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Apathy hushes residents' voice

There's no easy way to say it, so here goes.

Spring Hill residents, through your own apathy, you are becoming your own worst enemy. At our last meeting, our new county administrator, Paul McIntosh, was our guest speaker. Besides your board of directors, only 15 residents were present. A month before that, the first report on the incorporation proposal was given by Bill Fagen. Besides your board, only 45 residents were present.

A month before that, Jim Malcolm, chairman of the Hernando County School Board, was our guest speaker. Besides your board, only 12 residents were present. I was embarrassed. I really doubt if there is another organization in Hernando County that has fewer people attending its meeting.

You have the potential for being part of the most powerful organization in Hernando County. The school cafeteria should be standing room only, considering we have 70,000 people in Spring Hill.

We appear before the Board of County Commissioners on your behalf, to speak on causes we feel are right; but in reality, the commissioners know we are only a "paper tiger."

We have been attracting top-notch speakers and want to continue to do so. But when the word gets out only 15 people attend the meeting, that won't last long. We hear one of the reasons why people don't come to the meeting is that they are satisfied with the job we're doing, so why upset the apple cart. That attitude has toppled many a government. Some people say they never heard of us. You can't justify the statement, considering the 10 to 15 calls we get every week at the deed restrictions office asking for our help.

Maybe the meetings aren't as exciting as what you see on television. No, we don't have fights, curse, use scare tactics like a tax increase and so on. Come to the meeting; tell us what you like or dislike about the meeting. We will listen to you and, if your logic is good, we will change.

Next month, on June 1, the start of the hurricane season, we will have Annette Doying, interim director of Hernando's Emergency Management Department, as our guest speaker. You couldn't ask for a more timely speaker. And before Primary Election Day, we intend to have two candidates' nights, which will give exposure to the candidates for our constitutional offices, County Commission, School Board and Spring Hill Fire and Rescue District commissioners. In November, we will have another candidates' night to help you make your final decision.

We are your only voice in Spring Hill. It's up to you whether it will be heard.

When I became president 3{ years ago, one of the newspaper editors stated, "Give them a good organization and they will come." Well, we did better. We gave you the best. The rest is up to you.

_ Jim McLaughlin is president of the Spring Hill Civic Association. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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