Mosquito control is essential here
We desperately need mosquito control. Once again our commissioners have chosen not to properly fund our Mosquito Control department. Now they have cut their fund to buy chemicals and already have no drivers for spray trucks.
We are a coastal community and mosquito control is an essential. Pasco has a $2 million-plus budget and Citrus has a $1 million-plus budget. Hernando, I believe, is half a million dollars.
I see they have voted to spend $150,000-plus for an unknown, untested johnny-come-lately contractor to oversee the dredging project. They also voted to spend $2.5 million on a control tower that only a few rich people with their own aircraft for supposedly business purposes will benefit from. Totally unjustified in this economy.
When the few rich people fly in their jets or the big boat owners at Hernando Beach come into the channel, they will find a county swarming with disease-carrying mosquitoes and a group of county commissioners that have no interest in their health or well being of their community.
Let's find a way to adequately fund our outstanding Mosquito Control department, which is hanging on by a shoestring budget.
T.J. Storch, Brooksville
Vacant homes are part of problem
Everyone keeps saying the mosquito problem is caused simply by the rain and warm weather. What about all of the abandoned homes and foreclosed homes with green pools in the yards? There are at least four in my neighborhood that I know of and I am sure there are many more.
Can't we have the banks that own the properties be responsible for taking care of their property? Someone has to be held accountable for this situation.
If you are just spraying, it is only taking care of part of the problem. No matter how much you spray, these pools are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This isn't just a problem in Hernando, I would think it is a problem for the entire state.
Stacey Horan, Spring Hill
Slot machines lead to crime April 20 letter
No evidence that this is a crime
The letter writer points to one single incident of theft that had nothing to do with sweepstakes rooms and makes a broad general statement. Exactly where is his supporting data?
The crime to which he refers involved a legal, licensed, tax-paying casino in Tampa where the suspect gambled. Then he infers that sweepstakes venues in Hernando County are the same thing, but offers no proof. He mentions the State Attorney's Office zero tolerance policy on these types of businesses and then he blames Sheriff Al Nienhuis for allowing these operations.
Let me start with the legality of these operations with a quote from Oct. 19, 2010, Hernando Today: "A prosecutor thinks owning a sweepstakes room constitutes running an illegal gambling operation, but he failed to convince six Marion County jurors Monday." The woman charged was acquitted. The letter writer says they are illegal gambling operations but a jury seems to disagree.
As for Sheriff Nienhuis allowing these operations, one must realize that the sheriff has a limited budget. He must allocate his resources on activity that threatens the health and welfare of the citizens of Hernando County and threatens the property and well being of these citizens. He is doing a fine job in both areas.
The sheriff would be remiss in trying to close down a business that, in the opinion of a jury from this very judicial circuit, is not engaged in criminal activity. That is unless the letter writer can provide the specific state statute the sheriff is to enforce and get the state attorney to prosecute. Arresting is one thing, successful prosecution is quite another.
These sweepstakes operations are employing people, three to five per location that I have seen. These businesses are paying rent for what would be empty store fronts. They are providing charitable contributions to organizations that are hard-pressed in the current economy. Finally, they are providing entertainment for a number of people in Hernando County who have nowhere else to go to socialize.
If the Legislature chooses to change the law, so be it, close them down. Until then, do not waste precious law enforcement and prosecutor resources tilting at windmills. Leave them alone.
John Stansbury, Brooksville
Help needed for U.S. disasters, too
I can't resist the opportunity to comment on this subject. It seems to me that while we are quick to send our troops to aid foreign countries struck with disasters, why can't we do the same for our own citizens?
With the disaster that occurred in North Carolina as well as the other states, where were our Army Corps of Engineers? With the number of military bases in the proximity to the disaster, why weren't they sent in post haste? I'm sure there is an enormous need for the type of assistance our servicemen could provide. How many dollars of federal assistance were offered to these unfortunates?
Richard M. Slajchert, Brooksville
Kudos to Fasano for SB 830 vote
I am a union member who works at Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill as a cook. As a lifelong Republican, I applaud Sen. Mike Fasano for standing with working families and opposing Senate Bill 830.
I believe in the importance of fiscal responsibility and individual freedoms. Senate Bill 830 bill is an affront to both of those values which are near and dear to Republicans — and all Americans. Tallahassee politicians behind Senate Bill 830 have only one goal in mind: to play political games with working families for the sake of weakening unions. SB 830's proponents claim this is a measure to prevent taxpayer funding of public unions' political activities. This is false.
The same way it is done with 401k contributions, public service workers currently have the right to have their union dues deducted from their paychecks. Thankfully, progress on stopping this bill has been made. I am thankful for Sen. Fasano's vote against SB 830, which took courage since he voted against members of his own party.
Jeanne Taylor, Hernando Beach