Publix saved our Thanksgiving
A shopper’s happy place | Aug. 22
We’ve lived in Tampa 38 years, and have had nothing but excellent customer service from Publix. Our holiday tradition has been to order a fresh turkey from Publix. One year, a young man in the meat department said that our name wasn’t on a turkey in their refrigerator. We were not happy to have to take a frozen turkey home. On the day before Thanksgiving, the turkey was still partially frozen, so I called a Publix butcher to voice my frustration. He was apologetic, immediately checked the refrigerator, found a turkey with our name on it and was puzzled how the young man could have missed it. He offered us the fresh turkey, but I refused because I did not want to waste the turkey we already had. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. It was the Publix butcher delivering the fresh turkey.
He came in, cut up the partially frozen turkey, placed the pieces in plastic bags for future meals, cleaned up the counter, apologized for the inconvenience, wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and rushed back to work to help other customers. My husband and I just looked at each other and said, “What just happened?!” Yes, we wrote to Publix’s corporate headquarters telling them how this special butcher saved our Thanksgiving Day, and we are forever dedicated to Publix. As my husband says, “You get what you pay for,” and Publix truly is “Where shopping is a pleasure.”
Diane Wawrzyniak, Tampa
Zone for more density
Affordable housing top pick for stimulus funds | Aug. 21
In 1987, I bought my first house in St. Petersburg for $39,000. Constructed in 1959 at the height of St. Pete’s post-war building boom, the small, two-bedroom, one-bath house was well-built and in good condition. It was a fine first home for a young couple with a baby. The house cost exactly one and a half times my salary as a newly licensed architect. Today, if young architects on my staff want to buy a similar house, the price is three to four times their annual salary. We need to work now to implement all reasonable and effective strategies to deliver more affordable housing for rent and for sale in St. Pete. Unfortunately, there is no single policy that will solve this problem. However, consensus across the country is that the best way to keep housing prices affordable for average families is to build enough new homes each year to match population and job growth within the metropolitan area.
The St. Petersburg City Council has approved a new zoning category called Neighborhood Traditional Multi-family-1 (NTM-1), which allows up to four residences to be built on existing single-family lots. Some of St. Pete’s oldest and most popular neighborhoods, such as Old Northeast, Old Southeast and Kenwood, include duplexes, garage apartments and small townhomes. Using those areas as inspiration, this zoning would extend such development to our other neighborhoods, allowing for increased density without altering their character. The city has not yet implemented NTM-1. The administration has yet to decide where to apply it. To create the most opportunity for new affordable and desirable homes across the city, I believe we need to apply it as widely as possible. This zoning won’t solve St. Petersburg’s housing affordability problems by itself, but allowing more homes per lot throughout the city is the single most important thing we can do.
Tim Clemmons, St. Petersburg
Figure out the problem first
Residents left waiting as years pass with no grocery | Aug. 24
A Sweetbay Supermarket and a Walmart Neighborhood Market have pulled out from Tangerine Plaza in Midtown St. Petersburg. Their departure left many people in the Midtown area without a major grocer going on four years now. Why is no one discussing why these grocery chains pulled out? Unless the reasons for these pullouts are resolved, the next grocery store will pull out, too.
Georgianna Woernle, Floral City
The joke is on him
Principled resistance faces DeSantis’ anti-mask stance | Column, Aug. 22
Kudos to columnist Mac Stipanovich for describing the countless ways in which Gov. Ron DeSantis has failed the people of Florida and, in the process, made himself a laughingstock around the world. Even my relatives in Asia are bemused by DeSantis’ determination to ignore logic in his self-centered, self-promoting antics, including banning mask mandates in spite of the recommendations of genuine medical experts. We, the tax-paying citizens of Florida, deserve better. We need a leader who cares about us and not his political future. Enough is enough.
Kirk Hazlett, Riverview
Now he writes it
In the excerpt from “A Crisis of Competence,” columnist Jim Geraghty asks, “What’s the point of having a well-funded, top-tiered intelligence community and experienced military advisers if the president simply ignores their warnings, disregards their information and trusts his own gut that everything will turn out fine?” regarding one decision the current president made. Where was this guy during the previous administration? His sentiments are exactly what I was thinking, almost on a daily basis for the last four years.
Terry Arnold, St. Petersburg