© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2003
Editor: Re: Widening County Line Road is not the answer, Dec. 26 letter to the editor from Bob Cooper:
Despite the cows one sees while traversing County Line Road, it is no longer a cow path, if indeed it ever was.
Population density and increased vehicular use, due to growth in Hernando County and the opening of the Suncoast Parkway, decrees this road needs widening. Residents in the Preston Hollow community, of which I am one, have lobbied our county commissioners for several years for this. Given the repeated answer that "we cannot stockpile land," the cost of right-of-way has increased exponentially, and will continue to do so.
It would behoove an individual moving into a particular area or community to research impending public works projects; impending meaning immediate or even five, 10, 20 years ahead, as well as the deed restrictions for that area.
Noise abatement barriers are nothing other than ugly, with the exception of vegetation, and the folks in Silverthorn can tell you how well that system works. I certainly would not like to live behind a fortress-like wall, nor would I want my community to be fronted by such a monstrosity.
So, yes, Mr. Cooper, widening County Line Road is the answer.
-- Randi T. Varrone, Spring Hill
Editor: Re: Political farewell is bittersweet, Dec. 29 Times:
I thought the article on former Congresswoman Karen Thurman was an excellent reprise of what she is and has done, especially for Hernando County residents, over the past 10 years as our U.S. representative.
To read in the paper a crass and undignified letter to the editor from Janey Baldwin (Thurman lost it; deal with it, Dec. 31) not only astounded me, but showed me Ms. Baldwin, whom I thought had at least a modicum of class, is really common.
We all know Thurman lost the election, even though she won in Hernando and those counties she represented for the past 10 years. The gerrymandering of the district perpetrated by a partisan Republican committee whose second in command was Ginny Brown-Waite smacks of everything that is wrong in the political process.
Are we supposed to discard our losing political representative, who has done a marvelous job for all of us, on the junk heap of political garbage? Thurman's work should be extolled by anyone who knows her and has worked with her. The Times' excellent article reminded its readers of the positive impact Thurman had on our lives.
Brown-Waite has big shoes to fill, and knowing of her past record I only expect her to be partisan, shrill and politically narrow-cast in her deliberations and actions as our representative. Brown-Waite was elected on the riptide of the Republican effort statewide and nationally. Remember two years ago that other than Al Gore's defeat in Florida, Democrats swept everything. Bill Nelson won the U.S. Senate seat. Thurman was re-elected. The Democrats increased the number of seats in the House.
Ms. Baldwin should remember the political pendulum swings both ways. If I were Brown-Waite, I would work very hard to make sure the citizens and voters of the 5th District don't see that we lost a gem in Thurman and picked up a "fool's gold" representative. I don't understand how Ms. Baldwin can start her letter "With all due respect" and then delve into a diatribe of nonsense, picayune blather and puerile insensitivity.
Lastly, I doubt the editors of the Times are depending on this worthwhile and great followup article on Thurman to increase the newspaper's circulation. I have been in the newspaper business, and one article does not make for a walloping increase in circulation for any newspaper.
-- Dom Cabriele, chairman
Hernando Democratic Party
Editor: Re: Political farewell is bittersweet, Dec. 29 Times:
The article conveys "Shame on the Republican-dominated state Legislature for redistricting Karen Thurman's coveted territory."
I say hogwash! Thurman did it when she was in the Legislature. Did the people crying in their coffee at Dinner Bell's in Dunnellon forget this, or are they poor losers?
Thurman will get a far better pension than her constituents who are retired federal employees. Then-President Jimmy Carter castigated federal employees by having the Windfall Elimination Provision bill passed, allowing federal employees only 40 percent Social Security, even though they earned enough credits before federal service.
I strongly believe Thurman was booted out of office for her lax attitude against former President Bill Clinton. She defended his disgraceful behavior in our White House. She followed the Dick Gephardt agenda and even voted against President Bush's programs after Sept. 11, 2001.
Do I feel sorry for her? Heck no. All politicians are expendable and have to put their voters first, not the party. Give Ginny Brown-Waite a chance, and I promise you she'll do an excellent job. Veterans' groups should invite Brown-Waite to speak to their groups, as I know she's 100 percent behind them.
-- Richard Bradley, Crystal River
Editor: Re: First the party, then the pain, Jan. 5 Times:
It will be very interesting to study new Congress member Ginny Brown-Waite's voting record. The Times reported that her first bill will limit punitive damage awards on medical malpractice cases.
Brown-Waite Ginny must have had quite an epiphany. For years she unsuccessfully fought in Tallahassee for the right of adult children of malpractice victims to be able to sue their parents' doctors. It's amazing what a few hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions can do to change your perspective.
The docs may be Ginny's newest best friends, but they better watch out. Her scalpel is never far from someone's back.
-- Jeff Stabins, Weeki Wachee
Editor: We have just returned from Jacksonville, where we spent the Christmas season, and we would like to comment on the fabled Waldo speed trap.
When we entered U.S. 301 at Waldo, the first sign we saw was one that said, "Speed limits rigidly enforced." As we moved toward Starke, there were numerous signs indicating speed limit changes, but all with sufficient time to make adjustments. Also, we noticed many signs indicating, "Speed reduced ahead."
With the proper use of speed control on the vehicle, one could navigate the distance from Waldo to Interstate 10 with little effort and no fear of being stopped by a trooper.
Incidentally, this was the 24th round trip to Jacksonville, all using the Waldo-Lawtey highways, and we have yet to see an abundance of deputies hiding in bushes or behind signs in order to catch unsuspecting motorists.
-- C.A. Schumacher, Spring Hill
Editor: After a year of petitions and phone calls to the county engineer's office about the traffic and speeding on Meridith Drive, a life has been taken, and there was a near disaster for other people and a home destroyed.
On this street of about one-half a mile with no interruptions, the traffic is now heavier because of more construction and more traffic. Meridith Drive is a north-south street and a feeder to Spring Hill Drive. Speeding has been a problem for quite a while. Numerous animals have been killed. I know because I buried them.
With concern for the welfare of the children and elderly having to walk, or children waiting for the school bus, there are no sidewalks and the street is narrow.
We need something to slow the traffic -- stop signs, speed bumps, whatever -- but something.
-- G.M. De Marco, Spring Hill
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