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Pasco Letters to the Editor for Sept. 7

Wednesday 5 September 2018 07.56

Sexual orientation shouldnít matter for marriages

Having worked for Pasco County government for more than two years, I am disgusted that they refuse to officiate my marriage. It must be nice to pick and choose not to do certain parts of your job that you donít like.

When I worked for Pasco as a 911 operator, I didnít get to choose not to listen to a man shoot himself. I didnít get to choose to not help a woman screaming and crying when she found her boyfriend dead from an overdose. I didnít get to choose not to help parents do CPR on their baby. I didnít get to choose not to help a man whose friend had been shot. I didnít get to choose not to talk a veteran out of getting his gun and bringing it outside when he heard fireworks and was convinced he was back in Vietnam. I could go on and on.

I developed post-traumatic stress disorder from two years of serving this county, helping thousands of citizens on the worst days of their lives, and this county doesnít even support my love.

Because the love of my life is a woman, I am a second class citizen? There is nothing wrong with my love. There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with government officials being allowed to discriminate due to their religious/personal beliefs.

As an emergency communications officer for Pasco, I had to serve people who had beliefs and ideologies I didnít agree with because that was my job. If you canít do your job because of your religion, get a different job. If you are consumed by your religious beliefs, get out of government. Itís called separation of church and state.

Elizabeth Curran, Dade City

Editorís note: With the exception of an annual Valentineís Day celebration, the office of Pasco County Clerk of the Court and Comptroller Paula S. OíNeil stopped performing marriage ceremonies for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, on Oct. 1, 2014.

Utility increase feels like a rip-off

I am trying to understand the utility rate increase that will take effect (with almost no notice) on Oct. 1 for water, sewer, etc. The Pasco County Utility announced a four-year rate schedule a year ago, and somehow three more years slipped by without our noticing it.

The independent study showed that our service is one of the lowest cost for a typical user. Why do we need an independent study when the staff at our utility could just pick up the telephone and check with other utilities in the area? Their rates are hardly secret.

Second, if ours are among the lowest, is that a reason to raise the rates?

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"Gosh, weíre giving them a good deal, that has to stop," I guess.

It seems to me that a utility that incurs massive state fines for improper disposal of wastewater or sewage should be very careful in its dealings. We understand what the funds are used for. Perhaps the utility can explain why it raised the rates. Seems like a rip-off to me.

Lewis Corvene, Hudson

Re: Ridge Road Extension

Reject this project

Could someone please explain to me why U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakus (R-Palm Harbor) had to write a letter to the President, urging him to help with the Ridge Road Extension?

Can I also ask who benefits from the sale of land to the state?

Last August, we had the largest evacuation in the history of the state, and area roads had zero congestion. Yet the main justification for cutting through the preserve is an exit route for residentsí public safety. Hogwash.

With the storm, we were forewarned, and people either hunkered down or took shelter elsewhere in a timely manner. Roads were bare.

Why do the plans call for a bike path? Are people going to pedal to safety?

What really needs to happen is make Starkey, Decubelis and Moon Lake roads four lanes each. Of course, we also need the state to provide four lanes to Interstate 75 from the Suncoast Parkway ó not just new ramps ó and maybe even include a bike lane.

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This is the third time Iíve seen State Road 52 repaved from U.S. 41 to I-75 without being widened. Iíve also seen the amount of trash that accumulates on every roadway and wonder, how in the world do you pick trash from the side of a road thatís elevated?

Please reject this project.

Robert Tarbox, New Port Richey

Spend our money on schools instead

Pasco County has many things happening that are easy to complain about, but there is a mass amount of beauty here.

Beaches, parks, and wildlife are abundant. It is easy to spend the day with your children riding bikes, hiking, swimming and other outdoor fun. Unfortunately, a lot of this nature is being sold off and destroyed for the sake of the almighty dollar. We know we have to have development, but do we have to destroy everything in our paths to do it? The Serenova Preserve project (also known as the Ridge Road extension) is a perfect example of unnecessary destruction.

Since 1998, Pasco County has tried to take previously protected lands to build a road for hurricane evacuation. This has been fought for 20 years because there is no evidence it is needed. Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Wildlife Service have been unconvinced that this is needed.

We all want to get out of here if a serious hurricane hits this area, but we all saw during Hurricane Irma that a highway from west to east is not going to get us anywhere. Those who left the east coast to come west found themselves trapped anyway as the storm changed direction. Those leaving the west were heading north as the storm hit the east coast first.

If anything we all need an easier route north. An extra road will just get all of us hitting Interstate 75 at the same time, causing more of a stand still than we experienced.

This project has been fought by Pasco citizens for years. It has been proven unnecessary by many organizations. It has been proven a money pit. Why are we still considering this, especially when our children do not have enough chairs in our classrooms and are sitting on floors?

Do we not have better places to waste $100 million dollars? Why are we willing to destroy the beauty of this county and displace thousands of animals?

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They need to move on and work toward the betterment of the community, not their pockets.

Maryellen Heckler, Holiday

Pasco deal for teachers another "slap on the face"

The proposal that Pasco County Schools superintendent, Kurt Browning proffered at the bargaining table is another slap on the face to the teachers of this school district. It is, in reality, a 15-percent pay cut.

An increase in the workload that outweighs the hourly rate of pay is a decrease that damages our economic security in the future.

Teachers need to know how this will impact not only their immediate economic situation, but their long-term economic health in retirement.

What the superintendent and the district do not want teachers to figure out is that this proposal will reduce our hourly rate of pay and negatively impact our future earnings and retirement. It will reduce the amount of the buy-out for unused sick leave at the end of our careers, reduce the value of our daily and hourly rate, and negatively impact our lifelong earnings.

The superintendent and the district can do better. This is the worst proposal this superintendent has ever sent to the teachers of Pasco County.

One has to wonder why Mr. Browning and his staff consistently seek to demean, denigrate, and diminish teachers so much?

Kenny Blankenship, Land Oí Lakes

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