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Letters to the Editor

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  • | 4:00 a.m. October 29, 2014
  • East County
  • Opinion
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+ University signalization offers false hope
Dear Editor,
I read the article regarding traffic flow problems on University Parkway and the latest proposed solution.
So this scheme claims to work in little cities like Topeka, Kan. and Upper Merion, Pa. 

I wonder what cities with real traffic problems like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago use.

One sentence in the story was particularly worrisome: If traffic improvements are not seen along University Parkway, the equipment could be removed and installed somewhere else in the county, Sarasota County’s Jim Harriott said. 

So the two counties spend about a million dollars between them, and if it doesn’t work on University Parkway, why would it work elsewhere in the county?

Traffic management engineers of Sarasota and Manatee counties have been promising a fix for at least four years — four years! Is this the best they can come up with?

Steve Edwards,
Lakewood Ranch

+ Vote for School Board change Tuesday
Dear Editor,
Citizens of Manatee County are worried about the quality of their school district. School Board and district leadership try daily to convince them that all is well.

But is it really?

We are weeks into the school year and there are still 116 staff vacancies in the district. Many of those are classroom-teaching positions. Why?

Is it unplanned student growth? Unexpected growth is not new to the district, but it was better managed in the past. Additional teachers were quickly hired while qualified applicants were still available.

Is it a result of mass employee exodus? The toxic climate in the district has caused many to take positions elsewhere or to retire early.

Is it because the human resources department is so severely understaffed that they cannot respond to the hiring needs of the schools in a timely manner? The drastic dismissal of knowledgeable HR personnel has resulted in a hiring slowdown.

District leadership likes to complain about the “good old boy” network of the past. Yet, they appear to hire friends from their former districts and states. This seems to be occurring even when contracting for health care, administrator training and school security. Is this cronyism just another form of a “good old boy” network?

I suggest that all is not well in our school district. Please vote for change on the School Board on Nov. 4.

Susan Bassler
East County

+ Aranibar has Manatee County presence
Dear Editor,
In order to serve as an effective Manatee County school board member, you need to understand the community and the schools.

Julie Aranibar has been involved by volunteering and being a strong advocate for the Manatee County school system since 1999; plus, she has lived in Manatee County  since 1998. It is pretty apparent that she is well respected since all the school unions have endorsed her candidacy.

Mary Cantrell, also a candidate, has never made an effort to assimilate into the community. Homesteaded in St. Petersburg, she commuted each day to her previous job. She has worked for years in Manatee County and never made an effort to move here and be part of the community. Oh yes, she rented a room in a friend’s house to pretend that she lived here. Home sweet home.

Jane  Grace

+ Watercrest supports SMR development
I want to address some of the remarks made by Rex Jensen in your Oct. 8, article regarding “SMR’s Response to Residents’ Concerns.”

First, Mr. Jensen indicated that Edgewater residents objected to the building of Watercrest. This is simply not true. What Edgewater objected to was the use of their roadways as construction thoroughfare during the building of Watercrest. Once Watercrest was completed, the gate between Watercrest and Edgewater was closed for both entrance and exit and has not been a problem to either community.

Second, Mr. Jensen suggests that Watercrest residents feel building seven-story buildings directly across from them will adversely affect their views. Currently, Watercrest residents are looking at the back of the movie theater and adjacent parking lots. Watercrest fully trusts that whatever is built on the site behind the theater will improve their views.

Third, Mr. Jensen indicates that the intent for the development along Lakewood Main Street has always been intended for an urban environment, which would presumably permit tall buildings. Yet, to date, the Lakewood Main Street consists of low-rise buildings.

Finally, Mr. Jensen claims the projected additional 90 units proposed for the seven-story buildings, all of which will enter and exit via Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, will not significantly impact traffic on Lakewood Boulevard. Yet, the new apartment complex on Lakewood Boulevard with 237 units, with probably at least that many cars, has just begun occupancy. Further, no one knows what will be the impact on traffic flow along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and The Mall at University Town Center. Perhaps a more prudent course would be to wait and see what these changes bring and whether and to what extent Lakewood Ranch Boulevard may become an alternative route to I-75 north of University Parkway.

Connie McKenzie
Lakewood Ranch