Re: Judicial center tops wish list | July 4, story
Government has spending addiction
I knew some gasket had to blow. Our wild county government simply can't stop spending. They've tried. They've tinkered here and there, cutting a few people and programs. When even the publicized threats to cut the emotional things didn't reopen our wallets, they needed to look for something else. They needed a "fix" for their spending addiction. Now it comes in the form of a $49-million courthouse binge. We knew from last year's budget hearing that the current (and hopefully temporary) county commissioners were deaf, but this shows our county truly has a spending disease.
I can see it now. At the SA (Spenders Anonymous) meeting attended by all the other commissioners around Florida, each of our commissioners walks up in turn to the podium — "I am a Spender. ..." I wish I were dreaming. Someone please wake up the commissioners. Hello! We have a budget crisis. You work for us. It's our money. And where do you think you're going to get the time to concentrate on this (and get it right) when all your time is supposed to be spent thinking about cutting the budget.
The last time the county decided to get into bed with a private company to build something we ended up on the short end of the stick, and are now paying huge fees for it. I'm talking about one of our biggest budget components, the county jail. Likewise, the last time the county built something in downtown Brooksville it was an oversized white elephant that mocks the adjacent stately courthouse and ruins the quaint feeling of downtown. Now the county is considering making both mistakes again and combining it with a third — building an extension to the white elephant using a private partnership at a time when we can't afford it, and they're basing their rationale on the contrived and erroneous facts about projected population growth in Hernando. The truth is that if they were to bring this up next year, all the population predictions of yesteryear would be irrefutably 10 years further down the line, leaving no basis for building in the near term at all.
I thought we were supposed to be thinking outside the box. How about this idea instead? We don't prosecute and incarcerate as many as 1 in 100 of us? Statistics would have us believe that the United States leads the world with bad guys. We have 20 percent more incarcerations than poster bad-boy Russia, and 500 of other first-world countries such as Canada, Japan, most of Europe, Australia and China. Are we really five times as bad? Is this really an amoral, unethical, dangerous society we live in, the worst by far in the world? Do we really need to drag this many of us into court? Or is this just another case of the government gone wild?
James Mastro, Brooksville
Re: Fire district girds for vote | July 11, story
Where would the complaints go?
In the article, the Spring Hill Fire District attorney Andy Salzman is quoted as saying, "There are two choices. One is to have an independent Spring Hill Fire Rescue, with oversight by the state of Florida. The other is no more (fire) board or representation by individuals who live in Spring Hill" (if the county assumes oversight of the fire service).
To whom in the state government would "individuals that live in Spring Hill" complain to if Spring Hill Fire Rescue gets its wish to become independent? At least if the county "assumes oversight of the fire services," residents living in Spring Hill, which is a part of Hernando County, would have a local entity to whom to voice comments or complaints. It also would be difficult from a time and expense standpoint to attend meetings of Spring Hill Fire Rescue in Tallahassee in order to present comments to the oversight authority.
Clayton Lynch, Spring Hill
Re: Let's build a county dog park
Hernando County needs a dog park. I keep reading about dog parks in Pasco and Pinellas counties, even on the water. I know there has been one in the works in Hernando for a while. I just hope my 5-month-old puppy gets to use it before she's too old to enjoy it.
I know a lot of people feel the same, judging by the number who showed up last fall with their dogs at the "bark park'' on Pine Island.
Jane Marsh, Weeki Wachee
Re: How to fix insurance: Let state run it | July 6, guest column
Government is not the answer
After reading C.D. Chamberlain's article, I am left wondering if our society as a whole believes in the free market anymore. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is a state-run insurance carrier, and while Citizens does the best it can, Citizens is not the answer to our ailing insurance market. Competition is the answer. Free markets are the answer.
I don't know if Mr. Chamberlain is aware, but the Social Security system is not in good shape and will need a very big fix in the near future unless Americans are okay with paying exorbitant taxes. Additionally, the state runs our schools and I'm not sure anyone would testify that the residents of Florida are getting their money's worth out of the school system. As for Mr. Chamberlain's assertion that the insurance industry did not cover losses from 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, he should check his facts because the insurance industry paid out billions for both of these disasters.
The people of this country are slowly starting to believe that the government taking over whole industries is a good idea. Hugo Chavez's government is actually taking over whole industries in Venezuela and with much ill effect. Ask Cubans what they think about the government controlling all their industries. I don't mean to be extreme, but the erosion of America's capitalist system means erosion of our freedom. The government is not the end-all, beat-all panacea that Mr. Chamberlain envisions, but a burdensome, wasteful behemoth that will always seek to get larger and take more of our freedom. This is the tendency of government.
No, Mr. Chamberlain, the state taking over insurance will only lead to a Social Security-sized economic problem that will have to be fixed in the future with great financial pain.
Martin Turner, Trinity