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Sheriff's skills seem a little rusty

Sheriff's skills seem a little rusty

We all know the sheriff's road patrol skills are a little rusty. He stopped an unlicensed speeder, but forgot to check if he had a license before sending him on his way.

A field full of cruisers to sit idle for weeks because of a paperwork snafu. The sheriff paid his buddy $2,000 a month to advise on such subjects as internal communications and in areas like training and promotions. I guess we should be grateful to the good Dr. Barry Banther for doing all this healing of the sheriff's department for half price. He calls it giving back to the community.

Other bay area agencies handle these duties internally. There are several people within the Pasco Sheriff's Office who have degrees in law enforcement and police procedure who are well qualified to fulfill Dr. Banther's assignment

I can forgive the sheriff for these minor indiscretions but if Banther has a county car and gas card to take home I'm going to write a letter to the editor.

Thomas Karcher,
New Port Richey

Accept offer of free land, or else | March 30, article
Greed for land gift is not in public's interest | April 1, editorial

Land donation passes one test

I have to disagree with the article and editorial about the land donation offer from County Commission candidate John Nicolette.

I think that most people who donate land to the public will specify a specific use or have conditions attached. I would guess he could get more money just by selling it than any tax benefit he might receive. The issue certainly was not worthy of an editorial.

Then, I read where the candidates have raised their campaign funds and it looks like the developers love Nicolette's opponent, Commissioner Ted Schrader. Is more development going to be better for Pasco County?

Michael Bradley, Land O'Lakes

Pasco listened; dogs now allowed

Earlier this year, I wrote about dogs not being allowed in the new district park in Wesley Chapel. That letter was published and I began an e-mail conversation with Assistant County Administrator Daniel Johnson.

He advised me of the county's position about the athletic fields and I discussed the needs of citizens to use the park. I used Hillsborough parks as an example, with its trails, signs and doggie bag stations.

Well, I am happy to say that the Wesley Chapel park perimeter trail is now open to dog owners, with signs and doggie bag stations. Bravo, Mr. Johnson.

I hope those who bring their dogs to the park will follow the rules. I have already spoken to a few people, one a young soccer player, about keeping pets off the fields and playground. The few can sometimes ruin things for the many.

I am encouraged that one person can make a difference and that Pasco County is responsive to its citizens.

Donna Dansby, Wesley Chapel

Stop new fees for county residents

Recently Pasco County officials decided to raise park and recreation fees. This is explained to us as being due to the Amendment 1 cuts in our property taxes, or as they call it a "loss in revenue" and then they go further to point out that other counties have done the same.

They don't get it; the message was that we weren't getting our money's worth before and they must tighten their belts and make due with less. Besides the raising of existing fees, now they want to create new fees to use the boat launch ramps. The next time you ride through the park take notice of the tags: Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee. Under the proposed plan these people will pay the exact same fee to use the launch ramps — and yet it will cost Pasco residents more.

Now, I don't know what funding the state contributes, but I do know that Pasco deputies, Emergency Services, highway maintenance, etc., all paid for by Pasco residents, respond when called upon. Now, we are being told we must make up the difference plus pay new fees for our own facilities. I say to the county officials, "Get the message, tighten your belts and consider the folks who pick up the tab."

If they absolutely can't get by on a reduced budget then charge the others who have used and enjoyed our facilities for many years and paid nothing. Pasco doesn't need to follow the examples of our urban neighbors — let's think for ourselves and protect our own — no new or punitive fees for Pasco residents!

George Basley, Holiday

Bicyclists, don't be road hogs
April 8, letter

Bikers, motorists need to take care

It seems there is always some objection to either cyclists or motorists and their use of the road. Some of it is warranted. As chairman of the Pinellas County Bicycle Advisory Committee and president of the Suncoast Cycling Club I can tell you that educating both cyclists and motorists is the key to harmony on the asphalt.

I have ridden in the hills between Dade City and Brooksville. The roads and scenery are beautiful and the traffic is light. However, given the rural area, these roads are also very narrow. In some areas, the visibility is limited and the roads curvy. Because of this, the double yellow line is present and passing is not allowed. Florida statute 316.003(2) defines a bicycle as a vehicle. In areas where the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side, the bicycle may legally take the lane in order to safely move through the area.

Although the law provides for cyclists to take the lane, it also provides for the cyclist to ride as far to the right as practical while maintaining "at least two feet of clearance from a curb or pavement edge."

I can understand the motorcyclist's frustration with having to wait to pass a large group of cyclists and it would be arrogant and stupid for a cyclist to laugh at any motorized vehicle because they are blocking their way, if indeed that was the case. It may have been necessary for these cyclists to take the lane though, in order to travel safely through that particular area.

It all comes down to patience and education. The leaders in the cycling community are taking the steps to make riders more aware of the rules of the road. The Suncoast Cycling Club goes so far as to read and discuss the Florida statutes before the start of many of our rides. Everyone needs to show some patience and understanding as to the rights of both cyclists and motorists and respect each other's rights to the road.

There are always those few who give the rest a bad name, both motorists and cyclists. But as the Tampa Bay area becomes more bicycle friendly due to rising fuel costs and with the addition of more bike lanes, trails and facilities, there is a definite trend toward this understanding.

I hope this understanding will carry on to the gentleman who wrote the letter and he'll realize that, like him, cyclists are just trying to enjoy their passion.

Tom Ferraro, Safety Harbor

Students with guns? Bad idea

I heard Bill Bunting wants students armed on campus.

How would the police or students know who the shooter is if they all have guns? Any more brilliant ideas, Bill?

Alfred Gioielli, New Port Richey

Timing traffic lights can save gas

I can't understand why the traffic lights on U.S. 19 in Pasco County are not coordinated.

With today's high gas prices, it is a no-brainer to coordinate the lights to save gas by reducing the short runs from green light to red light.

Mel Abrahams, Hudson

Campaign war chests swell
April 11, article

Lodge didn't endorse candidate

The article may imply that the Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Sheriff Office Lodge 29 or its labor units endorse a particular candidate. The Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Sheriff Office Lodge 29 has not decided if it will endorse any candidate.

There has to be a three-quarter majority vote of the membership present for the Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Sheriff Office Lodge 29 to endorse any candidate. This decision, if any, should be made over the next few months. The contribution stated was a personal choice as a citizen and is not in any way the positions of the Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Sheriff Office Lodge 29 or its labor units.

Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Sheriff Office Lodge 29 name or logo can not be used or implied as a political endorsement for any candidate without the expressed permission of the lodge's board of directors and an endorsement that follows the bylaws.

Timothy M. Hennigan

President, FOP Lodge 29

Land O'Lakes

Restrooms now open to public

As frequent users of Dade City Price Park we have been disappointed in past years that public restrooms were available in the park but were kept locked from the public. We found it especially disappointing since the city spent a considerable amount of city funds to improve and maintain them.

Recently we appealed to City Commissioner Camille Hernandez to have them opened during prime park hours. She has positively responded and we are now proud to say they are unlocked and available to the public as they should be. Thank you, Commissioner Hernandez.

R.K. Roedel, Dade City

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Sheriff's skills seem a little rusty 04/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:40pm]
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