Editor: What is happening in Spring Hill?
I'm appalled at the recent vandalism of a memorial at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. This seems to be one of many acts in recent months.
Have we sunk so low as to attack the efforts and labors of many who dedicated an area on the church grounds as a "respect to life?" They have not only lost a "respect to life," but the respect to property along with their own self-respect, which was gone with the memorial they destroyed!
for not voting
Editor: Less than one of four registered voters exercised their right to vote this past week. I urge all of you who did not vote for whatever lame excuse you can come up with to think about this.
Over time, hundreds of thousands of Americans gave up their right to vote so you could. They are buried in foreign lands in towns with names that most people don't even know. These Americans lost their right to vote when they gave their lives to this great country to protect your freedom to vote.
So when you can't find a reason to vote or you're not voting in protest, understand that there is only one excuse for not voting. More importantly, remember there is no excuse for letting down those American heroes who gave lives so you could vote.
If no issue exists to motivate you, please cast your vote for one of those Americans that has a legitimate reason not to vote, one who has made the ultimate sacrifice.
You owe it to yourselves to vote; you owe it to our veterans. When you consider the cost of freedom, voting isn't that much to ask to show your appreciation. Never forget, it's your right, it's your privilege and someone died for that vote!
Just what we need
to cement our future
Editor: Re: We need another license plate.
To my surprise, the Department of Motor Vehicles has informed me that the state of Florida has approximately 53 different license plates. It's good to see that many people support various activities throughout the state. There are those who support colleges, football teams, wildlife, the environment, etc.
With this in mind, I would like to thank County Commissioners Paul Sullivan, Nancy Robinson and Barbara Mills for their diligent efforts in putting Hernando County on the map. Maybe now they can secure another license plate for us that reads:
"Hernando County ... Cement Capital of Florida."
That's something we can really be proud of.
Low voter turnout
not just apathy
Editor: Re: Jeff Webb's column of Sept. 7, "Voter apathy."
I do not vote in the primary election because the law says I cannot vote for the candidate of my choice unless they belong to my declared party. My vote should go to the person who better reflects my views rather than my party affiliation.
In my opinion, unless we can find a resolution to this dilemma, voters will continue to stay away from the polls during primary elections. This is not voter apathy and has nothing to do with the weather.
I will always research the candidates and vote according to my conscience. I will not cast a vote just because my declared party has endorsed an individual or an idea.
Napoleon, Plato were
right about this
Editor: Re: Small voter turnout for primary.
The near-record-low voter turnout for the recent primary election brings to mind two of my favorite quotations apropos this subject.
The first is from Napoleon: "Ten people who speak make more noise than 10,000 who are silent." The other was spoken by the Greek philosopher Plato some 2,500 years ago, and is my particular favorite: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
If you doubt the truth of that statement, just take a good look at the composition of your state Legislature or the members of Congress. I'm sure you will find that you are being governed by a bunch of moral and intellectual lightweights.
Gerald A. Daigle,
Forced to vote for
party, not person
Editor: This is in response to Jeff Webb's column about low voter turnout.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, I went to the polling place to vote. I am not registered with either party since I believe in voting for the best person, not for the party.
When I entered, about 10:20 a.m., the place was empty except for a table with a nice sign, "Republicans," and three ladies eagerly waiting. Next to that table was another table with a nice sign, "Democrats," and three more ladies waiting. It was soon determined that I was an "independent voter," and I was directed to the end of a table with a small yellow hand written sign "OTHER" and no one in attendance.
A lady came to the table, found my name in her book of "others" and asked for an "other" ballot. I was handed a black folder that I took to the booth, and, when I opened it, it only contained a ballot with two choices. I could only vote for state attorney and Hernando County School Board (and I don't even have any kids in school). I asked where the rest of the candidates were, and I was told that I could not vote for anyone else.
So, Mr. Jeff Webb, if you think that there was a low voter turnout Tuesday, just wait until next time. There will be one less _ ME!
Re: "Non-voters just not worth time of day," Jeff Webb column, Sept. 7 Hernando Times.
I will give you the "courtesy" of reply to your admonishment of the non-voting public.
I am a 50-year-old white male, truck driver by trade, educated through community college level in Florida.
I used to be a Democrat; voted for Carter; changed my affiliation to Independent when the "best" the Democrats could offer was a motley collection of left-wing liberals during the 1980s. Mondale and Dukakis _ they didn't learn anything from the McGovern debacle, and they weren't going to change their tax-and-spend (give-away) policies _ ever.
Florida does not allow independent voters the freedom of voting for the man or woman in a specific race. Registered Republicans/Democrats can only vote for their "own" kind during the primaries.
If I am going to be restricted about whom I want to vote for during a primary, then I won't vote for anyone at all.
You may forward my letter to Ann Mau, but it won't make one bit of difference. And there are a lot of people who feel the same way here in Florida (resentful over voting restrictions). I can assure you that if there was a legal change in allowing voters to cast ballots for the specific man or woman, there would be a substantial increase in voter turnout.
I don't care how mad you get, with your propensity to admonish the elderly, retired or the working people who are being taxed into the ground by this money-hungry government.
We are only working with the tools that we are "allowed" by the government to work with. And remember that when you're old and sick, when it's difficult to get out of the house and down to the precinct to cast a "limited" opinion that is allowed by the ruling clique in Tallahassee.
So now you can sit behind your desk and wonder how to resolve the problem rather than complain at the voters vs. non-voters during the "restricted" voting session known as a "primary."
I will cast my vote in November, and I won't vote for bigger government.
G. Frank Brda,
Raise the level
of all schools
Editor: I am responding to the letters written to you about Chocachatti Elementary School.
I was wondering why we continue to attack the school. I feel the reason behind some of the magnet-school bashing is because of disgruntled parents whose children did not get into the school. If the shoe were on the other foot, they would do everything they could to save their school.
I read where a parent was complaining about the conditions of her child's high school, roof and portables. I didn't hear anyone complain when they used millions of dollars to revamp Hernando High (which still uses portables) and build Suncoast Elementary. If there is to be equal funding, then the money that Deltona, Fox Chapel, Moton and Pine Grove receive should be divided among all 19 schools, just to be fair.
I want to know just how many parents volunteer at least nine hours a year at their school. That is one hour a month. How many fundraisers come out of their child's school? At least two fundraisers come out of Chocachatti a month. They also get help in the community from some businesses and the PTSA. The parents also donate time and money _ for example, with the performances of Cats. Parents helped with costumes, makeup, rehearsals and getting the word out about the shows so people could come and support the children's efforts.
There are also complaints about better teachers at Chocachatti. Well the teachers that are complained about came from all the schools in this county. The problem with better education does not lie with Chocachatti; it lies within your own schools. The parents are also upset about Mr. Tellone and his strong academic-based school. People say it is because of better funding. Well, tell me how Pine Grove, which received the same amount of financial aid as the rest of the county (before Chocachatti), was considered one the best schools under Mr. Tellone's supervision? It was not because of money; it was his strong ideas and a strong curriculum.
I feel if the other principals take a better look at their curriculum they could find some room for improvement. Brooksville Elementary did this very thing. I also want to add that no one seems to be attacking Brooksville Elementary, which has become a fundamental school that seems to be based on curriculum only. Does Chocachatti have to change its title from magnet to fundamental to be left alone?
I have one final question. Why is it that when something good happens to county and community, it has it be brought down? I have the answer: Since this school has succeeded in better grades and attendance, that means that there is a greater expectation from every other school in this county. The governor wants every school in the state to reach these expectations. The more they succeed, the more money they receive _ Moton and Deltona, for example. These schools accepted the challenge and passed, as did two other schools. The problem is that the other schools feel that they only have to work as hard as they are paid.
Some teachers are dedicated and hardworking, and they know who they are. But the ones who say, "I am just a babysitter," and assign work without teaching, need to find new positions _ as well as some of the principals. Then the school grades would come up, and so would the federal funding.
As for Gail Coleman, I feel this is the same old campaign promise. She saw how the lottery upset a lot of parents, and used this as a golden opportunity to get them on her side. The results at the polls show us that. There are a lot more of the angry parents than those of Chocachatti students. I read that a parent said it was good that she was ruffling the School Board's feathers. She is not ruffling feathers; she just found a way to gain the votes, and she sure has succeeded.
Dawn and Steven Joiner,
If something works,
keep repeating it
Editor: It is with growing dismay that I read in your newspaper the continuing saga that you seem to be portraying as Chocachatti vs. Gail Coleman. As president of the PTSA at Chocachatti, I can no longer sit on the sidelines while our intentions are misinterpreted and our good name dragged through the mud.
If you had printed our letter to Ms. Coleman in its entirety, it would have been obvious to all that we were not launching any sort of personal attack on her. As American citizens, we were simply exercising our right, if not our duty, of finding out whether a potential public servant would be acting in our best interests before we cast our vote. America is about having choices, and one of them is making an intelligent decision before you cast your all-important vote for a particular candidate. If we don't have the right to question and choose, we might as well all move to Cuba.
We still want to know ... if we vote to elect Ms. Coleman, will she push to take away our funding, or will she work to improve the standard schools, and push for funding to open up even more magnet schools, improve the standard schools, and make our county's public education system one that offers real educational choices for all our children?
It has been implied, both in articles written by your reporters and by the letters to the editor you have chosen to print, that the PTSA and SAC members at Chocachatti wish to keep their school funding and not share with anyone. That our attitude is: "We got ours, too bad for you!" In a telephone interview with your reporter, Robert King, I specifically told him that it was my personal feeling that the experience our children were having at Chocachatti should be duplicated throughout the county. If something works, don't take it away _ do it again! But, writing about how the PTSA president at Chocachatti wants everyone to have the ability to choose to send their child to a magnet school doesn't sell newspapers, does it?
Our current first lady keeps quoting, "It takes an entire village to raise a child." Wouldn't it be wonderful if Hernando County would set the standard for public education throughout the state?
The parents, teachers and staff at Chocachatti have made the first step in a long climb to improve public education. Let's not spoil it with bickering. Let's make it available to everyone who wants to take the time to take advantage of it.
Danya M. Rose, president
There's no need
for special treatment
Editor: Gail Coleman has a lot of parents at Chocachatti concerned that the red carpet might be pulled from under their children's feet.
The students who go to this school are not there because of any special scholastic ability or even the fact they live in the area. They are there because their names were picked out of a box and now they feel they deserve special treatment. Ms. Coleman is aware of this, and her view that we should equalize funding among all the schools is an excellent idea.
A few weeks ago, I read that any student attending Chocachatti will be "guaranteed" a seat at Powell Middle School, regardless of where they live. If there are plans next year in making Powell a magnet school, I am very curious what middle school the graduating fifth-graders at Chocachatti will be attending. The only students that should be "guaranteed" a seat at Powell are the children who are zoned there. Anything else shows favoritism and should not be allowed.
The children who attend Powell now belong there, and, unless they are planning on changing to a lottery-type enrollment, I urge all parents who think their children will be attending Powell next year because they are zoned for that school to keep their eyes and ears open.