Journalist had widespread effect
In any profession it is a rarity for a person to stay with the same company for 37 years, more so in the ever changing world of print media. Bill Stevens announced his retirement in his May 9 column.
The voice of Pasco County has ended his decades-long run as perhaps one of, if not the, most influential journalists in our community.
During my professional and political career I have communicated with Bill countless times. From my days as an employee (carrier) of the St. Petersburg Times, to my early unsuccessful campaigns, to my two decades in state and now local public office, Bill and I have had the opportunity to meet, chat and sometimes advocate for issues about which we both feel strongly.
Although we have not always been on the same side of each issue, we were able to respect each other's opinions. Too often political differences bring out the worst in people. Bill, with his riveting writing style, can make you cheer even if you are not on the same side of the fence. Too many people forget that we are each blessed with the ability to think for ourselves and not walk in lockstep with everyone else. Bill never forgot that. He helped me to become a more effective public servant as I learned from him the ability to see that all stories have at least two sides, if not more.
While Bill may be retired he will not soon be forgotten. I am looking forward to reading his expected guest columns. I am certain his insights into human nature, politics and the world around us will be a welcome diversion from our daily lives.
John Grogan famously said: "In the English language, it all comes down to this: Twenty-six letters, when combined correctly, can create magic. Twenty -six letters form the foundation of a free, informed society." Bill Stevens' unique brand of journalistic magic will be missed. I wish him well in the life that lies ahead of him.
Mike Fasano, Pasco tax collector, Land O' Lakes