit a building and two automobiles. He is depicted as a hero and subjectively, I applaud his effort to protect his son.
My informal man-on-the-street survey (four men, only one I knew) resulted in four votes that he shouldn't have shot.
What I gain from the item is support for my belief that handguns ought to be barred from all except certified, trained bodyguards, police officers and active military personnel. Women and others training in galleries to shoot pursue an unattainable dream. For under stress lining up the sights, breathing properly and squeezing calmly just seldom occur even for experts.
The pistol is effective for a very short range, although the bullet carries a great distance. How often we read that police firing their weapons at a dangerous opponent miss repeatedly.
Louis J. Sartor
New cable channel a mistake
Editor: I read with great interest and concern the newspaper reports about the city of Clearwater approving $350,000 to start producing TV programs on a government-run cable channel. According to reports, the move would cost the city more than $1.4-million over the next six years and would be paid for by an increase in the city franchise tax.
I am the president of CPN Television in Clearwater. We are the largest state-of-the-art television production company in Florida, with an investment of more than $15-million. Our expertise in this field could be very helpful to guide the city to proper implementation of this seemingly simple, but extremely difficult and expensive task.
I feel the city of Clearwater may be making a serious mistake if it goes through with its plans to produce its own 24-hour channel. Recycling, city permits, city issues, the reading of the annual report -- all may be important issues.
However, that's good for the first day's programing. What will you do for the other 364 days? How will you be able to keep viewership on such a modest budget since you must compete with 60-plus channels offering multimillion dollar productions of entertainment, news, politics, sports and public affairs?
How will your constituents take to the idea of another tax increase that you will lay on the cable company, when you know that the cable company is empowered to pass that on to its customers? Furthermore, 40 cents added to their subscription bill will be a burden that many people will not want to bear. Congress has spent a great deal of time and effort to keep the cable rates as low as possible. Is Clearwater not in synch with that effort?
Vision Cable is doing a great job broadcasting the commission meetings and public information now. Why would you spend millions or any sum of money out of the public coffers to do this job, when it is being done now at no charge? Please, let's talk before you embark on a course which may be embarrassing and you might have to backtrack on.
Stuart W. Arnold
Commissioner's six good qualities
Editor: Re: Jan. 30 letter to the editor from R.L. Hartley, "Six steps to notoriety."
Your gutless swipe at Clearwater Commissioner Fred Thomas missed widely. Here are six steps that show Mr. Thomas' positive qualities:
Question everything until the facts are found to make an intelligent decision.
Have the community welfare at heart. Pay for your own legal and secretarial expenses.
Keep digging until you find the real issues.
Ignore petty and personal problems in order to focus on the issues.
Make every move openly and in public regardless of misunderstanding, a hostile press and political enemies.
Be a bold, forthright leader demanding the best efforts for every tax dollar expended.
I hope Dunedin is so lucky to have such an elected official.
Laws seem to favor destruction
Editor: There is something really strange going on in our courts. It is perfectly legal to burn the American flag in front of war memorials, even though our heroes died for the flag and its principals. The anguish that flag burning must cause in the survivors.
The Ku Klux Klan is permitted to burn a cross downtown during Christmas. This not only desecrates a religious symbol at a holy time of the year, but it dredges up from our past the darkest moments in our history, moments of extreme hate _ moments of our own holocaust.
But now, in our country, it is considered racketeering to pray in public on public property. I would like to remind all that May 5 is our National Day of Prayer. Who knows? This might be the last official day of prayer. Maybe to have an official day might "violate" separation of church and state.
Dr. Dean H. Fauber