Libraries vital to our community
I am simply dumbfounded that in these times of economic hardship the county commission would shorten the hours of our libraries and even propose closing one branch.
The library system is fundamental to the fabric of our community and indeed the preservation of democracy. It benefits most those who have the least: those unable to drive, those without computers, and those with meager educations but with desire to improve themselves. For democracy to thrive we must have access to good information; we must be an educated public.
Andrew Carnegie instituted a free library system throughout the country because he believed in giving to the "industrious and ambitious; not those who need everything done for them, but those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others."
To be a community we must care about the welfare of others, and in improving their welfare we are better able to move forward.
In the 1990s when our present library system was put in place, I was so proud. It is a jewel — a precious resource! The funding was in place back then — before the housing bubble. How did we lose it? Let us not return to the old pasture county.
Gayle Spearman, Hudson
Charter schools deserve support
Here is a question for Pasco school board candidates: What is your position on charter schools? The responses run the gamut from full opposition to full support. A follow up question: How did elementary charter school Athenian Academy of Pasco receive an "A" rating when it operates on 70 percent of the funds per pupil the county district (which now has a "B") receives?
How do charter schools do this? Charter schools are free, yet they follow the state educational guidelines for class size and curriculum. It is known throughout the state that Pasco County School District puts its charter schools through rigorous governance. Perhaps that's good, but no reason for the district not to support the concept. (Which it doesn't, regardless of its public position.) Charter schools provide education at the local level, no bloated administration, silly rules, wasteful spending or lack of accountability. We have uniforms to make it easier for parents, and Greek culture as a theme to broaden our students horizons.
Charter schools offer choice. We are in Veterans Village, a solid community with supporting families. Just everyday folks who want the best for their children.
Ask hard questions of these candidates and support those who support choice. Support those who support making the school district smaller with more charter schools to take their place. Demand accountability. Ask them about the first teaching institutions in the world and where they were located. If they do not have the answer, just ask any Athenian student, they will know.
James Mathieu, Port Richey, president Athenian Academy
Sheriff needs to face budget facts
Every municipal service in Pasco deserves a leader who will advocate for them, as Sheriff Bob White has done for his department. There comes a time, however, to face facts. Property values are in free-fall, and revenue is headed nowhere but down.
The sheriff has been quoted as saying "I won't take no for an answer" to his request for increased funding. Give that statement four stars for drama, but it fails to acknowledge current economic reality. Our county has many needs, and many fine employees who are quietly doing more with less.
The county commission is doing a good job of balancing the county's needs with the money we have, regardless of whose wheel is squeaking loudest.
Ann Denz, San Antonio
Re: Misguided fire Aug. 8 article
Gun law lacks protection for all
Every time I read of a story like this I always think, "if the gun hadn't been there." Some will say under our new so-called self-defense law passed in 2005, he would not have been charged. Not so sure about that, as this new law protects police by removing the shooters immunity if he accidently shoots a police officer.
Law enforcement was so concerned about the threat this law posed to police officers, who now must confront Stand Your Ground gun owners when responding to a call for assistance, they refused to drop opposition to this law until immunity was withdrawn from a shooter who accidently shot a police officer. However, the immunity is not removed if the shooter accidently shoots you and me.
I continue to be very unhappy with law enforcement who didn't think we deserved the same protection. I wonder who they are here to serve and protect? You and me or the NRA?
Arthur C. Hayhoe, Wesley Chapel, executive director, Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Inc.