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Bases can be used to help homeless

Re: Where can the homeless go if sent packing?Feb. 12.

I do believe I have a partial answer to this never-ending problem of the homeless. I remember this situation being discussed between my parents when I was a very young child.

However, after all these years, the problem still persists. And it is never going to go away until our lawmakers realize that cleaning up our cities and parks, by helping the homeless, would be a very popular thing to do. Our lawmakers love notoriety, and I question why none of them have seriously taken on this task.

The homeless are society's responsibility and the thought of running them out of town or relocating them under someone else's window is utterly selfish and the height of stupidity. Our lawmakers must act to correct the situation.

Many years ago, I was stationed on an air base that transported and received large numbers of less fortunate citizens from Hungary.

At that time, during the Hungarian Revolution, the people were fleeing for their lives. We housed these people in empty barracks in the United States. It proved to be an excellent holding place for them until they could be relocated and eventually settled.

I firmly believe that we could reopen a few of these bases, and with their permission, relocate our homeless. They would have shelter, could be given medical care, trained in a trade, and sent back into society as responsible citizens.

These bases have all the facilities to do such a job and would not be a burden to the taxpayers, other than to restaff these installations with a small amount of personnel. It would be outrageous to think that our government could not support such a program.

We have spent billions reconstructing Iraq . . . and it still needs fixing! The time has come for our government to take care of its own citizens and start making repairs here at home. The homeless need caring, and we need to have our parks and cities back.

R. Cole, St. Petersburg

Suggestions to improve Pinellas Trail

After reading several recent articles on the Pinellas Trail in the Times, I would like to elicit comments from the Pinellas County communities on the following and, I believe, rational observations concerning the safety of the trail.

I cycle and/or run the trail at least two times a week. While on the trail, I observe many vehicles not heeding stop signs (including PSTA buses), cyclists just slowing down and proceeding through stop signs without stopping (including myself), and angry exchanges between motorists and cyclists at four-way stops. Let me propose the following:

1. Eliminate all stop signs for motorists. This will be an energy-saving change and eliminate conflicts between motorists and cyclists. Keep the traffic signals or flashing red lights at all major intersections, where future overpasses will hopefully be installed.

2. Provide yield-only signs on the trail for pedestrians, runners, inline skaters and cyclists, including intersecting roads where users of the trail now have the right of way. Make the cyclist, who should be slowing down at every intersection anyway, responsible for stopping for oncoming traffic.

Most intersections are very visible for a cyclist to yield to oncoming traffic and will eliminate the need to always stop at the present four-way stop signs.

In closing, I must compliment most motorists for allowing cyclists to proceed through four-way stop signs, even when they arrive before the cyclists.

Jim Larson, Clearwater

It's time to say no to all these condos

Why would anyone in their right mind want to live in the ugly, soulless condos being overbuilt everywhere? Most are being built on the beaches, closing off the rights of all.

California has finally imposed restrictions on condos that block the public's right to watch sunsets and dig their toes in the sand. After overbuilding and overpricing, many are left standing empty.

I suggest that people who have the kind of money it takes to live in these upscale ghettos to just stop buying them! Show some style and class - just say no to all these horrid condos. If you have that kind of money, surely you could do better than moving into what I suggest looks like public housing.

Also, to these builders of tasteless condos: Do you really want your grandchildren to admit you are responsible for leaving this type of destruction?

Victoria Lee, Clearwater

Official a champion for smart growth

When Commissioner Deborah Martohue first came to live in Pinellas County, I was fortunate to meet her through the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. She came to the table with expertise in planning and enthusiasm to help a grass roots organization, Grand Central District.

She had no business interest or personal benefit from her participation, just the satisfaction of helping this group meet our Main Street objectives and recover from the blight that had settled in this business district. Her input and volunteer hours were invaluable to its continued growth.

She is a champion for smart growth, understanding that development in Pinellas County is inevitable and there must be solid plans in place to address building and transportation, and to encourage stable, measured improvement in Pinellas County, and foremost, her beloved St. Pete Beach.

She is a passionate, intelligent woman, who does pro bono work for a church, fighting in federal court for the freedom of religion, and her neighborhood association. She holds her composure when lies are spread or when she leaves a meeting and finds her car vandalized. She remains committed to her constituents and to the betterment of her community.

Julie Apted-Longstreth, St. Petersburg

"Art' looks more like a piece of garbage

I was appalled by the abomination the County Commission feels passes for art these days. So much so they felt it was worth spending $50,000 in taxpayer money on it. This sculpture is in front of the new Tierra Verde Fire Station. It looks to me like a bunch of tables stacked, not very neatly, atop one another.

Before moving to Florida, I lived in Chicago and we Chicagoans have had to put up with years of ridicule about the Picasso sculpture that decorates the Daley Center. At least the Picasso looks like a baboon and not a pile of junk. I have a 5-year-old grandson who could design something nicer to look at than this piece of garbage, and for a lot less money.

Keep this sculpture in mind the next time the commission asks to increase your property taxes.

Richard F. Rybka, Tierra Verde

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