Months ago the New Port Richey City Council voted not to consider a very reasonable proposal from the developers of the Landings Project, which had begun construction near the bridge downtown. As a result, the project now sits unfinished and empty along the banks of the river- a monument to the council's shortsighted leadership. Such a project would have been a rare opportunity to enhance the downtown area with new businesses as well as new customers.
Now council members are blasting the New Port Richey Main Street organization, which is led by Judy DeBella Thomas, for not bringing in new businesses. The council is threatening to deny the meager bit of funding the city allows that organization. If it were not for this organization there would be little to bring the community together downtown. The Main Street organization not only organizes events in the downtown area but also generates its own funding for these events. The group essentially generates close to 10 times as much value for the city as the initial outlay. That's a 1,000 percent return on the investment!
City Council members dropped the ball once with the Landings project, and now they are threatening to give the whole game away by denying seed money to the city merchants they claim to care about.
Cliff Stodden, New Port Richey
Roads are unfit for safe bicycling
A Nov. 26 story in the B section talks about the Tampa area being second in the country in cyclist fatalities. Some of the article attributes this problem to not marking the bicycle lanes alongside the roads. What bicycle lanes? As a longtime, serious cyclist who has ridden all over the country I can say with no hesitation that Pasco has the worst bicycle lanes I have ever seen.
The county did a huge favor for cyclists a few years ago by making a 6-mile trail through Starkey Park to connect with the Suncoast Trail. Recently that trail was closed so the water pumping system could be modified. Now the cyclists are forced back out on the roadways.
Since the trail has been closed, I, and all the other cyclists in west Pasco, have been forced to do battle with the motorized traffic on the roads in the area.
The one thing that magnifies the problem is all of the trash on the roads. If I try to stay on the shoulder of the road where it is paved (bike lane?) I am constantly dodging gravel, building supplies, broken glass from beer and whiskey bottles, car parts, dead animals, tree limbs and the like.
The roads in this county never have been cleaned. The only time the trash ever gets cleaned is during an extremely heavy rainstorm. It's a disgrace that a situation like this is allowed to exist. Apparently our county commissioners don't care what the county looks like.
I sure hope that the powers that be address this situation before someone runs me over again while I'm dodging that trash on the highway. If that should happen, my attorney has instructions to name the county in the suit.
Robert Perkins, New Port Richey
What's with the 4-day weekend?
Here is a rant for you. I had important business to conduct with the Pasco County Tax Collector, hoping to do that on Nov. 24 or 25, Friday or Saturday, normal working days for these offices.
What I, and many others circling the parking lot, found was closed offices. I have just paid $10,000 in property taxes to Pasco County. I hope none of that went to fund a four-day weekend for county employees.
By what stretch was that justified? Was it in the budget? Did other Florida counties do that?
I have no beef with the employees, but was this reasonable? Not in my opinion.
Gene L. Pobst, New Port Richey
Urge session on insurance reform
I was very pleased that the Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee has submitted initial recommendations. I have either attended or reviewed all of the meetings that are currently available online and was impressed with the number of quality ideas that were put forward.
Many legislators, including Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg, have worked tirelessly on this issue. Both are currently drafting legislation to bring forward a solution to many of the problems our mutual constituents face. It is my hope that the Florida Legislature will be given an opportunity to act quickly to resolve what is truly a crisis in our community. As the reinsurance market opens in February, time is of the essence.
The governor's select committee admirably chaired by Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings has done an excellent job recommending many good solutions to this problem. I have written to the governor, the incoming president of the Senate and the incoming speaker of the House and have urged them to call a special session.
The residents of our state need immediate relief. The legislators of Florida must be given a chance to do their work and be given an opportunity to consider the committee's recommendations. As Speaker-Designate Marco Rubio has stated, "This is an era of problem solvers." This is the biggest problem our state faces.
Please join me by contacting Florida's leaders in calling for a special session of the Legislature as soon as may be possible.
Pasco County Commissioner, Hudson
GOP leadership is just fine as is
Regarding Mr. Dan Meahl's letter stating "GOP leadership needs retooling," Mr. Meahl and his counterpart, Mr. Robert Ryan, were publicly announced as voluntary co-chairmen for the campaign of Tom Gallagher for governor.
The Republican Party of Pasco County, under the leadership of Bill Bunting, was the first to endorse Charlie Crist for governor. Subsequently, Pinellas, Broward, Levy and Bradford counties endorsed Mr. Crist. Not a single county endorsed Mr. Gallagher.
Congratulations, Chairman Bunting. It seems to me the Republican Party Executive Committee leadership is in extremely competent hands!
Tom Francis, Hudson