Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Superintendent's support of magnets is election-driven

Magnet support is election-driven

I am completely flabbergasted by the school administration's sudden interest in magnet schools and in giving parents options.

During this tough economy that superintendent Heather Fiorentino continues to hide behind, Hernando County schools managed to build a couple of K-8 schools and a new magnet school. Perhaps readers noted the magnitude of the difference between us and other counties on magnet schools.

I used to sit at the superintendent's staff meetings so I have some firsthand knowledge of what was discussed. Repeatedly, I brought to her attention the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation and the experimentation being done with small schools and redesigning America's antiquated high schools; not because I thought we should jump in head first, but because I thought a little experimentation might be a good idea. All to no avail. I was rebuffed at every turn.

School Board members and I visited the Nature Coast Technical Center in Hernando and a K-8 school where we heard accolades from parents, teachers and administrators alike. It was amazing watching how middle schoolers assisted their younger siblings before and after school and how the building design provided age appropriate separation during the school day. Again, at staff meetings K-8's were dismissed as an idea built on convenience and with no positive value. I asked about a magnet school but was told that was just a gimmick for bringing middle- and high-income kids into low-income neighborhoods.

We have a couple career academies that seem to be making some good progress but they remain unavailable to kids across the county. Nor do we have anything that remotely approximates some of the magnet schools you will find in the Tampa Bay area such as the East Lake High School Engineering Academy. We have had the capital and intellectual resources to explore these options for years but have done very little.

Now, we have an election looming and suddenly the superintendent realizes parents want to be heard and want options for their children. Our relationship to parents is a very important dynamic that should be nurtured on a daily basis. It is a dynamic that involves listening, educating and mutual respect. It is not something that should only happen eight months before a political primary.

Ray Gadd, Land O'Lakes

New pain for those who need pains pills | Feb. 12 article

Pain pill buyers should have proof

I was very surprised to read that someone was able to pick up someone's medications without having to provide identification and proof that they were authorized to do so. If I have ever had to have someone else pick up my medications, I have always given them my ID, a note, and I called the pharmacy to let them know someone else was picking it up and that they would present proof of that.

I have never had a problem and I think that it should be a standard policy of every pharmacy to require proof of who you are and who you are picking up for by requiring ID if possible and/or written instructions.

An added precaution would be to have a form that the person signs like you do already for insurance purposes. Simple and easy, although it does mean some extra steps for pharmacy personnel. It will save time, money and possible lawsuits in the long run and no one will have to do without their medication.

Rachel E. Wright, Zephyrhills

Drug raid finds gun stockpile | Feb. 11 article

Firearms cache is tip of the iceberg

No one who lives in this part of Florida should be surprised when law enforcement finds numbers of non-sporting weapon associated with the drug trade for sale.

It's going to get much worse. In October 2010 the NRA/Republican Firearms Preemptions law Florida Statute 970.33, voted for by every Republican senator and state representative, became law. This law made it illegal for any local government to ever again pass any controls on firearms. The destruction of all gun control laws has been a goal of the NRA and their Republican supporters since 1987.

The backlash has been swift and vocal all over Florida by individual, local governments and even law enforcement that local government should have the right to pass gun violence prevention laws to protect public safety.

My organization is working with dozens of angry citizens, property organizations and farmers that can no longer post or control firearms on or near their lands or communities, and they are mad and willing to fight this law. In Hernando County , commissioners felt they had to let a kitchen table gun dealer set up in a residential area regardless of zoning restriction or they would be in violation of this new NRA law. This has opened the floodgates for anyone to ignore zoning law and sell guns out of their home.

Arthur C. Hayhoe, Director

Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Inc.

Ticket puts crimp on food budget | Feb. 9 letter

Traffic light timing is unfair

I agree with the letter writer about these practices.

I had to pay a ticket myself on Dec. 30 for $162 that took place at the very notorious U.S. 19 and Gulf Drive, New Port Richey

I have read articles about this intersection. It appears that the timing of those lights is poorly set up, in favor of New Port Richey, of course.

You can fight it, but if you are still found guilty, which would probably the case, then the fine goes to $240.

I would like to see them give all that money back to the people, especially the ones ticketed at U.S. 19 and Gulf Drive.

Michael Cabral, Holiday

Ticket puts crimp on food budget | Feb. 9 letter

Traffic ticket was writer's own fault

To the letter writer who can't buy food because she had to pay a ticket, what a crock.

She blew through a red light. Stop whining. Own up and pay.

I, too, am on Social Security. What is the big rush? She should have enough common sense, at her age, to obey the laws of this country.

Tom Hobbie, Holiday


Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18