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MANY THANKS TO STAFF, PUBLIC, MEDIA

Increase in motor vehicle fees

Tax collector offices statewide experienced abnormally long waits and lines on Friday, Aug. 28, and Monday, Aug. 31. This was due to the staff handling twice the driver's license, and triple the amount of motor vehicle transactions, as customers tried to avoid the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles price increases that took effect Sept. 1.

This situation was difficult under the very best of circumstances, and I would like to thank members of the public for the patience and kindness they demonstrated toward my employees as they worked with staffers at seven of our offices.

Our call center also handled thousands of phone calls during this time, and the public was very understanding while waiting to speak to our customer service representatives.

I would like to publicly thank my staff members for their hardworking efforts as they quickly served about 17,000 customers countywide on both of these days, treating the public with professionalism, respect and, of course, with a smile. I personally worked at our north and mid-county facilities Friday and Monday, and many customers thanked my staff and me for their wonderful customer service, even after they'd waited close to two hours.

Thank you also to the St. Petersburg Times, Bay News 9 and WFLA 970 for informing the public and encouraging them to come to our offices before Sept. 1.

In this troubled economy, I know we saved motorists thousands (and thousands) of dollars, and taxpayers really appreciated it.

My warmest gratitude goes out to my staff, the public and the media. What a fine example of teamwork!

Diane Nelson, Pinellas County tax collector, Clearwater

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Clear choice for mayor - Sept. 2, editorial

How can the Times support Foster?

I find it ironic that a newspaper known for its civil rights and equal rights stands can strongly support a candidate whose record of intolerance is as clear as Bill Foster's.

You wrote: "Foster has at times been intemperate in describing his social beliefs, but those views have little to do with being mayor. ..." I cannot help but wonder if you would have been so dismissive of this had Foster expressed racism or anti-Semitism, instead of merely being stridently homophobic.

It is about time that you walk the walk and condemn all hatred, intransigence and intolerance.

You say Foster's "intemperance" has little to do with being mayor. My feeling is that one of the mayor's major roles is to set a tone. The City Council makes the rules.

Earl Waters, St. Petersburg

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Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site at sptimes.com/letters.

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