Editor: Congratulations to the Beverly Hills Surveillance Unit for more than 20 years of uninterrupted service to the community. The unit was founded on the idea that residents of Beverly Hills could help protect and serve the special needs they shared.
Through the years the unit has provided residents with services that were unavailable from any other source, such as daily security checks for vacant homes, checking on shut-ins, delivering messages and providing a constant presence to report to the Sheriff's Office unusual incidents that may indicate criminal activity.
Although the community has continued to grow and the demands for services increased, the unit has always met the challenges for new and expanded services without flinching. The main reason the unit has been so successful is that they have followed written guidelines and a charter from the State of Florida. The guidelines also specified the unit's service area.
There are many successful crime watch units in Citrus County. With pride, the residents of Beverly Hills can applaud their unit as the first and most emulated.
Recently it was suggested that the Beverly Hills Surveillance Unit amend its guidelines and charter so the unit can be assigned to other areas of Citrus County. In my opinion, this would dilute the successful efforts the dedicated volunteers contribute to Beverly Hills and, therefore, would not be productive.
All residents deserve the benefits that a surveillance crime watch unit provides. Should a community wish to have these benefits, they need to organize and staff one just like Beverly Hills and other communities have.
Oren "Woody" Woodward
Lumps in judicial facility process
Editor: At the Citrus County Commission meeting Dec. 1, during the part that had to do with proposals for a new judicial facility, systemic lumps were disclosed; and, as any person older than 40 will attest, lumps are worrisome.
Lump 1: In support of a new judicial facility (the need for which is unlikely), three judges made statements that, had the three been sworn and testifying in their courtrooms, might have been considered perjurious.
I followed the judges to the podium and spoke to the issue of a new judicial facility on behalf of the Citrus County Libertarian Party. Libertarians advocated extending _ not moving, extending _ the county seat into Lecanto. In straight language, I stated that the commission had demagogued the courthouse-in-Inverness point by appealing to the emotions of county seat residents rather than to their intellect, "which (by government officials) is offensive in a free society."
The statement, while potent, was accurate because not a single datum of proof has been given by the commission or anyone else to support the nearly unanimous assertion that building a judicial facility outside of downtown Inverness would destroy Inverness.
Lump 2: During my presentation, three of the five commissioners, two at a time, left the room for brief periods. Brief, but in relation to the time allowed for me to speak, their time outside the room denied me the opportunity to suitably present the Libertarian Party's alternatives to the whole board.
Lump 3: A well-known Citrus County attorney _ an officer of the court _ went to the podium and at the very end of his presentation said, "What is offensive in a free society are the remarks Jim McIntosh made here today."
Lumps 4, 5 and 6: When the lawyer made that statement, three judges, five commissioners and reporters from both county newspapers were in the room. Not one of them, in public or private, defended an American's right to an opinion freely stated.
Lump 7: A few days after the Dec. 1 meeting, Commissioner Jim Fowler asked County Attorney Larry Haag to resign because Haag had determined that Florida law allowed county seats to be expanded _ not moved, expanded _ by a majority vote of the commission. Fowler disapproved of Haag's opinion and apparently of at least one state statute.
Haag, to his credit, did not resign, and now Mr. Fowler wants him fired. The result of a Haag firing will be that a new county attorney will look not to legal resources prior to giving an opinion, but to Fowler.
What the Dec. 1 commission meeting showed is vivisection and therapy are required if Citrus county's systems of justice and governance are to persevere as designed. Seven, though, is a lot of lumps and there are bound to be more. So, if we consider the number, then add to that citizen apathy, the prognosis is we will see worse before we see better.
Thanks for helping Project Graduation
Editor: On behalf of Lecanto High School's Project Graduation, I would like to thank everyone who made our gift wrap fund-raiser a success: The Crystal River Mall for providing us the opportunity, all our parents, grandparents and the students who volunteered their time to wrap gifts, and to all the generous people who stopped by to have their gifts wrapped or to make a donation.
All these efforts will help us provide a safe, alcohol- drug- and tobacco-free graduation celebration for our seniors. Anyone wanting information can write to LHS Project Graduation, P.O. Box 481, Lecanto, FL 34461.
Sharon Blessing, coordinator
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