1. Archive

Work on bill that won't pass not in citizens' best interest

Editor: It becomes necessary for me to respond to the editorial of April 28, 1998, "No one wins when sales-tax pitch falters." First, I support the half-cent sales tax option over the municipal services tax unit (MSTU) because it is the most equitable tax paid by residents, tourists and part-time visitors. Second, it must be approved by the voters of Pasco County.

Relative to the chronology of events surrounding this issue, Sheriff Cannon first sought assistance from Rep. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), as the majority whip and member of the current House leadership, as well as the chair of the Pasco County legislative delegation. Upon learning Fasano did not have any open bill slots, the sheriff then sought my assistance. After meeting with the sheriff, I agreed to withdraw an existing bill, in order to file a new bill, on one condition: That Reps. Fasano and Littlefield (R-Dade City), in conjunction with Sen. Latvala (R-Palm Harbor), agreed to help and ensure its smooth passage through the process in both the House and Senate.

The situation changed very rapidly. First, Latvala refused to file a Senate bill, preferring to file an amendment on an existing bill. Second, Fasano took a major step backward and required the sheriff to get a letter of support from the County Commission. After Sheriff Cannon produced the letter, Fasano made a complete turnaround and threatened to work against the issue while simultaneously leading the Pasco Building Association to believe that the sales tax would jeopardize road construction and increase impact fees in the future.

While there were bills that could have been amended in the House, which spoke to this specific section of law, many were not referred to committees, some did not have Senate companions (a new House rule) and yet others were simply not moving in the process. Filing an amendment to any of these vehicles would be like not filing an amendment at all. Due to the fact that Latvala was not filing a Senate bill, and politics aside, the bill had an extreme uphill disadvantage. After careful consideration, I could not allow the citizens of Pasco County to be used as pawns in a political game without any justifiable outcome or benefit.

Having served in elected office for over a decade, I fully understand how the political process works, but more important, I know how it really works. It was not in the citizens' best interest to put untold hours of time and energy into a bill that had no chance of passing. It would have severely limited my attention to the other legislation that included dismantling Pre-K, reducing personal freedoms and increasing government bureaucracy with limited accountability.

Ironically, on the same day that the editorial was published, Fasano passed CS/CS/HB 3249/3305, which offers a sales tax exemption to manufacturing concerns on the use of steam energy _ the cost to taxpayers: $4.4-million. Just think, if Fasano had put half the energy into the half-cent sales tax issue, Pasco County citizens would have benefited by $11-million to have additional deputies on road patrol protecting their families.

I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight and make decisions which are in the best interest of the citizens of Pasco and the state of Florida.

State Rep. Debra Prewitt

Donations help Lions Club

support organizations

Editor: The Hudson-Bayonet Point Lions Club would like to express its thanks to the public for their support during White Cane Days held in Hudson at the Kmart and Publix stores.

Thanks to your generosity, we are able to continue with our donations to organizations such as the Florida Lions Camp, the Southeast Guide Dogs, the Central Florida Lions Eye and Tissue Bank, Drug Prevention Programs, the Lighthouse for the Blind, eyeglasses for the needy, and many more.

Ray Boschen, project chairman

Times reviewer should be

kinder to amateur thespians

Editor: Kudos to Frank Marino on his article about Fiddler on the Roof at the Show Palace Dinner Theater. I have read many of arts and entertainment editor Barbara Fredricksen's articles of shows she has reviewed, and found many of them to be unfair.

I, a newcomer to this area for 17 months, have found her to be very unfair in some of her comments about shows at community theaters. Some of these performers have aspirations of making the stage their career; others like me do it as a hobby (I have not as yet fallen in love with golf). I did many shows up north in community theater, and most of the critics were kind to the performers, knowing this was amateur. With Ms. Fredricksen it seems if there is a person in the show she likes, the show gets a good review; if not, it is panned.

One show I was involved in here comes to mind. Last spring I was involved in the show My Cousin Rachel, which was a very difficult show for the cast members, who I must say were some of the best I have worked with. This show was directed by Wayne Raymond, ably assisted by Dalton Benson. The show took many nights of rehearsal due to its plot. Two nights before we opened there were still some blocking changes that had to be made. Working for both Wayne and Dalton was a pleasure for me; neither one of them ever got upset, and the night we opened we were all sure we had done a fine job _ until we read Fredricksen's blistering critique.

She blasted the young male lead. I knew he was upset by it, but thanks to our two directors who took him aside and told him he was doing the show the way they wanted it, and not to pay attention to the review. The rest of the cast also assured him that his performance was above par. The show went on to play for sellout crowds, and the female lead, Anna Sandoval, went on to capture a Hammi for the best actress in a drama.

I realize people pay to see a performance and are entitled to say what they want about a show, but please, Ms. Fredricksen, try and remember some of these thespians are not professionals, and maybe never will be. From the short time I have been in this area I have noticed quite a bit of talent right here in Hernando, not only the performers, but the folks behind the scenes _ prop people, stage managers, directors, and the set builders, just to mention a few.

I am not trying to tell Ms. Fredricksen how to do her job; I'm just asking her to be a little kinder when she reviews the shows. Remember, this is Florida, not the Great White Way.

Jack Joyce, Spring Hill

"Fiddler on the Roof'

was an enjoyable show

Editor: Contrary to the harsh criticism of the presentation of Fiddler on the Roof at the Show Palace, as reported in Saturday's edition of the St. Petersburg Times by your theater critic Barbara Fredricksen, we who attended the Sunday afternoon performance were delightfully pleased.

We commend the cast for their interpretation and portrayal of characters and the management for the delicious buffet and services.

Let us be grateful for having the Show Palace in our community, where such good entertainment is offered.

We residents of the Amber Wood Retirement Community have attended many shows there and have never been dissatisfied, and hereby extend our wishes for their continuing success.

Jan Martin, Activities Director,

Amber Wood, Port Richey