Residents were educated about Venezia Park ideas

To the editor,

While the editor implies that residents do not know facts regarding Venezia Park and city employees imply they are the only ones with relevant scientific facts regarding trees, it could be that you both have overlooked critical facts both in city’s planning dynamics as well as all environmental factors, including wildlife ecosystem and atmosphere impacts.

This City Council meeting was in fact a great example of a responsive council that listens, researches, and learns themselves to provided informed guidance.

The meeting was recorded so citizen input provided is part of the official record as you implied wasn’t happening here. Each speaker was well researched and concisely shared relevant, deep information regarding ecosystem impacts, tree species variations, budgeting practices, current park usage, and area demographics.

It was quite educational and offered important context to what city employees presented, which just focused on how bad the pine trees are while claiming they had ‘no position’ on the matter.

When the Director of Public Works “prefers to remove exotic species and replace them” as stated in editorial and is trying to get $1M targeted for a park with 175 Australian pine trees it doesn’t much of a leap to realize what the huge budget is primarily for.

There are plans in the city’s office illustrating a walkway right on top of the pine trees. Neighbors staying silent during meetings because they are early planning as you recommend would certainly benefit those who have been wanting to eliminate those trees for a long time.

Elsa Dempsey


When is a plan not a plan?

To the editor,

Regarding your editorial this past Saturday which begins by saying there was no plan to “tear all the trees out of Venezia Park” and then further recommends that the neighbors “engage the council based on facts, not speculation.” You add: “That includes ‘a proposal’ or ‘plan’ to remove the Australian Pines from the park when there isn’t one.” However, the constant reassurances from City Staff that ‘there is no plan’ rings hollow.

In a memorandum from City Engineer Kathleen Weeden to City Manager Ed Lavallee dated Nov. 22, 2019 and attached to a meeting agenda, Ms. Weeden, on the topic of Venezia Park Design writes “Removal of the invasive Australian Pines and replacement with Florida Friendly Trees and landscaping is also planned.”

So you can see that this is not mere speculation. The neighbors did their homework, and a lot more, then brought the facts before City Council. Armed with those facts Council chose to pump the brakes, as you put it, on the Venezia Park plan.

If there is anything that we learned from the Venice Library debacle, it is that by the time the public is notified of a formal “plan”, it may as well be called “a done deal.” Public input workshops seeming to be there only to placate angry residents. We don’t intend to be blindsided again if we can help it.

Randy Mineo


Thanks for all Americans

have done for Australia

As an Australian with dual citizenship with America, I want to sincerely thank the people of America who have come together to show their concern for the people and animals effected by the fires down under. You are truly the best of the best.

Children have held lemonade sales or collected money one way or another to show their feelings for the animals who have suffered terribly, be it death or injury. It is truly inspirational to have these children involved in sending money to Australia for their cause.

Then there are the Inmates at a Florida jail sewing cloth pouches for orphaned marsupials, my thanks to them for wanting to be part of helping the animals in Australia.

Again In Pennsylvania, The Handwork Studio in Narberth hosted two free workshops in which volunteers of all ages created comfort items for orphaned and injured animals. These acts of kindness are so appreciated.

To those who have donated to help out Australia through such a really rough time, I can tell you Australia is deeply appreciative to know they have your back. Thank you all for what you have done in Australia’s time of need.

I know there are other countries who have helped out also, but as I do not know the complete list, it would be best for me just to thank them also rather than naming a few.

Three of your finest gave their lives for the cause also, U.S. firemen, who made an enormous sacrifice in their efforts to assist the Aussie firemen, mostly volunteers.

I am heading to Australia end of this month visiting Melbourne, Gold Coast and Cairns to catch up with family. While I there I will be writing letters to their newspaper singing your praises. This is the least I can do to express my appreciation to all those who were so generous in one way or another. — Shirley Mezori, Venice


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