Courage needed on redevelopment
Waiving mobility fees along the troubled U.S. 19 corridor, an area sadly lacking in private-sector investment in employment centers, hotels and new housing, is quite understandable. Doing the same along the State Road 54/56 corridor seems more of taxpayer-funded subsidy to the bottom line of the special interests whose contributions fund the campaigns of our county commissioners.
Development on the State Road 54/56 corridor is proceeding quite well and I suggest would continue without the fee wavier. The U.S. 19 corridor is not doing quite so well. The blight is spreading, broken window by broken window, at empty commercial properties and deteriorating neighborhoods.
Commissioners have all embraced the Harbors West Market Redevelopment/Infill Plan in theory, but have demonstrated little commitment to actually funding it. I suggest that they heed the words of the Urban Land Institute from 2013: Fund the vision. Without funding, redevelopment along U.S. 19 will not occur. In fairness the commissioners did invest $90,000 to hire the FSU Planning and Development Lab to help put its 10-month-old, award-winning westside redevelopment plan into motion. Unfortunately only Commissioner Ted Schrader could find the time to attend their project's commencement open house at the New Port Richey Library on May 22. Interestingly, his district does not include any of the Harbors while the districts of Commissioners Kathryn Starkey, Jack Marino and Henry Wilson's all do. I hope their overall commitment to actually implementing this project is not represented by their quite troubling absence.
Pasco County faces many challenges to achieve the stated vision of our county commissioners to become Florida's premier county. It is time, if indeed this is our communities' shared vision, that our elected commissioners exhibit the leadership, courage and vision to move the county forward by making the tough decisions based upon what is best for all our citizens, not what is politically expedient and serves the needs of the special interests.
Ken Savich, Holiday
Unfair burden for sake of growth
Some Pasco County commissioners want to raise property and/or gas taxes to pay for more roads, but they lowered fees for wealthy developers.
Some of our commissioners are affluent, and can easily afford to spend a small portion of their fortunes or $85,000 salaries for higher taxes, but what about the other Pasco residents? What will need to be sacrificed for our commissioners' latest quest for growth? Food? Medications?
It seems to me our commissioners will not be satisfied until they pave over Pasco and its citizens are broke. Let them know if you feel the same way.
Richard Golden, San Antonio
Keep speeches brief, inspiring
Having sat through my granddaughter's graduation last month and listening to four seniors give speeches, I can see the superintendent's point.
The valedictorian went through all of his exploits with his best buddies, even the time he was throwing up and one of his buddies held his head. He thanked teachers and family members individually by name and gave a little story about each one. He thanked all the other people who were like his second family — all individuals I didn't know and I'm sure 99 percent of the others didn't know either. His last three lines were about the future.
The salutatorian gave a short speech and it was to the point for all students. It was about the future, college or whatever the students chose. His last line was thanking his family.
The speech from the outstanding senior (voted by his peers) was like the valedictorian's. I heard about all his pranks, how teachers got him out of trouble and about his friends and family members. Then came the speech from the senior class president. She took us from the first day of school as a freshman to her senior year, telling us all of her accomplishments.
The only inspiring speeches were from the principal and salutatorian. I thought the speeches were to be about inspiring fellow classmates as you graduate to the next phase of your life. It's been 50 years since I graduated, but I have four children who graduated from Pasco schools and at their graduations the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches were short, very inspiring and uplifting. I think the valedictorian and salutatorian should be recognized but their speeches should be short and meaningful for everyone.
Karen J. O'Brien, Hudson