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Pinellas sheriff is crying wolf to get more taxpayer money

Sheriff dramatic in fighting cuts | May 24, story

Crying wolf to get more taxpayer money

Sheriff Jim Coats' recent comments to the Pinellas County Commission leave the citizens of the county in a state of fear. Sheriff Coats predicts a "significant crime increase" and streets "littered with human carnage." He also said, "Innocent citizens, including children, will be caught up in a deadly crossfire, law-abiding citizens will become prisoners in their own home."

I predict the citizens of Pinellas County will see through this public grandstanding for what it is: a politician crying wolf to get more and more of taxpayers' money.

The real victims of the political fallout are the good, hardworking, loyal employees of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. It is my belief that those employees will do what is necessary, make sacrifices and adjustments and still deliver good quality law enforcement to Pinellas County.

These are difficult economic times. A 10 percent budget cut is difficult, but we all must do our part.

I served as a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy for 25 years. In 1979 the Sheriff's Office had no DUI unit, traffic enforcement unit, community policing program, or numerous other specialized units. At that time we were well respected and did the job assigned to us quite well. Today the Sheriff's Office has benefitted from a growing urban county with a strong tax base. Those things have allowed the Sheriff's Office to expand and specialize and be a model law enforcement agency. But these are challenging times. Now is the time for the sheriff to do his part.

The voters in passing Amendment 1 said that they have had enough of soaring property taxes. Employees of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deserve a pay raise and I'm sure when the economy improves those issues can be addressed. But now is the time for reassignments, refocusing and for leadership in responding to County Commission and citizen mandates.

Darrell J. Patton, Seminole

Sheriff dramatic in fighting cuts | May 24, story

It's time for Pinellas

to trim the fat

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats stated that if he has to cut 10 percent from his budget, that "citizens should expect a significant crime increase."

I do not think the taxpayers are in the mood to hear about his budget shortfalls. After all, we have our own budget shortfalls to contend with. Perhaps Sheriff Coats can use his $337,000 armored personnel carrier to battle crime, bought with taxpayer dollars and a fine example of how our tax dollars are wasted.

To fund the Sheriff's Department, maybe Pinellas County could merge fire services throughout the county, saving millions of dollars. Many millions more could be saved by phasing out Sunstar, the county ambulance service, and letting the fire departments transport accident victims.

Until real efforts are made to streamline services, cut waste and find ways to be more efficient with our tax dollars, you won't find any sympathy here. Sheriff Coats needs a reality check. Scare tactics only go so far in an economic downturn.

Paul Lee, Tierra Verde

Sheriff dramatic in fighting cuts | May 24, story

Try some leadership

According to the sheriff, the people of Pinellas County are in for gloom and doom. The sheriff says if his budget is cut (translates to: if he doesn't get his way) "innocent citizens … will be caught in a deadly crossfire. … Citizens will become prisoners in their own home."

If the sheriff was a true leader, he would be able to make decisions without crying about the situation. True leaders are capable of making tough decisions.

Get rid of the take-home cars — $4 a gallon gas is only going higher. Get rid of the pension plan. Put the employees in a 401(k). All of the big companies got rid of their pensions years ago, and guess what, the companies are still in business.

A wage freeze for about 3,000 employees is a good start, but why not all employees? Or maybe the sheriff could take a pay cut himself. That way he could lead by example, because according to an article last month in the St. Petersburg Times, he's drawing more than $8,000 per month in retirement pay plus his salary.

R.O. Plummer, Palm Harbor

Hillary Clinton's latest gaffe

Her flawed reasoning

I have long been a fan of Hillary Clinton. But as this campaign has dragged on, she has shown herself to be someone who will say anything, do anything, to get herself elected — and be transparently clumsy while doing it. Remember the gasoline tax moratorium?

Now this: She offers Robert Kennedy's assassination in June 1968 as a reason she should stay in the race.

Gaffes are gaffes, and they should not by themselves disqualify a candidate. But c'mon. The whole reasoning behind her remark is that other nomination battles, in other decades, have lasted longer than this one, so why shouldn't she draw this one out.

But this is not 1968, or even 1992, when the primary schedule was much different. Doesn't this flawed, self-serving historical reasoning remind you of the Current Occupant? The one who got us into this mess? The one whom 80 percent of the American people cannot wait to get rid of?

And, my goodness, if this was only a gaffe, I'm glad that South Dakota newspaper didn't interview her by phone at 3 a.m.

James Harper, Tampa

Clinton's assassination remark

Superdelegates, take note

How much more can Hillary Clinton add to the reasons that she is totally not qualified to lead this country? Her assassination remarks are blamed on fatigue, but, whatever the reason, it seems her real reason for staying in the race has been verbalized.

Let's hope the remainder of the superdelegates see her for what she is and put an end to what is becoming an embarrassment to herself and her party.

John D'Aluisio, Hudson

Focus on the fuel of the future: hydrogen

May 22, letter

Hydrogen's problems

This letter to editor said that there was "an essentially unlimited supply" of hydrogen available for fuel, particularly for automobiles. Unfortunately, while hydrogen is abundant in our environment, very little of it is available for use as a fuel. There are no hydrogen wells. This is because hydrogen is highly reactive, and in nature combines quickly with other substances to form compounds unusable for fuel (with the notable exception of petroleum).

To obtain pure hydrogen for fuel, either for burning in an engine or use in a fuel cell, the hydrogen must be split from whatever else it is tied to, and this requires large amounts of energy — exactly the energy that is released to run our cars. Thus it is important to think of hydrogen not as a primary energy source, but as kind of a battery where one can store energy during the splitting process and then be released later when used in a vehicle. Alone it is by no means a solution to our energy problems.

Judd Sheets, St. Petersburg

Solar opportunity

As I perused the map of the present and proposed power-line transmission corridors, I was struck with a thought: Why not line all of the corridors in the state with solar panels?

Think of it: beautiful, shiny panels generating multitudinous megawatts of nonpolluting power, occupying nonutilized ugly space.

Hmm. … Probably there's something technically wrong with that, or it would have been done already. Or could this be the one really good idea I've ever had? Naah. …

John Dentinger, St. Petersburg

Fox news manager arrested | May 18, story

A bad business

What about focusing on Fantasy Land Adult Video Store? Have you ever researched how many lives of men and women and family homes are destroyed by places like Fantasy Land? What kind of behavior can develop from going to these type of places? Rape, molestation, homosexuality, cheating, adultery, masturbation, abusive behavior, broken families, and in some case, lost jobs.

Fantasy Land should be fined and shut down for allowing such behavior. Maybe then these people would go home and be with their "real loved ones."

Sue Johnson, Safety Harbor

Pinellas sheriff is crying wolf to get more taxpayer money 05/26/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 2:40pm]
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