Saturday, March 17, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Contrary to sales pitch, court fees hurt courts, taxpayers

Legislative tricks starve the courts

It is obvious that the Florida Legislature has great disdain for our state court system. Each year it seems to do everything in its power to starve our judicial system, despite being a separate, co-equal, branch of government.

What is most shocking to me as a member of the legal profession is that when I first moved to Florida in 1993, divorce filing fees were $138.50 and included a counter-claim. These fees today are $408 for a divorce petition and $403 for a counter-petition and do not include various junk fees, such as a $10 summons fee. This represents a 585 percent increase in the past 18 years. This rate of increase is outrageous.

The sales pitch by the Florida Legislature was that additional fees were supposed to enhance the quality of services provided by the clerk's office and allow the court system to pay for itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. No sooner did we see skyrocketing filing fees, when we also started seeing poorer service, followed by employee lay-offs. The Florida Legislature continued to starve the judicial system by taking this additional revenue and spending it elsewhere.

With all of this additional fee revenue, there should not have to be employee layoffs or decline in services. The Florida Legislature made it appear as though funds were for the courts when instead the fees became part of the general revenue fund subject to reallocation elsewhere in the state budget.

Contrast this with our local Penny for Pasco sales tax initiative where funds were earmarked for a specific purpose and then used for that purpose (infrastructure and education improvements). The Pasco Penny sales tax warrants renewal because the county has fulfilled its promise to the voters.

The Florida Legislature warrants harsh criticism for raising court filing fees, which price gouge the average citizen for accessing our justice system, and then using those fees for non-judicial purposes.

Chuck Kalogianis, Trinity

Krewe of Chasco is disrespectful

Some time in the near future, people of good conscience will look back on the infamous Krewe of Chasco in the same way that we now look upon the genocide of millions of American Indians, the enslavement of Africans, the Jim Crow laws that perpetuated economic slavery into our lifetimes, and the vilification of migrant workers for all our present ills. We will wonder how we allowed such un-American behavior.

For white business and civic leaders to dress in authentic (and sacred) American Indian regalia as others dress like pirates, or cowboys, is to add insult to the injury and deaths of American Indians, and now besmirching their culture and spirituality. To applaud the Krewe of Chasco and its participation in local regional parades like the Chasco Fiesta parade on March 24 is to act toward our first Americans as we once acted toward African Americans with colored minstrel shows.

So how does the Krewe of Chasco honor Florida Indians as their charter with the state requires? By using American Indian culture and spirituality to party hearty. Look closely when the Krewe of Chasco float and its followers go by, and look deeper than their stolen culture and spirituality of American Indians. See if you can find one decent, human soul with compassion and true respect for others.

Daniel Callaghan, New Port Richey


Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 columnOur community, Briar Patch, in New Port Richey has really gotten on board with the recycling program. Many homeowners diligently separate garbage from recycling material and place it curbside f...
Published: 03/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun limits, maybe; confiscation, never

Gun controlLimits, possibly; seizures, neverThe antigun left-leaning media constantly refers to the "gun lobby" and the National Rifle Association when trying to ban and even take guns away from legitimate owners. They blame organizations for the act...
Published: 03/07/18

Wednesday’s letters:

February Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the school shooting in Parkland.My generation is fearful, angryI’m a high school senior. I, and people like me, have grown up in a culture of fear — fear of getting shot in our schools, where w...
Published: 03/06/18

Tuesday’s letters: Our government isn’t responsive to the people

Senate’s focus: safety | March 4American democracy is failingThe checks and balances that once kept our representative democracy from being overrun by the power elite and the extreme political factions they target and manipulate are failing. As t...
Published: 03/05/18