Reconsider costly channel dredging
Hernando County has retained a specialized attorney (at unknown expense) to assist with pushing through all the regulatory paperwork, fending off lawsuits from concerned citizens and acquiring the necessary permits to proceed with the dredging of the Hernando Beach Channel. One of the primary stated reasons for this move is to "make sure the $6-million in State funding remains intact."
It seems to me that there are a number of significant flaws in this reasoning. I have never heard a rational or reasoned explanation of why the entire taxpaying population of Hernando County should be made to carry the burden of paying for a project which benefits only a few hundred wealthy Hernando Beach residents (who perhaps wish to purchase an even larger yacht and who certainly will see their property value increase when they can brag that their new channel will accept boats with up to 8 feet of draft) and a few of the remaining shrimp boat owners who now have to be aware of the tidal cycles to operate.
I am not naive enough to miss the value to our esteemed county leaders of loud and incessant lobbying from wealthy constituents who happen to live in Hernando Beach, but please. In this climate of budget shortfalls, personnel cutbacks, underfunded schools, underpaid teachers, roads desperately in need of repair and countless other projects that would benefit the entire county, where is the logic and common sense?
Commercial fishing representatives insist their financial contribution to the county makes their opinion about the channel important. I have worked in the world of commercial fishing and I know that this is simply untrue. The vast majority of the economy of small time shrimpers and commercial fishing is an under-the-table system based on unreported cash transactions. The tax value of this niche to Hernando County is relatively low and would be much higher if the waterfront property currently occupied by these vessels were converted to residential or traditional commercial real estate.
It is time that the reasoning behind this inappropriate expenditure of internal pork dollars be exposed and openly considered on a countywide and value-gained basis.
I have two suggestions to help the county move forward. Hold three public meetings in the central and eastern areas of the county to get feedback on how citizens from all across the non-Hernando Beach regions would like to see $12-million spent. These meetings would allow only residents from that general area to attend, so that they would not be shouted down and intimidated as I have been by dissenting speakers in other meetings.
If, after collecting these opinions and perspectives, the county administration were to decide that the $12-million might be better spent on other needs, all is not lost for Hernando Beach. I suggest the county set up an internal commission that would function specifically to assist the residents of Hernando Beach with raising the $12-million needed (over and above the state of Florida grant).
Given the ability of the people who believe they would benefit from the dredge to raise the necessary funds — through property owner assessments, business assessments, donations, fundraisers and other various contributions — the county would contract, oversee and manage the project to its completion. This would cost the citizens of Hernando County a minute fraction of what the commissioners are currently eager to spend, and still benefit the tiny minority of residents who currently stand to gain so much at the expense of all the rest of us.
J. Adrian Kilby, Bayport
Protestors' signs are ridiculous | Jan. 11 letter
Letter is proof of protest's success
The Nature Coast Coalition for Peace and Justice stands on the side of roads to bring public attention to causes they believe in. They probably wonder if their messages are getting through. The previous letter confirms that they are getting their messages to the public, as the writer even remembered what the signs were made out of and what was on them. That in itself should make the coalition members proud.
The letter writer listed things that coalition members should be volunteering to do for their community. While not a member, I know that many of the coalition's so-called misguided members do and have volunteered to better our nation and community through activities like the Peace Corps, the library, teaching at the Hernando County Jail, helping veterans, and many others.
If holding up a "Say No to War" sign can do anything, be it ever so small, towards ending war, the holder is well justified.
The writer seems to believe that coalition members would have no problem with our military firing rockets into Canada, if they fired first. That is not borne out by history. Organizations like the coalition have been active in all wars and political actions, with historic results.
The writer characterizes coalition members as unread and unknowing; however, they're broadly experienced and well-read. Some have lived in many parts of the world and have firsthand knowledge on these topics. Many members also belong to reading and discussion groups here in Hernando County. Many, because of their experience and reading, are inspired to action by news stories. Doris Taylor, my wife, is a coalition member and the author of another letter to the editor published in the Hernando Times, called "County should clean toxic site."
The letter writer believes that standing on the side of the road holding signs that make no sense whatsoever is a waste of time, energy and money. Maybe so, but it's their time, energy and money, and the letter indicates they are accomplishing their goal, which is to inform the public. Those who see their signs know the coalition members were willing to publicly stand up and be counted for their beliefs.
Rae Taylor, Brooksville
Re: Tipping servers
Servers shouldn't rely on tip money
Saying waiters rely on tip income is a bold statement. Servers who depend on tip income should take on an extra job. Or get re-educated to have a different line of work.
I eat at a restaurant on occasion and I have no thoughts of supporting the server. A tip, yes (or maybe). But support? No. And the cost of my entire order should have no bearing on the amount of tip. Just because it was a $35 entree doesn't mean that you worked any harder.
Many patrons drink water for their health and not to be cheap as a letter writer said insultingly. And speaking of insulting, patronizing and condescending, don't ever call me "hun," "honey," "sweetie," or "dearie."
Please understand that numerous folks earn little more than the salary the writer stated. They go out to eat occasionally for diversion. Don't tell them to stay home if they can't afford to tip you. Have some compassion, please.
Martha Wakaruk, Brooksville
Tell Brown-Waite to look out for us
On Jan. 6, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives titled the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009." It was introduced as HR 11.
"The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009'' amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs when: (1) a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted; (2) an individual becomes subject to the decision or practice; or (3) an individual is affected by application of the decision or practice, including each time compensation is paid.
An aggrieved person may obtain relief including recovery of back pay for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge-filing period are similar or related to practices that occurred outside the time for filing a charge.
The legislation also amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
On Jan. 9, HR 11 was voted on in the House of Representatives and passed 247 to 171. Our representative, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, who is supposed to represent each and every one of us in this congressional district, voted against this legislation.
Women across this country have been fighting for equal pay for many years. The United States is one of the only industrialized countries in the world that permits this discrimination to exist. Every woman in this county should be up in arms and demanding that our representative vote for legislation that supports the working men and women of this district. That can be done by calling her Brooksville office and demanding that she represent your interests instead of big business.
Harvey Martin, Spring Hill