1. Archive

County library won't admit error, user says

What's up with the library system in Pinellas County? I received a notice in the mail today that two of the videotapes I checked out were a day late (a fee of $2 each) and that one of them wasn't rewound (another $3 fee).

I am absolutely positive that they were turned in on time. In fact, I had a friend drive me because I was sick that day and didn't want to pay a $4 fee. I put them in the drop box around 7:30 at night. I don't know if they didn't check the drop box again that day or what, but they recorded them as turned in the next day. As for the $3 rewind fee, I checked them three times to ensure that they were rewound. I even compared them with my videotapes at home to make sure.

I didn't earn A-plus credit by being late on things like this. I've never been late on a payment in my life and now this. You might say it's only $7, be quiet and pay it. For a recent graduate with over $50,000 in student loans to pay off, that $7 is a lot for me, especially considering that I don't have it.

The supervisor with whom I spoke on the telephone upon receiving this notice was adamant that it was not in error. I could see that asking that the fees be reversed was out of the question. So I told her that if this is how the library system treats their cardholders, I want nothing to do with it and that I will be canceling my card. Beware, public library users, of Pinellas County!

Natalie C. Duarte, Clearwater

Schools, skate park, water fee: problems with simple solutions

Re: District may pay to help its image, story, July 28; Judge says reclaimed water fee is illegal, story, July 28; Skate park plans rolling again, story, July 28.

Local schools have an image problem. School Board solution: $100,000 for public relations. A judge says the fee for reclaimed water is unconstitutional. County solution: Go to the Florida Supreme Court and pressure the cities with the threat of no new water or sewer hookups. And, finally, the Largo skate park is on again, money is allocated, a site found _ but one commissioner questions the "timing" because the money is needed for police officers.

Excuse me. One-hundred-thousand dollars probably wouldn't buy many books for students who don't have them. But it could be a start.

Excuse me again. I do believe that our government officials on every level have sworn to uphold the state and federal constitutions. So, county administrator, county attorney and county commissioners, take it to the Florida Supreme Court if you will. But lay off the threats and pressures on those who have stood up for our Constitution.

And the final excuse me. Money's there; site is there; give the skaters the park. With something fun to do, maybe fewer of us will need to be policed anyway.

Richard Hagan, Indian Rocks Beach

Commissioner Marty Shelby's attitude is often inappropriate

Re: Commission tensions, voices rise, story, Aug. 1.

As a frequent attendee of Largo City Commission meetings, I read with interest your article on the tension displayed between Mayor Thomas Feaster and Commissioner Marty Shelby. While I agree with Commissioner Shelby's comment that he was not elected to be a rubber stamp, he was elected to have open, continuous contact with the city manager, who is charged with running the day-to-day business of the city and who, I am sure, would be willing to resolve any of Commissioner Shelby's issues.

Agenda packages are sent out early enough for all of his concerns to be addressed prior to the commission meeting. I view the excuse of not having enough information a fault of those needing the information, not those providing the information.

Quite honestly, I have found Commissioner Shelby's behavior over the past few weeks to be inappropriate and unnecessarily theatrical at times. I expect an elected official to be able to raise questions at the dais in a manner that educates and informs not only his fellow commissioners, but also the voters. But not in a manner that creates front page stories.

Gigi Arntzen, Largo

More unmarked police cruisers would deter violators on U.S. 19

Why do the powers that be allow trucks, motor homes and trailers to travel in the two left lanes on U.S. 19? This causes drivers to weave to get past them. I say keep them in the right-hand, slow lane until they need to make a left-hand turn.

U.S. 19 is congested, we all agree. How about more unmarked cruisers in with the traffic to catch violators? How about raising fines for violators high enough to make them think twice before repeating? Repeat violators should lose their license and registration and face heavier fines. This will put more money into the court coffers and may also lower insurance rates for good motorists.

Donald W. Dow, Tarpon Springs

A person's upbringing matters more than the clothes he wears

Re: Middle ground on uniform debate: Dress sensibly, column, July 25.

It's not a question of whether or not to have the school uniform. It's time to go back to family values. I have two children, ages 15 and 17. In my opinion, it is not the clothes making the person, but the upbringing.

What about the ones who can't afford the uniform? Are we going to deny them an education?

Fred A. Destree, Mulberry

Group of teens who voluntarily cleaned up park did a great job

On a recent Saturday, my wife and I were walking in Taylor Park when we came upon a crowd of teens in and around the bushes, cleaning up the park. And they did seem to be enjoying themselves. We later spoke to a park ranger who explained that there were 60 teens from a church who had volunteered, and he said they did a great job.

As we walked around, we could see what a great job they had done, and I say kudos to the teens. God bless them. They shall not want.

Edward J. Brain, Largo

Roundabout came about at the expense of recreational waters

Re: As punishment, city to spend nearly $1-million on 2 parks, story, Aug. 3.

So the city of Clearwater admitted committing a host of environmental violations over the last few years, including on projects it told us were to improve, not violate, Tampa Bay. And of course the city diverted $13-million of Penny for Pinellas taxes from a Tampa Bay cleanup project to build the beach roundabout.

I hope for the future of city businesses that tourists continue to come to Clearwater, where they can drive around the "signature" roundabout instead of going some place that protects its recreational waters.

Early Sorenson, Clearwater

Enough with the ice skating; give back the Pier 60 Pavilion

Is the city going to give the Pier 60 Pavilion back for the great weekend music? We're tired of having to sit in the hot sun. Enough with the ice skating, which hardly anyone is doing. And the skate people don't even pay the city any rent.

As a Clearwater taxpayer, I'm outraged. Where can one run a business and not pay rent? Only in Clearwater. Wake up, taxpayers of Clearwater.

Dot Pinelli, Clearwater

If Clearwater really cared, beach would benefit city taxpayers

The taxpayers of Clearwater have been able to buy a pass from the city's harbor master to park on the beach. This pass also allowed you to park near the pier at north beach. This along with other things will be taken away from the taxpayers.

As of Sept. 1, you will still be able to buy a pass for $25 at the traffic office, but it is no longer in the harbor master's hands. Cheap, right? Wrong! The only place you will be able to park will be north beach. Even then, there is a catch. You can't park at meters marked "no permit." So how many spaces will there be?

If anyone thinks building a garage on Clearwater Beach will give the people more spaces, forget it. If the city of Clearwater cared for their people, they would buy the Flamingo Motel and really open the beach. The hotels on Clearwater Beach don't spend their money in Clearwater. It goes to wherever the owners live or their headquarters are.

Give the people back their beach. That is who really pays for it.

Ruth Pappas, Clearwater