Monday, May 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Letters: Hernando County schools need impact fee investment

County Commission needs to think about students

U.S. Census data places Florida 48th in the nation in per-pupil spending. That's attention-getting and makes me wonder whether the Hernando County commissioners were aware of Florida's track record on education funding when it voted 4-1 against reinstating education impact fees.

More importantly, are they fully aware of where Hernando County stands in Florida's education bread line? We're currently ranked 50th of 67 school districts. The state's median level of funding is $9,051 per student. Hernando schools receive $541 less than that. Florida Dept. of Education data here confirms our funding at $8,510 per student.

In the most recent school year we were $15 million below the median, and we've been underfunded for too many years. While it's true that the education impact fee revenue can only be applied to bricks and mortar, it's money that cannot build anything if it's never collected.

I wonder if the commissioners are aware of how many families have kids in our schools and expect local officials to earnestly represent them. We have 21,725 K-12 students and 2,977 school district employees educating them under austere budgetary restraints.

When our first home in Hernando County was built we understood the logic of the education impact fee and paid it. Why should anyone else be treated differently? I don't think anyone should be exempt, even if a handful of home builders insist that the sky is falling.

Honestly, before I moved here it never dawned on me to claim that it's best to spare newcomers (like me) the impact fee and pass my added expense along to the rest of the community. I wish I thought of it, but it never occurred to me that anyone would be dumb enough to believe that makes any sense.

I believe that high-quality education is the primary anchor for any community. A quality school system with a stellar reputation raises everyone's home values. I believe that corporations considering relocating their headquarters and employees look for places that represent economic opportunity; communities with well-educated work forces; communities where their employees will be glad to raise their children. Good schools create that enduring bond.

If commissioners want to see an economic catalyst, I encourage them to vote for education and invest in Hernando schools. Hernando should look west to Lake County and follow its example. In October they voted unanimously to reinstate education impact fees gradually, starting at $2,500 and eventually bringing it to $10,000. It's time for Hernando Commissioners to stop the cronyism and serve the greater good.

Gregg Laskoski, Spring Hill

Fluoride issue had fair hearing

Admittedly, the fluoride debate is contentious. With scientist hurling pejoratives at each other it can become difficult to see through the jargon. I was very pleased and proud to see two things in all of this. First, that the people of Hernando County researched the topic and came to a reasoned and logical conclusion; we do not want to take the risk in fluoridating the water. Thankfully the board agreed.

Next, the commissioners understood the personal liberty implications of forced medication and stood tall to protect the freedom of choice for the citizens. I disagree with the contention that the pro fluoride group was not given a fair hearing. We all heard Dr. Johnny Johnson's presentation loud and clear which informed us that fluoride makes the sun shine and the flowers grow. No wonder the commissioners had heard enough.

Anthony Connor, Spring Hill


Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant tin rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 mile...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18