Building is just the first cost
Museum’s home up for debate | Nov. 25
It is good to see a lively debate regarding the future of an important St. Petersburg cultural icon, the Carter G. Woodson Museum. I’m not concerned with the debate over the eventual location of the structure. My concern is of a different and critical factor in the conceptualizing of its scale and sustainability.
Investing $15 million in the building is just the beginning. As I have been on the boards of several museums and cultural entities, I have been in the discomforting position of having to confront escalating operational costs and unforeseen expenses that severely affect the ability of an institution to remain viable. When air-conditioning units of the size sufficient to cool a 15,000-square-foot building need replacement, the cost is in the area of $70,000 to $80,000. That’s just the start.
I have seen many buildings named after a large donor, and the donation was transformative to the institution. I have yet to see a “Jane and Joe Memorial Maintenance Fund” set up to cover the inevitable costs of keeping the dream alive. I urge the board of the Woodson Museum and the city to begin an extensive budget preparation exercise to understand the longer-term costs of the new structure, so that it doesn’t turn into another Tangerine Plaza.
Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg
Taking out insurance policy
Schiff says more hearings possible | Nov. 25
While reading and listening to the witnesses involved in the impeachment inquiry it is clear that Rudy Giuliani is the Tom Hagen to the president just as Hagen was to the godfather. Vito Corleone surrounded himself only with people who pledged loyalty to him and would do his bidding. He never gave an order that could be traced directly back to his own lips. Those orders went through Hagen, his lawyer. The president is expecting Giuliani’s loyalty to remain firm, and Giuliani is expecting Trump’s loyalty in return. If not, then in his own words, he’s “got insurance.” Wouldn’t we love to read that insurance policy?
Joanne Danaher, Tampa
Let the voters know, too
There are many calls related to impeachment to “let the voters decide” the president’s fate in 2020. But a complementary and no less important call is to “let the voters know” so that we can make an informed decision about the need for another four years of this administration. Let all those with first-hand knowledge of the matter truthfully tell us what they know. Let us be the prepared and confident judges we need to be in order to honor our citizenship and our vote. Speak to facts, not conspiracy theories. The president wants a trial; voters should want the truth. We have heard testimony that in America, the truth matters. This is a good time to prove it.
David Rettig, St. Petersburg
Put money where it’s needed
Trillion dollar Medicare-for-All questions | Another voice, Nov. 24
I would have loved to have seen a similarly detailed report on the consequences of the Republican tax break. Republicans can always find money for these unnecessary tax breaks and Pentagon spending. There is never, however, enough money for education or health care. Meanwhile, these are the concerns of the common people. We need to fund universal health care and public schools. It is just a matter of priorities.
Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg