To: The Editor
Subject: Clearwater Plans for Penny III
Clearwater conducted a Town Hall Meeting at the Main Library (Downtown) to solicit citizen impute for projects proposed for funding the estimated ($138M) Penny III. Out of 110,000 citizens in Clearwater, 50 showed for this meeting.
The City Council and staff did all they could to present a thorough description of all the proposed projects. The projects that were dedicated to neighborhoods and services are valid.
With almost $50M projected for downtown parking, city hall and streetscaping, I have cause for concern on its passage in March 2007. Considering all the projects dropped from the first Penny I, parks and restrooms in the Countryside area, mostly I wouldn't count on too much support from this community.
Questions you should ask yourself. Do we need a new city hall? Who really needs a Senior Center when the city provides programs at every Recreation Center now? How much more money do we need to beautify downtown for the "S" people (Scientologist) and the "G" people (Government)?
John Wiser, Clearwater
To: Mayor Frank Hibbard
Thank you for your letter. I have lived in Clearwater since 1975. In the past 5-8 years I have noted that our ad-mix city west of Highland has become almost totally Hispanic. City workers, delivery persons, etc., that were an ad-mix, now are all Latin. The personal contacts I have had demonstrate that few speak or understand English. How many of these are illegal? How did they get here and why are they allowed to stay if they are illegal? Next we have illegal foreigners, electing local representatives that lobby our Tallahassee morons to make the rest of us cater to and pay for their wants and needs, i.e., making our teachers learn Spanish, SS, medical care, etc.
I like Latin People. I work with them. I am constantly studying Spanish. I have a time share in Mexico. I like Mexican food. I like Spanish food. I welcome legal Latin, and all immigrants.
You say in your letter that "Immigrants living in the United States are afforded the same rights as citizens." Invading unwanted illegal foreign criminals are not immigrants, and they bloody well better not have the same rights as legal citizens. If that is indeed the law, then the heck with the law, along with the cretins that wrote and passed the insane law.
That aside, for 30 years I have watched the city lose business and infrastructure. We have no MOVIE, used to have three (3). Don't even bother to go anymore, except to Largo. We have no hardware store, used to have four (4). Have to drive to Dunedin or Largo or out to U.S. 19 to buy a nail. Not only don't we have a post office, they removed our drop box. I was told it was too expensive. I have to drive 4-5 miles to mail a letter. We used to have two (2) repair and storage marinas, now we have none. One of the bridge considerations, 15 years ago was based on Ross Yacht being the only local repair place that would haul a high mast boat. I have to take my boat one and one-half hours to Tarpon Springs for basic repairs and service. Used to have three (3) shopping malls, now we have one, 10 miles away. I have to go to Largo for pool supplies.
I spend a tank of gas every 2-3 weeks getting basic items that should be locally available. What is the problem in Clearwater? Did you ever watch "Smallville" where an alien meteor hit and turned locals into monsters that Super Boy has to battle? Clearwater is like a place hit with an anti-business meteor where the closer to downtown you get the more likely it is for your business to fail. I simply don't understand it.
What we are getting is condos, which are so outrageously priced it is hard to imagine anyone buying one, and for those who do, other than watch the waves with a telescope what are they going to do or where are they going to go? Locals and tourists can't get to the beach as it is. There is no place to stay, no place to park, so where is this all going?
You go to the St. Pete Pier, Bay Front, John's Pass, Dunedin, Largo Park, St. Armond's Circle, etc., all are successful and fun, with great eating places. There is access and parking. All Clearwater offers is an annoying, noisy former traffic nightmare, called the Coachman Park Concert, which mercifully is only once every 3-4 months.
Any plans to fix things or is this a disease of the people of Clearwater? Could the city give tax breaks to attract things and then reach parity by increased sales tax if things were successful?
Gary K. Keats
To: Clearwater City Council
Subject: Welcome to the "Great Florida Birding Trail" on the Memorial Causeway
The journey to Clearwater Beach via the south side of the Memorial Causeway, designated the "Great Florida Birding Trail," is an unmitigated pleasure for walkers and bikers alike, with a world-class view of the bay and a pristine, grassy shoreline worthy of a close inspection. At least, it used to be.
Now, more than half a mile of this shoreline has been converted into an unpaved, unsupervised, dirty parking lot, with as many as 500 vehicles parking in five rows from the low bridge crossing to the beach all the way back to the traffic light at Island Way. The grass is shredded, the surface is dust or mud, trash abounds, and oil leakage from vehicles is a visual blight and washes into the bay. The shoreline has visibly deteriorated in the last 12 months from pollution. Vehicles park within four feet of the bay waters, with bird sanctuaries not far offshore, being polluted. The Birding Trail has become a roadway.
I have seen as many as four tour buses parked on the causeway strip simultaneously, and semi-trailers and large RVs are welcome. Commercial vehicles open mobile businesses here, selling trinkets and food. Never have I seen any of them ticketed, and I walk this beat regularly.
Parking limit signs are ignored by everyone, including the Clearwater Police. Two months ago, walking back from the beach through the sea of vehicles, checking out Toyotas instead of turtles, I asked a policeman sitting in his vehicle at Island Way why the vehicles parked on the causeway were never ticketed. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "They have to park somewhere."
One month ago the St. Pete Times published an article wherein city officials once again expressed regret that the oft-discussed beach parking remains an empty promise. It is noteworthy that no mention was made of this Memorial Causeway parking lot that city officials have quietly allowed to flourish - this is their solution to inadequate beach parking. It is not advertised, it is not patrolled, and there is obviously an agreement between the City Council and the Police Department that vehicles parked here will not be ticketed.
It is illegal and unethical and disrespectable to selectively enforce parking regulations.
I wonder if officials at the Florida Department of Transportation, which is responsible for maintenance of the causeway as a state highway, are aware of and approve of this pollution and misuse of public property by the city of Clearwater.
The legacy of this Clearwater City Council is to be remembered as the elected officials who failed to create legal beach parking and who have deliberately polluted the bay waters and converted the once-beautiful Memorial Causeway into a third-class, unpaved parking lot.
These are the same people who, in this fall's elections, are going to ask Clearwater voters to trust them to redevelop the Clearwater bluff. Let's hope they become better stewards first.
To: Clearwater Mayor, City Council and City Management
Subject: Testing this link - This form seems to be ignored?
I am sending this Web link and form. I've submitted several e-mails in the past, using this form. I've never received any replies or other feedback, though. I did fill in the contract information on the form, too.
Most of the e-mails were discussing my dissatisfaction of Clearwater Beach parking and the Beach Walk plans (with regards to parking, too). The city doesn't have a logical approach to implementing solutions to beach parking problems. Are they just being stupid on the issue, or saying one thing and really meaning something else (i.e. a "hidden agenda").
To: Clearwater Mayor, City Council and City Management
Subject: Illegal Alien Ordinances 1. Clearwater should make it illegal for an employer to hire an illegal alien/undocumented person with a $1,000 fine for each violation.
2. It should be illegal to rent or sell property to an illegal alien/undocumented person and should have a $1,000 fine for each violation.
3. Any business that employs or rent/sells property to an illegal alien should automatically lose their business license.
4. City services should be in English only, since one should speak and read English to become a U.S. citizen and not speaking English is a divisive issue.
G. P. Martin
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