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CITY MEETING WAS RIDICULOUS

Re: Mayor's diplomacy assailed - story, Sept. 3

The communists are coming, the communists are coming! Quick, hide the children and your small pets!

It's always a delight to witness the colorful and interesting characters during the Tarpon Springs City Commission meetings, both from the audience and on the commission. Because I don't have cable, this is usually the next best thing to reality TV. Even better, it's free!

It would be interesting to take an inventory of the majority of products sold down at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks and note the country where they were manufactured. I would wager they are not from Greece. Can you say China?

We are a community that thrives on tourists' dollars. Two cultures that clearly have the dollars and desire to travel, possibly even to Tarpon Springs, are the Chinese and the Scandinavians. They're the only ones left on the planet that have any spare change in their pockets.

But what if they're all "Vikings" and they come over and run off with all our boats and women? To the contrary, cultural exchanges have never been anything but healthy and rewarding.

One word to describe last Tuesday's City Commission meeting: ridiculous.

Steve Corrado, Tarpon Springs

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Re: Mayor's diplomacy assailed - story, Sept. 3

Don't put damper on Chinese visits

I am almost as disappointed in the headline you used to stir up more radical paranoia as I am in the content of the article itself. I hope the reading public will take all this as the sorry joke it is.

That today anyone could object to learning more about China, a country we are now in debt to by trillions of dollars, is just not worth reporting.

I am another of those like Ann Larsen of the Leepa Rattner Museum of Art who welcome the Chinese to our community. I represent the FuSang Artists Guild, a group of around 30 people in Pinellas County who study Chinese brush painting. We are, in fact, going to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with an art show and gala at a venue in Tarpon Springs sometime in November. We all look forward with great anticipation to hosting some of the well-known artists and artisans from Tunxi, China, and look forward to participating in any workshops which can be arranged when they are here.

To throw a damper on this because of the ignorance of one citizen is not worthy of the St. Petersburg Times. Shame on you!

Kathleen Carothers, Tarpon Springs

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Re: Mayor's diplomacy assailed - story, Sept. 3

Why criticize mayor's invite?

Why are people always looking for something to criticize others about?

Where did Tarpon Springs Mayor Beverley Billiris step over her line of authority by inviting others to visit Tarpon Springs? I thought mayors were supposed to bring business to their towns, especially today when city funds are hurting. She invites others to Tarpon Springs, where they will help the economy with airline ticket purchases. They will pay for lodging while they are here. They will spend money on food and souvenirs while they are here.

It's not like she invited them at the expense of the city.

Someone needs to get a life and stop looking for trouble where there is none.

Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater

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A thanks for lots of patience

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

This situation was difficult under the very best of situations and I would like to thank the public for the patience and kindness they demonstrated toward my employees as they worked with staff at seven of our offices. Our call center also handled thousands of phone calls during this time and the public was very understanding as they waited to speak to our customer service representatives.

I would like to publicly thank my staff for their hard-working efforts as they quickly served about 17,000 customers county-wide 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 on 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 troublesome 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

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YOUR VOICE COUNTS

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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