Re: “Greenlight based on false premises,” letter to the editor, Oct. 9, 2014. Editor: A recent letter to the editor made the assertion that the Greenlight Pinellas plan is based on “false premises.” This just isn’t the case.
Yes, the sales tax will increase to 8 percent if the referendum passes. It’s a fair tax, with visitors paying as much as one-third of the cost, while replacing the property tax currently funding PSTA. And Greenlight will fund more than a light rail system: It will increase bus service in Pinellas by 65 percent.
This plan is designed to benefit everyone in Pinellas.
Buses will have extended service hours and run more frequently. This makes it easier to get to and from school or work without the family having to own a second or third car. And a light rail system will be available to the 110,000 workers in the county’s three largest employment centers, Gateway, downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Clearwater.
Editor: Compromise would bring peace to Belleair and continuing income if the Belleview Biltmore Hotel was restored - just the original hotel built by Henry Plant.
The east and south wings, built by its successive owners, could be demolished, keeping the original hotel with its vital history. The present owner could then build condos and townhouses on the remaining acreage. In my opinion, Victorian style single-family homes would be more in keeping.
Preserving the oldest wood structure hotel in the country and its first-class history would encourage visitors and provide ongoing jobs in our service-oriented county. The hotel would be large enough for social and business events of all kinds, unlike the small look-alike inn that is planned. Think of the value a first-class resort will bring to the area - again.
The National Register of Historic Places offers grant money to help someone protect this gem, but unless the town keeps its zoning of hotel use, the bulldozers are ready to destroy history in a few months. The Belleview Biltmore needs a hero!
Editor: Most often today, when someone walks closely past you, rarely will you get an acknowledgement. Not a wink, smile, nod or hello.
However, all of that changes when you are accompanied with a dog. All of a sudden, the most unapproachable looking grump greets you with a smile and the first question inevitably is, may I pet your dog?
Rapidly following is an inquisition of the name, breed, age, along with a remark about how attractive your pet may be. An inescapable story about a pet from their past ensues and decades of grayed memories cascade out without restraint. The rush to get to their destination no longer matters.
This thought-provoking meeting places everything else on hold, at least for these few moments in time. Commonly however, my dog is far ready to move along before the visitor’s conversation wraps-up!
Re: “Stop sending soldiers to foreign wars,” Thomas Michalski’s column, Oct. 9. Editor: Sir, even today, my hope is that we will not have to lose our best young people in foreign wars, but my experience is that if it comes right down to it, there are some things even worse than war. I hate to say it but read on.
In my almost sixty-seven years on this earth, our country has sent our young men and women to die in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and probably other places that do not come to mind. Except for President Reagan’s quick foray into Grenada where United States troops rescued American medical students, our troops have not been allowed victory in war since 1945.
Many years ago my father and my uncles told my cousins and me that they did not know if they would survive World War II but they were sure that America would win the war. An aside: My father, U.S Army Air Corps, bomber crew; his brothers, two U.S. Navy and one U.S. Army, all survived the war. During those years, I believe most Americans knew we would eventually win the war.
The day The U.S. Congress declared war on Japan, President Roosevelt promised victory. A week later, Hitler and his gangsters declared war on us. That was 1941. In 1945 the USA and our Allies would accept no other treaty from Germany/Japan than unconditional surrender. Armies of occupation stayed in those countries for an extended time not just to ensure compliance but also to get Japan/Germany back on track. The results of victory included a time of unprecedented growth for the United States as well Germany and Japan being two of our strongest allies for almost seventy years.
Editor: How dare U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, who lives in Tampa, to visit St. Petersburg and advocate a sales tax increase for Pinellas taxpayers! She should be focused on her work in Washington where there are so many ignored broken federal programs. Shame on Cathy Castor and the Greenlight cast for bringing her here.
The very people she is appealing to in south St. Petersburg will be paying more for the new sales tax levy then they will receive in the benefit for the elimination of their PSTA property tax. The sales tax has historically been called a regressive tax by the Tampa Bay Times and others because of its adverse impact upon the poor and middle class, but now that is not important since the new sales tax fits their goal of building a multibillion-dollar light rail on the eastside of Pinellas County.
Kathy Castor talks about the need to increase the bus service and how this proposed light rail project will do it, but that is only an enticement to get the people to vote for the Greenlight rail project because that is really what they want. Proof? The PSTA could have easily created a thoughtful improved bus service plan without the light rail proposal and it would have been widely acceptable. Remember, bus service can be changed to fit the changing population needs, but a light rail system cannot be changed once it is built and we are stuck with it!
More could be said. But you get the drift of my concerns and my opposition is clear. The billion dollar light rail project belongs in the same boat as another local billion dollar proposal for tearing down the perfectly good Skyway and rebuilding it with a larger bridge so the new giant cruise ships can fit under it. Good grief!
Editor: I recently had the pleasure of working with our city of Madeira Beach Building Department. Recently, the city passed a rental inspection ordinance to assure the safety and well-being of tenants within the city.
Initially, I had some inspection fears but upon meeting our building official, it was evident the man had an “I’m here to help” type of personality. He was professional and helpful and while he did manage to point out some shortfalls, he also pointed out the positive qualities of workmanship and thanked me for using quality products.
I wanted to let you know I am giving our employee a thumbs-up. I also don’t want to forget the pleasant lady, the permit technician that took my info and set the appointment. I want to express my appreciation to all for a job well done.
Editor: My friends. Wanted to take a moment to respond to the recent article in the Seminole Beacon, “Candidates Face Off, three City Council candidates participate in Oct. 2 forum.” The line in the column naming two others and myself as candidates that did not attend, kind of left it cold. Let me explain my absence, if I may. Simply put I had a schedule conflict. Those of us who still work, or recall what that was like, can very likely appreciate that work generally wins out in such a situation, and that is what happened in this case.
These forums are held annually at City Hall around election time, and I have had the pleasure to attend the last four consecutive years, and always look forward to them. They are generally informative and lively, but rarely confrontational, as in a face off. I reminded our City Clerk and the representative from the League of Women Voters that I had participated in forums where there were absences, those candidates went on to win successfully, so we hope history is on our side.
Our campaign stresses the serious resolve we have; this is our fifth campaign in as many years. We stress that commitment to the cause and to moving our city forward. We stress our experience, having served on a City Council previously, as well as service to Seminole on the previous Charter Revision Committee. That necessitated our local elections to be held in November with the general election. We feel this will bring more interest in the local races and save our taxpayers the expense of twice-yearly election cycles.
As for where we stand on the many issues, if you have not received one of our emails with the link to our website it is tchristy2014.webs.com. We place an ad weekly in this publication that reaches all of our residents repeatedly until the Nov. 4 date. The ad contains our website address as well. We shall continue to reach out to our voters until Election Day.
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