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Letters to the Editors

Chasco pageant is not history; it's forklore, fiction

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 17, 2002

Editor: Chasco pageant teaches children racism, bigotry? Who are these confused people who look at a child's play, a piece of fiction, and see an act of racism?

An old man scripts a story that was passed down through the years, and a pageant grows from this over the years that children and grownups enjoy and look forward to its return. A group of people come along, call themselves champions of Native People, and develop a self-serving agenda, and they are going to push their agenda on the majority? I don't think so!

When one asks the visiting Native Americans who come here to New Port Richey each year to take part in the Chasco pageant, do these people represent you? The answers are, "No," and "We never heard of them."

Remember that Mark Twain was subjected to the same nonsense over someone's belief that he was a racist because he wrote the "N" word more than 35 times in the book Huck Finn. Twain penned every day language in his story, and to the more intelligent people, he was credited with pointing out racism of the day, a far cry from being a racist!

Complaining about the Chasco Pageant is akin to tall people being offended over the Paul Bunyan Pageant in Minnesota. I ask the objectors to understand that this is a piece of folklore, a fairy tale and not history. In other words, do something constructive like get a life!
-- James W. Coakley, New Port Richey

More numbers for school debate

Editor: So a "committee composed of high-ranking county staffers" will stop the construction of the $21-million Bishop McLaughlin High School unless the enrollment is held at 425. Why? Because attendance above that will increase traffic on U.S. 19 by 13 cars a day. Unbelievable!

Why doesn't this high ranking group of people be honest enough to say they just don't want a new high school in Pasco County? Why not just admit that it would take 800 students out of the public schools?

However, there is a simple solution. This committee of high ranking county staffers could set up booths at the Pasco-Hernando border and stop 13 snowbirds from Canada. Or, better yet, send back a couple of dozen from New York-New Jersey, and leave plenty of room for the McLaughlin students on U.S. 19. That would set well with many Pasco residents. Imagine only 69,976 cars instead of 70,000 on U.S. 19. Just kidding.

I took a survey of student travel on U.S. 19. There are now 83 public school students that use U.S. 19. However, when Bishop McLaughlin High School opens, 23 of these public school students will transfer to McLaughlin and no longer use U.S. 19, leaving plenty of room for the additional 13 students. How did I come up with those figures? I imagined them, just like the "high-ranking county staffers" must have imagined theirs.

Thirteen more cars on U.S. 19. Horrible! Unbelievable! Stop the presses! Stop the fundraising! Stop the construction!
-- Wayne E. Smith, New Port Richey

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