Don't beg or bribe potential buyers
Do you want a Hootchie Cootchie Man controlling your tax dollars?
When Willie Dixon wrote the song lyrics "The gypsy woman told my momma, on the day that I was born, You got a boy child coming, Lord he's gonna be a son of a gun. He's gonna make all the people jump and shout and throw those gift cards all about!" (or something like that), I'm wondering, did he have Blaise Ingoglia, the Hernando County developer, in mind? To me, you can't buy a bigger ego on eBay than the one this guy has!
Seriously, folks, this is the same guy who started Government Gone Wild. He admits to bankrolling the election races of Commissioners James Adkins and John Druzbik, who (no surprise here) like the plan. Isn't taking $2.5 million out of our reserve funds a little on the wild side?
It's impact fees in reverse! Over-development, by home builders like Ingoglia, was part of the problem along with sub-prime mortgage lenders (but we've already paid them off, federally). Often, I sat through county meetings where the building industry fought long and hard to keep impact fees low and postpone them.
They wanted the current residents to pay for the new folks moving in. So we did. What did we get (in the way of quality of life) besides nary a sidewalk, a bus service under attack and public libraries closed down on key days? Well, we are in the top 10 nationally of counties with the biggest home devaluation. Thanks, Blaise.
Now they want us to give our tax dollars as a gift to those who buy here. Maybe they will spend it here, maybe they won't. This is not the time to stay stuck in business as usual. We need smart growth and we need it now! Smart and progressive planning is where you make a place desirable to potential buyers. Not trying to beg and bribe them, especially with no guarantees this idea will work.
I hope that our county administrator and County Commission have the foresight to reject the plan of our "Hootchie Cootchie Man" who we did not elect.
Give them a call to cast your vote for the spending of your tax dollars if you couldn't be at the meeting.
Jennifer Sullivan, Spring Hill
Gift cards to the rescue? Feb. 12 article
Ingoglia, Adkins are hypocrites
During the last Hernando County election, developers like Mr. Blaise Ingoglia, real estate interests and the Republican Party used an old politician's trick. They used misdirection, diverting attention so the voters would focus almost exclusively on Democrats and taxes. What these people really wanted was control of the Hernando County Commission.
With these special interests now in control of the commission, should there be conflict between their short-term goals for development and the long-term plans of Hernando County, I'm sure the real estate interests will win every time.
Apparently, Mr. Ingoglia and Commissioner James Adkins have conveniently forgotten and broken one of the cardinal rules of the Republican Party. They are supposed to worship at the economic altar of Milton Friedman, "Minimizing the role of government in the favor of the private sector." Instead, these two Republicans are embracing Keynesian economics, using the role of government, by various means, to moderate the up and down cycles of the private sector, especially when the economy is headed toward a recession, or even worse, a depression.
This is a very bad proposal. If any other special interest group was trying to get taxpayer dollars for their exclusive benefit, these two gents would be yelling foul play and condemning all participants.
The next time you open your dictionary to the word "hypocrisy," you might find pictures of these two gentlemen.
Ken Lang, Spring Hill
Coping with drop in home values
In Hernando County, real estate values are now only about half of what they were some three years ago. A few days ago, I spoke to a long-time real estate agent from ERA Pearson Realty in Spring Hill. She tells me my house in Spring Hill, which was valued at just under $200,000 three years ago by the Web site www.zillow.com, will now fetch only about $110,000 — if I'm lucky. I did some quick checking on my own and yes, it is not difficult at all to find houses for sale at half of what they were three years ago.
Does this mean our property taxes will, or should, go down some 40 to 50 percent? If so, and it seems quite obvious they should, what does that do to Hernando County's tax base? If the county property appraiser does not drastically reduce assessments, property owners will flood his office with requests for lower appraisals. They will have lots of evidence to back up their claims.
Even worse, the property value decline, both nationwide and here, shows no signs of bottoming out. We can wish and hope, but wishing and hoping leads only to denial. We are paying dearly for the exuberance of a few years back.
This all makes for some rather sobering thoughts on how the county is going to cope in the coming few years with the apparently much-lowered tax collections. Wall Street has crashed 50 percent. Real estate has crashed 50 percent. Are we ready for our turn?
Bruce Vanderveen, Brooksville
Congratulations to photographer
Recently the Rev. Raymond and Mary Ann Phaup were featured in an article pertaining to their love life, marriage and accomplishments. My intent in writing this letter is to give accolades to St. Petersburg Times photographer Ron Thompson, who took the picture for the story, a well-written piece by Gail Hollenbeck. I have witnessed first-hand how accomplished he is at his profession.
About a year ago, Thompson took a photo of my husband, Paul, for the "Know Your Neighbors" feature. When he came to our home we noticed he appeared to be handicapped because of having just one arm. But regardless of this seeming disability, he was very capable of using his camera. We were also impressed that he went out of his way, in the park where we live, to find the most appropriate spot to get a picture conducive to the contents of the story, which was well written by Jean Hayes.
When I saw the Valentine's love story about the Phaups and noticed the great picture, I was certain it had to have been taken by Ron Thompson, and sure enough, I was right.
Congratulations to Ron, who, because of his insight and ability, is most definitely in the right career as a talented photographer. May he have many more years of success.
Sylvia Stark, Brooksville