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It's the person, not the party, that's important

Re: Commissioner switches parties, Dec. 31 Times:

Editor: What is the big deal about Hernando County Commissioner Nancy Robinson switching parties?

Whether she is a Democrat or a Republican, she will do her job just as well as she did in the past. It is not the party, but the person, who is going to do the best job and have our best interests in mind. Commissioner Robinson is working and doing her best for all the residents of Hernando County, not just Democrats or Republicans.

This county should be united and not divided. With all the work she has done in the past with senior citizens and with the medical assistance programs, and the support that she has given to the veterans and soldiers, she is the most loyal and patriotic person I have known.

Ida Heredia, Spring Hill

Democratic Party now caters

to far-left fringe elements

Re: Commissioner switches parties, Dec. 31 Times:

Editor: I really had to laugh when I read the letters from all the Democrats upset about Hernando County Commissioner Nancy Robinson's switching parties and giving Republicans control of the commission. Frankly, from what I know of Robinson, I'm surprised she didn't switch sooner.

The Democratic Party has lost touch with its base for nearly 20 years, associating itself with the far-left fringe elements like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Michael Moore, not to mention George Soros and MoveOn.org. It's a party that stands for nothing more than to hate President Bush. Democrats offer no solutions and put up candidates who do not appeal to the mainstream.

Robinson was right when she said she didn't leave the party, but that the party left her. Just look at the letters to the editor attacking her. Not one writer asked why she left, or how they could bring her back.

It's sad if you think about how the once-great Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt has fallen into a cesspool of bitterness and confusion. Hopefully, someone will come along and bring it back into the mainstream, but I doubt it very much.

Peter Stathis, Spring Hill

Recent disciplinary decisions

point to bad school bureaucracy

Re: Harassed teacher brings lawsuit, Jan. 5 Times:

Editor: When it rains it pours, I guess.

It was bad enough we have to deal with the ongoing Michael Ransaw fiasco. In addition, we now have a teacher at Deltona Elementary alleging mistreatment by a male colleague resulting in her dismissal.

From what I could gather in reading the article, not only must we now contend with gross errors in judgment, but also apparent stupidity, inconsistency in disciplinary actions and more "protection racket" nonsense on the part of the School Board regarding Douglas Latta _ not to mention the fired teacher.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if someone has had a history of allegations of "harassment or inappropriate conduct" allegations plus a comment from his previous employer "to not recommend/rehire this person for employment as a teacher" that something is very wrong with the hiring process in this county.

Left unsaid was Mr. Latta's capacity in the Hernando district, but I suspect school executives will fall back on the excuse he was "not hired as a teacher."

But that should not matter. When it comes to the welfare and safety of our kids, plus assuring the workplace environment is free of harassment, previous employers' remarks and the allegations should have been enough for our school district to categorically deny him employment. No excuses.

Surely there are lots of other folks with clean records and good recommendations looking for employment in the Hernando school district.

But it gets worse. Our School Board "punishes" him with a paid suspension. Oooh! Slap that wrist! Additionally, he gets probation, which stated he "could be terminated for any violations of School Board policies or Florida law while on probation."

Not soon afterward more complaints were lodged against him. Does he get fired? No way. But they discipline him, though, by extending his probation another year.

It appears we have a bunch of Mr. Magoos running our schools. Is anyone else getting the impression a protection racket exists in our school district? I swear I feel like I am living in some sort of corrupt banana republic when I read things like this.

If we buy a bushel of apples and find a rotten one in there, do we leave that apple to ruin all the others? No. We throw it out. So why was he not fired immediately? Why were other teachers and employees subjected to his presence in light of the numerous complaints and allegations? Why were they forced to deal with his unacceptable behavior because obviously it was deemed unacceptable given his reprimand, suspension, etc.?

We need an exterminator. I smell a big rat running loose in our educational bureaucracy.

Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill

Employee's background should

have been enough to disqualify

Re: Harassed teacher brings lawsuit, Jan. 5 Times:

Editor: First, I would like to commend Linda Goebel for having the courage to bring a lawsuit against the Hernando County School Board for its inept handling of the complaint against Douglas Latta.

I know Hernando County is desperate for teachers, but how could they have hired this teacher when his prior employer in Sumter Countly wouldn't even recommend him for a teaching position? Isn't that a huge red flag?

What are the people who are in charge of hiring quality teachers for our children thinking? Talk about digging from the bottom of the barrel!

Latta didn't have a glowing employment background. He spent only a year or two at a particular school or county, showing no stability. Makes one wonder why he keeps leaving his jobs.

Obviously, it took the action of this young lady to encourage others to come forward with their own stories of confrontation with this man. What does it take to get him fired and not put on probation?

If this man is making rude remarks, touching his co-workers inappropriately and downloading images of bikini-clad women, what is he doing in his classroom? He obviously lacks respect and dignity. Is this the kind of person you want teaching our kids?

The article truly infuriated me.

M. Kelley, Spring Hill

Commercials, infomercials have

gotten totally out of control

Re: No respite from TV ads run amok, Jan. 5 guest column by Jack Bray:

Editor: The author hit the nail right on the head: The commercials and infomercials have gotten totally ridiculous. One really enjoys watching an hour show with 45 mintes of commercials!

I can't even find a station without commercials like American Movie Classics used to be.

Although the AFLAC duck is OK with me, it's the fat guy eating a chocolate bar and the woman washing her hair and moaning with their "organic" experiences. Give me a break!

Mary Voiles, New Port Richey

Wearing a seat belt is easy,

and it could save your life

Editor: I can't believe the story I read last week about two young lives needlessly lost because they where not wearing seat belts, which, by the way, is the law.

In the two seconds it takes to click that belt, you can save the heartache and misery your family and loved ones would have to endure because of your carelessness.

Come on folks, click that belt; the life you save very well could be your own.

John H. Larsen, Brooksville

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