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St. Pete isn’t obligated to give restaurants free outdoor space | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
What will be the appropriate level of sidewalk seating in post-pandemic St. Petersburg?
What will be the appropriate level of sidewalk seating in post-pandemic St. Petersburg?
Published May 24
Updated May 24

Sidewalks are for walking, not seating

Sidewalk seating gets a stay | May 15

While businesses, especially those with busy bars, may really like the opportunity to expand their footprint with the addition of free outdoor space formerly used for parking, not every resident and visitor thinks it is a benefit for the public.

My issue is specifically related to those establishments with bars that open to the sidewalk with seating immediately adjacent to the building. When such restaurants have tables on the curb side of the sidewalk, the bar patrons already spill on to the walkway, making it difficult for pedestrians to walk past the business. I notice that expanding table or lounge seating into the street increases that congestion.

In addition, adding the seating seems to encourage the business to up the volume of any outdoor music to reach the more distant patrons. That is annoying to pedestrians, patrons of nearby establishments and neighboring residents. If the business flourished prior to the pandemic — which gave rise to the extra outdoor seating — there is no reason to believe they would not build back that business as the situation normalizes going forward.

St. Petersburg is not obligated to make their businesses more competitive going forward, especially not by giving up public property that serves all citizens.

Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg

Walking the walk

After George Floyd’s murder, America needs an eye exam | Column, May 23

We are professional, conscientious women who are against racism. One day we met virtually at “A Long Talk,” which offered us an opportunity to learn about becoming anti-racist. “A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth” is an anti-racism activation experience. People of all races and backgrounds come together to examine the layers of systemic racism in our society. During this process we discovered the extent of our white privilege. “A Long Talk” (alongtalk.com) helped us understand Black history and offered us a chance talk to each other. We have listened, felt uncomfortable and explored our belief systems. The “A Long Talk” network is supporting and helping us become anti-racists. Won’t you join us?

Alice Witkowski, Sheryl Klein, Nancy Schachter, Rhona Leff, Deborah Meisel and Linda Bookman, Delray Beach

Nothing to see here

GOP U.S. House leader opposes Jan. 6 panel | May 19

Clearly, the Republicans in Congress oppose the creation of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection because they fear disclosure of the full extent to which Donald Trump was involved in the attempt to destroy the government that he had sworn to “preserve, protect and defend.” This is reflected in their — and Trump’s — infantile refusal to accept the conclusive results of President Joe Biden’s election victory — infantile because only small children make up stories to deal with realities that are for them unpleasant.

Morry Bornstein, Seminole

A break for the jabbed

No shot, no coverage | Letter, May 19

Expanding on this letter, I’m anticipating a rise in the cost of health insurance in 2022 to cover COVID-19 claims. But I am hoping insurance companies will offer vaccinated policy owners reduced rates much like they do non-smokers and those who successfully manage their health issues.

Sheri Schneider, Dunedin

Why mask up?

Fears, cheers greet maskless dining | May 19

Really, why should I wear a mask? I have been fully vaccinated for months. Why should I wear a mask because others are too stupid or lazy to get vaccinated? Why should I have to go to the inconvenience of masking up when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says I do not need to? If it’s just to accommodate and make others feel better, why should I?

John Spengler, Spring Hill

Don’t live in fear

Fears, cheers greet maskless dining | May 19

There should be no confusion whatsoever over the new mask guidelines. Those of us who are fully vaccinated no longer need a face mask in most situations, nor do we need to social distance. And if anyone is checking, we have our card with the vaccine date(s) as proof. Let us show some faith in the vaccine. It is emotionally unhealthy to live behind a mask indefinitely and in fear. If a less-sophisticated America emerged with a healthy attitude after the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic, I see no reason why we shouldn’t. It is time to resume our lives, instead of merely existing.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Kids will still go hungry

39 million in line for child credit | May 18

Is anyone out there naive enough to think that the children will benefit from President Joe Biden’s generous $1.9 billion coronavirus relief package, which will send hundreds of dollars a month to most families with children? In my opinion, it will often go for more beer and cigarettes. The children will still be hungry, and they will need charities to help them. I hope I am wrong.

Dorothy Clark, Apollo Beach