Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 3

Published February 26 2018
Updated February 26 2018

Sheriff responds regarding jail bond proposal

This letter is in response to Mr. Gibbs’ letter to the editor on Feb. 16, regarding the jail bond issue.

Your Sheriff’s Office utilizes a practice known as Intelligence Led Policing, where statistically it is shown that 6 percent of criminals commit 60 percent of the crime. When this 6 percent commit offenses, it is safer for society that they are incarcerated while they await trial. Our goal is to prevent future victimization, keep our community safe and ensure justice is served.

More than 85 percent of those incarcerated are in for felony charges. The other inmates are in for numerous charges, to include: domestic violence, warrants, repeat offenders with significant criminal history, and holds for other jurisdictions. As of Feb. 23, there are 1,747 inmates in the Pasco County jail, and there is not one inmate in the county jail solely for a misdemeanor marijuana charge.

In addition, not every arrest means that the individual will be taken to jail. Your Sheriff’s Office utilizes Notice to Appear citations, where an individual agrees to appear in court instead of going to jail. This citation is similar to a traffic ticket. This Notice to Appear process occurs overwhelmingly when we find someone whose only offense is misdemeanor marijuana, unless they are identified as a prolific offender.

As our county grows so do our needs. I applaud our County Commission and county administrator for thinking strategically. This proposed jail expansion is more than 15 years overdue. As recently as a 2014 report produced by a county consultant, CGL, advised that the county should have a jail expansion completed by 2018. Unfortunately, it wasn’t addressed at that time, but that discussion is occurring now.

We agree with many that we need more treatment centers in our county for the disease of addiction. Unfortunately, a proportion of our population will commit crime and prey upon innocent citizens and children which we promise to protect. The number of prolific offenders increases as the population growth of our county increases. To maintain a safe community without paying exorbitant amounts of money to other counties to house inmates, we unfortunately must increase the jail capacity. Counties experiencing growth have already expanded their jails. We have just been behind the curve.

I thank Mr. Gibbs again for bringing forward this very important discussion.

Chris Nocco, Pasco County Sheriff

Doctor thanked for his generosity

Dr. Rao Musunuru, a nationally acclaimed cardiologist with recognition from the American Heart Association, has 30 years of clinical practice experience. What many don’t realize is how much he gives to the community. He emulates the philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt who noted, "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." Dr. Musunuru has served on the Pasco-Hernando State College board for many years, and as a professor at the college, where he helped get a childcare facility running for students.

In addition to being a busy doctor, he spends time and lots of his money in the community. I was surprised and honored by his donation and establishment in an educational foundation in my name. The Patricia Hans and James Mulieri Educational Foundation will provide scholarships to students ages 30 and older working to achieve a degree in education. Jimmy and I were delighted to match his funds and intend to help grow the foundation.

Kudos to Dr. Musunuru for his thoughtfulness and caring. My best years as professor were spent at PHSC. For 26 years, I helped students achieve their goals ,and now with Dr. Musunuru’s generous gift, I can continue helping students. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Dr. Musunuru.

Pat Mulieri, Spring Hill

Thanks to those who helped with festival

On behalf of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, our board of directors and staff would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors and supporters of the 21st annual Kumquat Festival held Jan. 27 in historic downtown Dade City.

Once again, our community pulled together and hosted a fabulous event. Tens of thousands of people came from all over the Tampa Bay region. More than 400 vendors and sponsors sold and promoted their wares. Our entertainment stage featured free live performances from wonderful local talent all day. Many of the shops and restaurants in Dade City and the surrounding area enjoyed their busiest day of the year.

This year’s festival was supported by a $60,000 marketing campaign done in conjunction with the City of Dade City, Pasco County Tourism and Visit Florida, which promoted Dade City and our area as a unique place to visit.

Bobby Van Allen and Jason Sasser, festival co-chairs, worked their magic, and with the leadership and assistance of more 200 volunteers, produced an event that generated upwards of $1 million in economic activity.

Dade City Police Chief Ray Velboom and Sergeant Jim Walters co-chaired the safety and security team, which included multi-agency support from across Pasco County. Pasco High School and Saint Leo University jumped in to assist with parking. Pasco-Hernando State College fire cadets helped with numerous tasks, and Joyce and Rick Dodd organized our "Welcoming Committee" for the early morning volunteers.

The 22nd annual Kumquat Festival will be Jan. 26, 2019. To volunteer, be a sponsor or vendor, visit

Thanks once again to our community, volunteers and partners. You are the best.

John Moors, executive director, Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce