Fire engine staff not the place to cut
During these hard economic times, most Pasco County residents and business owners have tightened their belts and are doing with less. Although doing with less is the norm for today's hard economic times, assigning a fire engine with only two personnel is dangerous for everyone in good and bad times.
There is a saying, "Just put the wet stuff on the red stuff.'' Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Today's fires are more explosive then ever thanks to the amount of plastics and synthetics in our homes and businesses. Plastics burn very hot and produce 500 times more smoke than wood, paper, wool, cotton or other ordinary products.
This increase in smoke production allows fire conditions to change quickly. In the event of a fire, it is important that enough firefighters arrive simultaneously to complete all the necessary tasks. For example, identify the size and location of the fire, form an action plan, force entry into the structure, establish water supply, assign firefighters to rescue occupants, remove the heat and smoke by ventilating, and assign firefighters to attack the fire.
There are some things that are so dangerous to public safety that they should never be considered an option in solving a budget problem, and reducing the number of firefighters on a fire engine is certainly one of them.
Dennis De Salvo, New Port Richey
Administrator will be missed
Several years ago a group of forward-looking citizens, including Ray Gadd, fought for and saw passed the Penny for Pasco initiative. Residents of this county were assured that a citizens committee would oversee the Pasco County School District portion of the funding. A call for members was publicized by the district and from those who applied an initial oversight committee was chosen. I was a member of the original group and served for four years, two of them as vice chairman. This was a period of tremendous growth in student population.
Ray Gadd, the assistant superintendent, was the committee liaison with the district. Ray's deep commitment to high-quality education in settings that enhanced learning was apparent from the first meeting. His enthusiasm was infectious and his leadership superb. Ray has the ability to bring differing positions to a common consensus.
After nearly 50 years in business and education I found that a quality administrator wants top quality persons working for him or her. Rather than eliminating those who might express different positions, learning from this is a very positive position to take. A university president who was a friend expressed it this way: "I make a proposal and people disagree with me so I back off. Surprisingly, several months later someone in the group makes a proposal that is very close to mine and I immediately support them.'' This is the mark of an able administrator.
I viewed Ray as a person who expressed the best of the many qualities that make a leader and a consensus-builder. His deep passion for the children of the school district will be missed.
Robert W. Bucklin, Zephyrhills
Veterans deserve county's help
The Veterans Service office at 8620 Galen Wilson Blvd., New Port Richey, is there to help the 51,000 veterans living here in Pasco County.
When veterans need assistance in getting extra money to live on and when widows whose husbands have passed away get benefits, this is the office that helps.
I think it is time for commissioners to wake up and to start to help all of us veterans. We are the ones who came to the call of our country and put our lives on the line. Every veteran, young or old, should contact their commissioners and tell them to get on the ball. The Veterans Service office helps bring in more than $12 million every year. That is not a bad investment for the county.
Commissioners can be contacted at (727) 847-8100. Maybe a large march on the county building on Little Road by about 10,000 veterans might open their eyes.
Richard Kimmel, New Port Richey
Theater's policy endangers kids
While at a drive-in theater, my 5-year-old son had to use the restroom, as did I. I took my son with me, and as we were walking out of the restroom an employee said to me, very rudely, that the next time my son has to go to the men's room. He can't go in the women's room with me.
I responded that he is 5 years old, I'm not letting him go into the bathroom by himself. He responded back to me either he goes to the other side or don't come back.
Are people really expecting parents to allow their young children to go into restrooms by themselves? News stories come out just about everyday regarding sex offenses and children abductions along with so many other things; it's just crazy how some people are thinking.
I don't understand why I would have been treated and spoken to in such a manner but I am very upset about it. My kids really enjoyed going to their first drive-in movie. It's a shame because of this incident we will not be returning.
Christina Robinson, Hudson
Paper was great help in recovery
I just want to let you know how important your publication has been in my mother's recovery. About a month ago she fell and fractured her hip. She is 88 years old and up until this past December was still working. After surgery to repair her hip she went for rehabilitation.
She was so confused and not herself at all due to all the medications she was on. The only thing that brought her into the know was me bringing her your paper. It was her only way of knowing what day it was and what year it was. So thank you for bringing my mom mentally back to me and keeping her in the know.
If you can afford the paper you should get it; it helps to keep you informed.
Judi Rykert, Holiday
Red light cameras
Cameras timed to make money
The argument that if you don't run the light you won't get a ticket is a hollow argument. If you look honestly at what causes a red-light violation crash and what the city of Brooksville is actually citing, I don't blame people for avoiding the town.
Your typical right-angle crash occurs eight seconds into the red light. Most red-light crashes involve activities like DUI, fleeing police, not paying attention — actions that a camera won't stop.
What you find them doing is using short amber times. The intersection of Broad Street and Martin Luther King is around 3.72 seconds of yellow. Just up the road at the shopping center service road the yellow is 4.1 seconds. I timed this myself earlier this year, same road, same speed limit. It is not the only dubious amber time. The one for the left turn at the Wal-Mart (Wiscon Road and U.S. 41) is 3.41 seconds but a similar left turn at Jefferson and Jasmine was over 4.2 seconds. Some might say that this was a mistake; frankly, it is intentional. This vendor's operation in Baytown, Texas, got busted using three-second amber times when Texas state guidelines said it should be no less than four seconds.
Stop line violations are no doubt planned based on the special camera at Jefferson and Ponce De Leon. Also, in my work timing the lights I noticed the light camera at Wiscon flashing when no one ran the light.
The reason the camera vendor and the city do all this is because they need a certain number of violations per day to make it worthwhile. Does it sound like someone trying to reduce red-light runners? Don't sound like it to me.
This is a scam. When engineering improvements like longer amber lights are employed, violations go down. Georgia required an extra second of yellow at red-light camera intersections. The result: Violations have gone done so radically that a number of Georgia towns are dumping the cameras because they can't make any money.
Stephen Donaldson, Dade City