Don't go to the polls blindly
As you well know, we have had some elected and appointed officials of very questionable or dubious abilities in Hernando County. The question is, how did they get there?
In my opinion, it is the fault of the electorate who have put them in office. The voters dutifully report to the polls and vote in great numbers on general election day. On primary day, the numbers are much less.
But to my mind, the vast majority do not have a clue about what or who they are voting for. But vote they must. They do not have any idea what the candidates stand for or how they will perform once installed in office.
There is no participation in any of the political activities or campaigns. They don't attend forums, read editors' opinions in the newspapers, listen to radio talk shows, attend or watch commission meetings, or do any research whatever. But they vote.
Their only contact or recognition is whose name they see on a sign by the side of the road. So I guess whoever puts out the most signs is the best one for the job. At least in their eyes.
This theory of mine is quite evident. We have had commissioners with no experience at all in the field of government or in dealings with bureaucracies. The result is self-evident. To wit: runaway spending, cronyism that results in incompetent appointees, shortsightedness, waste and all-around bad government.
All resulting in high taxes, poor service, pandering and unmanageable bureaucracies. But this is what we deserve when you report to the polls blindly to vote for whoever. If you vote for someone just because he or she is Democrat or Republican, you will probably end up with a person who will do a lousy job.
I personally think that if they ran a broomstick with a hat on it, a lot of people would vote for it, and quite possibly do a better job than some of what we have now.
The answer? Get involved! Meet the candidates, look into what's going on, listen to the radio, attend meetings, ask questions. Don't just vote along party lines. Use your head. Maybe things will get better if we all do.
William Kingeter, Spring Hill
Re: Dan DeWitt's column Thus far, the wonk looks like a winner, July 29, 2008
Taxes support the common good
I read your column regarding County Administrator David Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton has handled some difficult situations well during his brief time on the job.
My concern with this column is with the "Don't Tax Me" advocate Linda Hayward.
Ms. Hayward, her Government Gone Wild friends and fellow travelers throughout Florida are the reason Hernando County and all Florida counties are facing problems today.
With the passage of Amendment 1 in January, Florida's economic health changed. The November elections with Amendments 5 and 9 will increase the pain the counties and state will experience if passed.
If you have children in the Hernando County school system, you should take a serious look at these amendments. If passed, a sales tax will support schools. Also, the 65 percent rule of money to be spent in the classroom will mean that guidance counselors, media specialists, cafeteria staff and more will be eliminated.
Hernando County's 23,000 schoolchildren will be taught by paraprofessionals and substitute teachers. Is this a good idea for the 44,000 parents of these 23,000 children?
Linda Hayward and her anti-tax, anti-government crowd should truly be labeled the "anti-common good" group.
In the history of the United States, we have always promoted the common good. Hernando County residents and fellow Floridians appear to be poised to be the first in the nation to turn their backs on the common good.
How do we look our children and young people who are yet to have children in the face and vote against their future and the common good? This is truly what Linda Hayward stands for. Why give her credibility by asking her for an opinion on the state of government she is attempting to dismantle?
At 52 years of age and a Hernando County resident for 13 years, I am truly disturbed by people who cannot see the big picture. My taxes have gone up dramatically, but Hernando County has a jewel of a library system, THE Bus is a lifeline for residents, and our schools have programs in agriculture and culinary arts that would be the envy of better-funded school districts.
Our way of life is about to be diminished not by terrorists or the weakened economy; instead we will turn our backs on the future and our nation's past because of shortsighted citizens who consider themselves patriots because they do not want to pay taxes for the common good.
Joseph Pratl, Spring Hill
State Farm age discrimination?
I have been insured by State Farm Insurance Co. for more than 40 years in another state before I came to Florida. I have never so much as gotten a parking ticket.
A few years back I received a letter stating that no matter what, I could not be canceled. Well, it seems they no longer honor that, and furthermore they no longer give discounts for taking the safe-driving classes if one is over 75 years old.
I received my bill for my insurance for six months in the amount of $656.47, and a few days later got another bill for $293.75. When I asked my agent what that was for, she said it was because of age and that it is not age discrimination. She said everyone is doing it.
I personally think it is age discrimination. I just wonder what the public thinks.
Rosa Halloway, Spring Hill
Hospitals' ban on smoking is unfair
On Aug. 1, I read my paper, and all of a sudden I hit the Hernando Times. I read that hospitals in Hernando and Citrus counties have decided to ban all smoking on their premises.
I started to smoke late in my life. Yes, I know it isn't healthy and I know it can cause problems. I did give it up for a while, but chose to start to smoke again. I've always tried to be respectful to nonsmokers and even ask if they mind my lighting up.
I understood when hospitals banned smoking inside but was happy when they designated outdoor areas for those of us who do smoke. Having had to spend many hours at a hospital with my parents when they were ill, I found being able to step outside to relax a welcome relief.
Now I'm told I can't even sit in my car to smoke on hospital grounds. I feel my rights are being taken away, and I am fairly disgusted with this new rule.
People say it injures our health. Maybe this is true. However, two years ago I had a chest X-ray unrelated to smoking, and my lungs were designated clear.
I thought this was America. Obviously, I'm incorrect.
Dorothy Rockwell, Spring Hill
'Thank you for my freedom'
I was sitting at a table at Dunkin' Donuts waiting for my wife to bring the coffee and doughnut when this young lad came up to me and offered to buy me a cup of coffee. He must have seen the hat I was wearing saying "WWII Veteran."
The lad said, "Thank you for my freedom." I said, I was one of the million GIs who fought for that freedom. At least some young people still remember World War II veterans. They say that World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 2,000 a day, so there aren't so many of us left. But don't forget the Korean and Vietnam veterans!
John DePrano, Spring Hill