One person's silence says many things to Hernando County. That person (or people) provided anonymous benevolence this week. The generosity from someone we suspect is a canned produce fan is inspiring to Hernando County's citizenry, a political savior to elected commissioners and a stark contrast to the more typical preening from people seeking the spotlight.
This week, an anonymous person sent a $55,124 cashier's check to the county to keep the doors open at the Little Rock Cannery for the next fiscal year. It is the second consecutive year that someone pitched in tens of thousands of dollars to save the politically popular but still obscure service that faced a likely demise as commissioners and staffers worked to close a projected $10 million shortfall in the budget year beginning Oct. 1.
The donation now spares commissioners from that uncomfortable task of deciding the cannery's future. At least for another year. In 2009, commissioners confronted a roomful of people wearing bright yellow "I Can'' T-shirts as they agreed to maintain control of the facility — after an offer of a lease agreement was withdrawn — but admonished citizens to begin fundraising in earnest for 2011. When the county recently released a ranking of its services, the cannery sat atop the list of nonessential extras, making it a likely candidate for cutting.
Not anymore. The contribution saves an inexpensive service for those who can their own fruits and vegetables and pay a $10 annual membership fee to use the county facility.
And unlike the Republican Party chairman, whose current and past seminars on government spending are as much about fueling his own ego as they are about educating the electorate, the Little Rock Cannery benefactor proves you don't have to be boisterous to make a imperative statement.
The contribution tells Hernando commissioners that people are willing to pay for a service they value.