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Pasco has its share of clowns in government

Editor: Reply to column by Bill Stevens. Send in more clowns? We already have enough. Please, Bill, no more clowns. After reading your column on June 5 regarding the departure of County Attorney Ben Harrill from our county, truly, I lost it. Poor baby, County Attorney Ben Harrill, he has no Mercedes. No $658,000 in fees. Too bad and so sad. Like the county attorney in Hernando County, his counterpart, Bruce Snow, I'm appalled. But as you point out, "often enough you get what you pay for."

I guess that's the reason he is leaving to join the distinguished law firm of Martin and Figurski, for more money. Then again, by a most sheer coincidence, I'm sure, Jerry Figurski is representing the owners of the proposed medical waste incinerator, who presented an application before our board of county commissioners to increase the burning capacity of a toxic medical waste incinerator in Pasco County to more than five times the original request. It seems Pasco Zoning Board and Planning received a lot of bad legal advice. It's interesting to note that Harrill, trusted county attorney of 12 years, will not, at last, be able to straighten it out with his new law firm. That's the Pasco way! That's clown story No. 1.

Mike Wells, our chairman and resident bully of Pasco, made an abusive verbal attack on Commissioner Bonnie Zimmer. Even you, the biggest liberal in this county, might have been moved by the ferocity of the attack. It was all about a computer for Zimmer's office. Now the story behind the story. Mike Wells confided that, of course, he is computer illiterate and cannot understand why a fellow commissioner would want a computer. Now if Zimmer would have asked for hamburger advice, he could handle that. He is without any question hamburger literate. I and numerous Pasco residents publicly call for the bully of Pasco's resignation. That's clown story No. 2.

And now the best. While you printed the story, you, of course, left out the good stuff at our county commission hearing just by accident. Our chairman picked Chris Miller to the exclusion of any other applicants for the job of Pasco attorney. And it was a setup _ yes, that's right, a setup! No others need apply!

Now, whom did he talk to? What other commissioners knew in advance whom Wells was going to pick? And guess who offered him their vote!

After the stacked government committee _ as picked by Wells and Commissioners Sylvia Young and Ed Collins _ Wells was aware Collins would, of course, say no (2-1) finally. He asked the committee to bring it back before the board before Sylvia went on vacation.

Look at the tape. He was aware when she was leaving and wanted her vote.

The vote put before the full commission: Commissioner Collins, to be sure, no; Commissioner Zimmer, positively no; the rest yes; and, later, three to two. And we all lost. Chris Miller, to be sure, is a fine, outstanding attorney who is well qualified. This is no reflection on him, only the way our county chairman, to the exclusion of all others, ramrodded this vote through. Clown story No. 3.

What you see on the Pasco County Commission is very cosmetic, put on by the king of Pasco; his new commission leader, the bully of Pasco; and, yes, by the clowns of Pasco.

We all are aware of your tunnel vision and understand that you cannot see all the clowns. And when you are in your makeup, granted, it's hard to tell one clown from the other.

I think you are witnessing a grass roots movement by the people and for the people to a representative form of government in Pasco County where the commission represents all the people. Surely the king of Pasco and the bully of Pasco will either advocate or resign, or face the voters in 1992. That's what you are failing to see. You are not in tune with what's happening in Pasco.

Peter F. Hession


Elected representatives battle party

Editor: The editor's letter in the June 6 issue of the Times told only a small part of the power struggle that seems to be going on within the government center of Pasco County. When the two new commissioners came to office, it was obvious that there would be a battle to see who would run the county: elected officials duly voted into office by the voters, or a political party bent on establishing its own format and rules for the people of Pasco County.

With the press conference that was called by one of the newly elected commissioners when he heaped criticism on the county administrator, to the point where he stated that an open line should be established for county employees to call him with their complaints, it was clear that the final solution to this would be moving on to other areas of those who had worked so hard over the past several years to bring Pasco out of the decrement of waste and fraud, and make it a better place to live.

County Administrator John Gallagher, Assistant County Administrator Walter Jones and County Attorney Ben Harrill proved to be the movers behind a good government. Whatever their salaries may be, it has turned out to be a small reward for the work and efforts they have put in to make Pasco County a decent place to live.

Having the privilege of knowing most of the people who work for the county, I can honestly say that a great void will be left when Walter Jones and Ben Harrill leave their respective offices. My only wish is that it is not a political movement that leads to the replacement of these two men. If it is, the county may very well set itself back to where it was when problems were rampant within its borders. Gallagher will be the county administrator, remaining here after those around him have left. It is my hope that he stay with his job. But but who can tell what will take place after the elections of 1992.

Joseph Peck

New Port Richey

Band director won't be forgotten

Editor: Farewell to a musician, teacher, friend and confidant. He fussed, praised, taught, screamed and listened to his pupils.

He has guided and trained our future musicians. He has brought so many rewards to his pupils and Gulf High School. He wishes no praise. He is loved.

This he is Edward Francis, band director of Gulf High School for the last 15 years. But he is moving to River Ridge High School, a few miles away.

Ed, you are leaving Gulf High School, but you are leaving so many memories that you will never be forgotten. Thanks, Ed.

Mike Ashley

Former Band Booster President Gulf High