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Police should post a phone number to report drivers

An idea came to me while driving my daily trip to work (Palm Harbor to St. Pete). You see notices on the back of commercial vehicles listing an 800 number to call to report bad driving. What if the local police and county Sheriff's Office got together and had a number to call to report aggressive or dangerous driving?

It seems every day at about the same time there are other commuters taking the same route who display the same behavior: very bad, dangerous driving. If we could call a number to report the license number, make and color of vehicle, road and time of day, I'd be happy to leave my name and phone number to put validity to it. If enough of these calls came from others witnessing the same thing, something could be done.

Put an unmarked car out there looking for the person that racked up more than a few of the same complaints. If I were a known aggressive driver and I knew others could report me, I think I might cool it a little bit, especially after a warning.

So many of us have cell phones, I'd love the opportunity to help make the roads a little bit safer by making a call once in a while. Give it some thought, folks.

Tom Duncan, Palm Harbor

Please stick to listing

candidates' credentials

Upon reading your editorial and your choices for the City Commission candidates in Dunedin, a few thoughts came to my mind.

I admit that I am not privy to whatever process is involved in the making of these recommendations, how thorough an analysis is made prior to these decisions or why the Times feels it is necessary to make recommendations at all.

It seems to me that the Times would better serve the public simply by listing the qualifications of the contenders. It further occurs to me that the city of St. Petersburg has enough problems of its own without telling the citizens of Dunedin how to vote in the coming elections.

Chet Pelc, Dunedin

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the tradition of American newspapers, the St. Petersburg Times editorial board makes recommendations in local, state and national elections. A board member interviews each candidate and studies the person's platform, political experience and personal background. Those candidates not chosen are given an opportunity to address the voters directly in a written response. Recommendations are one source of information _ along with political ads, candidate forums and news stories _ that voters can use in evaluating a candidate.

Request for more aid

a sign of ingratitude

Re: Officials want tax for senior center, story, Jan. 11.

Here is a perfect example of the misuse of public money. A new senior center was built last year with tax money of $1-million from the county and $555,650 from the state. If the center was not going to be self-supporting, it never should have been built.

But that is not enough for those in charge at the center. They want to have a referendum put on the November ballot asking for an additional ad valorem tax tacked on to your property tax bill. Not only is this gross ingratitude for what has already been spent on the facility but smacks of greed.

Irene Rausch, the executive director, stated the center can fund itself adequately, but they would be able to lower costs of classes and memberships if they have the taxpayer foot the bill.

I've had enough of special taxes _ seven are on my latest tax notice.

I think Irene Rausch should organize some pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, as other non-profit organizations do to raise funds, and be grateful for the $1.5-million she has received.

Joan Mills, Tarpon Springs

Time for new leadership

at Palm Harbor library

The Times has to be complimented for giving a voice to the residents of Palm Harbor by printing the letters about the direction the library is heading. It has gone from a quality library with quality people to an also-ran.

Anyone in his right mind would have to question spending $2,000 of taxpayer money on a consultant from Atlanta. What can you can get from a consultant for $2,000? Transportation from Atlanta, living expenses plus a fee _ what do you think we'll get?

But the more important question is: Who hired the director that resulted in this barrage of problems? Perhaps it's time to let others assume the leadership.

And while we are at it, is it not time for the residents who pay the bills to have direct representation by being able to vote for the members of the Community Services Agency. Our county representative sitting with the agency has not done his job, and some people are willing to bet he has not even visited the library. Does anyone know his name?

Robert Clune, Palm Harbor

Library's use of space

poses hurdles for public

I am writing to offer constructive criticism of the Palm Harbor Public Library. Misoneism (passionate resistance to change) is a human characteristic. To nurture acceptance of change, it is crucial to consider the needs of those who will be directly affected.

As a tutor for the literacy program, I have had occasion to observe the physical changes at the library. My concern is in the area of risk management _ health and safety.

A significant number of seniors are now somewhat confused, disoriented or uncertain in finding their way around. Path obstruction makes it necessary to go a longer distance to get to another section.

Library staff should re-evaluate the placement of furniture and shelves, and space allocation. People need a certain degree of psychological and physical space. A sense of crowding fosters discontent.

The fire marshal should evaluate fire-safety signage, space and traffic-flow requirements within the stacks and throughout the library.

Addressing these substantive issues with input from all stakeholders may lay the foundation for ongoing collaboration and cooperation.

Beverly Carpenter-Mason, Palm Harbor

Minimum speed limit

needed along U.S. 19

Re: Maybe we should crack down on the causes of road rage, letter, Jan. 18.

As a part-time college student at a junior college and a full-time waiter at a busy restaurant, I use U.S. 19 several times daily. I have places to be and a million things to do in my life right now. Therefore, I tend to drive a little over the speed limit and aggressively battle the traffic to get to my next destination.

On the other hand, most other drivers seem to operate much more slowly. Maybe they are tourists or they don't know where they are going. Or they are senior citizens who really do not have a whole lot of places to be.

In the five years since I received my license, I have seen U.S. 19, Clearwater and the Palm Harbor areas become so congested with traffic. I have never been involved in an accident; I have stopped numerous accidents from happening, using my quick reflexes to avoid bad drivers.

I feel there should be a minimum speed limit. Police officers should pull over people who drive too slowly in the fast lane.

And, finally, when you hit the age of 55-60, you should be required to take driving tests and eye exams for other people's own safety. After all, teenagers go through a lot of testing and training before they can operate a motor vehicle. There are a lot of fine-driving senior citizens out there, but there are a lot who are not as sharp as they once were and are not used to living or driving in such an overpopulated, fast-paced environment.

The police department shouldn't have to write so many speeding tickets. There has just got to be a better way.

David Wiberg, Crystal Beach

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