Wednesday's letters: High-rise would hurt downtown Tampa

Published Dec. 2, 2014

Tampa riverfront

High-rise would hurt downtown

These are exciting times for Tampa's downtown, but knowledge of history makes one concerned: Could Tampa wound itself in its quest to become a great city? There is a potential wound in progress, right in Tampa's heart: the downtown public riverfront space.

In a quick decision that remains remarkably hush-hush, the Tampa City Council approved selling off public land for a private, 36-story residence to be wedged between the art museum, performing arts center and library.

This was in 2013, but the actual plans remain secret. Some asked: How could there be room? What happens to the only flow of traffic in and out of northwest downtown? I asked a class of more than 100 USF students and not a single one knew about the plan. Yet they are exactly the kind of young people that Tampa wants to attract and retain.

Some students liked the idea of a high-rise in that spot, because it helps create urban density. But plans can be moved (there's plenty of vacant land nearby), and there are visions that can really move Tampa forward. Here's one that is worthy of discussion: It begins with the public library, which a recent study suggests needs to be rebuilt.

Imagine a library like Seattle's: multiple stories of open glass atrium, open to floors of terminals, coffee bars, reading and thinking space. Yet the Seattle library is landlocked. A Tampa library could have a vista that would define this city: museums, broad river, gleaming minarets and a grand front to the Straz Center. River walkers would look up with delight and perhaps thirst.

Great cities discuss such possibilities. But for some reason, we're waiting in the dark for a private stake to be inserted into our heart, no questions asked, little discussion, and no vision.

Thomas Sanocki, Tampa

The many reasons to be thankful today Nov. 27, editorial

The meaning of the day

Anyone reading this editorial about "the many reasons to be thankful" would think Thanksgiving Day originated as a "day spent relishing food, family and friends." Or, as the closing sentence put it, "We can pause, take in the sights and sounds of the day, and fill a few moments with appreciation for food, family and freedom."

One would think the editorial was written by a food editor rather than one who knew American history. There has never been a doubt that Thanksgiving Day was celebrated for many years as a day set aside to thank God for the many blessings of our country. George Washington was the first president to declare a national holiday to thank God for his divine Providence.

The Bill of Rights states that we are endowed by our "creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Should not the Times give the historical and truthful reason to give thanks?

John Edgerton, Tarpon Springs

Residents clean up, hope for calm | Nov. 27

Organize, don't destroy

It has been a long, plodding road since Martin Luther King and the civil rights demonstrations and subsequent movements of the '60s. His dynamic witness and subsequent martyrdom was the inspiration of those of us who championed peaceful protest.

The current movement lacks the inspirational leadership of the movement of the '60s. It has been damaged by violence and thuggery. The current disparate demonstrations have only further alienated the forces against them. The spontaneous nightly protests of angry shouting, looting and lawlessness have done little to change what desperately needs to be transformed in America today. These youthful demonstrations need to be tempered by the guidance of the well-established civil rights organizations.

The younger generation has expressed its frustration and anger, and only time will tell when the emotional responses of recent days will subside and be transformed into peaceful, meaningful action to bring about change in the criminal justice system.

Florence Laureira, Hudson

The roots of rage | Nov. 30, Perspective

Law, order and change

Carol Anderson needs to realize that law and order is not just used to further oppress the black community. Her article provides a history lesson on black oppression but has nothing to do with the outrage we've all felt over the Ferguson incident.

We have a system of justice in this great nation that may not serve everyone's desires, but it is the law of our land. If changes are needed, there is a process for this that does not include destroying a town and the lives of the innocent folks trying to make a living.

Ray Pedersen, Clearwater

NFL loses Ray Rice case | Nov. 29

Sports dominance

In large bold type splashed across five columns, Times readers were advised that the NFL's decision to suspend Ray Rice was overturned. This headline appeared not on the front page of the sports section, but atop the front page of the newspaper.

Is it any wonder that an overwhelming majority of Americans would be hard-pressed to name the chief justice of the United States, not to mention the secretary-general of the United Nations, much less find Liberia on a world map?

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Renewable energy

Europe shows the way

It was amazing to drive in Germany and Italy over the past month and see all the wind and solar farms. Many homes have rooftop solar panels. Farmers install them on barns and along ditch banks.

The Germans are eager to tell you that on a sunny day, 23 percent of the power will come from solar. I was surprised to read all the articles this past week regarding our power companies and the lack of interest in using nature's gifts. Are we going to get a new slogan to replace the "Sunshine State"?

Jean Boylan, Seminole