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  1. Opinion

Commission ignores constituents

Published Dec. 13, 2014

Rock mining plan moves forward | Dec. 10

Commission ignores constituents

To the voters and residents of Hernando County: How much longer are you willing to be second-class citizens and put up with four county commissioners who continually thumb their noses at you? What does it take to show you that these same commissioners will always vote with the power brokers rather than the people?

With a standing-room-only crowd of citizens, most of whom opposed the mining operations being considered just off State Road 50, the commissioners voted to approve the request from a group of the county's power brokers and business community. Not only did they ignore those residents who took the time to attend, they thumbed their noses at over a thousand others who signed a petition opposing these mining operations.

Even the planning and zoning board voted to deny this mining request. I'm sure the commissioners will tell you that they didn't approve the mining operations, but merely voted to send the request on to the state for consideration. Ha! With the governor's miserable record of dismantling everything and anything that resembles environmental protection issues, what do you think will happen?

It will be approved and returned to the commission for another vote. Care to venture a guess or make a bet on how they'll vote?

And if this isn't enough evidence to convince you that they'll always vote with the power brokers and business community, just recall another recent issue. They would rather increase the sales tax on every person living in the county or visiting the area than tax the people who create the need for the improvements. And despite an overwhelming vote that defeated this iniative, they still have not acted on impact fees.

These are not Republican or Democrat issues. These are issues affecting our quality of life and our pocketbooks! When it comes time to vote again, forget about party and think about democracy, where elected officials do the bidding of those who elected them, not just the powerful few who finance their campaigns.

Ken Trufant, Spring Hill

CIA torture report

'Following orders' invalid

I was struck by Sen. Marco Rubio's response to the release of the CIA torture report. Perhaps it is because of his youth and inexperience that he fails to recognize the invalidity of his offered excuse for those who performed the tortures. He stated that they were simply obeying the legal orders of their superiors when they committed these heinous acts. I remember a prior use of that "I was only following orders" excuse and I also remember that the United States and the rest of the civilized world rejected that excuse as completely invalid. But that was in 1945, before Sen. Rubio was born. Perhaps he missed that day in history class.

Ian MacFarlane, St. Petersburg

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Report diverts attention

With one horrendous decision after another and an abysmal approval rating, this seems to be a good time for the Obama administration to indulge in what they have raised to an art form: Diversion. After Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, Solyndra, Obamacare and now Jonathan Gruber's admission on getting the Affordable Care Act passed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein decides that now is the time for the United States to take the high ground. Anybody who doesn't see through this as a political stunt to divert the public's attention from the Obama performance is naive to say the least.

I am a little surprised that they got Sen. Feinstein to be the point person for this.

Michael P. Catalano, Palm Harbor

Stick to moral high ground

The parallel between recent CIA disclosures and that of J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI is amazing. Just as Congress created laws to rein in the FBI, it now must do so for the CIA. Such activities not only destroy the strength of America's democracy, but also destroy America's image throughout the world. How can we expect other countries to follow the moral high ground when we do not do so ourselves?

Jay Hall, Tampa

'Values' don't save lives

It's okay to bayonet, shoot, bomb, or burn them, but a travesty to use cruel interrogation methods on captured current enemies? Such a policy is logically inconsistent and, moreover, absurd. If we were dealing with a nation that is a signee to the Geneva Convention, there could be a modicum of sanity in the otherwise madness called war. However, we are dealing with a culture of extremism that has no sanity, only religious fervor.

The concern about our "values" being erroneously displayed to the world is naïve. On the world stage, it is better to be respected than loved. Anyway, such concerns have long evaporated with bombings that have killed many innocent people..

There is little hard data to show the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation," but if it saves but one American, it is worthwhile. The even bigger consideration is the possibility of the violence further reaching our shores (nuclear?).

We must do what we can to thwart the enemy, including the use of torture.

Donald Barnhill, Trinity

With U.S. support, vaccines save lives | Dec. 10, editorial

Vaccinations a great start

I would like to thank the Times for highlighting the vitally important work performed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to improve world health. Gavi is effective, cost efficient, and works on many levels to save the lives of millions of children from vaccine-preventable diseases. Gavi, in partnership with medically underserved countries, helps finance the purchase, distribution, and administration of these lifesaving vaccines. Most importantly, Gavi helps these countries develop the medical infrastructure necessary to sustain the vaccination effort. With a medical infrastructure in place, dreaded diseases like Ebola can be combated more effectively while medical scientists work toward finding a cure.

I would also like to thank Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Kathy Castor, Dennis Ross, and David Jolly for sponsoring resolutions to continue financially supporting Gavi. If we are to help save the lives of over 5 million more children by 2020, the U.S. must invest its leadership share of $1 billion over the next four years.

We can call the White House to urge the president to make this significant pledge at the Gavi replenishment conference in January.

Gene Pizzo, Tampa