Saturday, May 26, 2018
Editorials

Mike Olson for Pasco tax collector

After 32 years as Pasco tax collector, Democrat Mike Olson, 67, still has challenges ahead. The most immediate is to be re-elected to a ninth four-year term, and voters shouldn't hesitate to do so. Olson is opposed by Republican Ed Blommel who is making is first run for elected office.

Blommel, 63, who retired after a 40-year career with Tampa Electric Co., has a varied background in management, customer service and community relations that would translate well to the duties of a constitutional office. Still, he displays no burning desire for elected public service, saying he was looking for something to do after retirement and running for office "was on my bucket list.''

Much of his platform has focused on bolstering efficiencies and service. But, suggesting you can improve on the current tax collector's customer service is akin to telling Emeril Lagasse you can make his food taste better. The work effort by the tax collector's staff is top-notch and even Blommel acknowledges that Olson is doing a good job.

In the Tax Collector's Office, it is easy to conduct business in person, via mail or on-line. Clerks are polite and speed customers through the process. Olson's recent innovations include e-payment to allow property tax notices and receipts to be obtained on-line. And to keep trained staff at the counter assisting customers, Olson hired retired law enforcement officers as part-time driver license examiners to administer road tests away from the office environment.

One of the major tasks ahead is to establish new service locations to replace two offices: a former office in Zephyrhills that closed due to water damage from a storm and the poorly-situated central Pasco office in Land O'Lakes. That one-time bank building, now owned by the county, is fronted by a cramped parking lot that serves as an inferior staging area for motorists' road tests. Olson said the site has reported 30 parking lot fender-benders over the years.

Olson, who formerly operated a branch office in a Land O'Lakes retail center, says such a set-up is no longer workable because of the safety concerns connected to road tests. He advocates building two government-owned regional offices to serve the central county population.

Blommel favors leasing office space in privately-owned buildings. For road tests, he says the tax collector should consider a partnership with the school district. It would be difficult to implement. School security concerns could limit the availability of road test sites to late in the afternoon or on weekends, and the idea also raises questions about liability and maintenance.

This is a testimonial to Olson's experience and longevity. He knows what works and what doesn't. He has administered an exemplary operation for more than three decades and Pasco voters should allow him to continue. The Tampa Bay Times recommends the re-election of Tax Collector Mike Olson in the Nov. 6 general election.

Opportunity to reply

The Times offers candidates not recommend by its editorial board and opportunity to respond. Replies should be sent by 5 p.m. Monday to C.T. Bowen, Pasco/Hernando editor of editorials, Tampa Bay Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668. By fax to 727-869-6233 or by e-mail to [email protected] Replies are limited to 150 words.

Comments
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18