Editor: After over 20 years serving as Seminole’s first, and only, city manager, Frank Edmunds will be retiring at the end of August.
Mr. Edmunds has long been acknowledged for his conservative practical approach to fiscal responsibility, which has led Seminole to be one of the most respected and financially stable cities in the country.
Last Tuesday evening, my colleagues on the Seminole city Council and I had the responsibility of selecting finalists to replace Mr. Edmunds as our next city manager.
After some consideration, we were able to take the list of 11 finalists down to five, one of whom will be selected and offered the position.
Editor: Greetings fellow beach residents. My family has owned and operated the Page Terrace Beachfront Hotel and lived in Treasure Island for 25 years and look forward to many more. My interest in regards to city planning is what is best for our community and the wellbeing of my business. Treasure Island is a tourism destination and future develop is vital to our city’s future.
Tourism is part and parcel of what makes Treasure Island special. The industry helps keep our city thriving. Currently, Treasure Island is proposing a Planned Development Zoning Ordinance. This is a crucial step toward rejuvenating our city’s outdated cityscape. My business falls in the PD Zone and we would welcome the redevelopment.
The city’s mid-century design is dated, relative to the highly competitive business of Florida Tourism and the PD will allow for growth and modernization of our city plan. For example, my property was built in 1958, and at the time it was a mid-century modern design overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. That charm has faded away in the last 57 years and time has taken its toll on the property. We do our best to keep the Page Terrace up to date by improving and renovating the property to try and keep up with the newest trends, but with the current city ordinances we can only do so much to keep up with the tourism competition in Treasure Island and across Florida. Treasure Island is a beach destination. Families save all year to experience our “island time” way of life. For that to be possible, hotels need to be able to provide adequate hotel space and appropriate amenities to accommodate guests. As I said before, tourism is what makes our city thrive.
Treasure Island does not need to be in competition with cities like Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale. We are competing with small beach communities throughout Florida with a population less than 20,000. Some of those world famous beaches are Marco Island, Longboat Key, Sanibel, Anna Maria Island, or even more locally, the beach communities of Pinellas County, including Madeira Beach and St. Pete Beach (TripAdvisor’s No.1 beach in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world in 2012).
Re: ‘800 miles for those with disabilities,’ May 21 Editor: I want to congratulate your choice of the above article, which brings more awareness to people with disabilities. The cyclists from Pi Kappa Phi showed great support by deciding to make a stop on their route from Miami to Tallahassee and bring attention to the role and the needs of the center.
I had a friend with an autistic child, and as the child was growing the schools seemed to provide sufficient care and service. But once the child outgrew the school age, there seemed to be nowhere to go, or to turn to. So, that is why the whole community should become more involved by organizing skills’ workshops at the center to help the people with special needs to reinforce their self-esteem and to find a way for an employment.
The contractors and volunteers should participate in the service of home modifications assistance and contribute to the independent living of the less fortunate. But most importantly, the local colleges and universities should integrate their extra-curricular activities by participating in the mentoring programs. The center should not be waiting for the visit of the cyclists once a year to gain popularity of its most humane services!
These 21 students joined the group immediately after their exams, so the local students from SPC, Eckerd College and USF should follow their example and visit the center at least a few times a year. All they have to do is to show care, concern and serve as an inspiration to those who will not have their opportunities, but also have dreams and need some encouragement and support to achieve them too!
Editor: Thank you, the city of Clearwater, for hosting the Centennial Parade on May 30. It was a wonderful parade with great floats/entries from so many groups. The people along Drew Street had a really good time. Even as great as the parade was, what was even better was the clean street (Drew Street parade route) on Sunday morning! Thank you, thank you, thank you crew members who followed the parade and made sure Clearwater was sparkling clean the next day.
Re: ‘Seminole’s actions fail the smell test,’ Tom Germond’s column, June 11. Editor: Thanks to Tom Germond for the column emphasizing the importance of citizens’ access to public records. Despite the bluster of Councilor Plantamura, key motions made, discussions and votes on the issue, let me assure the citizens of Seminole, that to my knowledge no person has ever been denied access to public records maintained by the city of Seminole. The city adheres to state law; the city has a process in place to handle public record requests.
When the dust of the public records issue settles, a disturbing issue still remains for council to handle. Councilor Plantamura refuses to be straightforward in answering on council as to where she got official city documents, documents she did not receive as part of a public records request. Why were these documents, or semblance thereof, removed from City Hall without approval, and for that matter, maybe illegally? In the spirit of government transparency, Ms. Plantamura should tell council how these documents came into her possession.
In an attempt to distract attention from these documents, she is huffing and puffing on council over the content of council minutes, stating untruths about a colleague, and mocking and demeaning the service of others on council.
In my opinion, to be an effective, productive, and relevant elected official, working in a respectful and less disruptive manner with others on council could be a better approach for positive results for us all.
Re: “Seminole’s actions fail the smell test,” Tom Germond’s column, June 11. Editor: Last week I visited the city of Seminole for the purpose of getting some copies of documents I had filed with the city a few years ago.
So I went in on a Friday and a nice person took my request and said the person that manned that desk was not there but would be given my request.
I waited a few days after not hearing from anyone and decided to visit again to find out if maybe they were ready. The person that was head of that department asked what I needed and I told that person what I was looking for. I then was given a bunch of documents that I did not need and was told that was all that could be found in the file. But that person promised to give my request to the other person when they came back.
I waited a few days, did not hear anything again and I called and got “that” person who knew where everything was and they said “this is a public information request” and then told me I would be connected to another person to put in my request and then it could be accomplished.
Re: “PD district vital for Treasure island,” Dennis Fagan’s column, May 21 Editor: After I read the editorials by the “offended ones,” I had to look back to read again what Dennis Fagan wrote. After carefully reviewing it again, I still think it was a well-reasoned, thoughtful article with a sound conclusion. Let the residents decide the issue by voting again.
As a 30-year resident, I remember the election of 2002 very well. It was the first of my 12 years as a poll worker. It was a strange ballot question that year where “Yes” meant “No” and “No” meant “Yes.” The bottom line was that residents voted down “tall buildings” and stopped a concerted effort by some developers that wanted to transform the entire beachfront to multi-story condos with South Clearwater Beach as the example.
Nobody wants to revisit that. Now, we just need a reasoned approach to allow some exceptions to create great tourist destinations. However, there is a group of people who want no development at the Gator’s property due to their own self-interest. You can’t block the view with a vacant lot. The Luddites exist, and they know who they are. I’m not offended because I’m not one of them.
I must interject here that I believe the Luddite term probably more aptly applies to the three hotel owners that would rather destroy the beach recreation than allow a short-term inconvenience that will benefit everybody. But that’s another issue, back to this one.
Editor: I am encouraged to see TI moving to the middle on proposed height and density in the current version of the Planned Development Ordinance. However, until this ordinance treats all similarly situated owners the same, litigation will result. The current version only applies to certain areas on the north end of Treasure Island. Just because this ordinance is “better” is not a good reason to move it ahead with this fatal flaw.
TI needs a new comprehensive redevelopment law. It must encourage sustainable building practices that protect our beach environment. These new buildings will be with us for 75 years, and must be flexible to changing conditions on our beaches. It would be great to work cooperatively on these details with the city, but first, it has to be fair.
Re: “Red-light cameras may soon be a no-go” article, May 22 Editor: Having just read Logan Mosby’s article in the May 22 Clearwater Beacon “Red-light cameras may soon be a no-go,” I must question if anyone has done a study on the root cause of why drivers run red lights.
From my own observation, drivers run red lights because they don’t want to get stuck waiting sometimes as long as four minutes or more for it to turn green again. Red lights are just too long and yellow lights are just too short.
While there is some encouragement to stop for a red light because of an intersection with a red-light camera, drivers are more likely to stop for red lights if they were red for a reasonable time and if there is enough time to stop between yellow and red. I hope that the Pinellas County department of traffic control will research this issue as there are many intersections in our county that have agonizing long red lights. Studying why people run red lights and soliciting an easy method for feedback from the driving public may help solve this issue without the need to renew an unpopular and the possibly legality of the red-light camera program. This would also enable more Clearwater police officers to be out in the public instead of sitting in a room reviewing red-light camera infractions.
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