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Sheriff does good job, deserves budget increase

Editor: I am writing to you because I believe that Sheriff Lee Cannon is being unfairly bashed by your paper, Commissioner Ed Collins and some residents of Pasco County.

People are saying that Sheriff Cannon should not get his budget increase that he has requested because he has not been able to run his agency effectively. They claim the rise in crime in Pasco County and the poor response time of deputies to arrive at the location of a call as being factors for refusal.

I wonder if anyone criticizing Sheriff Cannon has taken into consideration that Pasco County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the Tampa Bay area, which results in more crime and more calls for our Sheriff's Office to respond to. Also, our previous sheriffs and their agencies had the Pasco County Sheriff's Office so messed up that it will take time and a lot of work to make it right again.

Sheriff Cannon and his agency have done a lot of good things for Pasco County that a lot of people don't know about because your paper only prints the negative things. I hardly read anything bad about the sheriff's agencies surrounding Pasco. I'm positive that they are not perfect either. Also I do not read anything in the other area papers that seems to carry the grudge in them that you have against Pasco. The negative stories about our Sheriff's Office only robs all of Pasco County residents of our self-respect and sense of security.

I fear that if Sheriff Cannon does not receive the money for his budget he has requested, we will be dealing with an understaffed, overworked sheriff's agency. Then where will we be?

We have good people in our sheriff and his agency. They work hard to protect us. I support them and their efforts to keep Pasco County a good and safe place to live.

Kathleen Linn, Land O'Lakes

Tournament kills sharks needlessly

Once again, it is time for Nancy Forshier and her Hernando Beach Bait and Tackle to sponsor her "Kill" shark tournament.

All available data points to the decline of the species overall, shown locally by the lack of sharks caught at her tournament.

Hopefully, this tournament, like other kill events, will soon go by the wayside. All who participate in her tournaments, beware. Now she even states in the Times June 22 article that "participants don't realize that small-craft advisories are (for boats) farther offshore. You can't have 4-6 feet seas (that close in)." How absurd.

Shame on all who participate.

Max Samms, Port Richey

Schools, senior citizens win with sales-tax increase

Editor: As a 16-year resident retiree in Pasco County, I am concerned about the possible defeat of the proposed 1-cent sales-tax referendum to be voted on Sept. 12. I am concerned about the tax effect upon myself and other senior citizens. We need to think about the costs that we all will have to ultimately pay.

A lack of new schools to accommodate the new growth, I am convinced, will place many schools on double sessions. A large majority of parents work when children should be in school. This will increase the costs unfairly for parents of school-aged children to be under proper supervision in day care when children would normally be in all-day public school instead of half-day sessions. Under double sessions, many children may be left home alone or supervised by an older child instead of a teacher at school. Past history, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, indicates that when students are not in school and not well-supervised, daytime crime will increase, ultimately leading to more neighborhood vandalism and crime for the local police to handle. The Pasco County sheriff's budget is already seeking a major increase because of the same growth schools are experiencing without the possibility of the schools going into double sessions.

It seems to me that senior citizens are better able to influence community events such as crime and education by making sure that children are in neighborhood schools attending all-day classes and after-school supervised activities rather than to have the children sent to schools in shifts and back to some possibly unsupervised neighborhood homes. Senior citizens should consider the advantage of being able to earmark 1-cent of Pasco sales-tax dollars to be spent strictly on new and existing school construction rather than depend on general revenue funds and property tax dollars to be directed as others decide. Senior citizens should finally think about the effect on the quality of the children's education. Five years from now, today's eighth-grader may be a pharmacy tech, marketing person, or working college student servicing our senior citizens. I want today's students to be well-educated and competitive in the workplace to serve our senior citizens and others.

We can pay for schools now, or we may pay additional human and real costs later. Think about it! On Sept. 12, this retiree will vote YES for the 1-cent sales-tax referendum.

Mary Letvin, New Port Richey

Allowing sales-tax increase could mean less state money

Editor: Is it time to let our legislators in Tallahassee off the hook? I keep on thinking about this when the 1-cent tax is being debated. Our best indicator of the future is based on our past experiences. While I believe Pasco County has a good cadre of representation in the state government, they are far outnumbered by other counties, who have representation with senior members of the good old boy network.

Once, before the voters were fooled, they elected a lottery on the basis that it would support our education system. What happened? The lottery regulations said that 38 percent of the lottery collections would go to education. The Legislature, however, used this simply to play a shell game and reduced the general revenues for education by a similar amount.

Once before we were fooled. Are we gullible enough to say that we can be fooled again? If the 1-cent proposal follows the same course we may find that Tallahassee can again play a shell game and reduce payments to Pasco County, because our needs are being met by the 1-cent tax.

No one can argue that there is not a need for school construction in Pasco County. It is debatable, however, how the construction needs should be met. I am wary of being deceived; we were fooled once before.

Wilson C. Brady, Hudson

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