Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin suggested recently that Americans take a weeklong break from sports.
No watching. No reading. No attending. No studying the scores as they scroll across the bottom of your big-screen TV while you watch another cable offering.
Good idea. But why stop with sports? Take a break from Pasco's politics and government.
The timing is appropriate. The county budget, almost always a hot topic of public dissection, discussion and disgruntlement, won't be released until July 15. There are no elections this year. Children don't return to crowded schools for five weeks.
Reward yourself with a break. It's what I am doing right now. (Barring someone from the office calling with questions.) As this is being written, our tentative itinerary calls for us to enjoy the long July Fourth holiday weekend at my parents' lakeside cottage in upstate New York and then piling the offspring into the sedan and heading east toward my wife's family's domicile.
In honor of this interlude, there will be:
No Rushin because the Sports Illustrated and the rest of the mail _ magazines, junk offerings and mostly the bills _ are accumulating at the Land O'Lakes branch office of the U.S. Postal Service.
No Rushe because the school finances are just too depressing to consider while trying to enjoy yourself. Chuck, the Pasco School District's chief financial officer and announced candidate for superintendent, will understand even as conspiracy theorists believe he is gaining too much notoriety.
No Rush. Limbaugh isn't allowed on the car radio. Nor the home stereo. Nor the portable boom box. Nor the Walkman.
No FCAT. We'd probably score too well and then not have money to pay ourselves.
No Black Cats. Let someone else shoot off the fireworks.
No kitty cats. PAWS, PASS, Pasco Animal Control, SPCA and assorted other animal welfare shelters do admirable work, but I wish communitywide concern for children rivaled the sentimentality letter writers express toward domestic pets.
No pennies for Pasco. The sales tax in Cattaraugus County, New York is 8.5 percent. Let's see if voters approve an increase in Pasco from 6 to 7 percent, we'd still need an additional 1.5 cents on the dollar, or an additional 21.4 percent increase, to equal the vacation counterpart. Kind of puts that "Our taxes are too high!" argument in perspective, doesn't it?
No pause for Pat. Commissioner Mulieri must confront yet another controversial zoning issue, this time a requested conditional-use permit for a tire recycling operation that has northern neighbors upset. The Michelin man vs. the Hernando howlers.
No nudists, no naturalists, no nonsense from U.S. Senate hopefuls pandering to the far right of the Republican Party.
No dancers, no G-strings, no competing court rulings on police undercover work in the girlie bars.
No city managers gone hunting big game.
No towns gone hunting for new city managers.
No tourist tax. No stadium. No tennis. No Saddlebrook. We didn't really need to add these. Remember, we're boycotting sports. Aren't we? Even if some cheated and watched Wimbledon?
No budgets, except our own entertainment, which surely will be blown by eating out and overindulgence.
No fees for fire protection, streetlights or otherwise. A few road tolls, maybe, but that is to be expected.
No Fiorentino, Littlefield, Russell, Anderson, Byrd, or Bilirakis. No Fasano, Crist or Lee. They're due to head back to Tallahassee for yet another special session, anyway.
No annexations, de-annexations or procrastinations.
No unions whether for teachers, deputies or otherwise. We'll remember them on Labor Day.
No sign ordinances.
No zoning disputes.
No parking tickets in Port Richey.
No defense needed. If you get a parking ticket outside a council member's house, you should have no trouble getting it dismissed. Unless somebody miscounts the votes.
No Jayson Blair or Rick Bragg. I already gave credit to Rushin for pilfering his idea.
No great shakes if you are unable to kick the habit of being a political junkie. Fear not. The latest campaign contribution reports for the 2004 election are due this Thursday. Knock yourself out.