The recent budget workshops by the Pasco County Commission offer a perfect example of how convenient limitations in the recall of certain memories can divert and delude the real story or the facts of a shared experience. Specifically, this sudden revelation that the reserve funds of the formerly titled Emergency Services Department (now called Fire Rescue) were all but gone.
Immediately forgotten, blurred and obfuscated in this revelation was memory of the economic crisis during and continuing after this same period of time. While this revelation was presented by staff to the commission with a tone indicative of surprise, the reaction (actually, the nonreaction) of the elder members of the board spoke volumes. It was under the commission's watch and bidding that the limitations of acquiring additional funding was imposed.
These limitations left no option but to dip into reserves year after year to avoid layoffs of emergency personnel, thereby decreasing the ability of Fire Rescue to provide service to the community, and ultimately impacting the safety of the citizens of Pasco County.
If some sort of finger pointing is necessary to identify those responsible for the tactics employed to survive during this Great Recession, then that finger of ultimate responsibility must clearly and unequivocally be pointed at the commission. Our elected officials wanted to retain their jobs. Imposing an increase in taxes would have made them vulnerable to backlash from voters.
The truth and responsibility of the quagmire is plain and simple. It's only the fogginess and convenience of one's memory that obscures the true history.
Duncan Hitchcock, New Port Richey
Increase in taxes won't add services
Pasco County commissioners are considering raising gas and property taxes. Are they going to restore library hours? No. Are they going to drop the increased fee for using parks? No. Are they going to do anything about the blight along U.S. 19? No. They are not restoring the services that have been cut or reduced to the taxpayers.
Commissioners do not enforce the laws they passed. If you ever attend a commission meeting, you will notice lawyers appealing their clients' fines and costs levied for code violations. These are usually large fines incurred over a long period of noncompliance with county code.
The average citizen cannot afford a lawyer or take the time to go a commission meeting. They pay the fines. Almost without exception, the commissioners forgive much of the fine. In doing so, they reduce county income, encourage noncompliance with code, and contribute to blight and a decline in property values.
We have too few code enforcement officers to do the job. Additional personnel are needed. Code enforcement produces additional income for the county, while protecting the value of property and the quality of life in Pasco. I can understand the commissioners not wanting more code enforcement officers since they spend so much of their time forgiving the fines and cost levied against code violators.
Jim Quinlan, Wesley Chapel
Show Palace review an attack
I was surprised and disappointed in Barbara Fredricksen's recent review of the Show Palace Dinner Theater. She loved the show and didn't enjoy the food.
A review that simply shared those opinions would be understandable. However, her intentionally snarky comments, her in-depth description of just how distasteful she found the food to be, made it obvious this wasn't an objective review, it was an attack. When she negatively commented on the reduced number of food items offered, she failed to mention that the new summer menu was accompanied by a reduction in dinner/show ticket prices of over 30 percent.
If Miss Fredricksen can't review the Show Palace objectively, she should refrain from using the power of the press to harm a local business that provides numerous benefits to our community.
Stephen Schurdell, Hudson
Clerk's bother says thank you
I am the brother of Clerk of the Circuit Court Paula O'Neil and I recently visited her for a week to help her through her surgery and recuperation at home. I want to thank everyone for the cards, flowers, gifts, meals and love shown to my sister and extended to me during my visit.
Though it was difficult to leave her a week after surgery, the many wonderful people that I met at the hospital and her home during my visit give me comfort that she is well loved.
Harry Smith, Oklahoma City