Editor's note: The first seven letters are about Clearwater City Manager Mike Roberto.
Clearwater City commissioners, get with it! When will enough be enough? When will you get enough guts to fire spendthrift and autocratic Mike Roberto, who has demonstrated repeatedly that city rules and regulations are not for him but for the other guy?
He has flaunted his arrogance in the faces of all Clearwater taxpayers, and in your faces, too, commissioners, with his unilateral and self-serving decisions on hiring consultants, arranging exorbitant perks for his subordinates, plush retreats, etc. Where will it end?
Supporters of his modus operandi are few and far between among Clearwater's residents. I do not know, nor do I care, whether or not his minority of supporters are affiliated with the Church of Scientology, as alleged in a recent letter to the editor. I do know that most Clearwater taxpayers do not agree with the way Mike Roberto has been spending our tax money recklessly.
It's time for him to be given his walking papers by our elected city commissioners, who should expect Mike Roberto, upon being fired, to demand an unreasonable and unjustified severance package. But whatever that package may be, it will be worth it for the future of Clearwater. Come on, Clearwater city commissioners. Act!
Victor J. Rudolph, Clearwater
Praise always follows
dressing down of manager
It's difficult to believe the continuing comedic routine taking place in downtown Clearwater is allowed to continue. If not so serious, it would indeed be funny.
I hope our elected officials review reruns of recent commission meetings. If so, perhaps they can understand that what I heard were platitudes designed to provide Mike Roberto an opportunity to publicly apologize. He is dressed down for his various antics in one breath and then summarily excused in the other for his temporary "lack of oversight," "lapse of good judgment" or for "trying to please everyone."
This is always followed by praise for the excellent job he is doing. Seems like a scenario intended to appease everyone. Certainly no one has yet exhibited a convincing sense of outrage over the truly outrageous events of the last few months. Last Sunday's editorial (City manager perfects familiar refrain: "I'm sorry") did a nice job summarizing those events and got me to wondering about the real relationship between the City Commission and the city manager. I wish there was a public record of the informal meetings between each commissioner and Roberto.
One last comment. I just opened my TRIM notice and guess what? A $51 proposed municipal tax increase. That's a bit more than the typical $30 increase I heard mentioned.
Jim Merritt, Clearwater
Roberto has made mistakes,
but city is still improving
I have lived in Clearwater since 1988, and it wasn't until City Manager Michael Roberto came on the scene that I actually started to see Clearwater showing signs of coming alive. I have noticed the property values escalating in the last few years, the beach undergoing what will be a beautiful improvement at the roundabout and the arrival of a major employer that will help boost Clearwater's economy.
He may have made some blunders, but no one is going to bat 100 percent. I can accept some mistakes as along as improvement goes with it. He seems to be accomplishing much more than the last city manager. Instead of attacking him, let's support him so he has no distractions.
Herb Zerden, Clearwater
Roberto's vision of future
deserves to continue
I object to the Times' negative reporting on City Manager Mike Roberto. For some reason, the paper chooses to emphasize the negative aspects of the people and institutions in our city while ignoring the positive.
In the case of Mike Roberto, there are many positive aspects. In his short tenure as city manager, he has brought about tangible improvements in our infrastructure and employment base while uniting many of the factions that formerly crippled efforts at change.
After the former mayor, Rita Garvey, lost the election, I anticipated an acceleration of progress in Clearwater. Apparently the Times has taken up her old reactionary standard and in league with the good old boy network within the City Commission is now attempting to silence the voice of progress.
There are many citizens in this city who believe in Mike Roberto's vision. We are weary of the Times' negative journalism. Progress, consensus, positive change and unity are vital to Clearwater's future; Mike Roberto forwards these things. Back his vision for Clearwater's future, don't push it back into its stultified past.
Ellen Edmondson, Clearwater
Mayor needs to be heard
on controversy over manager
I would like to know who is in charge on the Clearwater City Commission. Mike Roberto appears to be running the whole show. Where is Mayor Brian Aungst?
All we hear about is Roberto spending, spending and again spending. I don't understand who authorized him to have this much power without any commission policing.
At least the former mayor, Rita Garvey, got involved and had some say in what was going on. It seems to me that even though Roberto may be trying to make improvements, there are also a lot of outrageous expenditures.
Again, where is Aungst? I think he is in Roberto's pocket.
Richard Madasz, Clearwater
Contributions by Roberto
deserving of recognition
I am disappointed about the Times' recent negative articles on Mike Roberto. As city manager for Clearwater he has done more for this city than any other public official I am aware of.
Whether it be beautification, attracting business or simply bringing the citizens of the community together, he needs to be recognized for his tremendous contributions.
Matt Feshbach, Clearwater
Despite negative slant, manager
has moved Clearwater forward
I am not surprised the Times is knocking our city manager. He's the first guy to come along in quite a while who was forward thinking and didn't try to keep Clearwater in the 1950s. He has accomplished a lot with what he had to contend with.
Let him keep going and I think all of Clearwater will be the better for it. Any city would want Michael Roberto.
I've seen the Times on a regular basis try to negate any positive action that really tried to forward the city. The paper talks as if it has the best interests of the city in mind, but having lived here for 12 years, I've seen it be on the wrong side of the fence too often. It's almost a given for me, whoever you support is the exact opposite of what we need. I'm for Roberto.
Marlo Kimmel, Clearwater
Summer's heat is the worst
in 30 years, resident says
I attended the July PSTA meeting at headquarters on 49th Street N. I am not an elected official, but the County Commission put me on the board because the bus is my sole mode of transportation. Occasionally, I get a ride from one of the board members.
This time I rode the bus to the meeting and when it was over I asked the director's secretary for someone to accompany me across busy 49th Street to reach my north-bound bus. There is no shelter at this stop and having just missed a bus, I had a 30 minute wait. That morning, upon leaving home, I decided to carry a small thermometer as I heard we were breaking heat records. I watched the needle go up and it didn't stop until it reached 119 degrees.
I'm 93 and still able to attend meetings but this certainly is the hottest summer we've experienced in the 30 years I have resided in Clearwater.
Bonnie Harding, Clearwater
Story of widow who gave up
beloved pet was heart-rending
Re: 2 cats are one too many for home in Shangri-La, story, Aug. 5.
My heart goes out to the elderly widow with two cats. Where is King Solomon when his wisdom is really needed?
The board president of the Shangri-La is puffed up with his self-importance. Board rules are not carved in stone, but in my opinion are guidelines to follow, not to be led by.
According to the story, the two cats were indoor cats; they gave the woman solace and pleasure; they were not a threat to the community. But the board president prevailed in forcing this nice old lady to give up one of her beloved pets.
Some people need to get a life and the Shangri-La board members definitely fall into this category.
Joseph P. Corell, Safety Harbor
Clearwater Beach's beauty
lost to waves of greed
Re: Referendum would stop beachfront building, letter, July 29.
I fully agree with the letter. I wrote a letter years ago questioning why people move here from other states and quickly want to create Coney Islands at the beach and destroy what God has given to us. I used to visit Clearwater Beach every morning _ it was therapeutic _ and now it has been destroyed. Shame on all who have destroyed natural beauty for money.
I say put all the skating rinks, pools, towers, garages back in town and leave Clearwater Beach alone. You can't even see the water or beach from the road anymore.
Marion E. Gooch, Safety Harbor