Editor: Re: Homeless shelter upsets neighbors, Feb. 14.
As a homeowner and business owner in the North Fort Harrison district, I felt this article to be extremely biased, portraying us as unreasonable and insensitive to the needs of the homeless.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as the North Fort Harrison area already supports many public agencies: the Clearwater Free Clinic, the Salvation Army Auxiliary services, the Quest Inn, a spouse abuse shelter and an AIDS shelter, to name a few.
Yes, we did turn down Clearwater Commissioner Art Deegan's offer to speak to our group when he informed us that his purpose would be to enlighten us to the advantages of placing this homeless shelter in our neighborhood. Deegan has visions of the clients cleaning up the trash along Fort Harrison. Sure. When is the last time anyone saw homeless people cleaning up trash as they strolled along?
Deegan selected this particular property because it is a "former group home, so it's already suited for this kind of purpose." The other "group home" housed alcoholics and was disbanded because of illegal drug use by the residents and caused a marked increase in crime in the neighborhood. We don't need another facility that we feel would attract criminals and drug addicts.
By Deegan's own admission, in addition to sheltering the homeless, this facility would be used to house street people who are "drunk or troublesome" and would normally be jailed if it weren't for jail overcrowding. Are these the type of people we want living one block from North Ward Elementary School and less than 50 yards from a school bus stop?
We are an emerging neighborhood. We now have our own cruise ship. New businesses are opening and in the planning stages along Fort Harrison. People are moving into our quaint and prestigious waterfront community, remodeling and building new homes. Prostitution is finally under control, and we don't need Deegan or anyone else importing vagrants to "clean up our streets."
The outside belongs to everybody
Editor: After Clearwater commissioners banned T-backs, City Commissioner Fred Thomas came on television saying people should wear T-backs at home, not in people's faces. I will assume he meant not outside.
Well, the outside belongs to all people as much as individual homes do. The outside it not a providence solely of government, as he would have us believe.
Those people in government who believe we are only citizens of our houses should be ousted from "public" offices, for it is their ignorant private views that should be kept indoors, along with them, until they are fresh enough to face the "reality" of public good.
George M. Fatolitis
Don't use office as personal podium
Editor: Here it is again, Clearwater Commissioner Art Deegan saying that it is his personal feeling that . . .
Every day we are faced with yet another personal feeling. When are Deegan, Fred Thomas, Sue Berfield and Mayor Rita Garvey going to realize that they are the representatives of the people and are not in office to express and carry out their personal beliefs?
Before they were elected, Thomas and Deegan frequently attended commission meetings, telling the officials what they should do. When they did not get their way, they simply got themselves elected with lots of promises, and now have the power to shape and mold the city government into their self-serving entity.
Dick Fitzgerald is the only member of the commission who is a true representative of the people and the American system of government.
Let us examine the performance of our elected officials since Deegan and Thomas came into office.
Opening Dunedin Pass.
Resolving the Maas eyesore.
Getting Clearwater Pass Bridge through the red tape and under construction.
Resolving the missing link of the Pinellas Trail through Clearwater.
Finishing Pier 60.
Building a new wooden fishing pier.
Zero-tolerance speed zone through downtown, then crying foul when Thomas gets a ticket.
A new traffic bottleneck to and from the beach.
Driving away more beachgoers, seriously hurting beach businesses with the anti-profanity laws, lumping all teens into an image of negative attitude and lifestyle, and banning T-backs.
Putting rails on the old fishing pier and then tearing it down.
Buying the SunBank building and then selling it.
Harassing nightclubs and adult establishments on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
Turning Island Way and Mandalay Avenue into a speed trap. Is it a coincidence these are the communities where Deegan and Thomas live?
Landscaping Island Way. Is it a coincidence it began in front of the Deegan home, skipping back to the entry and hopefully filling in the middle at some point?
Raising the speed limit on Clearwater Pass Bridge. This is like playing Russian roulette.
Okayed cruise ship _ finally something positive.
The commissioners are not listening to the people. I suggested to Deegan that recycled water be brought to Island Estates. He told me there is no interest. Mr. Deegan, you are the one who has no interest.
Chris Van Slooten