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Reader's Forum
Tuesday, August 19
Sports fans in Pinellas County once again were given the short end of the stick on viewing the Major League Hall of Fame induction at fabled Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 27 because the Major League Baseball network isn’t linked to any one of our four cable systems in the 17th ranked market in the nation.

It boggles the mind as to why it was not aired on ESPN as it is with its NFL counterpart. Just defies logic when ESPN discards the baseball awards, which wasn’t always the case. Then, FOX Network should do the honors as long as they carry the All-Star Games, the playoffs and the World Series. As for ESPN, their mid-summer crown jewel is the home run derby and the playoffs. The Tampa Bay area fans as well as the LaRussa family got the shaft with this lack of continuity.

We deserve better.

Art Bailey
 ... Read More 
Re: “City manager model fails in Seminole,” by Tom Christy, Aug. 14.
Having been the chair of the recent Charter Review Board for the City of Seminole, I wanted to chime in on Tom Christy’s comments from last week.

The 2014 Charter Review Board met five times from February 18 through April 15 of this year. While these meetings were recorded and are available on the website, the lack of presence of the public at these meetings should be a wake up call that our residents may not be as engaged in local politics as they can be.

Concerns like those from Tom Christy could have been addressed during the public comment portion of the meetings. As chair of those meetings, I would have given wide latitude to anyone who wished to address us regarding changes to the charter. Something as important as this, I feel, demands more than the typical three-minute comment period at the city council meetings. There would have been no problem having a spirited dialogue during those meetings to address anyone’s concerns.

The charter review process is not perfect. There is no template or guide to tell us what steps to take and how to proceed. That can be both good and bad. Future charter review board members need to understand that they can and should advance their own individual recommendations for enhancement of the charter when they see a need for it. If there ever was time to bring up new ideas regarding our municipal operations, the charter review meetings were that time.
 ... Read More 
It must be election time in Seminole because once again Tom Christy has submitted his name for a position on the City Council. The voters of Seminole have rejected him four times already. Maybe it’s because he runs a negative campaign every time.

This time his argument is that the city manager form of government is the wrong way to run this city. After almost 20 years as a city manager, Mr. Frank Edmunds has moved the sleepy city into a vibrant and attractive community to live in, work in and to educate our children in. He has also brought in many new businesses, which enhance the quality of life in our city.

Over the last four years, he has cut about $3 million from the city budget without changing any service to our residents. In 2008 the economy took a nosedive, but Mr. Edmunds kept the city in the black while many cities around us were cutting services. He has put together a great staff of department leaders who help Mr. Edmunds run our city like a Swiss clock.

At the council meeting of Aug. 12, many of the city business leaders praised Mr. Edmunds for this great work and implored him to please reconsider his retirement option, which he did, and he will stay with us until August 2015.
 ... Read More 
We just moved here from Atlanta to the City of Madeira Beach and have observed the crews picking up garbage. These men go way past their job description to ensure that their route is done to perfection.

If a paper blows out the back they will run down the street to retrieve it. It is so clear to us that they want this city to shine. It is wonderful to see the pride that they take in their job and their city. We are super impressed with the sanitation department workers’ hard work and dedication. Well done!

Mark and Beth Greenberg
Madeira Beach
 ... Read More 
Re: “Largo competes in regionals,” Largo Leader, Aug. 7
Thank you for sharing in our great adventure! Unfortunately, it has come to an end. It has been an amazing summer for these boys, their families and all the fans who have been on this great run with them! These boys worked hard and advanced farther than they had ever gone before. We lost in the semifinals round to Virginia with a score of 2-1. They have so much to be proud of and have made memories that will last a lifetime!

I truly appreciate all of your support and wishes. Having so many people behind them, cheering them on, sharing in their successes and bumps in the road made an impact. Being a part of something bigger than them was a good experience. Traveling together and coming together as a team over wins, losses, personal trials and family matters has made these boys stronger as a group and as individuals.

This is a summer they will never forget!

Karen Gonzalez
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, August 12
Over the past two years, I’ve enjoyed many robust, interesting and educational conversations with Pinellas County residents about the Greenlight Pinellas Plan.

The opportunity to share how it will vastly improve the quality of life for our residents and the ability to foster economic growth and prosperity for everyone has been very satisfying. While not everyone has agreed with me, at least they’ve had the opportunity to hear the benefits and now have a greater understanding of the plan.

Recently, Seminole’s leaders voted to become the only city not to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan. It was disappointing. Clearly, there was a lack of understanding of some very fundamental facts.

The truth is this: Greenlight Pinellas is a solid plan not only for Seminole, but also for all of Pinellas County. Seminole residents will enjoy new rapid bus service every 15-20 minutes. New early morning, late night and weekend service will be available as well as increased door-to-door connector service for seniors and the disabled. New community circulator buses connecting riders with shopping, schools and libraries will be available for our citizens.
 ... Read More 
As a Seminole resident, I am very disappointed that our City Council failed to endorse the Greenlight Pinellas transit improvement plan.

Through a modest and fair tax switch, the Greenlight Pinellas plan would more than double the current transit service in our city, a need highlighted by the Vice Mayor when he pointed out how current routes, which only run once an hour, don’t attract new riders.

Greenlight Pinellas, however, could be the solution by significantly increasing the frequency of buses in Seminole (along with other parts of the county) and running bus service at night to support second shift workers.

On I read that if this funding switch isn’t passed, PSTA will have to cut bus service by nearly a third. How is that going to make the city of Seminole better?
 ... Read More 
Re: “Council censures Plantamura,” Seminole Beacon, July 17, by Tiffany Razzano
It is important that we understand that the city manager model is the failure in Seminole. Twenty years ago the city went with the manager concept, and it is a failure.

We budget $250,000 annually for the office. That figure, times 20 years, equals $5 million dollars. That could have been invested in our city. Invested in improving our streets, sidewalks, city parks, lighting, and improved the quality of life here in Seminole.

That is just the office of city manager. The next two positions in this model, director of finance, and director of development, both cost us over six figures each annually. And on it goes. A failed model.

And this city manager leaving is time to ask the current Charter Revision Committee to suggest alternatives to the manager system. Such as a strong mayor/council. As this resident as a member of the previous Charter Revision Committee suggested years ago.
 ... Read More 
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