Re: From the Daily Miracle to the Web, it's been a hit, July 27, Jeff Webb column
Columnist Webb will be missed
Jeff Webb did an excellent job. He will be greatly missed.
Joe and Polly Bennett, Hernando Beach
Economy takes away a staple
Foreclosures, rising gas prices, some 99 more banks in trouble and the shaky economy take one more staple from us as a captive readership of the Hernando Times in the early retirement of Jeff Webb, editor of the editorial page.
Jeff's columns were the first to which I turned. His astute observations and brilliant writing style speak to an obvious newspaper background, as he brings forward himself writing of his early 30 years in smoky, closeted newspaper spaces on manual typewriters, newsprint paper, carbons and the final spiking of the story, much that I recall in my years in newspapers in Ohio in the late 1960s, 1970s and columns in the 1980s.
Faulkner, Steinbeck and Hemingway all trained in print journalism to later become equal to the finest writers in the world. Maybe Jeff, with his wonderful Southern-influenced background, can begin a stream of short stories with a common theme, have them published and find new success for a future with years of life ahead for renewed accomplishments.
Between Jeff Webb and Dan DeWitt, I found the Hernando Times an eager wakeup starter at 5 a.m. for the day. I have a small stake in the Times myself in that I am a weather-watcher seven days a week for the Tampa Bay section, calling in highs, lows and rainfall, my final contribution for newsprint at my age of 75, which I savor so much for small satisfactions to the business.
The Times news space is a quick scan over the pages for hometown happenings, crime watch and title transfers. Something of substance always came from Jeff's columns, urging careful policy judgment, ethics in government, politics and community organizations and, Jeff, a veteran himself, often praised our patriotic commitments to our homeland. Guest columns in the editorial space to which Jeff contributed fall short of the mark.
Retirement sounds so final for any of us. It takes us into the shadows of a productive market economy and we stumble to find our way. It may take some getting used to for Jeff and it may take some getting used to for his faithful readers as well.
Deron Mikal, Brooksville
Potential tax money sits under cows' noses, Aug. 3, Dan DeWitt column
Problem seen, solution harder
I agree with most of your comments about the greenbelt law. This type of thing is exactly what we should be looking at. I'm sure there are many other examples out there that need to be addressed also.
I do, however, disagree with you on one point: that Linda Hayward should lead this charge. We have watched Ms. Hayward circulate petitions calling for lower taxes and then label herself a "tax activist." Anyone could have collected signatures for lower taxes, or lower food and gas prices for that matter.
Who wouldn't want that? This really is a no-brainer! How many people that were approached with this petition said, "No, I like my taxes where they are.'' I'm sure not many.
Ms. Hayward has misinterpreted support for lower taxes as support for her. Ms. Hayward must understand that pointing out the obvious does not make you a rock star.
I have seen Ms. Hayward at many community functions carrying her petition at her side like the infant child it has become to her. She has twisted the support for lower taxes into support for the personal agendas of herself and her torch-and-pitchfork cronies.
Mr. DeWitt, thank you. You have identified a problem that needs attention. However, we should all proceed with caution and find the right person for the job. "Death to Caesar" is not the answer.
Steve Silverman, Spring Hill
Creative minds may prevail
Recently, I have been critical of many proposals relating to an economic stimulus for Hernando County. Sunday, after reading Dan DeWitt, Barbara Behrendt and the Times editorial, my optimism for Hernando has been reinvigorated. Many of the pros and cons presented, the creative suggestions related to new revenue sources concerning agricultural land and home improvement funding from the state, indicates to me that Hernando County does possess many informed and creative individuals. People who are willing to put forth new and realistic proposals rather than the old nonproductive ideas such as impact fee manipulation.
The economy of Hernando County, as David Russell would like us to believe, tracks the U.S. economic ups and downs. It only tracks the real estate-related charts and related trades and services. "Bouncing along the bottom" suggests we are at a bottom. The question is: Are we? Bouncing along the bottom suggests volatility and uncertainty, not a bottom. Most economists are divided, and are looking for 18 months to 24 months of continued bottoms.
It is Mr. Russell's generalities and shortsightedness over the last two years which have contributed to our state of the economy. Mr. Russell has continually suggested that lowering of impact fees will stimulate the local economy. After all of the written text related to this issue, he stands alone with builders and real estate lobbies.
Diversification in Hernando County industries is required to create a solid tax base in Hernando County and potentially a recession-resistant economy. Hopefully, Mike McHugh will plan toward these ends.
When the times get tough, the creative minds get going. No solution is exact, but a bad one should always be challenged for its values and how it benefits the residents of Hernando County.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill