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Ticket subdues excitement about downtown

Recently I was dining with some friends in downtown St. Petersburg and parked my car on Beach Drive near the yacht club. After dinner, I walked up to BayWalk to see what had been added recently. When I returned, I had a parking citation on my car. This letter is not about a parking citation; I violated the parking limit and I will pay the fine.

What this letter is about _ and what hurts me for the city _ is why the city is issuing parking citations at 8:30 in the evening. I have lived in St. Petersburg for more than 29 years and have experienced all of the years of trying to revitalize downtown. Finally we have a wonderful excitement to our downtown. What a thrill it is to see people of all ages enjoying BayWalk, the waterfront, many new restaurants and the surrounding area.

I understand the need for parking limits up to 5 p.m., but at 8:30 p.m.? I believe that people who come downtown in the evening _ whether parking in a garage, a lot or on the street _ expect it to be first come, first served. No one wants to come downtown and experience this new excitement and have to continually look at his watch.

The city should do everything it can to encourage the support of downtown investments by individuals, corporations and the city. Don't discourage it!

Larry Bowman, St. Petersburg

Deputies are far too laid back

Pinellas County deputies need to step up to the plate and do the job of enforcing the law. I have never seen such a lackadaisical attitude among law officers.

I was told by one deputy that he does not issue speeding tickets unless the driver is going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. In a 25 mph residential zone, 40 mph could be fatal to the unsuspecting child, jogger, etc.

There have been times when I have had to call upon a deputy and it has taken 45 minutes or longer for arrival. I shudder to think what will happen if there is an emergency at our house. The deputies do not like to enforce laws that have to do with firecrackers, unregistered motorized vehicles used by children, illegal parking, speeding or stop signs. I guess that report writing is so extensive for the deputies that it is easier to do nothing about certain offenses.

Once, I reported that a man was about to assault me with an object. The deputies took 45 minutes to get to my house, and by this time, the perpetrator was gone. I gave the deputies the license tag of the man's vehicle, and the deputies said they would have a "talk" with him, if they were able to catch up with him.

We need real police forces to govern Pinellas County. The Sheriff's Office should take lessons from the Largo and Clearwater police departments. They are real cops.

Patricia Hoffman, Palm Harbor

A caring radio announcer will be missed

Re: Radio host dies on way to work, story, Nov. 6.

The Tampa Bay area has lost one of its most involved, caring radio announcers. Carl Metcalf cared. He didn't just talk; he walked the walk, from working with the street ministries, to going to Haiti, to going into the locker rooms at sporting events for interviews. He was so thorough you really didn't need to get to your paper first thing in the morning because you got the highlights for the day as you woke up with Carl.

Those who knew him are in shock that someone hit him, killed him and drove off, leaving him in the street. It does make more vivid Paul's words, "To be out of this body is to be with the Lord."

Those who knew him agree he heard those precious words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

There has been a tremendous void left in Tampa Bay. Carl, we miss you.

Eva DeHart, Palm Harbor