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Forum helped Main Street, not potential voters

Re: Mayoral candidates offer their solutions, March 20

Editor: On March 19, the Greater New Port Richey Main Street Inc. held a mayoral candidates forum at the Clarion Hotel. This forum was by "invitation only" to a select few. At the City Council meeting the evening of March 19, I asked one of the ladies that normally sponsor the candidates forum for the League of Women Voters and she was totally unaware and surprised of the Main Street forum. She said no one had contacted the League about a forum this year. She also expressed some concern and commented, "Well, I vote, why wasn't I invited?"

Excellent question! The forum was held at the Clarion, as opposed to the Council Chambers, as in the past, and there was a $5 admission fee.

The Greater Main Street Group is a not-for-profit organization, obtaining a great portion of its operating expenses from the city of New Port Richey. Is this an abuse of their contract with the city? I think so. The attendees were asked to submit questions for the candidates. Most questions dealt with the candidates' willingness to spend money and time on projects that the Main Street group is involved in (or has an interest in), and were steered away from more important issues such as Tampa Bay Water and Southwest Florida Water Management District concerns.

The moderator was a vice president of Main Street group, and most in attendance were members and officers of that group. As long as there is funding from the city for their operation, I think they should have consideration of all residents of New Port Richey, not just their small membership.

The press was there to print the spin of the Main Street group.

The only way to have a true candidates forum is to have unbiased sponsors with unbiased questions and an unbiased moderator in a public setting. I do hope that we have a good turnout for the election on April 9, but I would like to see a real candidates forum before the election.

Bob Langford,

New Port Richey

City Council, use my tax dollars

on sewer upgrade not laptops

Re: City must choose: sewers or laptops, March 18

Editor: Although I am a resident of nonincorporated Pasco County, not New Port Richey, I still get my water/sewer services from the city of New Port Richey. The City Council can (and does) raise my sewer costs, yet I can't vote in the city elections for those that determine the water/sewer rates.

I also have to pay an annual fee if I want to take out a book from the city's library because I am a nonresident. Fair enough because it is their city. The only chance I get to have a say in the matter is through this public forum. My vote is to put the $162,259 grant toward the sewer system.

It is not that I'm heartless concerning the 240 impoverished senior citizens the grant would benefit otherwise. Without the grant, they would still be able to use the library by checking out a book to read, which I believe is why the library was established. Fair enough because it is my tax dollars that will pay for the sewer improvements if the grant should go to the library.

Ron Breese,

New Port Richey

New Port Richey has done poor job keeping, attracting business

Editor: I am amazed that anyone would be surprised by the decision of Community and North Bay hospitals to relocate. Let us just take a look at what the city government has enacted in the past year to make New Port Richey the type of city to attract and keep business.

For the time being we will accept on faith Community Hospital's claim that its decision has nothing to do with the $250,000 in real estate taxes. What about the new 25 percent increase in water rates? Does that not take its toll on profits? What is the hospital to do? Stop washing sheets, leave the floors unclean? Use paper plates instead of washing patients' plates?

Now however comes the real challenge _ stormwater fees. What to do. Your guess is as good as mine, unless of course we roll this back until our state government comes out with its guidelines.

We have a redevelopment manager (assistant city manager). His name is Gerald Paradise. Since coming on board we have lost or are losing Children's Hospital, Community Hospital and North Bay Hospital.

We lost the Shuffleboard Club and chased out those nasty senior citizens, all for a few quick bucks. Maybe instead of chasing those senior citizens we should chase our assistant city manager.

William R. Liska,

New Port Richey

Don't like urban sprawl? Join fight against overdevelopment

Editor: It seems every time I read the Pasco section of the newspaper I find our county government is approving yet another housing development. Talk about urban sprawl! Just where do our leaders think we are going to get the water, schools and roads to service the needs of this population explosion?

Development is running rampant in Pasco and I believe some of our planners and leaders are turning a blind eye to it. It is obvious that development does not pay for itself and is a huge drain on our already dwindling resources. Overcrowded schools, congested roads and water restrictions make it clear that developers have the upper hand.

The residents in the area of the Perrine Ranch property are engaged in a battle over these very same issues and more. The fact that the owner of this land is also the chairman of the Pasco Planning Commission and the person who appointed him is Ann Hildebrand, chairman of the Pasco Board of County Commissioners, only adds to our frustration.

I can prove no wrongdoing, however the whole process gives the appearance of the good ol' boy system. The process appears to be highly flawed.

This rezoning issue comes before the Board of County Commissioners at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Government Center off Little Road. We may not win against the overdevelopment of this land but hopefully we can gain a more open government with the highest degree of ethics. That is a victory for all Pasco residents.

Barbara Amiro,

New Port Richey

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