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C.T. Bowen, Pasco Times Columnist

C.T. Bowen

C.T. Bowen has been reporting and writing about the people and politics of Pasco County since moving to Florida in 1987. A native of upstate New York, he lives in Land O' Lakes with his wife, Mary Beth, a public school teacher. They have two sons.

Phone: (727) 869-6239

Email: bowen@tampabay.com

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  1. County mulls acquisition of sensitive Rocky Creek property along coast

    Environment

    More than three decades ago, an Odessa couple wanted to take gulf-front property they owned and save it as a public park. If Pasco commissioners concur, the county plans to do just that by buying the island for $3.1 million.

    The land, once known as Cotee Point for its proximity to the Pithlachascotee River, is now commonly called Rocky Creek after that tributary. Among the approximately two dozen sites on the county's environmental lands project list, Rocky Creek is ranked second highest, after Cross Bar/Al Bar ranch, for its environmental importance....

    Failed housing development, due to a declining real estate market, on the Rocky Creek land along the coast allowed the Pasco County Commission to add the 65 acres to a project list in 2009. Now, commissioners may buy the land with proceeds from the original Penny for Pasco sales tax to turn it into a public park preserve.
  2. Flood washes away southern entrance to Beacon Woods; no timetable for repairs

    Local Government

    HUDSON — You can get a quiche, Cuban sandwich, Greek salad, bowl of broccoli cheese soup or breakfast all day at the Cafe at CARES. The daily special even comes with a free brownie sundae.

    Plenty of tables. No waiting.

    And that's the problem.

    The restaurant on Clock Tower Parkway, part of the Community Aging and Retirement Services Inc. Rao Musunuru M.D. Enrichment Center, lost its primary access from State Road 52 more than a month ago. ...

  3. Bowen: Corcoran can empower voters with Tallahassee reforms

    Local Government

    The Twitter world around Tampa Bay lit up last week, and the topic of the chatter was stripped across Page 1 of the daily newspapers a day later: Tampa lands Johnson & Johnson coup.

    First thoughts?

    Those 500 jobs probably would have come to Pasco County if we had a charter government.

    Excuse the sarcasm, but it's about the only rationalization that hadn't been used to try to change the way Pasco County governs itself....

  4. Pasco increases stormwater fee; larger fixes to come later

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Property owners will pay a higher assessment for drainage work around Pasco County, but the 21 percent increase is not going to offset the $61 million worth of stormwater projects the county plans to address in the coming year.

    On Wednesday, Pasco commissioners unanimously agreed to increase the annual stormwater assessment by $10, to $57 per home, mostly to pay for new inspection requirements tied to the county's federal pollution discharge permit. The vote came after there was no comment during the public hearing....

  5. O'Connor again seeks Pasco Commission seat

    Blog

    Republican Rachel O’Connor, who ran less than 3,000 votes behind three-term incumbent County Commissioner Ted Schrader in 2012, is again running for the District 1 commission seat based in east Pasco.

    O’Connor, 30, filed her candidacy papers Tuesday. Three years ago, O’Connor campaigned as a critic of government spending, economic development incentives and transportation fees that were higher for growth in rural areas. She also opposed the Penny for Pasco sales tax renewal....

  6. Two seek county judge spot in Pasco

    Blog

    NEW PORT RICHEY – Though incumbent judges routinely are re-elected to the bench without opposition, that has never been the case for Pasco County Judge Debra Roberts who is facing political opposition for her third consecutive election.

    Roberts, who filed for re-election this week, already has drawn a challenger, Michael P. Wilson, a former private-practice attorney who now is a Pasco Sheriff’s deputy serving a detective in the professional standards office....

  7. County banks BP dollars, balks at bonus for employees

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners put some finishing touches on the proposed 2015-16 county budget this week by forgoing a one-time bonus for non-public-safety employees and banking, at least temporarily, the settlement money from BP over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    County Administrator Michele Baker first proposed a budget in July that carried a status quo property tax rate and 3 percent raises for employees. Changes authorized by commissioners since then include:...

  8. The Pasco penny promise shouldn't be broken

    Local Government

    Promises made. Promises kept.

    If that sounds familiar, it should. It became the campaign theme in 2012 when 70 percent of the voters said they wanted to extend the Penny for Pasco sales tax for another 10 years, raising a half-billion dollars for schools, transportation, public safety, economic development and environmental land preservation.

    The second go-round for that penny-on-the-dollar tax officially began Jan. 1 of this year. Just nine months later, Commissioner Jack Mariano wants a do-over....

  9. Panel kills charter government move in Pasco County

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A citizens committee killed the push for a charter government in Pasco County on Monday afternoon, voting 8-7 not to pursue changes in how the county operates.

    "I haven't heard anything that would make Pasco County a better place,'' committee member and retired County Administrator John Gallagher said after three months of meetings.

    The vote Monday followed an appearance before the panel by Pasco's legislative delegation, including Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, who started this public debate in January. Corcoran, the speaker designate in the Florida House of Representatives, had sought a charter that included an elected county mayor, single-member districts for commissioners, term limits and a recall provision....

    State Rep. Richard Corcoran set off the public debate.
  10. Pasco School Board okays natural gas bus fleet

    Transportation

    LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco School District has opted to go it alone as it moves toward fueling its buses with natural gas.

    After hearing a pitch last year from Nopetro of Coral Gables to partner on a compressed natural gas fueling station, the School Board on Tuesday night approved building its own fueling station at a transportation compound on Interlaken Drive in Odessa at a cost of $6.2 million. The supplier will be Clearwater Gas System, which has a pipeline running nearby, along the State Road 54 corridor....

  11. Third candidate joins Port Richey mayoral race

    Blog

    PORT RICHEY – The race for Port Richey mayor picked up its third candidate this week with Robert J. (Bob) Breedlove joining the race.

    Breedlove, 61, a land surveyor, moved to the city almost three years ago. He and his partner, Lycia Marie, live on Limestone Drive. Marie is serving as his campaign treasurer.

    Breedlove resigned his position on the city’s planning and zoning board to run and  filed his pre-qualifying papers Tuesday. Qualifying ends Tuesday, Aug. 25, for the Oct. 13 special election to fill the vacancy created by the July death of Mayor Eloise Taylor. The term expires in April 2017....

  12. Bowen: Snipping the ribbon on the heart of Land O'Lakes

    Local Government

    There are a lot of numbers surrounding the reopened county park at the Land O'Lakes Community Center.

    The $2.3 million it cost for the expansion.

    The 16.5 acres at the site.

    The 300 feet from home plate to the outfield fences on the softball diamond.

    The two football goal posts.

    The $250,000 in state funding for a planned stage/bandshell.

    But the number mentioned most often at last week's ribbon-cutting ceremony was 91. As in 1991 — the year the county first said it wanted to revamp the park for the Pasco Police Athletic League's Land O'Lakes football team....

  13. With millions needed for road repairs, drainage projects, Pasco searches for a way to pay the bills

    Local Government

    HOLIDAY — Kimberly needs a face lift.

    So, too, do Tammy, Maureen, Peggy, Victoria, Cora, Dawn, Erin and Janice.

    Those are the names of streets in the Holiday Gardens neighborhood of southwest Pasco that turned from residential roads into rut-filled obstacle courses during the recent heavy rains and flooding.

    Carol Southard had to drive her Chevy across her own front lawn to get off her property because of the collapsing road at the edge of her driveway on Kimberly Lane. Across the street, Diane Richmond had to rely on friends to provide transportation....

    “We don’t think the federal government is going to cost-share. It’s going to be on the county and the benefited residents.’’
Michele Baker, county administrator
  14. Audit reveals billing problems in Pasco water department

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — An audit of Pasco County's Utilities Department found accurate meters, but software troubles, inaccurate billing data and faulty internal procedures that need to be corrected.

    The discoveries come from the inspector general's arm of the office of Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller Paula S. O'Neil. The review was triggered by customer complaints last summer about exorbitant water bills. O'Neil briefed county commissioners on the findings Tuesday afternoon....

  15. Bowen: Seeking a medical mecca amid a redeveloping New Port Richey

    Local Government

    This might be the definitive little city moment. You meet the deputy mayor for a 9 a.m. cup of coffee, and two tables over sits the mayor having his own breakfast meeting.

    For a moment, it conjures up the scene in the Michael J. Fox movie Doc Hollywood in which the entire town council in a South Carolina hamlet is eating breakfast in the same local diner.

    "It is a small town,'' agrees Bill Phillips, the No. 2 guy on New Port Richey City Council....