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TARPON RESIDENTS DESERVE APOLOGY

Mayor's diplomacy assailedstory, Sept. 3

I originally sent a letter of apology and explanation to the St. Petersburg Times on Sept. 7 in which I wished to express my sincere apology to the residents of Tarpon for any embarrassment that I may have brought to our community and to explain why the situation escalated to the point it did. The Times wouldn't print it because it was too long.

However, I do want to get some of my message to the public, and I must be brief to accomplish it. (For those who would like the full version, contact the city clerk at (727) 942-5614 and they can send you a copy of my original letter.)

I apologize for any embarrassment that I may have brought to our wonderful city by my words and actions at the Sept. 1 City Commission meeting. I became upset and let my emotions get the better of me and in the future I will do my best to more carefully consider my words before I speak.

But what was it that got me to that point? It was another misrepresentation by the mayor to the commissioners and residents with regard to this issue (sending a letter inviting a six-member delegation from China to visit Tarpon Springs without first getting commission approval). Acting like the queen, she stated she didn't need our approval and basically said she could do whatever she wants. However, by not bringing this to the board for its discussion and approval, the mayor has violated the City Charter (Section 9).

In addition, to send out this letter unilaterally is no different than the issue in which former Mayor Frank DiDonato sent a letter to the county stating that the city had enough parks and didn't want the county to pursue purchasing the property which is now Wal-Mart.

Lastly, I want to make it clear that I have no issue with opening cultural, educational or tourism/travel exchanges. I embrace diversity, and I welcome people from all nations and cultures to our city. My concern has nothing to do with the people or the culture of China. It is about how this has been misrepresented to us, and my concern about what the final goal is truly about.

And for those who lashed out without knowing the facts, go to the city Web site and watch the meeting to truly see and hear all that was said.

I thank you for allowing to me to speak my mind, and I again apologize for any embarrassment I may have brought to the great city of Tarpon Springs.

Peter Dalacos, Tarpon Springs city commissioner

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What next? Eiffel on Cleveland St.? - letter, Sept. 10

Traffic calming is inconvenient

Thank you to Pat Terpack for the letter on the Clearwater Cleveland Street (Skycrest) traffic calming fiasco. I have already written a letter to Clearwater's person in charge of streets. His name is Ken Sides, and he called me regarding my letter.

I expressed my dismay to him, and his answer was, "Call me again when the project is finished." In other words, "I don't care what anyone thinks, the project proceeds."

The last straw for me was when I tried to get to the Bank of Clearwater on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard at Keystone Drive. I come from the west side of Clearwater, so I have always turned south on Keystone and entered into the bank parking lot from there. Now Keystone at Rainbow Drive has been completely closed by curbing in the middle of the intersection. This causes me to have to go a block out of my way to get to the bank.

By the way, the budgeted amount for this ridiculous project is $5 million. I came across this in the newspaper when I was reading about Clearwater's budget.

Now the traffic-calming project has moved to Lake Avenue. I hope and pray that a roundabout isn't put in the middle of the intersection at Cleveland Street and Keene Road.

It amazes me that the people of Skycrest did nothing to prevent this project.

I have lived in Pinellas County for 45 years and have never seen anything to compare with this nightmare. What happened to speed tables? Wouldn't that have been sufficient for "traffic calming"? They seem to work everywhere else.

Jacqueline Hall, Clearwater

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Sign sleuth keeps them honest in public - story, Sept. 10

Signs ruin look of neighborhoods

Great article and very timely. People seem to think that the world is theirs and do not hesitate to nail a sign to a telephone pole, prop it in the dirt in rights of way and contribute to the destabilization of neighborhoods because of the endless look of blight. More tickets, please, and more policing. These signs are also an impediment to traffic.

Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, 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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