Traffic tickets could add revenue
Here we go again with Sheriff Richard Nugent's continual bemoaning of budget cuts in revenue and personnel, when, in my opinion, he seems to not think outside the box.
As a resident of the Seven Hills area, and one who uses County Line Road, Mariner Boulevard, Spring Hill Drive, Commercial Way (U.S. 19) and Cortez Boulevard on a regular basis, I can count on one hand the number of traffic stops seen in any given week of the year.
So, where is the traffic enforcement? No violators out there? Not enough officers on the road? Cops not looking or just ignoring?
From time to time, I've seen a cruiser sitting in the southeast corner of the SunTrust bank parking lot, supposedly monitoring traffic flow on Mariner Boulevard from County Line Road to Spring Hill Drive. I've yet to see that vehicle roll while cars are traveling north on Mariner Boulevard exceeding the 40 to 45 mph posted speed limits by as much as 20 to 30 mph.
If the Sheriff's Office were to explore/entertain the following suggestions, then maybe the sheriff might not have to complain about revenue and budget shortages every year.
• If each traffic officer wrote a minimum of 10 tickets daily at a minimum of $100 each, there would be an extra $400,000 per year in revenue. What? There aren't plenty of speeders, tailgating, drunken drivers, seat belt violators, etc., out there?
• The above revenue would be more than enough to put one new officer on board each month, including another leased cruiser and all employee benefit costs.
• Petition the Legislature to allow for cell phone and texting driver violation ticketing and increased intersection cameras; to keep more of the ticket revenue or modify the money split; and to raise court fees for traffic court appearances.
By getting serious and enforcing all traffic laws, the county raises more revenue, the Sheriff's Office grows with more personnel and the county becomes a much safer location. A win-win-win situation. A deterrent isn't effective unless and until it is actually used.
As with all laws, either enforce them or remove them, but don't ignore them.
Roger Colucci, Spring Hill
Landfill is rife with budget waste
Regarding the letter that was published July 22 from Deb Johnston.
While the letter writer was on target as to the subject, she missed several notable points. As an example of extreme waste, she could have cited the over $1,000 spent on wood for a deck they were going to build at the landfill — without a permit, I might add — that is currently rotting away under a blue tarp, or all of the money spent on recycling boxes for glass. The glass was then supposed to be crushed and used to cover the garbage but instead is only broken up and buried with the garbage.
Additionally, the chiefs certainly outnumber the workers at the landfill. There is a solid waste service manager, a solid waste operations supervisor, a recycling coordinator, a facility attendant supervisor and a lead facility attendant, a project specialist (yet no projects?), an environment specialist and his one employee who is an environment tech who does 90 percent of the work. And there are numerous crew leaders. Also, I have no clue what a contract compliance monitor is. Though I've tried to recall them all, there maybe additional job titles I've inadvertently missed.
It just seems to me that if some of the fat were trimmed and a better, more streamlined organizational chart were implemented, the jobs of all those little guys might be saved. Remember, the landfill consists of only 400 plus acres. How much management is really necessary?
How many other departments make the county roughly $400,000 like the recycling department makes? Imagine how much money they could potentially make if the department were restructured accordingly.
Diane Tuning, Spring Hill
Animal Services needs to change
Well, here we go again! Hernando County Animal Services euthanized another person's pet by mistake. The cat Buddy was taken there because it bit its caretaker. It had not been vaccinated (big mistake on the owner's part). All cats need to be vaccinated — even indoor cats. It's the law.
When the Health Department called the family to tell them Buddy was cleared and did not have rabies, they went to Animal Services to get him, only to discover Buddy had been put down by mistake. A worker had called the wrong person to ask if they wanted the cat back, and they said no.
First mistake: Buddy should have been vaccinated. Second mistake: not checking the records. Third mistake: A worker told them other animals had mistakenly been put to sleep. They said, "It happens, we don't live in a perfect world, so Buddy paid the price." Nice way to console Buddy's owner.
Remember not too long ago the dog that was taken to Animal Services by mistake? The owners didn't want to take the dog to obedience school. They changed their minds and called the shelter at 8:30 a.m. the next morning, only to find out the pet had already been put down the same day it was brought in. (No five-day wait there.)
They need a complete overhaul, and people with a little more compassion. Liana Teague, code and Animal Services manager, said they were "torn up by the incident because it's not what we do." But they did, more than once.
They are continuing the investigation. They should!
So if you have a pet that you cannot keep for some reason, please do not take it to Animal Services. Try to place it somewhere, anywhere else, so the pet has a chance to get another home. I know it is hard right now because the Humane Society and SPCA are full, but please try to keep your pet or place it where it will have a chance to live.
Nancy Eslick, Brooksville
League leaders set poor example
As an observer and proud grandparent of a West Hernando Little League Juniors All-Star player, I am so disappointed in the atmosphere that these boys endured during this postseason. This is referring to the coaches and the board of this organization.
As most people realize, the time and dedication put in is phenomenal and greatly appreciated. Not only by the players, but by the coaches and staff of each Little League district. With this said, the experience of this past season was truly disheartening.
We all know that leadership, teamwork and pride is what makes these young people grow into good role models. Coaches need to teach, support and mediate, not scream and curse from the dugout when a player makes a mistake. They need to set the example of morale, not public humiliation.
But how are coaches supposed to be leaders of their team when they don't have guidelines and examples set by board members? One manhandled one of the boys and screamed at the same child during a game. The other called a player "trash" and then went on to call his whole family the same, right to the grandfather's face during a victory for the district tournament. This greatly decreased the morale. Nice example!
Is this what we want for our children? Members of the West Hernando Little League board should be embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior of their staff and coaches of the junior division.
It shame that a handful of great coaches have to be associated with this organization. And now that his season is over I'm sure many of the parents will not want their children subjected to this abuse again.
Margo Eisenhower, Hernando Beach
Empty lots, Chapter 11 are legacy of tony idea | July 26, Dan DeWitt column
Woes not unique to Southern Hills
Dan DeWitt failed to mention, in generally running down or finding obtuse ways to be negative about this spectacular community, that every similar community across this country that broke ground around the same time is struggling. Relatively, Southern Hills is doing above average.
He ridiculed the possibility that people might move here because they love the community and the area, because it is truly unique, because it is in the country, out of the city and yet they still want to have easy access when necessary to the city of Tampa. That is exactly the reason many of us who live here did so, but, of course, he couldn't find the time or make the effort to understand this, or to do research properly.
He was generally demeaning and condescending to the Brooksville area, with comments asking why anyone who can afford to live and eat in Tampa would want to live here and eat at Applebee's. He just wants to pontificate and be his usual condescending, negative self — especially when it comes to Southern Hills.
No one has forced anyone to live at Southern Hills. If you don't want to and/or you can't afford to, that is your choice and you can live elsewhere.
Save DeWitt's time and your column space for something more productive and constructive than painting those of us who have chosen to live here — and for the most part, who love it here — as complete idiots with more money than brains. There is plenty of negativity in the world right now without looking for ways to completely and unnecessarily create more because you think it is your journalistic right or obligation.
If DeWitt had made an effort to take a proactive, constructive approach, maybe he could have contributed to bringing a few more people to this beautiful, unique community — and they might have brought a few more and so on. And Brooksville would have had more shoppers, more restaurant customers, more car buyers for the local car dealerships and this all contributes to the whole community starting, slowly but surely, to make forward progress.
Roger Elliot, Brooksville
Health care reform can't wait
Let all the folks with health insurance from their workplace keep what they have. Have you noticed lately that you're paying more and more co-payments and higher deductibles? I know we have, as General Motors retirees. We all know that soon it will be a thing of the past. So what do we do then?
If you're diabetic like me, and have emphysema with oxygen dependency like my wife, who will sell you insurance with pre-existing conditions? Then comes the unexpected heart attack that will make sure your savings will be depleted. Will you be homeless, too? Who knows?
Ever notice how many people work in your doctor's office? Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands who work for health providers like Blue Cross, etc. Don't forget the investors who demand a decent return on their money, and of course, last but not least, the executives, who are richly rewarded with million-dollar bonuses on top of their outrageous salaries.
All that loot could be going toward your health, my friends; 95 percent of all these jobs would be redundant. Don't let the doom-and-gloom people fool you. They can't get over the last election.
I've been fortunate enough to have lived in two countries under the single-payer system. In the United Kingdom, it's called the NHS for National Health Service, not socialized medicine that the opponents here call it, hoping you will associate it with communism. Whatever they come up with will be better than the way it is now, and if I get a chance, I'll be grabbing it.
Ian Turnbull, Spring Hill