Letters to the Editor

Stands With Fork

Re: "A Change in Menu" by Bonnie Boots (July 19-25)

Damn. First the music critic, Sugg, now Bonnie Boots. Planet staffers are clearing out faster than audience members after watching Spielberg's AI. Ms. Boots, are you sure about this technical writing path? Who else could have made describing an all-you-can buffet as delightful as the fare itself?
I wish you and Sugg the best, and hopefully the next crew will keep those of us who want to remain informed, informed. In honor of the 12-year anniversary of Dances with Wolves you are hereby dubbed, "She Who Stood with Fork."

A. Evonti "He Who Writes Letters" Anderson
Via e-mail

R.I.P. Trust and Privacy

Re: "Face Lift" by Rochelle Renford (July 19-25)

Would the Tampa Police Department please explain to me how the new security camera installations in Ybor will abate criminal activity with out further convincing people that we live in a hostile police state where lawlessness is a valid response to its insouciant oppression. I believe invasive policing measures generate more civil liberty transgressions than they solve, resulting in losses of public trust and privacy, which are tragically difficult to recover. How can this be condoned? Deploying snoop cams in public places like Ybor will result in little more than a scattering of roaches while urgent safety and health issues are left unattended.
One such underlying issue in Ybor City is the corporate pressure brought to bear against bar and nightclub patrons encouraged to overconsume in lost weekend frenzies promoted and endorsed by the city administration and chambers of commerce. Ybor used to be a unique and diverse community with a flair for beauty and authenticity. Gone now are the galleries and book stores, the small shops catering to appetites for culture or cuisine or things mysterious and wonderful. Ybor itself has become homeless and raped. It's a crumbling parody of itself, roadkill de-evolving into booze ghettoism, an alcohol theme park demonstrating the wrong way to zone and codify a community. Will spy ware fix that?
Ybor doesn't need Big Brother surveillance; it needs a sustainable business development plan capable of generating a diverse dynamic community with leadership willing to explore and implement those strengths.

Wayne Genthner


Re: "Burning Question" by Rochelle Renford (July 12-18)

On the cover of the Weekly Planet you write: "What was so menacing about a South St. Pete home that would cause police to burn it down?" Police didn't burn it down. The house caught on fire by accident. To put a sub-headline on your paper like that puts you in the same class as some of those trashy tabloids sold at your local grocer.
First, the slant of the story where the "good guys," the cops are portrayed as the "bad guys" and the real "bad guys" are portrayed as innocent victims.
I am not privy to any of the details of what transpired in the execution of the search warrant, other than what has been reported in the local news. I am however, privy to certain common sense and certain standard operation procedures of Florida law enforcement, as a former Deputy Sheriff and one who has been the "uniform deputy" for the execution of search warrants, in drug raids.
Certain things can be assumed if a search warrant is being served:

1. A judge has signed and approved of the search.
2. Law enforcement had probable cause of a crime being committed.
3. Statistically speaking, serving search warrants on suspected drug dealers is high risk for law enforcement, innocent bystanders and suspects.
4. Officer safety and the safety of innocent persons make up the first and most important issue.

I specifically address the following state- ments that Rochelle Renford wrote in her article as inflammatory:

1. "... And then the police just say, "Oops we made a mistake, we can't arrest anybody because we burned up the evidence." Obviously, that is making a mockery of the facts. I find it hard to believe that any law enforcement officer would be so callous about the facts and speak with such sarcasm. The reality is, an accident happened. It was not planned to burn the apartment as a means to serve a search warrant.
2. "... it's difficult to imagine the SWAT Team showing up in Coffeepot Bayou looking for relatively small amounts of marijuana ..."
I can assure you, presented with the same facts, police procedure would have been the same. To say that there is a small amount of marijuana is an ignorant remark. I take it you think the police should first ascertain how much marijuana is in question and they should obtain this information without a search warrant somehow? The reality is this, they had enough evidence or probable cause to obtain a search warrant. With that search warrant, they can then do a deeper investigation to ascertain how much narcotics the suspect actually do have and other evidence to assist in the prosecution of the suspects. I don't think a drug dealer is going to show all of his drugs to a prospective buyer.
3. "... the informant did not indicate that there were any weapons visible or hostages tied up in the living room ..." When it comes to officer safety, you must assume that all criminal suspects have weapons. If there were hostages in tied up in the living room, no one would have busted in with a percussion grenade without first trying to negotiate a release of the hostages.
The issue of law enforcement enforcing the drug laws unequally against whites and blacks is an issue and a valid one; however, to use this example as basis only discredits your cause. You have made the cops look like the bad guys when they are the ones risking their lives daily, to protect you.

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