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County will regret delay of Brookridge development

Re: Commission cops out by catering to crowd, Jan. 15 column by Jeff Webb:

The January decision by Hernando County commissioners to postpone approving the commercial development in front of Brookridge is disappointing for two reasons.

First, the developer offered to pay for and install a second rear entry for the development. It is reasonable to expect that residents who are closer to that entrance will use it for their primary ingress and egress. This might mean as much as 50 percent reduction in the traffic on Brookridge Central. It is arguable that the commercial traffic generated by the frontage road connection would not equal the lost 50 percent. So rather than add to the congestion, this development plan actually reduces it. There really is no public safety issue.

Second, the frontage road ordinance was established to offload arterial traffic and reduce congestion and accidents. So far the system has worked remarkably well along U.S. 19 and other sections of State Road 50. Many other developers chafed at the requirement to provide the needed frontage roads but complied. Everyone is a winner.

The suggestion by the board that a deviation from the frontage road system might be an option is a slap in the face to those developers, a dilution of a fine frontage road ordinance and a precedent that the county will regret if followed.

Other resident options, such as a pedestrian access and retail proximity offered by the developer, further enhance this addition to the commercial tax base of Hernando County.

When decisions are made, they should be based on facts, not emotion. The commission has a responsibility to the county as a whole.

Peter Rocco, Spring Hill

Spanish on Web site will

divide county, not unite

Re: Spanish is so widespread, site should be bilingual, Feb. 14 letter to the editor:

Carmen Shannon's opinion, and I quote, "Why is it that we Hispanics must speak English for the benefit of those incapable of learning more than one language?" is a slap in the face to all American-born, English-speaking citizens. Her statement is insulting to every other ethnic group that chose to come to America and does not speak "her language of choice."

Obviously, Shannon does not comprehend the word "united," as in the United States of America. Her insistence to create a Spanish translation on the Hernando County Health and Human Services Department's Web site will do nothing but divide our community.

Counties such as Miami-Dade recognize three official languages. According to the Web site, Miami also is recognized as the second-most dangerous metropolitan area in the United States by the FBI's uniform crime reports program. Miami ranks second to last in people older than 18 without a high school diploma, with 23 percent of its population not having that degree.

Is this really what we want for Hernando County?

Marilyn Fitch, Brooksville

Policymaking in this war

reminiscent of past failure

Re: Supporting troops in word only, Feb. 6 guest column:

I would like to respond to U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite with a reminder about the oft-quoted maxim by George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Regarding her discourse about the Vietnam War, instead of accepting the realities of failed political decisions, it is always easier to place the blame elsewhere: on the media, for example, or on the antiwar liberal left. Too many today and during the Vietnam War have placed the blame for America's failure on such scapegoats.

In reality, instead of focusing our attention on the external enemy, North Vietnam, the source of the war, we turned our attention to the symptom, the guerrilla war in the south. In addition, the political decision was made to severely limit our ability to destroy the North Vietnamese with massive air strikes.

Again, this was a political decision based on the desire to limit use of American power to avoid widening the conflict. There also was the absence of a true U.S. strategy that led to the huge commitment of U.S. resources with no clear idea of where this would lead and its ultimate consequences. Does this sound familiar?

Historically speaking, one would hope that this nation has learned from the inescapably high costs associated with go-to-war policy decisions. In this regard, I think we are lacking, because of , in large part, the administration's failure to recognize the role of senior military officers in the national security policymaking process.

During World War II, with Gen. George C. Marshall as chief of staff of the Army, he established a role model for senior officers as national security policymakers. In striking contrast to the position of Vietnam-era senior officers, and Gen. Eric Shinseki's recent experience as Army chief of staff, Marshall was the direct agent of the president in planning and conduct of military operations in World War II. We won that one.

A shift in policymaking responsibility came about when Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara came on board during the Kennedy administration. During that time, the service chiefs were largely excluded from final policy deliberations. This resulted in senior military officers not promoting their views with a more forceful voice. They didn't want to upset the policymaking apple cart. Did we win that one?

Today, senior military officers face the same imbalance in the role of policymakers. According to Shinseki, Army planners (senior military officers) were not once consulted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office prior to the preparation for the invasion in Iraq and its continuing trauma.

Our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are performing in an outstanding manner. God bless them. However, this has been another example of how amateurs interfering and seeking to micromanage combat operations are making it difficult for the military to win these conflicts. Without question, the arrogance and ineptitude of some elected officials and politically appointed bureaucrats are being redeemed only by the courage, sacrifice and blood of our troops.

Brown-Waite is correct in one respect: Our troops deserve support in more than words only.

Col. Joseph H. Pistorius,

U.S. Army (retired),

Weeki Wachee

Legislator's views clear;

voters must do their part

Re: Supporting troops in word only, Feb. 6 guest column:

I thank the Times for allowing U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite a guest column. Every citizen of Brown-Waite's 5th Congressional District now knows the congresswoman's views in her own words.

As the election season heats up, it is my hope that the Times will reprint the Brown-Waite column weekly through the election. Every person who has read the column should remember his constitutional responsibility and vote in this fall's elections. If you agree or disagree with Brown-Waite's views on the war on terrorism, the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and a host of other issues, we must remember that every vote counts.

If you agree with Brown-Waite's world view, help return her to Congress. If you disagree with Brown-Waite's world view, help return her to private life.

I applaud Brown-Waite for her decision to write the guest column. It will be difficult for her to run away from her written views in the months ahead.

Joe Pratl, Spring Hill