1. Archive

Children's services tax will help prevent future costs

Published Oct. 18, 2005

Editor: With three county referendums dealing with taxation on the Nov. 6 ballot and all of the talk about the national budget deficit, the price of gas, the worsening inflation rate and threatening recession, we need the facts to help us make decisions that will affect our futures. Most of the letters to the editor do not seem to question the need for preventive services to help the abused, neglected, developmentally disabled and troubled children of Pasco County. They do not seem to question the fact that we have parents who need parenting education, counseling and support services right here in Pasco County. Most of the concerns seem to come down to accountability and money.

The Children's Services Council referendum goes a long way in beginning to answer the crying need for services to the families who desperately need them. It is a cost-effective way to provide the needed services.

The council would have 10 unpaid board members and a small salaried staff with administrative costs estimated about 10 percent after the first year. It is designed to cut down on the duplication of services.

The following chart illustrates just how little the Children's Services Council referendum could cost us. The $25,000 homestead exemption has already been calculated. Simply look to the figure closest to the assessed value of a home and look across to see what the estimated start-up millage rate will cost you and what the absolute maximum amount this ad valorem tax could possibly cost you:

At the estimated start-up millage rate of 10 to 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation after the $25,000 homestead exemption, Pasco County residents would provide approximately $1-million in services to Pasco children. At the maximum millage rate of 50 cents per $1,000, more than $3-million would be raised.

Can we afford to provide Pasco services for Pasco's children? Can we afford not to?

Robert W. Schmitt

Port Richey

Problems of our youths

to be discussed at forum

Editor: The statistics on children grow more alarming each day. Every year 1-million teen-age girls become pregnant. Homeless children in the United States number 100,000. More than 1-million children are regular drug users. On an average day 135,000 students bring guns to school. The leading cause of death among teen-agers: alcohol-related accidents.

These are just some of the statistics in a 1990 report by a commission of medical, education and business leaders. The commission was established by the National Association of State Boards of Education and the American Medical Association.

There are solutions, but most of us aren't doing anything about the problems.

Remedies to resolve the physical and emotional problems of our youth will be discussed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the new Hudson Library on Fivay Road.

The discussion will be under the auspices of the National Issues Forum. The topic, "Growing up at Risk," is being discussed in similar forums across the country. Results are taken to the policy makers in Washington.

It is especially timely in Pasco County. A referendum to establish a Children's Service Council is on the ballot in the general election Tuesday.

The non-partisan forum, which is free and open to the public, does not advocate a position on the council question. Its goal is to provide possible alternatives to improve the role of children in our society.

Among those who plan to participate are Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper and Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Program Administrator Randy K. Tennant. Both are advocates of the Children's Service Council. Among opponents of the council who plan to speak is Vincent Branigan, a member of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council and former member of the Silver-Haired Legislature.

Brenda Glass of the Pasco County School Board will be moderator.

The forum will focus on four choices to remedy the problems:

1. Because many young people in trouble seem to lack the ability to distinguish right from wrong, we would place greater emphasis on teaching values.

2. The top priority should be to discipline trouble-makers so that others may have a safe environment in which to flourish.

3. Because we have many qualified people who know how to treat problems of the youth, time and money should be provided for them to implement the necessary care.

4. The problems should be attacked at the roots. Young people will continue to get into trouble unless something is done about impoverishment, poor education and lack of community support.

The troubles of the young reflect the failure of adults _ the failure to provide moral guidance, safe environments, proper education in and out of the home and a more stable future in adulthood.

Seymour Gelber, a Miami circuit judge who has written books and articles on youth problems, points out that much of the fault rests with judges, public officials, editorial writers and other community leaders who find it easier to accept the simpler, more popular solutions.

The National Issues Forums are based on the idea that people need to take a greater role in their community and nation by understanding the critical issues and sharing in public judgments.

Bud Wylie

New Port Richey

America's veterans

deserve better service

Editor: During recent segments on Prime Time Live by Diane Sawyer, it was recorded by hidden camera that there is an extreme lack of caring and professionalism by the general staff and administrators in various Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the country in the areas of health care, record keeping and patient relations.

Let us all hope that these are isolated cases. Our veterans do not deserve and should not accept this type of service, and those responsible should be disciplined or terminated with safeguards provided to ensure that these problems do not occur again in the future.

Why is it that anytime something goes wrong and is brought to the attention of the person in charge, that individual always seems to deny that it ever happened, blames someone else or attempts to cover the whole thing up? We seem to live in a society in which management, especially on a government level, does not have the backbone to admit its shortcomings if it may cause embarrassment or would determine that it is responsible. How pathetic!

We all make mistakes, but when a problem exists, we should admit it, correct it and make sure that it doesn't happen again, and that applies to everyone on any level in the management and work force. To knowingly look the other way and say or do nothing is tantamount to being an accessory to the act.

How many back-scratchers and brown-nosers do we need on the federal payroll? We have enough already, and it truly seems that nobody has a conscience anymore. We have too many civil servants marching blindly to the "beat of the drum."

The American people should demand that Congress hold an independent investigation of all the violations of acceptable civilized care in our VA hospitals. To do less will be to abandon America's veterans. .


. Or will we accept a typical bureaucratic response of sticking their heads in the sand and hoping that the problem will go away?

Bill Martin

Port Richey

Doesn't combat veteran

have a right to fly flag?

Editor: During the weekend, my flag was stolen off of my flag pole. I have flown the flag since I moved here 12 years ago.

I was in the infantry during World War II, the 36th Armored Infantry from Texas as a private first class. I received an honorable discharge in 1946 as a first sergeant. I was recalled to active duty in 1950 to train men for Korea. I was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action, three Bronze Stars, Presidential Unit Citation and the Combat Infantry badge.

I am a past national commander of the Legion of Valor, which is 100 years old this year. To be a member you have to have the Medal of Honor or one of the crosses.

I have lost my health due to a heart attack in June. I have lost my wife to Alzheimer's disease. Also I seemed to have lost the right to fly the flag for which I have fought.

I only hope that whoever stole my flag loves it as much as I do, though I doubt it very much.

Charles Rush

New Port Richey

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