This is a desperate plea to our law enforcement agencies to enforce pedestrian crosswalk laws.
The Tampa Bay area has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the country. One primary reason is that our motoring public remains oblivious to our laws regarding crosswalks.
State law declares that the driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where a sign so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk.
State law also declares a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk is considered to have the same rights/responsibilities as someone on foot.
What is clear is that most drivers ignore the crosswalk laws, especially at crosswalks located away from intersections. It seems drivers are somewhat aware of crosswalks at intersections, but are totally ignorant of crosswalks in other traffic areas.
This is a very serious problem. With the higher fuel costs, more people are walking or biking and are using these crosswalks.
Typically, the pedestrians must wait until their way is clear, since most drivers blatantly ignore the crosswalks. Diligent enforcement and ticketing of violators would increase driver awareness and pedestrian safety, potentially saving many lives.
How many more pedestrians must be killed before our law enforcement agencies enforce our crosswalk laws?
Craig Williams, Clearwater
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Re: The Dali vs. the Grand Prix
Dali directors shouldn't whine
The directors of the Salvador Dali Museum knew the Grand Prix existed long before the new museum location was determined - after all, the old museum was just a few blocks away.
They knew that a road course requires safety barriers to block the street. They knew that the race was going to disrupt their attendance. They knew that putting the museum inside the existing race course was going to cause problems.
Yet they built the museum smack dab in the middle of the course. Now they expect the race course to move or the city to do something to preserve their visitors' unhindered access (read income) to the museum.
While the city and race organizers should prioritize access to this valuable facility (as well as the Hangar restaurant, the Mahaffey, etc.) more quickly after the race, this whining tone is exactly the same as that coming from people who move into an established neighborhood that has an airport next to it.
They should accept responsibility for their decision to locate the museum inside a known race course.
The next thing you know, they will be whining about the noise and demanding mufflers on race cars.
I support both the Dali and the race. Both are unique and help put St. Petersburg on the map. The Dali should simply close down (as the Hangar restaurant does) for a week or so and use the time for maintenance - carpet cleaning, painting, etc.
Or turn lemons into lemonade and erect some bleachers on the roof of their very strong building and sell tickets.
Colin Povey, Clearwater
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An open letter to the honorable U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis:
Oil prices being manipulated
Your recent newsletter mentioned a recent visit to a gas station and a discussion about high gas prices.
High gas (energy) prices are not being caused by a shortage of oil; thus, there is no good reason for higher gas prices. I believe the prices are being manipulated.
I would direct your attention to the Enron scandal of a few years ago. It is essentially the same greed and scurrilous business practices being allowed in the marketplace, except it is being perpetrated by the Wall Street futures sellers, who jack up the prices and contribute not one positive thing to the oil market except their own profit taking.
These trading practices should be outlawed! The idea of a free market is one thing, but they are trading in a market which is essentially run by the OPEC monopoly, which is contrary to our Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
As such, we deserve an endeavor on your part to protect us, the American citizens you represent, from these business practices. The futures speculation on energy should be eliminated from the marketplace.
Dan Bobczynski, Clearwater
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Rail refusal did not save money
A recent writer stated he wants to thank Gov. Rick Scott for turning down the $2.4 billion for high speed rail, thus saving the U.S. government from adding another $2.4 billion to our national debt.
The writer is wrong, Scott didn't save any money for refusing that money. Other states took the money and are using it.
The only thing Scott will get is thank you letters from other states. Time will tell if Scott made a huge blunder.
Dominic Grillo, Dunedin
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Re: Election of Pinellas County sheriff in 2012
Sheriff job needs new approach
What Pinellas County needs as an elected sheriff is a person with no law enforcement background. The citizens need a financial manager and strong leader for the sheriff position.
Far too much nepotism and favoritism takes place throughout the Sheriff's Office.
The role of a sheriff today is a manager and public relations person. To be fair to the honest taxpaying citizens, the local law enforcement deputies must have their powers of arrest used in a fair, unbiased manner.
But much is hidden from public scrutiny. The very few deputy stories found in the press releases are just the tip of the iceberg.
Frances Bonnie Hoelper, Largo
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GOP chatter isnothing but words
Considering all the chatter from the Republican Party around stopping a big government takeover, what do they call a bill outlawing baggy pants?
I think we all get the picture. The primarily Republican Legislature only wants the government to keep its nose out of people's business if it involves creating jobs, providing health care for the elderly and poor, or providing a good education for our children.
We need to wake up!
Cathy O'Gara, Largo