1. Opinion

New Port Richey should not ease up on alcohol ordinance

Votes show council values cash over safety | Jan. 22, editorial

It's wrong to ease alcohol ordinance

Forgive the mangled metaphor, but your editorial hit the bottle cap right on the head. My opposition to the sale of alcoholic beverages on city property extends to the late 1990s when alcohol-related changes to New Port Richey's special event ordinance were first proposed. Every few years since its passage, the City Council takes steps to ease up on the alcoholic beverage ordinance, all in the name of bringing more money into the city. I don't argue that the city and the nonprofits that serve the city need more funds, however, selling alcohol on public property should not be the way to raise those dollars.

You highlight the council's move to bring more red-light cameras to city intersections after making it easier for people to openly carry alcohol around city streets. I think this council needs to get its bearings. It is not a stretch to say that these two actions are diametrically opposed.

I am admittedly no fan of red-light cameras, nor am I fan of allowing people to drink on city property. However, if the purpose of red-light cameras is to keep our streets safer, then it makes sense we should keep alcohol off those streets as well. I encourage the council to make up its mind on how it wants to deal with public safety and then stick with a plan that is practical and enforceable.

I applaud Mayor Bob Consalvo for his lone no vote on the expansion of the alcohol ordinance. I encourage him to use the bully pulpit of his seat to keep future expansions off the table. His predecessor had no qualms about openly advocating for making it easier to sell alcohol on city property easier. If the mayor wants to discuss rolling back the ordinance, I will be there to support his efforts.

Enough has been done to erode the family-friendly aspects of many special events held on city property. The residents of New Port Richey would be better served if we went back to the days when our streets and our parks were alcohol free.

Greg Giordano, New Port Richey

Re: Ridge Road Extension

Other needs are more important

It has been interesting to read about the Ridge Road Extension. It seems that both sides have valid concerns. Some want the road extension to stimulate business on the west side of the county. The environmentalists have concerns about sawing in half a wildlife preserve.

Pasco County delayed a badly needed road improvement (widening Moon Lake Road) citing a lack of funding at this time. U.S. 19 has its own set of unresolved problems, particularly safety. Pasco has added fees for our parks, cut hours of operation for our libraries, and limited the access of public pools. A letter writer mentioned a lack of road maintenance and I agree. I haven't seen our county ever reseal the pavement in our neighborhoods as a part of a routine preventative maintenance program. Preventative maintenance of asphalt is six to 10 times more cost effective than a do-nothing maintenance strategy.

The people of Pasco deserve to have their current needs met and this includes addressing the projects that were deferred due to lack of funding. I hope the county will do the right thing and take care of the existing issues and problems before spending money on a brand new road. It doesn't seem fair to ignore all of the deferred needs in favor of this very expensive want.

Some feel the extension is needed for evacuation. I can understand the need to move large numbers of people in the event of a hurricane. Unfortunately, State Road 52 dwindles to a two-lane road east of the Suncoast Parkway. Moon Lake Road, which intersects with Ridge Road, is also only a two-lane road. Extending Ridge Road to U.S. 41 doesn't mean much when traffic is funneled onto these smaller roads.

Even if the extension is built, SR 52 still needs to be widened. I have yet to see where this new extension road is imperative compared to some other roads that badly need improvement.

It is my understanding that agencies approved this extension when the Suncoast Parkway mitigation plan was approved. I can only wonder how much has changed since then — such as drought and massive residential development in the bay area necessitating the need for even more clean drinking water.

The Serenova Tract acts as a natural buffer for the Pithlachascotee River and also serves as a recharge area for a regional well field that supplies drinking water to the greater Tampa Bay area. Perhaps building a connector highway through this tract is not the best thing we can do for our drinking water.

A. Hertog, Land O' Lakes

It's too easy to get a gun and use it

I am so sick of hearing "Guns don't kill people. People kill people not guns." How many times must someone read that to realize how really stupid that is?

Guess what? Guns make it a whole lot easier to kill multiple people.

With population growth, there is going to be more people with guns, and more people who should not have guns. It's all too easy to get a gun and to use it. You can go to almost any gun show and get whatever you want. Once someone buys a gun, they can go out and sell to whomever they want.

Something must be done.

Michael T. Lemen, New Port Richey

Please step up and donate blood

Blood donors are quiet super heroes who have saved the lives of people in our communities and they are the people you can count on if your friends or family members are in need. January is Blood Donor Awareness Month, and we would like to thank all of those who gave in 2011 and extend an invitation to them and others to do the same in 2012.

Blood donors are a select bunch, and they could certainly use some help. Currently fewer than one in 10 Americans regularly gives blood, so this small group is challenged to keep up with the need. The organization America's Blood Centers calculates that 38,000 units of blood are needed every day in the U.S. That need never sleeps and it never takes a holiday.

There is no substitute for human blood. The only way we can assure that it will be on the shelves at the hospital when it is needed, is for donors to step forward. That need is particularly acute during January because supplies are typically low coming out of the holidays. It's also the season when severe weather as well as colds and flu prevent many regular donors from giving.

Our donors range from high school students, to college students to senior citizens who have a long history of donating and continue to give. It's one way to give back to our community even during tight economic times. We often ask our first-time donors why they decided to give blood. The most common answer is, "Somebody asked me."

As part of Blood Donor Awareness Month, I'm asking you to please give. That decision could make a lifesaving difference for someone in need in our community.

Ed Keith, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, Brooksville