1. Archive

Sheriff should remain appointed position

Editor: It's rare when I agree with the Times and its editorial staff's liberal views and opinions, but Sunday's editorial certainly "hit the nail on its head." This time, I agree.

There's no way that the sheriff should be an elected position. This job should be filled by a qualified person hired by good, clear-thinking people whom we elect to serve on our County Commission. If we elect good people, we'll get a good sheriff.

Over the years, many horror stories have been written about these people who are supposed to be law enforcement agents but because of the tremendous pressures of being a politician, have succumbed to bribes, promises, etc. and, as a consequence, have neglected to do their jobs properly. I'm not speaking specifically of Pasco County here, but the state of Florida. It's been bad!

Some years ago, the Pasco County Commission hired a young guy, John Gallagher, to be our administrator, and he has done an outstanding job. If we ask our board to hire a dedicated law enforcement officer to be our sheriff, I'm sure we'd enjoy the same reward without the constant partisan splits that we now have.

Al L. Meyer, Hudson

Detective was a good

role model to 8-year-old

Editor: In the pre-Father's Day issue of the Suncoast News, there appeared a letter from an 8-year-old boy regarding the man in his life, not his father. He spoke of a gentle, caring man who was very involved in his life, thereby giving him an excellent role model.

Your front page story regarding a detective's use of a politically incorrect word, which was supposedly overheard by another employee, and his punishment was also about the same gentle, caring man who is a little boy's friend.

I read no accusation from the officers who were being wired, and if there was such insensitivity, they should have been the complainants. The ancient Greeks distrusted the messenger of bad news; perhaps, this one read the letter from the boy and did his nasty work to discredit a more valuable employee than himself.

I would suggest, in future, you do a more thorough job of collecting and assimilating facts before rushing to judgment.

Mrs. Joseph Accomando Sr.,

Bayonet Point

Police officer needs

chance to tell his story

Editor: I feel sorry for Michael Erstling. I do not feel he was given a fair chance to tell his story.

How do we get good men for police officers if we do not give them equal opportunity to defend themselves? The boy threw a bottle at him and used offensive language. The bottle did no damage, but he did throw it.

I think the whole situation needs further investigation.

Maude Simmons,

New Port Richey

Fired coach was

supportive mentor

Editor: I was astonished at the recent firing of the two coaches at Gulf High. I am a graduate of Gulf, and I am familiar with both coaches. The contents of this letter, however, concerns Nancy Kinnunen.

Nancy Kinnunen has had an influence on my family for the last 13 years. I can recall attending my older sisters' games and meets and seeing Ms. Kinnunen along the sidelines. At home, I would hear only positive things, especially from my parents about the discipline she taught her students. As I approached high school I was anxious to work with the woman who I had heard my family rave about for so long. Through those next four years, Ms. Kinnunen pushed me to be more than I ever thought I could be. Unfortunately, it took me until my junior year to realize all that she does for her students and all that she had done for me.

Ms. Kinnunen is a person who does everything in her power to help anyone who is willing to accept help. Going the extra mile is an every day thing for Ms. Kinnunen, being the perfectionist that she is. Having been familiar with Ms. Kinnunen for so many years, I can clearly see her total dedication to coaching. I feel that she was a model faculty member at Gulf High, and I am shocked at this news. After she was forced to leave Gulf, an inevitable toll was taken on her and her teams; however, she managed to still produce great athletes with her limited resources.

There seems to be something more behind these devastating decisions. If there were people lining up for the positions, sense might be made of this, but as the article said, there has been a shortage of coaches in the county. Nancy Kinnunen was my mentor in both volleyball and track through my high school years, and I know that Gulf High will suffer by the loss of this great person. Gulf High does need to make reforms in many places, but this was not one of them.

Vivian Montemayor,

New Port Richey

July Fourth chance

to review "Declaration'

Editor: "When in the course of human events,. . ."

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our nation July 4, let us not forget the birth announcement, that remarkable document that gave us our sovereignty, the Declaration of Independence. The words seem perfect for the occasion. They are not words of weakness. They are bold and brave, and they fill us with emotion.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . . That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Written, for the most part, by a young red-haired intellectual from Virginia, the words were not all his own. He borrowed heavily from another intellectual, an Englishman named John Locke. Ben Franklin and a few others added their two cents.

Jefferson delivers a scathing indictment of England's King George III, explaining why the document was necessary and then gets to the heart of the matter.

"That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States."

And there it was for all to see, treason and calmly stated. There could now be no turning back, no change of heart. It was the severance of generations of interdependence, of blood ties and pride in being English. And it was, for many, unthinkable heresy.

"That they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown . . ."

It winds down.

And then the determination and concern for each other, the essence of free people, which seems to be eroding as we grow fat and lazy, less moral and more violent.

"And for the support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

The 56 men who signed the document knew they were risking everything. They had been branded as traitors by King George III, and, if caught, the punishment was death. Of those 56, five were captured, tortured and died. Twelve had homes sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy or burned. Nine others died in the Revolution of various causes.

The Suncoast Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, asks, "What have you done for your country lately?"

George A. Montgomery,

Suncoast Chapter SAR,

New Port Richey