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Columnist twists facts, says Hernando commissioner

Donations influence Rocco's reversal | Sept. 5 Dan DeWitt column

DeWitt twists facts about me

Mr. DeWitt's column concludes that my vote can be bought. This is offensive to me and to everyone who supports me. Mr. DeWitt's disdain for the Quarry Preserve project coupled with his twisting of facts leads him to a wrong-headed conclusion.

At this time Hernando County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Historically, the economy of this county has been tied to the home building industry. We know that we need to diversify our economy. We need to get away from being dependent on the home-building industry. The business park, commercial areas and retail areas that are proposed for Quarry Preserve give us opportunities for new and expanding businesses, which is something the county currently lacks. Quarry Preserve will be a new tool for our economic development team. I am proud to support a project that can attract new jobs to Hernando County and will continue to do so.

In addition to bringing new jobs to Hernando County, my primary reasons for supporting this project are: (1) the project will provide the county a new well field that will save the county millions of dollars, provide additional water for county residents and prevent water from being exported from the county; and (2) the project will pay for itself as opposed to costing the county money, which many existing and undeveloped projects will do.

The foregoing conclusions were reached after meeting with the county staff and reading the county staff report, the Florida Department of Community Affairs' report, the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council report and the proposed development order. All of my concerns were adequately addressed and according to the county staff, Quarry Preserve was raising the bar in terms of innovative planning. Given this substantial data I voted to support the Quarry Preserve project. The project has come a very long way.

Mr. DeWitt points out that two Quarry Preserve supporters, Mr. Bronson and Mr. Barnette, donated money to my campaign in July 2009. In January 2010, I opposed the Quarry Preserve project and explained my concerns at that time. Since then, neither of these people has contributed to my re-election.

Being a county commissioner is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. Mr. DeWitt can sit in his comfortable position on his throne and throw rocks at whatever he pleases. It's a free media and he has no responsibility to anyone. I don't have that luxury. Hernando County is in dire economic straits. At each commission meeting for the past few months, there have been directives from the county administration as to how we must cut jobs to keep the county out of the red.

The bottom line, whether Mr. DeWitt likes it or not, is that this county has to diversify. Quarry Preserve is a project that is doing just that. When confronted with the facts, I had to change my vote. He never has to change his opinion, facts or not.

If Mr. DeWitt feels so strongly that he knows what's good for Hernando County, perhaps he should run for public office. Of course, to do so means you cannot sit behind a wall and simply opine on what should be done. You have to do something. I did.

Commissioner Rose Rocco, Spring Hill

New ID rules anger this voter

I am angry. I always believed that Hernando County would make it easy for its citizens to get things done. That is not the case.

I took my picture ID card to be updated at the Forest Oaks Department of Motor Vehicles; I cannot drive and never have due to disabilities and I am confined to a wheelchair now.

They refused to update my photo ID card even though I still look the same and all information on it is valid. I presented my (useless) voter's card, my original Social Security card, and other address proof of where we have lived for the past 23 years. They insisted that I present my birth certificate, which will be difficult for me to obtain. I can't vote unless my ID card is updated. It is extremely difficult for me to get around since I cannot stand or walk.

I have voted in every primary and general election at our local precinct for the past 24 years, and the expired photo ID card and other still valid items ought to be proof enough! I've never experienced such a slap in the face!

My wife called Pennsylvania regarding obtaining a birth certificate and was told it would take five to six weeks after their receipt of the form. Suppose it doesn't arrive in time for the November election? Important candidates and issues will have one less voter, an angry and frustrated one for sure.

Barry Sleesman, Weeki Wachee

Fire officials were very professional

This is in defense of the Spring Hill Fire Department. At 3 p.m. on Aug. 18, a fire truck backed into the front corner of our house. The driver had a medical problem, was declared unconscious and taken to the hospital.

A letter writer said the chief had never visited us nor had he assured us the district would cover the cost of repairs. We were appalled.

We would like to assure the public that the Fire Department did everything it possibly could to care for us. The fire chief came to speak to us. He was kind, concerned and asked if there was anything they could do. They provided a tarp and covered the damaged roof and helped to close the openings so we would not have to deal with rain or critters.

We found them to be very professional in their treatment of us. Two fire commissioners, the chief and firefighters have all visited us at different intervals to see that things were being taken care of.

Add our names to the list of those who are grateful for the services they provide.

Jeanne Henretty, Marcy Schwabenbauer, Spring Hill

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Columnist twists facts, says Hernando commissioner 09/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:54pm]
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