Can't put a price on public libraries
The public library is one of humanity's greatest ideas and most lofty endeavors. It is right up there alongside impressive parks and awe-inspiring monuments, created for the benefit and pleasure of all. And like other sanctuaries in which the human spirit may thrive, it is imperative they be overseen and safeguarded with all the diligence and enlightened management they rightfully deserve.
There is no other institution that does more to improve the human condition in these hard times of a stressed economy than the public library with its treasure trove of inspiring books, CDs, DVDs, including a host of beneficial curriculum and enriching services offered to every age, from all walks of life.
I implore every resident of Hernando County to uphold the grass roots ideals upon which our library was founded, by taking every protective measure within our rights as citizens to ensure that money alone is not the standard that controls the function of an institution that serves the betterment of mankind. I urge every resident to become a public watchdog over the critical decisions that are about to be made concerning future funding and its effect on the services our hometown libraries provide. Time is of the essence to become informed and to voice your views about how our community institute of knowledge should be funded and managed, so that our beloved library is not relegated upon the business-as-usual heap.
It is important for those that do not currently possess a library card to visit your public library and acquire one free of charge. For how can one clearly perceive the needs of a community, or the institution that serves it, without first becoming familiar with all it has to offer? As you take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to look around, don't forget to take notice of the inspired faces of children and elders alike, as they go about their exploration of the public library during one of their routine outings. For the mind's eye creates a picture more worthy than a thousand words.
Ruth H. Branham, Brooksville
Take politics out of the equation
County commissioners must now face the fact that even with all the cuts, our outstanding libraries are in financial trouble. While taxes and fees were always options, residents, disgusted with the prospect of additional cuts in services and programs, are now willing to accept some form of tax increases to keep or increase our library services.
Last summer I presented to the county administrator a proposal to generate revenue for our libraries and a proposal to generate revenue for our parks that does not include taxes or fees. He asked me to pursue the proposals and for the libraries gave me the name and phone number of Adam Brooks, who did not respond to several messages until I informed the county administrator of the lack of cooperation. Brooks advised me he would check on a contractual issue and get back to me. He never did.
Recently, I gave our commissioners the information and again offered my free services to pursue generating revenue for our parks and libraries without taxes or fees. Our commissioners do not see fit to let me make a presentation to them.
The only conclusion I can reach is that this is nothing more than party politics. I am a Democrat, four of the commissioners are Republicans. Do these commissioners think more of party politics than generating revenue without taxing or fees? Politics should play no part in local government.
We all should be looking at ways to benefit our residents no matter of party affiliation. Wake up commissioners and let's work together.
Arlene Glantz, Spring Hill
First, realize we have a problem
A little over two years ago, I was elected to Congress for the first time. I knew then that our budget was out of control, but naturally, I assumed that a reasonable group of people could come together and find a sensible way to fix it.
What I've been amazed with since coming to Congress, hasn't been so much that liberals and conservatives have a hard time agreeing on the solution to our problems (of course we do). It's that for an amazing number of smart, well-educated people, it is incredibly hard to get them to acknowledge that there are problems at all.
Take Medicare, for example. The reality is that the average couple in America pays roughly $115,000 into Medicare over the course of their working lives, but Medicare pays out roughly $350,000 providing those same two people with care. That is not a moral judgment about Medicare. It's not an attack on Medicare. It's not advocating for some unidentified special interest boogeyman. It is just the reality of the program's finances. And when the board of trustees of Medicare comes to me and says, "Congressman, we're running a deep deficit and we've only got about 11 years before our trust fund runs out. Our hands are tied legally. We need you to figure something out," that is a responsibility I take very seriously.
I supported the House proposal that would balance the budget in 10 years and also puts forward a way to save Medicare without changing benefits for anybody 55 and older. It's not that the Senate Democrats' proposal just goes about achieving these same things through different means, it's that it never achieves them at all. Their proposal raises taxes by at least $1 trillion, leaves Medicare without any hope of survival, and still continues adding to the debt for generations to come.
It's not that the two sides can't agree on a solution. It's that some people out there just don't acknowledge that we have a problem at all.
U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, Spring Hill
Bus service provides freedom
I use THE Bus and I feel we must expand the service times for people in this community. Public transportation is a hallmark of the community.
I am disabled and the bus means a lot to me. Without it I would not have a life or a way to get around. The MPO must do the smart thing and move forward and then county commissioners can improve THE Bus.
To my fellow bus riders, I say stand up and tell your county officials how much the bus means to you as well.
David Philipsen, Weeki Wachee
Stand up to fight drone proposal
Why should Hernando County be allowed to solicit an experimental program for drones, that could have the potential of turning it, Citrus and the surrounding counties into a laboratory for the failure that has accompanied drones.
What have drones been known for? Killing and spying on enemies. Well, I have news for the Hernando Aviation Authority and commissioners: We are not the enemy and we have Constitutional rights. This includes the Fourth Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches."
Contact our elected officials and tell them to stand for public safety against drones flying over the Citrus, Hernando and Marion county areas.
Renee Christopher-McPheeters, Crystal River