Superintendent needs the latitude | July 1 letter
Voters: Remember Fiorentino's ways
I was particularly amused at the last paragraph of Bill Bunting's letter, which asked how would the School Board like it if superintendent Heather Fiorentino told them about what policy decisions they should make and then publicly criticized them if they didn't do as she said. That is exactly what was happening during the last four years I served on the board.
I met with the superintendent frequently to talk about issues, almost always to no avail. In particular I remember telling her not to disturb the teacher dress code policy. Four of the five board members agreed with me at an open meeting. The end result was a time-consuming large committee that met for six months to come up with the only change involving piercing and the inappropriate tattoo. And no board member was moved to say, "don't you wish you had listened to us before spending all that time and money?" Maybe we should have but we tried to keep our disagreements out of the public eye.
Ray Gadd's removal as assistant superintendent greatly saddens me. Ms. Fiorentino had the opportunity to not renew Mr. Gadd's contract a year ago, thus ending the legacy of John Long, which Mr. Bunting said was happening at last and was appropriate. However, she gave Mr. Gadd and every other administrator on the leadership team a one-year contract in 2008.
Why? I believe it was because she was running for office and knew the public and board reaction would be one of outrage. This has turned out to be true. She is hoping in three years, the public will forget this. I am hoping they will not.
Marge Whaley, Land O'Lakes
Bingo council can help with games
Gambling in the state of Florida is illegal unless authorized by the Florida Legislature. Bingo, which is a form of gambling, was authorized by the Legislature in 1968.
The Legislature saw it as a manner for citizens to socialize and be entertained while at the same time generating profits they could donate to charitable, nonprofit, veterans organizations and to their own organization if they fit into one of those categories.
In the early 1990s, commercial bingo halls began to infiltrate our county. Some of these commercial halls skinned most of the profits due to excessive rent for the halls and equipment. The traditional bingo halls felt the lack of players — and lack of funds those player spent — and were no longer able to contribute to charities or to sustain their own organizations.
With the cooperation of the Pasco County Commission, the Pasco Sheriff's Office and the Suncoast Bingo Council, a county bingo ordinance was created which required accountability on behalf of bingo operations that state law did not address. This accountability caused commercial halls to close down and move out of Pasco and the traditional bingo operations again began to regain some of their clientele.
The Suncoast Bingo Council is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization and any traditional bingo operation can join for an annual fee of $50. It is a small amount for the benefit involved and members are able to call someone knowledgeable of both state and county laws regarding bingo, receive correct answers and participate in the council. It works closely with some members of the Florida Legislature in an effort to amend the state bingo law to require more accountability. With increased membership, it would have increased strength. For information, contact president Dorothy Hinnant at 727-849-4680.
Louis Garcia, Hudson
Channel 16 should stay put
Bright House Cable is at it again. Now they are removing Channel 16. If you want to continue getting Channel 16, WUSF TV, you must pay for it with an upgrade.
Were it not for Channel 16 and Channel 3, I would probably cancel all TV.
We need the programs that Channel 16 provides. What a pity to remove such a valuable source of entertainment and learning.
Harriet Robertson, Port Richey
Other cities should copy fix-up program
Congratulations to Mayor Rich Rober and the Port Richey Council. They have taken the progressive step of allowing condos and rental properties to participate in the city paint and fix-up program. This will give every homeowner in Port Richey an opportunity to help beautify the city.
Other cities should follow Port Richey's lead and offer the program to the landlords. In most cases the landlords pay two to three times the property taxes as the owner-occupied properties. They don't qualify for Save Our Homes or homestead exemptions.
David Parris, Port Richey