Fire district run like an empire
The main concern with granting Spring Hill Fire Rescue District tax authority is not the employees or even the structure of tax allowed, but rather the fire commission itself. This is a body that treats any citizen who attends and makes comments against the spending and management of the district feel like they are in a ring getting ready to be eaten by lions like the old Roman Empire.
These commissioners, or at least three of them, seem to think they are better than the people who elected them and should not be questioned or put on the spot with questions they don't like. This is the problem — if you give people like these individuals authority over your wallet or pocketbook, they feel it is their inherent right to spend for whatever they want.
It seems like our elected fire officials don't have a clue that the Sunshine Law encompasses elected officials and not citizens, yet on numerous occasions citizens have been threatened by commissioners hiding behind "blog names" or even at meetings to put the citizens in jail for Sunshine Law violations and ethics charges.
The commission seems to be unschooled in collective bargaining, the apparatus of which has been around for many years and is designed to be a give and take (bargaining) where the employees initially ask for everything including the moon and management is supposed to counteroffer. This goes back and forth till a reasonable middle ground is found and a labor agreement is reached. For too many years now, the fire commission has been a stronger advocate for the employees than the employees themselves. There isn't any give and take but rather just a give by the commission of our tax dollars.
The fire chief is the labor negotiator. The problem is, the chief's personal contract and salary are tied directly to what the employees receive as he must receive a certain amount more than the next highest paid employee. The more the employees get, the more the chief gets. Commissioners Ken Fagan and Rob Giammarco attempted to correct this but were rebuffed by the other three commissioners. For an independent district to work, the commissioners must work for the taxpayers, not the employees.
The fire commission has not and never will be representative of the citizens, and that is why voters need to say "no" to taxing authority and let the district return to dependent status.
Just because they keep telling us we are too dumb to have made the right choice in 2010 doesn't mean we should agree with them. Be an informed electorate and keep your money in your possession and not in the fire district's.
David Parker, Spring Hill
Fire district deserves funding
Come on people. We voted for our fire district to be separate from the county and now we don't want to give them the right to tax us?
Be real. The fire district can't save your house from fire, help someone injured in an automobile accident or assist with medical calls if we don't allow them to tax their residents.
Did you expect to volunteer your time when you were working? Did the company you worked for not have an operating budget? The equipment isn't free or free to operate. The skills our state insists our firefighters have are not free. What would you pay to save someone you love?
My husband was a volunteer firefighter in Pittsford, N.Y., and that fire district taxed its residents. Volunteer — he put his life on the line to save people and things. He saw things that would give others nightmares, but he went back for 19 years.
When you receive the ballot for our fire district, do the right thing and vote "yes.''
Evelyn Salvatore, Spring Hill
Cemex needs to be monitored
Seems a bit fishy that our parks would close due to lack of money, yet Cemex seeks breaks on tangible taxes owed.
The company got a special use permit to burn more items, but was fined already for high mercury levels. What happened to the idea that was presented at one time that the county have its own monitoring devices?
Ah, okay. The fox is still guarding the henhouse.
Mary L. Scarff, Weeki Wachee
Art teacher feared for her safety
Who could believe the outrage demonstrated in student behavior: verbally abusing a female teacher with obscene language and threatening body postures? Justice failed in not having the student handcuffed and arrested and responsible to the courts for his aggressive, abusive threats. After his suspension, this student should be monitored from class to class by a uniformed officer assigned to Central High School.
I taught high school English and German back in the 1960s. Students were given cracks in the halls with the paddle all the time. I did not paddle. I negotiated, one on one, with students every day at the noon lunch hour until we could reach agreements. I brought no punishment nor threats of punishment to the student, only conversation focused on changing unruly behaviors. The student squirmed and stuttered in the process, protecting bravado that drove behaviors unsuited to the classroom.
Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association, is correct in his defense that the art teacher feared for her safety. Surely, students at Central High School cannot condone the behaviors of the attacking student and his acceptance in their ranks should be suspect.
Deron Mikal, Brooksville
Perhaps reviews need new insight | May 15 letter
Show Palace hit just the right note
After reading the letter writer's critique on the Show Palace's rendition of Sentimental Journey and the blast at Barbara Fredricksen, I felt I had to answer.
First, she is a critic and you will always find people who don't agree with her. It seems to me that the writer has a connection to Stage West or the director. I saw the show at Show Palace and found it to be very entertaining and remindful of those terrible times during World War II. Thank God for the USO. I don't know if the writer served during that time or at all, but you have to give the Show Palace credit for honoring that endeavor and those of us that stood for the freedoms that allowed the letter writer to say what he has.
I want to thank Ms. Fredricksen for her review and ask her to keep up the good work. The show was very entertaining and the music had me wanting to get up and dance all the forgotten dances.
Charles Kleber, Spring Hill