1. Archive

Baseball is an essential part of life in Dunedin

I have read and re-read the interesting story of Aug. 27, Does subsidizing baseball pay off?

Concerning the paragraph, "(Mayor Tom) Anderson is trying to figure out if the Toronto Blue Jays should be given up to a $1-million yearly subsidy to keep their spring training in town," I would hope that you are not referring to Dunedin city costs, because that is totally incorrect. You seem to suggest that this would be the yearly cost to Dunedin. The cost to Dunedin will be minimal.

With regard to all the studies that are referred to in the article, certainly there are many studies on the street, so just pick the one you agree with. It may be true that a study titled a "benefits" study would not highlight total costs, but then that should not be a mystery, nor is it in Dunedin. We have ample cost data available, as do the Blue Jays.

Economics professor Phillip Porter seems to lose sight of a number of issues. The current economy is exceptionally strong, with spendable income at a high level. Perhaps this is what drives the room rental rates and the sales in Pinellas County. The tourist attractions include the beach setting as the No. 1 attraction, but what drives the tourist economy is all the opportunities for leisure activities _ and part of that is baseball.

The growth of population in Pinellas County has had the most significant impact on sales. I cannot believe that one could construct a graph that depicts total sales of a growing population base accompanied by a robust economy in the most densely populated county in Florida and then try to compare it to spring training attendance. Talk about apples and oranges.

The fact of the matter is that spring training and minor-league baseball contribute to the overall economic vitality of this area.

We should consider the issues as they relate to Dunedin. The tax dollars that you speak of are tourist tax dollars, generated by those who visit our area. These dollars will pay for the renovation of the existing stadium and training facilities.

The reference to $3-million is somewhat misleading. This figure was part of the total package and was the subject of negotiations between Dunedin and the Blue Jays. Dunedin is not considering spending up to $3-million as you suggest.

Those that would say these facilities only benefit major- or minor-league baseball need to understand that the Dunedin High School teams play at Dunedin stadium, a benefit to the school system. The involvement of the Blue Jays with the Little League programs is extensive.

The misinformation that surrounds this whole issue is astounding. I would encourage all those who look at economics as purely a numbers game to attend a spring training game, a minor league game, a high school game and get to know your Little League program volunteers. Perhaps then you would understand that the character of a city depends on what that city provides for its citizens and those in the surrounding areas. Is baseball part of it? You bet.

John Doglione, vice mayor

City of Dunedin

Brits don't have roundabouts

mastered, and they can't drive

Having been tempted several times to comment on this ridiculous roundabout, I finally feel that I must.

I, too, have traveled the British roads and negotiated the roundabouts there. I was born there and lived there for 24 years.

Since I left there in 1954, I have visited many times for business and pleasure, driving literally the length and breadth of the country, most recently in 1998.

In my opinion roundabouts are a legalized form of Russian roulette, no matter which country they are in. To say that the Brits know how to drive the roundabouts is baloney. They don't even know how to drive on a freeway that is straight, with the sun shining.

Their roundabouts are equally as hazardous as ours and their driving skills are no better. Roundabouts constitute a danger to everyone's health and should be abolished.

Also, I was in Istanbul and Athens eight months ago. Of course, they don't have a problem. The traffic is in perpetual gridlock.

Ken Hooton, Clearwater

Just follow traffic law

and there won't be a problem

Having lived and worked all over the world, I am amazed to see the continuing problems regarding the Clearwater Beach roundabout.

The solution is very simple: Just follow the existing Florida traffic laws. Remove the signs and lights and start imposing the "rule of the right" (See Florida Drivers Handbook, HSMV 71902 (Revised 7/99) page 38).

When two roads of equal importance intersect, the vehicle on the right will have the right of way. This is the procedure followed all over the world.

This may be looked on as a simplistic solution, but I can guarantee it works. Ask any roundabout user anywhere in the world.

Bob Laws, Belleair

Treat roundabout as what it

is, just an intersection

Called rotaries in New England, where there are many, the roundabout itself is and should be considered the intersection. Drivers entering the roundabout, as at other types of intersections, are supposed to yield the right of way to drivers already in the intersection.

If this doesn't happen and the "rule of the right" is applied, the roundabout (or intersection) would become jammed up (no way for drivers to exit the roundabout, yet drivers keep coming in).

If drivers would check left before entering the roundabout and blend or stop if there is a conflict, that should take care of entry problems.

Don Welsch, Palm Harbor

Mind the business in your

own communities

Concerning all the people from Palm Harbor, Belleair, etc., who write in criticizing the voters of Clearwater about how they voted in the summer referendum _ I wonder, do they vote in their own communities? Such astute commentaries certainly would be welcomed there.

As to the Clearwater Beach roundabout, I suggest that several speed bumps be installed to slow traffic in the circle.

When suggestions are made about ways to transport people from the mainland to the beach, I cannot see some dear old father and mother transporting two kids, a cooler, several blankets and perhaps a beach umbrella onto a trolley or other means of mass transportation and then having to repeat this on the trip back. Can't see it.

Ken Johnson, Clearwater

Towing trucks should be

responsible for accident mess

Re: Who is responsible for clearing accident debris? Sept. 6 letter.

This is the second letter in two weeks asking who should clean up debris from an accident and not one towing company has even replied.

This seems to be a very simple problem. Who gets paid to remove the vehicle from an accident scene? The towing company, of course, so why shouldn't they be responsible for clearing away any debris left over from the accident?

The towing trucks should have trash containers and push brooms as part of their towing equipment. It only makes common sense. They make the bucks and should clean up the mess.

Fran Glaros, Clearwater

Pinellas is a better place,

thanks to Fred Marquis' work

The members of the Clearwater Audubon Society acknowledge and compliment Fred Marquis' conservation achievements. During his tenure as county administrator, his vision and guidance led to the preservation, restoration and protection of much of the natural beauty of Pinellas County. We congratulate him and his staff on the many successes they achieved for the environment during his administration.

Under his leadership, the staff was able to educate Pinellas citizens about important concerns, including recycling, ecosystem preservation, purchase of conservation lands and watershed restoration.

Thanks to his vision, all citizens, present and future, of Pinellas County will enjoy a greatly enhanced quality of life.

Dana Kerstein, president

Clearwater Audubon Society

Fire task force's action

saves lives on Sand Key

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst, the city commissioners and Interim City Manager Bill Horne for revisiting the Fire Task Force recommendations. The task force identified, validated and unanimously voted that fire stations on Sand Key and in northwest Clearwater were their first priority.

Sand Key is a high-density neighborhood. Demographics indicate an older population. Public safety is our No. 1 priority. Since the installation of an EMS crew at the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Sand Key, four lives have been saved. We have already had a fire at the Grande, a high-rise condo, resulting in the closing of the first 10 floors for six weeks.

Using Penny for Pinellas money to build a facility on Sand Key is a great idea. The Sand Key Park is identified as the best location. It would house the fire station, police substation and the Sand Key Volunteer Beach Patrol office and their two all-terrain vehicles.

All of us on Sand Key thank you for responding to our needs.

Joe Calio, Clearwater

Here's a shocking concept:

logic in city management

Re: Penny priorities likely to change, Aug. 30 story.

I'm shocked, just shocked, that Clearwater city leaders would rather build a fire station on Sand Key than plant trees on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. What on earth are they thinking?

Or is it that they finally are thinking? Is logic finally coming to city management? Wouldn't that be shocking?

Bob Coffey, Clearwater

Water supply can't handle

so much area development

Every time I hear about a water shortage, my hair stands on end. How can we keep approving developments, condos and high-rise apartments on every piece of vacant land and give special variances when there is not enough water to go around now?

It doesn't take much intelligence to see that there is not enough green space to let the water seep into the aquifer now. Don't make this into another concrete jungle.

Jacqueline Straub, Dunedin