More pay for police, tax hike for all | C.T. Bowen column, Aug. 8
Experience worth the cost
Pasco County commissioners have shown political courage in considering a small millage increase to address the disparity in salaries between Pasco's first responders and those of surrounding counties, which has been exacerbated by years of tax rollbacks and fiscal mismanagement.
The proposed millage increase represents less than $3 per month for the average Pasco household. No one wants to see an increase in taxes, but we are at the pinnacle of disaster in this county, and the time to act is now. If the commission doesn't act this year, we will continue to see an exodus of deputies who stand to make $10,000 more a year at surrounding law enforcement agencies, leaving the citizens of Pasco with only deputies straight out of the academy with no experience. As for the rest of the county workers, commissioners have said they don't have the turnover rates in those departments that you see in Public Safety.
Instead of trying to scare Pasco citizens that the deputies and firefighters are going to be taking money from their mouths, the question should be, are Pasco's citizens willing to pay an extra $3 per month per household to keep experienced deputies here who can provide them quality law enforcement services they deserve?
Vice president, Fraternal Order of Police
Pasco County Sheriff's Lodge 29
Arrogance binds trio
Lions, Trump and bears
What do Walter Palmer, the dentist who shot Cecil the lion, Donald Trump and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have in common? An overabundance of testosterone? Perhaps. But their shared trait is, I believe, much more insidious. It's hubris — excessive arrogance and pride — which has brought down almost every tragic hero in literature and will likely be our undoing as well.
Listen to the language. Palmer "takes" — not kills — magnificent wild creatures as if they are his private possessions. Like a wobbly hunter loaded with buckshot, Trump sprays abusive language at anyone he deems his lesser, which is everyone. And the FFWCC, which sold more than 1,000 licenses to kill 320 bears? Chairman Richard Corbett, a mall developer, fired this gem at opponents: "Those people don't know what they're talking about."
The arrogance is sickening but not, sadly, surprising. Hubris left unchecked destroys men, kingdoms, nations and, potentially, worlds. But only if we let it.
Deborah Van Pelt, Tampa
Sewage flows into bay | Aug. 11
Water dump raises questions
The recent news that partially treated sewage was discharged into Tampa Bay was explained as the consequence of extraordinary amounts of rainfall that exceeded the system's capacity. The first question that came to mind is what part of the system's capacity is designed for ordinary demands, and what part of the total is designed for demands that exceed "ordinary"? When was "ordinary" established and is that calculation current? How much capacity sits on top of "ordinary" and what kinds of extraordinary events is that excess capacity designed to deal with? Are those calculations based on current science or on outdated assumptions, e.g. 100-year floods that are happening every 10 years?
St. Petersburg has a long history of being a dime short and a day late in building and maintaining its infrastructure. The latest economic argument against that kind of government inertia is the calculation of repairing, replacing and then paying for the consequent additional damage caused by shortsighted and weak political leadership. Are we ahead of the curve? Or is the better question, how far behind it are we?
Roger C. Benson, St. Petersburg