1. Letters to the Editor

Letters: Raise bar for teacher pay, student behavior

A raise for teachers! Raise the bar. Raise awareness. Raise Cain. The word "raise" has many meanings. In this case however, it means to increase.

Teachers haven't had raises in years. The bar in which students come to class is virtually on the floor. Sure, there are still some students who haven't succumbed to their sad surroundings. But they are without a doubt the minority.

Elementary grades K-5 have an apathetic and disrespectful attitude that is not to be believed and there is no discrimination. It is in the classroom, art, music, P.E., and even in the cafeteria. It is a disgrace how children today eat and take no responsibility for their area. Over the past four years this has gotten worse.

This scenario is totally unacceptable and Cain should be raised. Awareness needs to be raised. The bar needs to be raised. Teachers desperately need a raise just for showing up, no less having to tolerate behaviors all the while attempting to teach. Teachers are the foundation for all of us to eventually have a career or profession. Ironically enough, they are the very people for whom we are not raising the bar.

Leigh Campbell, New Port Richey

County should pay fair price for land

On April 12, a federal judge referred to a Pasco County land-seizing ordinance as "out-and-out plan of extortion" and opined that "it cannot stand." Commissioner Ted Schrader, in its defense, referred to the $50 million to purchase right of way for the State Road 54 widening project as "unsustainable" and defended the county's seizing of land without just compensation.

What Schrader is saying in essence is if the county cannot afford to buy right of way, the alternative is to contrive some legal scheme to simply take it.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states land taken for public use requires just compensation. Article X Section 6 of the state Constitution also forbids takings without "full compensation therefore paid to each owner."

Now it is much more clear why Commissioners Schrader, Pat Mulieri and Kathryn Starkey refused to vote "yes'' to a resolution affirming the Bill of Rights. They would rather violate the Fifth Amendment in that Bill of Rights than affirm their allegiance to it. For all their self righteous and indignant excuses for not passing that resolution; the real reason is now crystal clear. The commissioners have no respect or use for legal due process that is the birthright of every Pasco citizen.

Andrew Nappi, Hudson

The wrong kind of flea market ban

Pasco County commissioners made a decision not to allow pets (cats and dogs) to be sold at area flea markets. I would like to know why vendors at area flea markets are still allowed to sell guns and bong pipes at flea markets.

I think it is safe to assume that cats and dogs are not as harmful to the public as a gun, in the hands of a person who should not have one, or a bong pipe in the hands of a teenager or anyone else for that matter.

Ed Goldstein, Zephyrhills

Politics quashing gun ban debate

The Pasco County Commission is deserving of the same shame as the 45 U.S. senators who blocked background checks for the purchase of firearms. At least the Senate held a public hearing on the bill. The commission has refused even this basic step.

Commissioners have made the decision to put politics before public safety, no matter the evidence or desire of Pasco residents. The commissioners made the same political determination as the 45 senators: the financial and political support of the gun lobby and NRA is more powerful than the opinions of their citizens.

They have turned a common sense public safety issue into a political issue.

Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson

Woman who couldn't afford vet is convicted of animal cruelty | April 24, article

Punishment fits woman's crime

Tammy Brown is exactly where she should be. I am a dog owner and I would never let my animal or any other suffer the way she let her poor dog.

I understand that she lives off of Social Security and has a painful condition of degenerative bone disease; I am a nurse. However, if she cannot afford to have the extra money it requires to properly take care of an animal then she should not have one. Having animals is a responsibility and a privilege. They require the monthly medical expenses for fleas/ticks/heart worm and yearly shots. Medical expenses for other minor conditions can be expected as well and there also will be emergency medical expenses that will also come up within the animal's lifetime. If you do not have this extra money, be responsible enough to not own an animal.

Tammy Brown is not being punished for being poor, she is being punished for being an irresponsible, neglectful, and selfish person.

Amy Cobb, Largo