Democracy's at work at the polls
For the past week I have had the privilege to work at one of the early voting sites set up by the supervisor of elections to accommodate voters who wish to cast their ballots before Aug. 24.
The Pasco voters who have taken advantage of this service have come to the polls smiling and prepared, many with sample ballot in hand.
Each of these voters has been happy to be able to exercise their right of choice. I have not seen any of the anger or ranting that has been talked about on TV and in the papers.
Kudos to the people of Pasco for being thoughtful and ditto to the elections staff that worked long and hard to make early voting smooth and quick.
There is still time to take advantage of early voting. Remember if you don't help choose the candidates you can't complain about who is on the ballot. See you at the polls.
Joan Shapiro, Hudson
Re: Impact fees
Get a clue, Pat; $1,400 matters
Commissioner Pat Mulieri was quoted saying "I don't know if $1,400 makes a difference'' in reference to impact fees.
Well, Pat, why don't you ask all the people out of work or the 50 to 100 families in foreclosure this month or all the entrepreneurs in Pasco who have no health insurance or 401(k) plans and maybe have taken pay cuts because of the economy.
This tells me that a lot of politicians don't get it. There is a major recession out there. Pat, cut costs, cut costs, cut our costs for government. Not increase it.
Bob Clark, Port Richey
It's clear Schrader serves builders
Well, there is no guessing who Commissioner Ted Schrader is working for. He works for the developers of the building industry. Mr. Schrader wants to do away with some impact fees for new construction.
"Why continue to collect impact fees and sit on the money?" Well, Mr. Schrader, if doing your job is difficult for you, why don't you resign? At this time, there are 487 foreclosed homes in Pasco County that the banks have listed, and 7,942 homes listed for sale in Pasco County alone. Yet your only solution for the 2010-2011 budget is, "Hey guys, let's build more homes and not charge impact fees!"
Here's a thought: Stop spending our money. At this time and with the economy as it is, county commissioners don't have to justify their jobs by building more parks, recreation areas and libraries, the latter of which faces closing in Pasco County because there is no more money for operations. So let's not charge the $1,400 because other counties don't do it. The last time I checked the other counties budgets are in the hole also.
I guess your next idea will be to cut their taxes, and cutting taxes, we all know how well that worked.
Dave Trump, Holiday
The press twisted my statements
I was taken aback by the grossly exaggerated description of my comments at the Aug. 12 West Pasco Chamber of Commerce School Board candidate debate. Here is part of my final statement:
"What sets me apart from my opponents is my long-term investment in the lives of families. I've been on the front lines for family values for a long time and so serving the students, parents, and teachers on the School Board would be a natural extension of who I already am.
"This isn't about me. This is about the families of Pasco County.
"I believe that, like never before, we need men and women of character in public office on the national, state, and local levels: People who will say what they mean and do what they say. People who won't lie, cheat, or steal, even when it is hard to take a stand and do the right thing; People who will not flip-flop on their values. A person's moral character far outweighs his resume accomplishments, the amount of money he can raise as a politician, or even the political friends that he has.
"Character is what matters most. I want to be that kind of person for the families of Pasco County: a man of integrity and honesty who will work hard for our schools.''
Nowhere in that statement did I attack the values of my opponents. I did not say that they were not people of integrity. I cannot comment on their personal values. I do not know them well enough to do that. To read my full response please visit www.JohnTracyForSchoolBoard.com and click on "blog."
It is always funny to me how the press will twist an event to create something in the minds of the public that did not actually take place.
John Tracy, New Port Richey
Local party complaints helped push Fasano from GOP board | Aug. 12 article
Fasano did not speak for me
I am deeply concerned with the context of a quote from my colleague Sen. Mike Fasano, which seemed to attribute thoughts and comments to me as chairman instead of making clear that they were opinions held by him.
It is unfortunate that the construction of the final paragraph of this story conveys attribution of what I consider disrespectful remarks about a member of the state executive committee to me personally, rather than to the person who made those remarks. While that statement may reflect Sen. Fasano's views based on his experiences with the local party members, I have the utmost respect for the body of dedicated Republican grass roots leaders who elected me as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and felt it was essential to clarify this issue to any members of the committee, or other readers who may have been offended by the comments.
Senate President John Thrasher, Jacksonville
Gun law lacks protection for all | Aug. 12 letter
A review of Florida statute Chapter 776, Justifiable Use of Force, clearly defines the parameters for the legal use of force in self-defense, including, but not limited to, deadly force. The law never mentions the use of firearms; therefore any form of deadly force is included.
Law enforcement officers are protected, of course, from the law's provisions, but only in the performance of his or her official duties, while properly identifying himself or herself, and the person using force knew or should have known that the person who enters, or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence or vehicle is a law enforcement officer.
The law also specifically excludes and protects any person who has a right to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the dwelling, residence or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee or titleholder and there is no legal injunction against that person.
Those engaged in unlawful activities, or is using the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity are not protected by the law. Also, if the person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used, the law's self-defense provisions do not apply.
Under the stand-your-ground law all law-abiding citizens, and law enforcement, are very well protected against unlawful defensive measures. Anyone who reads the law in its entirety, would know that. A shooter who "accidentally shoots you and me" is indeed in a heap of legal trouble.
Lee Hanson, Hudson
No-wake zone could be life-saver
I and other volunteer Pasco County park rangers patrol the Anclote River Park. My concern is with the lack of a no-wake zone in that part of the river because of the wakes made by boats that affect the children and elderly in the beach area. The speed of many boats is our main concern because of the wakes produced, and what might happen because of a boating mishap or a swimmer drowning because of an unexpected wake.
The accident that did happen could have been avoided had there been a no-wake zone and the speed limit obeyed. The speed of the boaters prohibited them from making proper adjustments to avoid what happened.
With a no-wake zone, another problem with Jet Ski type boats would also be solved.
Norman Braun, New Port Richey
A police officer to be proud of
On July 31, a man pounded on my door. He demanded I give him $5, claiming he was a former neighbor and needed the money. (I have lived here for 35 years, and he never was a neighbor.)
He went to almost every house in my neighborhood making the same demand. He came back again the next day, pounded on my door and then ran into my carport trying to get into my screened porch. I called the police and was told they couldn't do anything unless they caught him in the act.
Three days later, Officer Greg Williams came to check on me and was so kind. He gave me his card and told me to call him any time I needed help. He took all my information and again assured to call him if I was worried. He came back the following week with a picture of a man he had just arrested who was caught demanding money in a local subdivision. It wasn't the same man, but I surely appreciated Officer Williams' thoughtfulness. He is a police officer you can be proud to have on the New Port Richey police force.
Gloria Curneal, New Port Richey