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Reader's Forum
Tuesday, July 22
Editor:
Inasmuch as Mayor Arbutine decided to disallow citizen comment and questions regarding his proposed utility tax at the July 14 workshop session, I submit the following observations and suggestions:

Mayor Arbutine’s unilateral decision to prohibit citizen input was decided because, as he explained, the comments and questions received at the June workshop were addressed at the outset of the Monday’s meeting. However, on Monday, Mayor Arbutine introduced an entirely new proposal. One, which only he was privy to, and one which he and he alone permitted to be discussed.

While the mayor tried to explain that Ordinance 137-1 has been “illegal” since 1973, he could not explain why it has remained in the code and, prior to 1992, the charter mandated the referendum requirement. Also, he did not address the fact that the city has in the past held at least one referendum on a utility tax as required by the Ordinance.

Neither the mayor nor the city attorney is in a position to decide that the ordinance is “illegal.” Any question as to the legality of an Ordinance 137-1 can be resolved only through the appropriate legal proceeding.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
Belleair Bluffs City Commission workshop July 17 was Kabuki theater at its best. If I didn’t know better I would have to think it was a well-rehearsed mayor and commission workshop, but we all know that would be unethical and probably illegal.

Mayor Arbutine refused to allow any questioning of the workshop proposals to add a 10 percent utility tax in addition to one of the highest ad valorum, 5.35 mill, taxes in the county.

What form of democracy is this? It’s definitely not participative when changes in government law are dictated to its citizens.

Belleair Bluffs has become a little fiefdom that depends on Largo, Belleair, and the county to provide fire, water, sewage and law enforcement.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
In this busy world of products such as food, oil, home supplies, why is it so easy to just swipe a credit card and the purchase is so complete. The cashiers are even trained not to ask for a photo I.D.

Don’t you think that in a world where billions of dollars of fraud occur one would ask for a simple I.D.? As a concerned citizen, I even had “cid” on the back of my card. Again, what for, nobody checks.

It truly scares me that big stores refuse to ask for I.D. I’m sure many others feel like I do. It’s that easy to purchase items. If I simply lose my card and think it’s safely in my wallet before I realize it’s missing after several days, much damage can be already done. Hundreds if not thousands cannot be accounted for.

I’m baffled by the lack of security. What is it! Bigger and better profit for the companies or the simple inconvenience of a customer going in their wallet or purse for a picture I.D. We have security in all aspects of life. From our airports to cameras on our streets. We live in a society where caution is a reality. Again, many people simply lose their card. Before they notice it missing, that card can be used in many fraudulent ways. Yep! It’s that easy.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, July 15
Editor:
Largo’s City Hall land grab gestapo strikes again! The recent forced annexations (using old sewer contracts) by the city of Largo in the Long Branch Creek, Arbor Terrace and Brookstone subdivisions is an outrage.

This land grab reminds me of the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939.

More exploitation and colonization of county neighborhoods by the big spending, tax hungry Largo City Commission. Using old forced annexation sewer hookup contracts is a shakedown and should be outlawed by the state Legislature immediately.

No one in their right mind would want to join the city of Largo. The city’s 16 percent taxes and franchise fees on electricity are extortion and would embarrass even an organized crime syndicate (county residents pay zero).
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, July 8
Editor:
The mayor and commissioners are trying to push a 10 percent utility tax on water and electricity on us, without our vote.

In Pinellas County, there are 24 municipalities. We are the fifth highest millage

In 2011 the firemen were willing to accept $659,000 for their pension. The city ended up paying more than $1.58 million, plus attorney fees two years later.

A lot of residents are on fixed income. They are going for the highest amount, which is 10 percent on our utilities. I question what amount the utilities will charge the city of Belleair Bluffs for doing this?
 ... Read More 
Editor:
I am going door to door, with my dog, Buddy, getting signatures from residents who are opposed to the utility tax. The two replies I get when I ask if they have heard about the utility tax are: “I heard something” or “No, I am not aware of any utility tax.”

All of the residents I have talked to have been nice. This is a safe and beautiful city that overspent our taxpayer money on fighting the firefighter pension fund.

At the last workshop, Debra Sullivan made the statement there aren’t “that many Belleair Bluffs residents on fixed incomes.” I don’t know where she got her information, but there are quite a few residents on fixed or low incomes and, we are in one of the worse recessions ever. I was just laid off from my job of eight years so people are still suffering job losses, income losses, higher food prices, gas at an all-time high for the longest period of time and more.

I will be in attendance at the July 14 workshop meeting at 6 p.m. as I am not fighting just for myself, but for the residents of Belleair Bluffs.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
A response to Bob Driver’s column on grandparents and global warming, I, too, am a grandparent and very concerned about the world my grandchildren will inherit.

However, my concerns are not due to global warming but to the fear mongers who abuse the concept of global warming. It seems Mr. Driver has been sucked into the hype and has failed to educate himself on the other side of the story. In reality, science does not support all the rhetoric about global warming. What he really needs to be concerned about is the environmentalist’s indifference to and incompatibility with democracy and individual liberty.

The environmentalists have turned a blind eye to exploring any view that does not support their theory. They are not seeking truth; they are seeking political advantage that steam rolls anything in its path. Sadly, democracy and individual liberty are in the way. If Mr. Driver and those like him continue to sign onto the conventional alarmist version of global warming and fail to seek the whole truth bringing science and reason to the table, our grandchildren’s concern will not be that their homes are no longer on the coastline. They will be asking why their grandparents did not do something to stop the erosion of democracy and preserve their constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Mr. Driver, I know it is not politically correct but may I encourage you to use your Driver’s Seat to take you to the other side of the question and get the whole story. The (environmentalist) emperor really does have no clothes.
 ... Read More 
Editor:
Thank you, Madeira Beach for the best fireworks ever. Enjoyed them very much. What a treat! Proud to be a Madeira Beach resident and proud to live in the U.S.A.

Loretta Somogyi
Madeira Beach
 ... 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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