Editor: In his Nov. 20 column, Bob Driver chides the many Democrat candidates in the recent elections that went to great lengths to distance themselves from the president.
Condemning their cowardice for not standing up and stating what they would have done in the president’s place, Mr. Driver then lists the many problems on the president’s plate, including Isis, Iraq, immigration reform, climate change, same sex marriage, Obamacare and others.
Apparently, Mr. Driver doesn’t realize that he has listed the very issues that forced the Democrat candidates to run from this president, who has decidedly been on the wrong side of these and virtually every other issue of his administration.
The policies of this president have consistently run counter to the majority of American voters, undermining the very foundations and traditions that have made this Nation the greatest in the history of the world.
Editor: President Obama and Attorney General Holder are both talking about the need to re-train police officers and reforming police departments because of what happened in Ferguson. They are both in complete denial of the grand jury’s ruling, as if it never happened, and continue to lay the blame on the police.
I don’t think the need to retrain police officers and the need to reform police departments is nearly as important as promoting proper civil behavior. And Holder is using the Ferguson blow up as a backdrop for addressing racial profiling. What? Profiling had absolutely nothing to do with what happened with Michael Brown. Holder and the president are both ignoring the fact that Brown allegedly committed several crimes leading up to his death: robbery, assault and battery on the shop keeper, assault on a police officer, resisting a police officer, just to name a few. My friends, our police are under assault. I don’t know what we can do to let them know that most of us are on their side. On a personal level I plan on being pro-active about this.
When I am in the presence of a policeman, I am going to go out of my way to thank him, or her, for what they are doing. We need to step up and give law enforcement all the support we can. Cops are an important and necessary part of our civilization. A police officer, in fact, is an honest person’s best friend.
Editor: Back in the 1940s, downtown Dunedin was a bustling town center with a grocery store and other shops that served the Dunedin community. They even had angle parking in front of the shops on one side of the street. Then the pro-development town elected officials of that time decided that a wider road would bring more traffic and therefore more commercial development and resultant financial benefit into the downtown. Local residents objected to this idea but in the dead of night, trees were cut and deals were cut to allow the State Highway 580 to be built through the downtown as a four-lane highway. This vision of prosperity by elected officials of that day totally ruined the character of the downtown and use of the downtown by city residents came pretty much to a total halt.
Then in about 1986, the FDOT decided that downtown Dunedin was not a good place for their highway to be. It was then reconstructed down Skinner Boulevard into the current configuration that you see today. The author of this writing, the city engineer for Dunedin at that time, then saw an opportunity for the city to gain ownership of this right of way to the advantage of the city and negotiated a subrogation agreement with the FDOT for the city of Dunedin to take control of the right of way that goes through the downtown district.
The writer then set about to redesign the four-lane highway into the configuration that you see today in the downtown, which is much like it was in the 1940s. Most of the construction was performed by city public works and utility staff with funds for materials budgeted as normally budgeted for maintenance of city streets and sidewalks. Even funding provided for additional improvements in recent years by the Community Redevelopment Agency has been at taxpayer expense. This design has won awards and recognition by Southern Living Magazine and many organizations around the United States recognize this design as a very desirable and walkable downtown.
This design was based on the concept that the downtown area was for the use and enjoyment of the residents of the city of Dunedin. Part of this concept, as expressed to many people at the time of construction, was that no parking meters were ever to be installed in the Downtown. The Hilton Garden Inn now wants to build a hotel on Douglas Avenue to take advantage of the tremendous downtown that has been developed and paid for by Dunedin taxpayers.
Editor: Different than most elections, Dunedin had three candidates take their seats without any opponents. Good or bad Dunedin was extremely lucky to have three of the most capable and qualified citizen’s step up to take the job.
Dunedin’s residents can rest easy, knowing the city is in a position to take a big step forward. Dunedin will face some challenging decisions concerning development, parking, budget and keeping baseball. Good, honest and qualified people whose decisions and visions will be in the best interest of our city will guide the city’s manager, staff and employees. I can sleep easy at least until our next election.
Editor: Every year our neighbors down the street go all out with decorations for Halloween and Christmas. Every time I drive by the house I have to slow down so my 2-year-old twins can oooh and ahhhh over the decorations, day or night.
This year they are thinking about packing it all away. Someone keeps stealing decorations from their yard. This is just horrible.
Editor: On Nov. 15, Tarpon Springs High School’s Outdoor Performance Ensemble was named the 2014 Bands of America Grand National Champion. The band’s journey to the championship exemplifies the core values of strong leadership, unwavering commitment and the pursuit of excellence. I was honored to travel to Indianapolis and witness as the Tarpon Springs High School band competed among 93 of the top marching bands in the nation. The experience further motivated and energized me in my work as superintendent.
The students, teachers, parents and volunteers represent everything that is right with the Pinellas County School District. The teachers are so passionate and committed to ensuring their students understand that the true meaning of competition isn’t winning - it is the pursuit of excellence.
To the Tarpon Springs Band students: you demonstrate the true value of hard work, persistent practice and the determination to go out there and do your best.
The support lent by parents for the students, school, band program and the Tarpon Springs community truly make them models of family engagement. Members of the parent organization eagerly assisted the band with props, food, travel, and every last detail so the directors could focus on honing the ensemble’s performance and showcasing all of its talent.
Editor: On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, I decided to get dinner at McDonalds on Seminole Boulevard across from the Largo Mall.
The place was pretty busy. If you bought a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, the second one was a penny.
I was in line with about four guys behind me. I was about to place my order when a lady came in the side door, walked up to me and asked me if I was a veteran. I said, “Yes, I am.” She said that I could order whatever I wanted; it was on her, the same for the guys behind me. She thanked us for our service and gave the cashier her credit card.
Things like that don’t happen to me. That’s why I’m sharing this with you. I picked up my order and went over and shook her hand. A little misty eyed, as was she, I thanked her very much. I said I would remember her and her kindness forever.
Editor: America is a strange and wonderful place. Our citizens come in all sizes, shapes and colors. We speak an infinite variety of languages, unfortunately, for the most part only one each. Our choices of religions are limitless or we are free to observe none. We enjoy an unequalled variety of foods, whose preparation and presentation are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. We have the opportunity to choose from an endless number of jobs, trades or professions. We select from fashions that set the tone for most of the people in the western world and beyond. We live in an unparralled variety of homes and apartments that are the envy of people everywhere. We enjoy entertainment that sets the standard across the globe. We have differing levels of education, income and lifestyles. Yet in spite of these differences, or perhaps because of them, we are a nation that can boast of an unprecedented equality in opportunity for all citizens.
However, the true miracle of America will not be found in these differences. It lies in the fact the mixing of all these ingredients into one homogeneous blend of people, fails to prevent the cream from rising to the top. It in fact increases opportunity and encourages achievement, regardless of one’s circumstances at birth. This is what separates America from most of the other nations of the world, places where social status and privilege often limit one’s ability to reach their full potential. Here the exceptional, as well as the gifted, find few impediments standing in their path in their pursuit of the realization of their true potential.
Unfortunately there are dark forces who, in pursuit of their own selfish agenda, would change all of this. I refer to the wealthy in America who see in our capitalist system only the possibility of personal gain. At the same time, in their pursuit of selfish goals, they see no shame in destroying the American dream for their fellow citizens. Like the robber barons of the late 19th century, those engaged in these activities will not be satisfied until one winner has cornered all of the nation’s wealth. To them it is like a giant board game, one that consumes them as they pursue the ultimate victory. So intent are they in their quest they ignore or worse are unconcerned with what happens to America, that strange and wonderful place of which I earlier boasted. Yet all the while this is happening, most of us appear content to sleep, oblivious to the impending danger. I fear the barn is ablaze as we sleep, and no one appears concerned enough to release the horses.
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