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Letters to the Editors

Idealism of recycling will result in real cost to residents

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002

Editor: Re: County's recycling effort goes curbside, May 13 Times:

So, ZIP Code 34608 is going to be the starting point for our recycling efforts in Hernando. Let's break this whole thing down:

Residents have been furnished their own bins. We start with two. How many will we end up with? And where in the world are we expected to keep these things? For those who have large garages unencumbered with yard sale junk or cars, we can set those bins side-by-side along the wall taking up all that space for the occasional plastic jugs or cans. Then will come bins for paper, bins for white glass, bins for colored glass, bins for regular trash, etc. A whole army of bins.

But what about those folks who live in apartments? I guess the bins would make nice decorator items in the hallway? And what of the folks with only carports, or with no room in their garages? I guess they have to stay outside attracting squirrels, rats, opossums, raccoons, feral cats, roving dogs, etc. That's what I'd want in my yard -- a whole menagerie of flea-infested and possibly rabid creatures. How nice.

Let's not stop here. Let's go on to the comment that slipped somewhat innocuously into the text of the article. Virtually no one has complained about the bins and "the county will pick up the $225,000 recycling bill . . . the goal is to make people comfortable with toting recycling bins . . ."

So, that's the gig, huh? Get you all softened up and comfy with all these bins, after which they stick the knife in and tell you, "So sorry, you now have to pay an additional monthly fee for this privilege." I wonder how many howls of outrage there will be then? How many politicians will promise to make available tax dollars to the elderly and indigent so they can "recycle and save the environment."

Then, after the hook is set and Waste Management Inc. has the whole county under its control, we will hear about the need for additional manpower. It is much more manpower-intensive to have to gather not only bags of trash, but also a half-dozen different tote bins.

How much will residents be nailed for the replacement cost of one of these bins? It won't be long before someone starts to steal them or they break, or get damaged beyond repair. Today I have an option. I can use plastic bags or recycle mulch bags, into which I put my trash. That option will soon disappear to me and it will be mandated I use tote bins.

What guarantee do we have that Waste Management will, in fact, recycle all this material when it gets to the landfill, rather than burying it? There are quite a few stories out there of failed recycling attempts in communities where they could find no buyers for the material. This forced the waste companies to bury the trash. Well, if that's going to happen, let's just keep what we've got and not subject residents to this fiasco.

Remember, this mandate to recycle 30 percent or 50 percent of our trash was made by politicians interested only in looking good to their constituents and showing them they care. Where are the oversight mechanisms, the checks and balances to make sure this actually occurs? Or will it be a simple matter of mandating something, patting oneself on the back for having "protected Mother Earth" and then looking the other way when no such thing actually takes place?

Let's keep going: How long after we, as a captive audience, get told that due to the new recycling measures, the waste company needs to buy new trucks with multiple bins for the different material? Guess who pays for that?

And then how long will it be before we're told that since customers are leaving cans and glass items filled with obnoxious materials, we will be made to wash them all thoroughly prior to putting them in the tote bin? Watch out! Here come the water restrictions! Ooops! Our commissioners didn't think of that, did they? So, then we'll have brown lawns, but sparkling trash.

Then, of course, you will have those customers who will still insist on putting dirty items in the bins. "So sorry, we have to fine you if your bins are mixed or if the cans/bottles/paper are dirty."

Who really thought all this out? If we do not control this beast the next thing you'll hear will be a huge sucking sound -- that of your wallet being vacuumed out of your back pocket.

If recycling is so important, there are plenty of bins in Spring Hill, plus you also can go to the county dump. Use them.

But, no, I guess we will all have to pay for the idealism of a few who get all warm and fuzzy inside thinking they are doing something to improve the environment. Please, don't force me to pay for not just your idealism, but also a soon-to-be-outrageous fee for something I will be given no guarantees will actually take place.
-- Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill

Negative comments about Jeff Stabins unwarranted

Editor: Re: Watch what you say; that senator's my mother, May 15 letter to the editor from Lori Brown:

I would like these people to stop writing letters about former state Rep. Jeff Stabins. I have known Mr. Stabins for years, and he is a very nice, educated man.

I think that when you refer to people's private lives it is very impolite and dirty, especially the letter from Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite's daughter. What is it of her business about Mr. Stabins being stopped by the police in New York City? At that time, DUI laws were not strictly enforced. The second time he was taking sinus medication and he drank a couple of drinks. Big deal!

Please leave Mr. Stabins alone. At no time did he hurt anybody in Hernando County. The only thing he did was not let Brown-Waite make a string puppet out of him and tell him what to do, like she usually does.

What has state Rep. David Russell Jr., whom you praise so much in your letter, ever done for Hernando County? Let motorcycle drivers ride without helmets? Whenever they have an accident, they leave their brains all over the road.

Please stop your pens and leave Mr. Stabins alone. I have been a campaigner for many years in this county. I know the good ones and the bad ones. And believe me, Brown-Waite is not a saint.
-- Rachael Rodriguez, Spring Hill

Ignoring best candidate for governor was irresponsible

Editor: Re: Democrats skewer governor at dinner, May 20 Times:

I attended the Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner honoring Alfred A. McKethan as "Citizen of the Century." Then I read staff writer Dan DeWitt's article. The article could not be reconciled to the events at the dinner.

The article covered candidates for governor Bill McBride and Janet Reno.

The failure to cover remarks by Congresswoman Karen Thurman, candidate for agriculture commissioner Dr. Andy Michaud and candidate for attorney general Buddy Dyer was inappropriate.

However, the complete disregard for Daryl Jones, also a candidate for governor, was truly egregious.

I had my back to the speakers and after hearing all the candidates for governor, Jones was by far the best.

He laid out his resume and his program eloquently and spelled out Bush's many failures in totality.

To truly ignore Jones is far from complete and accurate reporting.
-- Boris A. Stephen, Brooksville

Gun opponent continues to distort the truth

Editor: Re: Senator ignores danger of gun shows, May 6 letter to the editor:

Once again Arthur Hayhoe is distorting the truth. It is disconcerting, however, that he regularly gets his letters published with all his distortions included.

Upon checking with my staff, several members from both parties and the staff director of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, I found that Mr. Hayhoe has never provided the information he is claiming he supplied about terrorists buying guns at gun shows in Florida.

The "volumes of briefs" he claims he mailed to me and others on the committee were never received by the senators from either party I have checked with.

If Mr. Hayhoe and his group had "volumes of proof" of illegal gun show purchases by terrorists that he claims he sent to the members, he should get his money back from the mail service he used because no Senate member I have spoken to ever received this information, nor did they meet with Mr. Hayhoe.

We held several public hearings, and at no time did the Floridians for Gun Safety ever request to present any information to the committee.

Mr. Hayhoe and another member of his group did stop by my office to discuss general gun control issues.

They also voiced their opinions to my aide about a photo of me examining a weapon.

Gun safety is an admirable thing, and all gun owners and non-gun owners support that cause.

Mr. Hayhoe has taken the liberty of using that name for his organization when he really should call the group the "We Want to Really Outlaw All Firearms in America Coalition."

Yes, I strongly support the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to own firearms, as do a majority of Americans.

Mr. Hayhoe has his agenda, and we regularly disagree on this issue. However, this time, I am not sitting by and allowing him to publicly distort the truth.
-- Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, Senate District 10

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