Keep politics out of school district
Lately there has been quite a bit of coverage concerning the intrusion of politics into the educational arena in Pasco County. It is unfortunate that so much time and effort is wasted on political matters and detracting from the job of eduction our children.
Pasco County is the largest school district in the country that has a politically selected superintendent. All other large districts appoint individuals to that position based on their record of experience in education and administration and not on the backing of political parties and special interest money spent on elections.
Be aware that a candidate running for the superintend of schools in Pasco County must start running within a few months of being elected the first time. The campaigning never stops and to think that teacher and other employees that answer to that person do not feel extreme pressure to support them politically is naive, to put it mildly.
We have seen in the recent election the head of one political party constantly raising augments and taking up absurd amounts of time in arguing about petty matters of his political concerns which had nothing to do with the business of education. In my opinion, as a person who worked with the school district in a nonteaching capacity but still able to observe all the machination of the politicians on the system, it would be extremely beneficial for the children of Pasco County to remove politics from this arena and to hire professional educators to perform a professional job of leading a district.
I know Kurt Browning has long been known in Pasco as a very good administrator and he was very likely one of the best supervisor of elections in the country, but he is not an educator. He will very likely do as good a job as might be expected from a man of his talents but that does not change the fact that he is a politician and will have to begin casting his eye on the next election. I hope sometime in the near future the parents in Pasco will see the value of taking politics out of education and change to an appointed instead of an elected superintendent of schools.
Everett Houghtalen, New Port Richey
Make your voice heard on utilities
I was delighted to be appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the "Study Committee on Investor-Owned Water and Wastewater Utility Systems,'' which was created by our state legislators. Some of the topics the committee will cover include impact on rates, options of providing service through re-sellers, and other issues.
There is a committee meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon today (Wednesday, Dec. 5) at the West Pasco Government Center, first floor boardroom, 8731 Citizens Dr., New Port Richey. The legislation enacted on this issue states that "at least two meetings must be held in an area centrally located to utility customers who have been affected by a significant increase in water or wastewater utility rates. The public shall be given the opportunity to speak at the meetings."
This committee has the potential to be very influential with regard to the future regulation of all private utilities in the state. The committee's recommendations will be brought back to the Legislature for consideration of new regulations.
In meetings over the past two years dealing with the Aqua Utilities rate case, I have emphasized that there is only so much that the public can do and that we need to focus on changing the legislation governing private utilities. The opportunity is here.
I encourage everyone who can to attend this meeting. You have a chance to be heard by a committee that will be making recommendations to the Legislature. If you cannot attend, you can call my office at 727-847-8100 (west side) or 352-521-4111 (east side) and leave a message with your comments; or e-mail your comments to the Public Service Commission, c/o JoAnn Chase, at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano, Bayonet Point
Please put trash in trash cans
I am writing to tell all those people who choose to use the area around the newspaper box on San Miguel Drive that this is not a dump site where you can pull up and empty the trash from your car.
There are other places known as trash cans where garbage is put. It seems that nobody cares anymore. America is supposed to be beautiful, not a dump.
Susan Ouellette, Port Richey
Drivers ignored truck on fire
I was driving north on I-75 at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, heading to New Port Richey for Thanksgiving with my family. I had just finished fueling my truck at around exit 168 and continued my trip when around mile marker 189 my 2001 Ford F250 started giving me trouble with the engine making a knocking sound.
I tried pulling over on the shoulder with my hazard lights on, but cars were oblivious to my situation and blew their horns at me. While pulling over, smoke started pouring out from under the hood. I immediately called 911 while other motorists kept driving past me going about their business.
An off-duty officer stopped as I got out of the vehicle. He was the only one who stopped and he called 911 as well. As I waited for the fire department to arrive, the entire front of my truck became fully engulfed and I lost all my personal belongings: my laptop, wireless printer, $2,000 worth of music, jewelry, title to the truck, registration, checkbook, Bluetooth headset and other belongings.
I called the roadside assistance that my insurance company uses, but later the tow company called to tell me the roadside assistance had been cancelled because the vehicle was damaged by fire.
The Florida Highway Patrol called a wrecker and the tow bill is $215, plus $25 a day storage. My other option is to sign over a copy of the title and give the tow company $100. I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and it's $90 for a duplicate title even though I explained the situation to them.
I hope when people read this it will change the way they act on roads and maybe they'll stop to help a stranded motorist.
Robert Howell, New Port Richey
Holiday show falls short Nov. 24, review
Holiday show was enjoyable
This is in response to Barbara Fredricksen's review of the Christmas show at the Show Palace. We found the show to be very enjoyable.
We are frequent customers and like all the shows. The cast works very hard. This is a holiday show and we find no need to be so critical.
Yes, people like Matthew McGee are missed, but this show had many familiar faces that lived up to their usual fine performances. Many people may not attend this show due to the harsh criticism. In this economy, it is not a good idea to contribute to losses to an established business.
Cindy and Jim Eldredge, Spring Hill
New playground would be a boon
There will be a new wonderful, safe playground for our children in Sims Park, New Port Richey. However, a statement made by local official dimmed the light a bit for me.
They stated they haven't drawn up the plan yet as to where the new playground would go. I don't wish to be a doubting Thomas, but I hope our officials are not going to try a power play to expand the Hacienda Hotel project west toward the playground site. Let's stay with their current plans.
It will be great to have a new playground as well as other pending projects. It could be a very good year for New Port Richey.
Mary Jo Jackson, New Port Richey