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Remarks about Christian business are offensive

EDITOR'S NOTE: The first two letters are in response to Businesses mix faith, commerce, story, Jan. 23.

Words do not seem to be adequate or available to express my dismay, hurt and disgust with the comments of the "Christian" business people discussed in the article about ads that mix business and religious messages.

As a Jewish woman in a Christian world, I know full well that I am a member of a very small minority group and I accept this as a fact of life and proudly am a loyal Jew, as are my two sons. But when I read that there are so many people in this area that share the belief that "people have the impression that Christians may be nicer and more hard-working," my stomach turns and I am hurt, angry, shocked and very concerned.

For those people who don't understand why, can you imagine what it would be like to have the implication made that because one is Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or of any religious group other than Christian, that one is less valuable as a person, less nice, less hard-working? And for those people who have forgotten the lessons of history, may I remind them that horrors such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust were all perpetrated solely by nice "Christians."

Barbara A. Pafundi, Palm Harbor

Business' holier-than-thou attitude is truly divisive

For a business to flaunt itself as being a Christian business shows great insensitivity to people who are not Christian. To further state that some people trust Christian businesses as being "nicer and more hard-working" implies that non-Christian businesses are not prone to being nice and hard-working.

In these days when different religions are drawing closer together and ecumenism is much sought-after, this form of separatism is certainly not in the best interest of these businesses.

Before people advertise as Christian businesses, they should first ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?"

Marvin Katz, Oldsmar

Seafood festival is just fine the way it is set up now

Re: It's time for Safety Harbor to re-evaluate seafood festival, letter, Jan. 28.

I am the owner and operator of United Productions, the company selected by the city of Safety Harbor to develop and produce the Safety Harbor Seafood Festival, which has grown into a premier Suncoast event.

The seafood festival is totally self-generating. No funds come from the city. The event pays for all city services ($2,500 yearly), marina rental ($500) and donates 12.5 percent of the net back to three city groups. This is the $4,000 figure that has been bantered about.

Costs increase each year and yet each year we have returned a profit. Bare bones production costs last year exceeded $14,000, with no salary or compensation for time and effort figured in.

Beer and wine sales are a real Catch-22. They are a major profit item but they come with a responsibility we take seriously.

The entertainment is selected for a positive crowd, not a heavy-drinking or rowdy group. By doing this, you reduce alcohol sales, but I feel this is the correct approach for the city's image.

The entertainment is free and there is no entry fee. Participation in the children's area is cost-friendly. Granted, some of the food prices are relatively high, but quality seafood is expensive.

Rather than re-evaluating a highly successful event, why doesn't the city redirect its attention toward such events as the Fall Festival, Community Bazaar and Victorian Tennis projects that are not economically productive? What we need in Safety Harbor is a totally cooperative effort with full support for successful events and the willingness to improve on struggling events.

Lois S. Spencer, Safety Harbor

Cellular tower solution was an all-around team effort

I want to thank everyone who worked with me to facilitate a reasonable solution to the cellular phone tower issue: Howard Hinesley and the school district, AT&T, city of Clearwater staff, the Community Development Board and citizens in the affected neighborhoods. We were able to accommodate the needs of the cellular phone providers without building a 160-foot tower within a quarter-mile of an existing one on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

After the CDB had initially approved the additional tower in early December, information was presented to the city that many thought would have had an impact on the original decision. The neighbors appealed and the CDB wisely decided to address it in January.

In the meantime, I called a meeting of all the parties involved. Howard Hinesley said that the school district didn't have a problem with AT&T's building a new tower on the district's property.

AT&T said that it would build the tower at its cost, replacing the existing tower, which would enable it to accommodate all of the cellular phone providers.

This information, which for some reason was not available during the original CDB meeting, was then taken before the board by city staff. At that time, the CDB voted 5-1 to deny the request for an additional tower.

We were able to satisfy the neighborhood's needs, along with the needs of the business community, in the true spirit of Clearwater's "One City. One Future" initiative.

Brian J. Aungst, mayor, Clearwater

Roundabout warrants all the criticism it has gotten

George Kelly is the only Clearwater resident, official or otherwise, to mount an attack against our city's most shameful problem, the roundabout. He did so with a full-page ad in the Tuesday, Jan. 25, edition of the Clearwater Times.

In the ad, he outlined his court case against the state and city officials responsible for this "fiasco with fountain."

Further, he addressed each and every problem caused by the construction and location of the roundabout, especially the problem it presents for emergency evacuation. That alone should have given the roundabouters second and third thoughts about the efficacy of such a hare-brained scheme.

Fred Nassif, Clearwater

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