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Reader's Forum
Tuesday, January 20
Re: “Mayor proposes patriotic initiative,” by Tiffany Razzano, Seminole Beacon, Jan. 14
Editor:
Thank you to the Beacon for communicating the city’s patriotic initiative, an initiative that is evolving and beginning to take hold.

The outpouring of support for a patriotic citywide initiative has been overwhelming. I personally have received all sorts of suggestions on how to support this initiative. The city plans for expense to be minimal, and something that the thousands of veterans and their families who live, work, shop in Seminole will appreciate. Our men and women in uniform and military veterans will also realize the city of Seminole salutes them every day, not just on certain holidays.

I realize that patriotic pride is demonstrated and felt by 18,000 Seminole citizens in 18,000 ways. Some people not so much, and that of course, is fine.

To enhance the show of our colors by flying banners similar to those displayed in Seminole in past years, putting up a few more flags on city property, establishing partnerships with veteran groups, activating a speaker’s bureau with related topics, and increasing communications, are just a few ways to express a red-white and blue community spirit.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
As I read Mayor Waters’ ideas for making Seminole the most patriotic city in the county, I found her plan was more of a minor initiative than a true city identity.

For the past 13 years, nearly every township and small city in the country has sought to outdo one another with patriotic displays of the American flag or red, white and blue. It is not fresh. It is not new. It will not set us apart. It is not an identity.

The mayor’s proposal creates not so much a unique identity as it enlists the city into a fraternity of hundreds, if not thousands, of cities throughout the nation seeking the exact same identity. It’s a crowded field.

Eight of Business Insider’s top 25 most patriotic cities in America are in Florida. They are Seminole’s direct competition.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
I read with interest Bob Driver’s column “The post-Ferguson question: What now?” published in the January 2015 issue of the Dunedin Beacon. Some possible solutions he proposes to heal this country’s racial and law enforcement wounds include body cameras for police officers, ride-alongs for civilians in police cruisers, more minority voter registrations and election victories, and reform of the grand jury system. While these suggestions are certainly worthy of consideration, they do not reach wide enough or deep enough.

I believe there are many additional ideas that deserve our careful attention as well, especially if we want to address the root causes of this continuing problem. Here are 12:

1. We need to recruit more minority police officers to have more diverse law enforcement agencies that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. In 75 percent of American communities police forces are disproportionately white relative to the local population.

2. We need to build community police forces whose organizational cultures and climates reflect a commitment to fair and impartial policing.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
On Jan. 7, Save the Biltmore Preservationists Inc., a registered nonprofit organization, filed a lawsuit against the town of Belleair. Plaintiffs for this lawsuit are Diane Hein, president, and Belleair resident, T.C. Hayes. The reason for the lawsuit is that, on December 9, 2014, Belleair officials violated their own major law, the comprehensive plan for the town of Belleair, by voting to approve the special Certificate of Appropriateness, allowing for demolition of the Historic 1897 Belleview Biltmore Resort Hotel. The passage of the zoning change is strictly inconsistent with goal 1 of the town’s comprehensive plan, which expressly requires “preservation of the historic 1897 Belleview Biltmore.”

At issue here, is the developer, who has a contract on the property, to demolish the priceless and historic 1897 Belleview Biltmore Hotel. In the Biltmore’s place would be what would eventually be four, 80-foot tall condominiums. Now let’s be honest. Which would you prefer to look upon in your neighborhood, the beautiful totally renovated Belleview Biltmore Hotel, or four look alike concrete and glass, sky high, characterless, modern towers?

Realizing that all condominium residents are weary of waiting for something to happen, a word of caution as to “what you wish for.” The demolition of the hotel and construction of condo/townhomes would not only be a disaster for resident property values and peace of mind, it would be a monumental error that would last forever. We urge you to think about the consequences of this dangerous action. A reminder, The Belleview Biltmore Hotel is an extremely prestigious building, one-of-a-kind in the world, and a piece of American history.

We wonder if the current condominium residents really grasp the extent of the chaos that would be taking place in their domain over a period of years, during and after the demolition of the Biltmore place. This alone, would be a very noisy, dirty, messy, and dangerous situation, with large, noisy, hydraulic machines knocking the building down, and large, noisy trucks hauling off the debris. Most likely, major road repairs, and a new bridge would be needed to allow all this heavy equipment access to the hotel. The entire hotel infrastructure is already in place now, so all of this construction turmoil could be avoided if the hotel was to remain and be restored.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, January 13
Editor:
The Berlin Wall fell because Russia fell and that’s what needs to happen now in Cuba. Now that Russia’s and Venezuela’s economies are both on the ropes and are no longer able to prop up Cuba’s failed socialist economy, it’s when the other shoe should drop.

So, why can’t we wait another minute for the other shoe to drop? Why do we need to rescue Castro’s communism now when it’s on its last leg? It’s a well-known fact that they have schemed with our enemies to destroy us.

It’s not the embargo stupid! They can get anything they want from the rest of the world including Canada and Mexico. Just stay at any of their vacation resorts, and you’ll see that the shelves are fully stocked.

But, more to the point, where did they find all that money to send troops to Angola and other Central American countries to subvert those governments? So, they don’t have enough money to feed their own people, but they have the money for foreign wars, right? Both Fidel and Raul have been reportedly rumored to be worth close to $1 billion dollars each.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
As people nationwide welcomed 2015, watching the ball drop in Times Square, are we “keeping our eye on the ball” in this new year regarding city priorities?

Our Seminole council has shared ideas for months regarding a city-branding theme, but there are far more important issues facing Seminole.

Almost seven months ago, City Manager Edmunds announced that he is leaving employment with our city, and Administration Director Harry Kyne also announced his own departure. Edmunds was persuaded to remain longer with the offer of a hefty check, and an extra week of vacation each month. Since June we have seen no leadership from Mayor Waters in scheduling steps to replace that position. With these major staff changes pending, it seems almost comical that Mayor Waters would be driving around Seminole, counting flags, and suggesting creation of new laws to mandate flag displays in Seminole, as mentioned in the Nov. 13 Tampa Bay Times.

A matter of greater importance is that, in November, the ninth person holding responsibilities of city clerk during this city manager’s tenure was terminated. The termination of the clerk also cost Seminole the value of almost five years of expertise in the position of a sworn officer of our city, which might have made our city’s transition into the future more fluid.
 ... Read More 
Re: “Living in the real word,” Robert Shaw, Dec. 26, Dunedin Beacon
Editor:
It was ironic that I read Robert Shaw’s demand for America’s “admitting to our mistakes” on the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Was it a mistake for America to coordinate relief efforts halfway across the globe? Was it a mistake for us to mobilize the response for neighboring Haiti after its 2010 earthquake? Was it a mistake for us to send aid to Africa to stem the AIDS epidemic under George W. Bush, or the Ebola outbreak under Barack Obama?

Was it a mistake for America to send troops and materiel to Europe to save western civilization in World Wars I and II? Was it a mistake to engineer the Marshall Plan, which redeveloped a devastated world after World War II? Was it a mistake for us to spend huge military assets to keep the sea-lanes open across the world and to create the Pax Americana which prevented World War III. Was it a mistake for us to stand athwart the evil Russian empire until the hideous Berlin Wall was torn down?

Was it a mistake for America’s founders to develop two of the greatest documents in world history:

1. The Declaration of Independence, which established the principle “ that all men are created equal”?
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, January 6
Re: “Columnist sees world through fogged lens,” letter by Bob Radez, Dec. 18.
Editor:
“I like that about the Republicans; the evidence does not faze them, they are not bothered at all by the facts.” - Bill Clinton.

Too bad Mr. Radez gets all his information from the extreme right echo chamber: Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al. Those who listen, read and/or view no news are better informed than those who view Fox News exclusively.

Mr. Radez claims to “live in reality” yet his diatribe exudes a startling and annoying lack of reality based information, also known as: “facts.”

His thinly disguised and distorted rhetoric is nothing more than recitation of the moronic tantrums of the far right.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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