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County policy should ban officials' gifts

Editor: Re: It's time for board to show it knows right from wrong, March 17 Times editorial:

I totally support the editorial regarding County Administrator Paul McIntosh. I only hope our commissioners read it and respond vigorously.

I am disturbed over our legal department taking the easy way out by preparing a conflict of interest policy following what the state has, which, if anyone analyzes the state's policy, will realize it's protection they (public officials) afforded themselves for what Mr. McIntosh has done.

Our legal department should review what is being done in other counties and cities throughout Florida and the United States. It is permissible for a county to have stricter regulations than the state. It is a cop-out to say "Let's follow the state's rules to avoid legal problems."

McIntosh already admitted he took other gifts. Regardless of what the commissioners might say, Mr. McIntosh's salary is paid from our taxes. As a public employee he is not supposed to accept any gifts of any value. In some states this infraction can be severely punished.

Now the commissioners want to create a policy that would okay everything that Mr. McIntosh has already done.

Are we nuts? Does this administrator think the public is stupid? Have we lost all sense of morality and commitment in our government? I hope not.

A firm policy would eliminate this type of behavior at all levels.

Victor Gonzales, Spring Hill

Need gifts? Open gift shop

Editor: Since people can't resist giving County Administrator Paul McIntosh gifts, and we can't determine whether they are tainted or not, let's open a gift shop near his office.

John Albert, Spring Hill

Florida attracts misfits

Editor: I don't know what it is about Florida, but it sure draws misfits like bees to honey.

When I was very young, I was engaged to a man who worked out of the District Attorney's Office in New York. There were times I didn't see him for six months. Where was he? He was in Florida, looking for misfits who came down here. Believe it or not, there were times his list was 200 (names) long. He was assigned to the Abandonment Bureau, which also handled not only missing fathers, but others who had committed a more serious crime. In other words, he handled extradition cases.

I have met several who have come down here and represent themselves with grand titles they never knew existed up North. Perhaps I shall write a book some day about charlatans.

Remember John Callahan, the over-zealous former county library director who wanted a $400,000 federal grant to be used in building a $5-million library, which would really cost $15-million by the end of the bonds' life of 30 years? The property that was to be used for this grand edifice was full of sinkholes. The staff was a little nervous with this plan, believing the bottom would fall out of the building and we would have a two-story affair. Callahan moved out to Marin County in California, and apparently their ideas were grander than Callahan's. Of course, he is back in Florida. Where else?

Now, we have County Administrator McIntosh to contend with. This is another perfect example of someone who thinks only of himself and not the employees. No wonder their morale is low. Helga Curtis, Brooksville

Only a few oppose Wal-Mart

Editor: Re: Rally to stop Wal-Mart store:

If you read about this, you might think it was a success. If, however, you examine the facts, you'd see it was a tremendous fizzle.

Fact 1: There are about 70,000 people in Spring Hill. Seventy-five people at a rally amounts to about 0.11 percent of our citizens. Hardly a good expression of people's feelings.

Fact 2: Petitions with about 1,000 signatures are meaningless. They represent about 1.4 percent of our citizens.

Arlene Erdrich and her trivial clique would like you to think 75 is a big groundswell against Wal-Mart. I've seen that many people watching a big accident at Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Boulevard. I'm sure our widely publicized sinkholes drew a bigger crowd than 75.

It's time these environmental extremists found another cause to take up. How about a general cleanup of Spring Hill streets? How about better enforcement of traffic laws _ speeding, not using turn signals, "super" tinted windows, etc.? How about equitable water and phone rates?

There are many serious issues facing Spring Hill and stopping Wal-Mart or banning garage sales are not two of them. If people thought stopping Wal-Mart was so earth-shaking, they'd turn out in droves and sign petitions by the thousands.

Obviously, the big majority of people favor (or don't object to) the building of Wal-Mart's new store. The additional tax revenue and job openings that Wal-Mart will bring will far outweigh any perceived environmental damage.

You people in CAUSE have gotten your names in the paper and you're now celebrities. It's time to end your ego trip and let Wal-Mart go ahead and pay more taxes to our coffers and hire more of our people.

Seventy-five at a rally and 1,000 signatures on a petition in no way represents the sentiment of Spring Hill residents. I saw more than 75 people watch the installation of the steeple on the new church being built on Spring Hill Drive and Eldridge Road.

In closing, when Wal-Mart opens, I don't expect to see any members of CAUSE shopping there.

Art McIntyre, Spring Hill

No need to shoot to kill

Editor: Re: Shootout with deputies leaves suspect dead, March 17 Times:

I don't understand why sheriff's deputies had to kill a person who was running away from them. If they had to disable him, couldn't they shoot him in the leg? If he, indeed, fired at them first, couldn't they take cover and wait for backups to arrive?

I am reminded of the case in New York where the police fired 40 to 50 rounds at the wrong man, of which 19 found their mark.

What did this man in Brooksville do that called for the taking of his life? Run scared?

In another misuse of weapons last week, two men argued over a hospital parking space. One man brandished a cane/sword, the other pulled out a concealed handgun. How does a person with a record get a license to carry a concealed handgun?

Of course, he's not afraid to argue over a parking space. He's got a gun in his pocket. He says he needs it for self-defense. Sounds like he uses it to park where ever he chooses.

Ironically, the other man was arrested. Only in America.

Thomas Malone, Spring Hill

Thanks for hospice article

Editor: Re: A bereavement camp for kids, March 18 Times:

Thanks to staff writer Joy Davis-Platt for the wonderful article on the Hernando-Pasco Hospice Camp. This was my fourth year to have the privilege of being a volunteer at the camp. I would like to tell you each year has been better. But they have not. Each year has been equally special and exciting.

The children come to camp to learn, but they, in turn, teach us. All of us there have lost someone special in our lives and we all learn and build on others' stories.

To try and tell you in print about the Saturday night memorial service would be impossible and might even rob some of the reverence of it. Suffice it to say, during the ceremony, I knew I was standing on holy ground.

It is my feeling the hospice movement has long been needed in this country to help us get by the trauma of death and bereavement. This one little part is a shining example of that.

My thanks to Hernando-Pasco Hospice, to Dana and her staff for letting me be a part of it.

Jim Marsh, Spring Hill

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