Pay attention to politics, projects
As this is not an election year it seems that many people are not interested in local politics. This should be the most important time to pay attention to what the elected officials are doing. Office holders are not thinking about being elected and should be working on projects to better their communities large and small.
In Pasco County, there are a great many projects that are up and coming for the work season. There is a planned ballpark in Wesley Chapel that promises to bring in sporting events from all over the state but will cost $14 million, mostly from charging tourists a 2 percent bed tax on hotel stays.
There is an amazing resort, park, and boat marina with gulf access on the drawing board for Hudson. This development called SunWest Harbourtowne could be the one project that finally puts Pasco County on the map as a vacation destination. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs and revitalize the Northwest section of the county. What is holding this up? The need to dredge an old preexisting canal to the gulf.
There is a new push for a central Pasco County courthouse. This courthouse will be located on the property where the Pasco Sheriff's Office operates the jail complex. The judges want a third courthouse to alleviate crowding at the two existing courthouses. The clerk of court does not want to have to staff it without an increased budget and the sheriff feels the same. This sets up a potential budget battle on two fronts.
Yet another project lingers. The Ridge Road extension is still needed. This vital piece of roadway would link the central part of Pasco with the populist west side.
It will alleviate traffic and wear on the only two east-west corridors State Roads 52 and 54. The county has set aside over 600 acres to mitigate for the relatively few acres impacted by the road extension.
Pasco County is projected to grow exponentially over the next few decades. Infrastructure demands will be high. There will be more building and development especially along the southern edge of the county.
The phrase "pride of ownership" is used among real estate professionals to delineate a home or property that has been particularly well cared for. Now is the time to see how much pride of ownership your elected officials have in their county.
Are they going to take on these projects with zeal and bring them to fruition or will they allow the work to sit idle, hoping that someone else will get it done? Pay attention, Pasco citizenry, now is when you can see what kind of governmental stewardship your elected officials really have.
Rich Jenkins, Trinity
Brazil's gun ban a poor model for us
In Brazil, law-abiding citizens are effectively banned from owning guns. Only those few who can prove their lives are threatened can receive gun permits. Penalties for carrying a gun without a permit include prison terms up to four years. But Brazil also tops the global list for gun murders.
According to a United Nations study in 2011, nearly 35,000 people were murdered by firearms in 2008. That's a homicide-by-firearm rate of 18 per 100,000 inhabitants, more than five times higher than the U.S. rate.
Do you want the U.S. to be more like Brazil? It's impossible to stop determined criminals from illegally obtaining guns, and Brazil's gun laws only serve to put unarmed, defenseless citizens at grave risk.
If you look carefully, you will find both U.S. Sen. Feinstein and Gov. Cuomo have hidden agendas for banning guns. They will not need to worry because they have around-the-clock personal security. Do you?
Richard Golden, San Antonio