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Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 5

By Times Staff

For whom the bell tolled

On Nov. 28, at 8:50 p.m., the bell tolled for citizens in North Central Pasco. The County Commission voted 4-1 to allow another limerock mine in their neighborhood.

Only Jack Mariano fought for the citizens, while his "colleagues" rocked in chairs and rolled their eyes as Jack brought to the fore, reason after reason, to deny the applicant.

Attorney Gennaro Scibelli presented multiple points of inconsistency with the comprehensive plan — why this application could not, should not be approved.

I followed with a factual presentation, real evidence, not calculations, on the impacts of the current Lago Verde Mine.

The citizens got three minutes. Testimony of damages to homes, frightened animals, the intrusion the current mine has in their lives. Dump trucks are clogging roads, dangerous conditions, dust, being startled by blasts, veterans with post traumatic stress regressing to battle. A retired Army captain with multiple deployments, an explosives expert, relayed real life experience. He indicated how close his home is to the new mine.

Adam Brooks has an autistic 2-year-old son. His son, when Lago Verde blasts, thrashes on the floor, pounding his head on the wall. All Adam can do is comfort him and try to get him to relax.

Commissioner Starkey magnanimously negotiated that 7 Diamonds would give him 15 to 45 minutes warning. Lago Verde provides 24 hours. Adam will have to deal with up to six blasts a month.

Barbara Wilhite, the applicant’s attorney, opined to the commissioners the opposition had "presented no competent, substantial expert" testimony. Ms. Wilhite, under Florida law citizens can provide expert testimony if factual. Mine was factual. I have never been adjudicated incompetent by any authority.

Bob Howell, Spring Hill

Re: Does Holiday need a new name? | Dec. 15 column

Name change would burden residents

I was surprised to hear that there is a proposal to change the name of our area — Holiday — to something else. Changing the name puts an undue burden on the residents in this area, as we would be responsible to change our address on everything — driver’s license, social security, medicare, insurance, bills, deeds, car titles — anything that has our address. This is not without cost to each of us as our time is money.

What would be more beneficial than eliminating the name of the area in order to give a better impression is to actually improve the area.

This could be done by more code enforcement activity, additional sheriff patrols, how about a sheriff substation at Universal Plaza, redevelopment of existing housing instead of tearing down more green space, improve streets and sidewalks, fix drainage, etc. Changing the name is like putting lipstick on a pig — it’s still a pig!

I can tell you from postings on Facebook, NextDoor and now letters to the editors of the papers that the majority are against this endeavor. And if it is just to assuage Guy Harvey at the expense of your residents, then that is just wrong.

I have been a resident of Holiday since 1997. I love the area and the name. I respectfully request you put a stop to this useless endeavor and put staff time toward improving the area.

Susan D. Dillinger, Holiday

Call to march for unity

On Jan. 15 at 10:15 a.m., people of good will who believe that diversity is a national strength will gather at two churches on Pine Hill Road — the Unity Church of Port Richey and the Union Missionary Baptist Church. With a prayer from Pastors Marty Newman and Sherwayne Philip, they will march to the former Booker T. Washington School at 6105 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

At a moment in our country’s history when Nazis and white supremacists marched in Virginia declaring their hatred of Jews and people of color, who will march on Jan. 15 in Port Richey to refute their unpatriotic and un-American beliefs?

After a year of division, and name-calling, and attempts by some to divide us by the color of our skin, our gender, our sexual identity, our country of origin, our disabilities, our religious beliefs, our choice of political parties, our personal finances, who will choose to march on Jan. 15 in Port Richey to honor a person who saw us all as equals, as Americans entitled to the freedom to choose and shape our destiny, and who asked us to treat others with the same decency and respect we wish for ourselves?

A new year is unfolding, and we will determine the kind of people and country we are by what we do and what we don’t do. It’s time to stand up, speak out and join with others to shape a community that we can respect, and that we deserve. Who will choose to march to celebrate Dr. King’s message of hope on Jan. 15? Take the first steps, and join us.

Daniel Callaghan, New Port Richey