tampabay.com

Taking a cheap shot at sheriff

Letters to the Editor
Published June 19, 2006


Re: Sheriff may be too nice for his own good, June 11 C.T. Bowen column.

At a time when talented, honest, and conscientious leadership is almost as rare as journalists of the same caliber, C.T. Bowen of the Pasco Times chose to undermine one of those rare leaders. He writes about Pasco County Sheriff Bob White and an alleged mistake he made during a traffic stop.

First of all, I was pleased to see Mr. Bowen give Mr. White credit for working like the rest of his staff. Secondly, as one of Bob White's constituents, I appreciate the mentioning of his personal attributes. The voters in Pasco are obviously aware of them. The line was crossed, however, when Bob White was not-so-subtly likened to a terrorism supporter with the line Bowen quoted from a "newsroom wag'' who I believe should have the integrity to identify himself.

Journalists are well aware of the power they possess to influence public opinion with regard to a situation like this one, so why choose this path? Knowing Mr. White like we do in Pasco, he would accept responsibility instantly for a mistake if he made one.

Clearly, he did, if all of the facts were mentioned.

This editor, however, robbed him of the chance to do so by taking a cheap and commonly sensationalist shot at the event by mentioning not one but the two most infamous terrorists that the media has ever drawn a paycheck from covering. He attempted to make a procedural shortcut seem like an act of treason.

By the way, could we perhaps be given Mr. White's side of the story? Did he have an emergency call during the stop or some other untold circumstance? Give us the whole truth, Mr. Bowen, and spare us the theatrics.

By the way, I'm registered in a different party than Mr. White, but I do take time to know who my leaders are.

-Alex Ritzheimer, Dade City

 

Frustrating dealings with Social Security

Re: Social Security office is on a mental vacation, June 15 letter.

I too have encountered the same lack of success in trying to reach the Port Richey Social Security office. I did try for one week. I called the 800-number and received the same response. I also sent a letter to Social Security and was sent a form that did not pertain at all to the issue. I went personally to the Port Richey office and took a number. There were 63 numbers ahead of mine. I sat and waited for some time. I asked someone behind the window if there was a possibility of making an appointment and was curtly told "No.''

Please understand that I, as well as my husband, are working people. This is a very unacceptable way for our government office to handle issues. If the Social Security office locally cannot handle the volume of people, it may be wise to have a call center, and a mail center, that would be able to take some of the load off the local personnel.

I was handling some important paperwork for my parent who is not able to do same, as she is 91 years old. I took time off work to do all of the above tasks and the issue was never resolved, until a month later when I took a whole day off work and started the process again. Eventually the issue was resolved, but not without much inconvenience and unnecessary time away from my job.

-Connie Damato, New Port Richey

Flag still a cherished symbol for many

Flag Day celebrates the adoption of the American flag as our national symbol. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the stars and stripes design for an American flag. When I was a kid, it was a day to celebrate, to show support for Old Glory, the symbol that followed many brave Americans into battle as they fought and died for our country.

On June 14, Morgan Funeral Home held a ceremony to retire flags that are worn, torn, or damaged. George Morgan sponsored the event. The VFW Post 7987 performed the ceremony. You could see by the way our veterans conducted the rites that this was more than a torn piece of cloth. It was the symbol of what America is. The flag represents the courage, strength and love America has for democracy and what Americans will do and have done to protect it.

It was an honor to attend the ceremony and to see that there are still many who cherish our flag and are willing to do what is needed to keep us free.

-Commissioner Pat Mulieri, Gowers Corner