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Published Jul. 31, 2007

Crime turns pizzamaker cold on deliveries - July 22, story

I think it is only fair mention that Papa John's has generously donated pizzas to the Bartlett Park Crime Watch and other neighborhood events. Papa John's provided free pizza to children and adults who cleaned up litter in our neighborhood this year, even though their store is located near 22nd Avenue N and Fourth Street, well outside Bartlett Park and the normal delivery area. Other pizza stores within this neighborhood have not matched Papa John's generosity.

When mentioning the company in conjunction with Bartlett Park crime statistics, it is worth noting that Papa John's has been a strong supporter of this neighborhood's efforts to reduce crime, donating more than 40 pizzas this year.

As a resident of Bartlett Park and a customer of the Fourth Street Papa John's, I look forward to delivery in this area. I urge other residents to continue to report crime and participate in our neighborhood association, which meets at the Frank Pierce Center on the second Thursday of each month, and our Crime Watch, which meets at the Community Resource Center on 22nd Avenue S the first Tuesday of every month.

Lindsay Myers, St. Petersburg

Amendment means relief guest column by Carolyn Kling, July 15

Give us a fair tax system

Carolyn Kling, a Realtor, in her guest column supporting the property tax amendment to the state Constitution scheduled for Jan. 29, fails to mention an $8-billion cut in school funding. The proposed amendment is actually a "pig in a poke." It is confusing and there is a court test to strike it down. The schools and everyone else would be vulnerable, not knowing what would happen if they give up the Save Our Homes cap.

More innovative thinking is required. People have a lot of gain in the value of their property, but for now, it is only to pay taxes on. Gains could be treated just like capital gains or losses. The details of a "tax deferral" system could be easily worked out, such as, freeze the taxable base and recalculate at the time of sale, then pay any additional tax. If you have a loss, then you pay no tax. This would free up the real estate market and create tax flow; tax flow would level out.

Even if owners decide to keep their cap, because of the intolerable inequities it has created (people paying twice the tax of their neighbors), it is likely to be struck down.

Florida spends too much time trying to stick it to the tourist, stealing from the poor in lotteries, enacting caps and exemptions for residents and for sales taxes. Just get rid of all of this "cheating" and give the people an honest, fair system. Plenty of money will flow.

After the Jan. 29 vote, another costly legislative session will likely be required. Hopefully, they will put on their thinking caps and not be bamboozled. The people are tired of the uncertainty of their future.

Henry L. King, Clearwater

Blowers' whir, stir make many go grrr July 22, story

Regulate leaf blower use

This is not an issue that is isolated to St. Petersburg. All Pinellas County should be looking at this growing problem. The real issue is not the "use" of leaf blowers but the "improper use" of them. When properly used, a leaf blower assists a yard service or homeowner with collecting the debris from the property into a small area for sweeping up and disposal.

What occurs most often is that the debris is blown into the street or onto an adjacent property making it someone else's problem (which in turn causes someone else to blow it again, creating a never-ending cycle).

I suggest that city and county governments regulate the proper use of leaf blowers. Mandating that debris collected by a leaf blower be properly discarded will automatically decrease the frequency of use and thus decrease the resulting noise and air pollution.

G. Register, Seminole

Blowers' whir, stir make many go grrr July 22, story

Dump the leaf blowers

I can recall a few times sitting and enjoying the early morning quiet of a county park when a leaf blower would be cranked up and all quiet was lost. Who on earth would be offended by fallen leaves on the sidewalk or road in a park?

Here is a money saving suggestion for the county: Dump the leaf blowers!

Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg

St. Pete Beach's problem - July 18, letter

Our city is far from ideal

There are two sides to every story. Unfortunately, St. Pete Beach is a city divided. The recent election and referendum results clearly show its citizens are evenly divided on the issue of growth.

My issue is that I'm tired of hearing about how the city has wasted legal funds fighting this growth issue. Several years ago we (the citizens of St. Pete Beach) elected a mayor and a team of commissioners to represent us. Our city government, our elected officials, did their job assembling a plan to allow for planned growth in our city - a plan they felt was in the best interest of the city.

A group of residents took exception and chose to initiate legal action against the plan that our elected officials chose to implement. It's because of the original action by a group of citizens that the city was forced to spend money to defend itself and the plan. I feel the city spent legal funds to support their plan and citizens like me who supported the plan.

If St. Pete Beach were already an ideal community, I might agree with the letter writer. But show me the well groomed traffic medians and common areas that can be seen in other parts of our state. Show me a vibrant group of waterfront restaurants. Show me how modern conveniences like Starbucks or Panera Bread can be attracted to our city. Show me hotels with the modern amenities needed to attract affluent tourists. Show me that the city will attract the baby boomers looking for a community to retire to.

I'm concerned that when developers understand that every plan requires a popular vote of the citizens, they'll go elsewhere. I'd say, good luck, St. Pete Beach.

Wayne Szczepanski, St. Pete Beach