Editor: The city of Dunedin should not subsidize a new Blue Jays stadium or any other big priced projects. It’s political scheming to cutting the city’s service levels because our city leaders are using our tax dollars for other projects other than the city services, infrastructure and the welfare of the Dunedin’s taxpaying citizens. Clearwater, St. Petersburg and the county commission is using the same scheme using bed taxes, so-called $5 park fees, taxes. Promoting a fee/tax for one purpose and using the funds for another is deceptive political scheming.
During the regular season, do the Blue Jays complain about riding the buses between the hotels and the airports and stadiums of other teams’ cities? These private sports corporations feel the citizen taxpayers should provide them with everything. It’s “sports corporate welfare.” If the teams can pay their players such high salaries, they can pay for their own multimillion-dollar stadiums. The tax-paying citizens of Dunedin should not be subsidizing private sports corporations “corporate welfare.” What a lame reasoning.
Why is the city of Dunedin mandating the citizens pay for a stadium for the Blue Jays? Tax dollars are not for corporations.
Editor: One day cannot go by without hearing about rape, sex slaves, kidnapping and other sex cries. We as a society need to ask ourselves, why?
Recently, Ariel Castro was accused of holding three women captive for a decade as sex slaves. During this time he was visited by relatives, yet the crime went undetected until now.
By mothers, grandmothers and religious societies teaching their children that their role in society is to have children, we now have an overabundance of underage children getting pregnant and adding to world starvation as a result.
Just because sex sells and we see it everywhere we look, in magazine ads, billboards, television shows etc., it does not make it right. It shows us that we have choices and need to be a trendsetter and do what we feel is right, not follow along because we want to fit in and be well liked.
Editor: The people of the state of Florida have won a victory in the Red Light Camera legislation that was introduced by state Senator Jeff Brandes and passed into law during the 2013 legislative session.
The bill cured many of the defects that existed in the previous Red Light Camera law. Among many of the positive changes in the legislation is the ability of drivers to challenge a red light camera violation using an administrative proceeding. Previously, citizens had no right to due process unless a Uniform Traffic Citation was issued with a higher fine rate of $264. All drivers who receive this violation now have a reasonable process to follow and local hearing officers are used to conduct the hearings. The hearing officers are restricted from imposing excessive fines, which are now capped at $250.
Under the new system, a person receiving a Red Light Camera Notice of Violation can pay the violation at the rate of $158, furnish an affidavit, or request a hearing within 60 days to avoid receiving a traffic citation. The Notice of Violation contains information that directs citizens to a website which provides information on their right to request a hearing as well as a standardized form to fill out and submit. Registered owners of vehicles can file an affidavit, which names the person who had care, custody and control of the car at the time of the violation. That person is then duly noticed and they may either pay the violation or request a hearing. Rental car companies would file such affidavits and the person renting the car who received the violation would have ample opportunity to pay at the $158 rate or request a hearing.
Senator Brandes’ fix to the Red Light Camera law will avoid the frustration experienced by citizens who attempted to take care of Red Light Camera violations and were faced with impediments. Clerks of court were put in the precarious situation of having to provide answers to citizens when there were no satisfactory answers. Now, citizens have a streamlined process outside of the complexities of the court system to take care of these matters directly with the cities. It provides a mechanism for rental car drivers to be afforded due process of law and be given the opportunity to pay at the reduced rate.
Editor: Thanks for the article by attorney Castillo on Cuba policy. He convincingly argues that the embargo “has long been a joke,” but then surprisingly advocates continuing this ineffective “joke.”
It might help to look at the way the East Germans got rid of communist oppression. The people, particularly young people, gradually lost their fear of the police state and took to the streets. Many Germans, east and west, have told me the reason people gained courage enough to demonstrate, was the simple fact that East Berlin was usually packed with western visitors. I myself talked with many people - they were careful but always asked questions. And they reached a point where they simply refused to put up with continued tyranny.
In all likelihood the last thing the odious Castro brothers would like to see is a Havana packed with outspoken American tourists, and it seems silly to argue that tourist dollars would prolong the dictatorship. Does anyone seriously believe that the Cuban police state will outlive the elderly Castros?
Editor: Why do we allow dogs to run amuck on the same public beaches where we bathe and lay on the sand? I see dogs on Clearwater Beach running loose and defecating and urinating where we all have to walk bare footed and lay on the sand.
As we all know too well from past E. coli outbreaks in Europe and the United States, E. coli is found in the feces of animals. Dogs should not be allowed on the same public beaches as beach goers. Most dog owners on the beach don’t care for other people’s rights or safety anyways and they certainly don’t pick up after their dogs. Once the poop is out, so is the E. coli. It’s not if, but when. This is just an accident waiting to happen. The mess we have now is neither acceptable, responsible, nor safe.
Editor: In any dialogue involving the issue of undocumented workers there is one important element generally omitted from the discussion. It is conspicuous by its absence since it is vital to the argument and must be considered in any search for resolution.
I refer to the fact the vast majority of these people here today came in response to a tacit invitation extended to them by the U.S. government. It was after all our elected officials at every level who were complicit in assuring that those agencies responsible for policing illegal immigration failed to enforce existing laws, steps that would have discouraged illegal entry. It is no secret those officials acted in response to pressure from American agricultural, manufacturing and service industries who were interested in exploiting this vast pool of inexpensive labor.
Had government refused to cave in to the pressure from them this would never have become a problem in the first place. Even now, if we begin enforcing just those laws and regulations already on the books, it would be the Mexican government who would be rushing to finish the wall on our southern border. They would be responding to the threat of a mass exodus to Mexico by those who would no longer find work in America, dumping the social problem back in the lap of the Mexican government. On the surface this would appear to be at most good news. However, over the long term we would find it would create more problems than it would resolve.
As we seek resolution to this critical problem we would do well to consider that over time many of those whose fate we are discussing have been indispensible to their employers. At the same time, especially in the agricultural sector, without this pool of inexpensive labor most crops would never reach the market, and those that did would become far too expensive for the consumers. Even worse, over a relatively short period of time much of the agricultural products we depend upon would start to come from Mexico and Central America since this is where the pool of inexpensive labor would have relocated. Bare in mind we are not merely discussing the future of these undocumented workers; we are discussing our own future as well.
Alateen meetings for teens SEMINOLE - Al-Anon for teens is offered Wednesdays, 8 p.m. at Oakhurst United Methodist, 13400 Park Blvd., Seminole. Al-Anon members who are interested in becoming an Alateen sponsor are also needed, and they must meet three requirements. They must have been in Al-Anon for three years and attend regular meetings. They must be at least 23 years old, and they must attend training with details of the WSO Safety and Behavioral Requirements. An Alateen sponsor is a trained AMIAS who facilitates the Alateen meeting. They do not sponsor Alateens. Only trained AMIAS’s are allowed in Alateen meetings. It is not open to adults.
For information, contact Laurie at email@example.com or 954-3607.
Aqua Zumba Classes
LARGO – The Largo Aquatics Division now offers Aqua Zumba, a high-energy water exercise class, on Wednesday evenings, 6:15 p.m., beginning April 3 at the Southwest Aquatic Complex, at 13120 Vonn Road.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired cardio dance workout with music that conditions and tones the body. Adding water resistance to Zumba allows individuals to receive a more intense cardio-based workout in a low-impact environment.
Instructor Angelique Renaud will lead the class in 4 feet of water, so no swimming skills are required. However, participants should be comfortable in waist-deep water and must be at least 12 years old. As with any exercise program, check with your doctor before starting. A lifeguard will be on duty during all class times.
Aqua Zumba is a drop-in class; no preregistration required or punch cards accepted. Classes are $5 per person for Largo residents, $6.25 for nonresidents or $9.25 for guests.
For more information, visit LargoPools.com or call 518-3126.
Dinner forum on gun use
SEMINOLE – A dinner forum will focus on issues in the current debate about guns and gun ownership on Wednesday, May 22, 6 to 8:15 p.m., at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. Advance registration is required. Call 394-6933.
“Shooting Straight: Unmasking America’s Love Affair with Guns” will feature Dan Baum, author of “Gun Guys: A Road Trip,” and Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute who teaches journalists how to report on the gun issue.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri also will provide an officer’s perspective on guns.
The program is sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC. Co-sponsors are WEDU and the Tampa Bay Times.
Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 bingo DUNEDIN – The Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 sponsors bingo each Wednesday and Friday. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Bingo starts at noon. at 360 Douglas Ave. Call 733-6107.
Every Child a Swimmer
ST. PETE BEACH – The Kiwanis Club of Gulf Beaches together with the city of St. Pete Beach is offering the Every Child a Swimmer water safety and survival program at The St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. A parent or guardian must be present to complete paperwork and each child will be water tested at this time. For more information, call 510-0582.
This free program is for non-swimmers in kindergarten through fifth-grade and aims to make sure every participant learns the basic swimming techniques to ensure their safety and to help them enjoy a lifetime of fun.
The program runs from May 6 to May 23 with classes Monday through Thursday. Class start times are 5 and 5:45 p.m.
Registration is limited and those interested can sign up on a first-come basis at The St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3.
Pinellas NOW meeting PINELLAS PARK – Pinellas County chapter of the National Organization for Women meets fourth Wednesdays, at Girls Incorporated, 7700 61st St. N. The meeting, open and free to nonmembers, features discussions on feminist, social, and political issues. Participants will meet new friends, learn new information and network with like-minded people. The activist group is involved in community events and advocacy efforts that benefit women and promote equality for all. The Pinellas chapter participates in the organization’s statewide meetings and national conferences. Membership fees, for those interested, are paid on a sliding scale starting at $10 per year. The group does not meet in the months of June, July or August. Call 729-2876 or visit pinellasnow.weebly.com for more information.
Sweet Caroline’s grand opening
PALM HARBOR – Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, now in its fourth year, recently announced the opening of Sweet Caroline’s Café, adjacent to current location at 3347 Tampa Road. For information, visit www.sweetcarolinesbakery.com.
A grand opening celebration and open house will take place Wednesday, May 22, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the bakery and café. The event will feature entertainment as well as an opportunity to sample a variety of treats.
The Wonderful World of Brooker Creek Preserve
ST. PETERSBURG – The free program The Wonderful World of Brooker Creek Preserve will be presented Wednesday, May 22, 2 to 3 p.m., at the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, 500 Sunset Drive S. Call 582-2603 or visit www.eventbrite.com/event/5260233500/eorg.
Lara Miller, University of Florida/Extension natural resources agent, will discuss the fascinating plants, animals and ecosystems of the approximately 9,000 acres of preserve in the heart of Pinellas County – Florida’s smallest, yet most densely populated county. Brooker Creek Preserve is one of the last refuges for the county’s native wildlife.
The program is recommended for adults. Registration is required.
ST. PETE BEACH – The City of St. Pete Beach Family Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, plans water aerobics classes beginning Tuesday, April 30. Classes are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:15 to 11 a.m.
Water Aerobics offers a great muscle-toning and cardio workout with the benefits and support of the water.
Cost is $5 for St. Pete Beach residents and $6 for non-residents. The classes are free for all SilverSneakers members. Join anytime.
Weekly line dancing classes PINELLAS PARK – The Pinellas Park Elks Lodge No. 2217 holds line dancing classes on Wednesdays, 7 to 8 p.m., at 7550 40th St. N.
The class, taught by instructor Ann Splain, costs $4.
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