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Bus drivers need help, volunteers

Letters to the Editor
Published January 29, 2007


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Big yellow buses get extra eyes Jan. 22 story

First, we appreciate staff writer Tom Marshall's article. Hopefully it will generate some interest for our bus buddy program at Pine Grove Elementary School. However, there are a few things we'd like to add.

Not only are we on the bus to deter discipline problems and do a little mentoring, but we also hope to serve as a safety feature for bus drivers trying to navigate our increasing traffic and keep 30 to 70 children in order.

As for the discipline issue, to our knowledge, there are solid figures on the bus discipline at the schools. In some cases, they account for almost 50 percent of the school's discipline. Check out a school's School Improvement Plan; this usually is a big issue. With this being the case, it isn't a stretch to understand how children bring their anxieties from the bus to the classroom to testing, which affects the rating of the school and ultimately the funding and mandates from the state and ultimately the federal level. If you doubt the connections, ask a teacher.

Reports of misbehavior in 2000 prompted the school system to spend money on bus cameras. That doesn't sound like there is only "a minority of drivers with management problems." Imagine, an average elementary classroom has approximately 20 students with one teacher in a classroom. That's manageable. A lone bus driver has 30 to 70 restless students on a moving vehicle, navigating traffic and maintaining order. You bet that sounds like a management problem.

The problem is, these bus drivers need assistance, and not because they are inadequate - they are overwhelmed. Would it be a bad thing for the drivers to "grow dependent" on the bus monitors? Why does Mrs. Smith feel that way? Is she concerned that sufficient volunteers will not step up? Is she concerned that the need and benefit will be evident and then be mandated to be funded?

Well, fellow community members, now is your chance to make a difference and keep it cost effective. Couldn't we, as a community, find enough volunteers to take one hour a day, or even a month, to give back to our children something that will make even a small difference in their lives?

Because the very rewarding part is that when you walk away from that bus, you know that maybe there's one child who has a ray of hope that day because you smiled, complimented him or her and said, "Have a good day."

Maggie Mercier, Brooksville

Blame high rates on Fasano, Legg Jan. 23 letter to the editor

Praise, don't bash Fasano, Legg

In his letter to the editor, Richard Nicks blames Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg for the sinkhole insurance crisis. Instead of giving these two legislators credit for proposing and passing a solution to the problem in the recently ended special legislative session, he makes a totally off-the-wall remark that Republicans somehow sided with the insurance industry and not the consumer. This is so far from the truth it is ridiculous.

The session ended with the overwhelming bipartisan passage of a homeowner's insurance reform package that includes significant changes to sinkhole insurance coverage. Perhaps Mr. Nicks was not aware that the package mandates that insurers offer catastrophic sinkhole coverage. If a homeowner does not wish to purchase sinkhole coverage, he will have that choice. This choice is no different than choices they have already: choosing a different hurricane deductible, choosing the amount of contents coverage or any other options one's insurer offers. For a homeowner who is at virtually no risk of experiencing a sinkhole, this new option is almost a godsend.

Republicans and Democrats came together to send the governor a comprehensive insurance reform package that will provide significant relief to consumers. Sen. Fasano and Rep. Legg championed the sinkhole issue specifically because of its impact in Pasco and Hernando counties. They deserve our praise and not criticism for their hard work to give homeowners greater choices, and the potential for major rate reductions.

Allan Hunter, New Port Richey

Blame high rates on Fasano, Legg Jan. 23 letter to the editor

Issue is economic, not partisan

I am most surprised that the writer of this letter makes the just-passed homeowner's insurance reform bill a Republican vs. Democrat issue. The Legislature just sent to the governor a conference report that was supported by both parties. Even remarks by the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate stressed the bipartisanship cooperation it took to write and pass this bill.

Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg have worked tirelessly for months to craft language and convince their colleagues on both sides of the aisle just how important it was for the reform package to include needed changes to sinkhole coverage. Their fellow legislators obviously agreed, because 156 of 158 legislators voted in favor of the reforms.

I, for one, applaud Sen. Fasano and Rep. Legg for their efforts. To bring people of both political parties together to agree on something as significant as this is a major accomplishment. This was not a partisan issue; it was a consumer issue, plain and simple.

Ed Collins, Trinity

Hickory Hill plan offers balance Jan. 22 letter to the editor

County's beauty can't be replaced

Brent Whitley painted a glowing picture of the benefits to Hernando County that the proposed Hickory Hill development would bring. What was omitted was the addition of more people to an already overcrowded county.

He mentioned groundwater monitoring; is he prepared to supply the residents of the county with free imported water when the groundwater is depleted because of developments like Hickory Hill? Will there be families with children moving into the houses? Will the developer of Hickory Hill build them a school to relieve the overcrowding in the county schools?

No amount of money can make up for the destruction of what was once a beautiful and pristine county in Florida.

Arthur Waldbusser, Spring Hill

Slavery not main issue in Civil War Jan. 25 letter to the editor

Debunking some Civil War myths

David Anthony gives us some accurate facts in supporting his beliefs regarding the cause of the war between the states. I would like the privilege of replying to some of his statements and assumptions of these facts.

His opening statement of the war having little to do with slavery and more to do with economics and limiting federal control over the states is accurate. His opinion regarding the Union being viewed by the states as being of a voluntary status during that period is somewhat accurate; however, by 1860, this sentiment was largely favored in the South. The North did not share this view of secession that states could just opt out of the Union if they became disenchanted with it. Indeed, the North went to war to keep the Union intact.

Mr. Anthony stated 80 percent of the U.S. economy in 1861 was derived from the South -key word being "derived." By 1860, cotton cloth production was the leading industry in the United States. Southern economic interests were, of course, the farming of cotton, including (and most vitally) the institution of slavery.

The South farmed the cotton, and Northern factories manufactured the goods "derived" from cotton and the labor of slaves. The two regions were dependent on each other: the North needing the raw cotton and the South depending largely on the North for capital and manufactured goods.

His confusing statement regarding slavery lasting until 1880 to 1900 is somewhat disturbing, but in fairness, I'm not exactly sure what he is attempting to imply here. Is he implying 35 more years of slavery would have been no big deal? I believe 31/2 more decades of slavery would have had devastating consequences on the country and most significantly on African-Americans.

Mr. Anthony's account of the Confederate Constitution prohibiting the further importation of slaves was true, but laughable. In 1830, there were 2-million African-American slaves in the country, and at the end of the Civil War in 1865, 4-million were set free. Because children born from slaves were automatically indentured, further importation was not necessary as the slave institution by 1850 could easily sustain itself. Therefore, this declaration of the Confederate Constitution, as well as Mr. Anthony's account of it, is a moot point. If there were a shortage of slaves in the later years, it is because increasingly more slaves were escaping their bondage.

I think Mr. Anthony needs to brush up a little on his studies concerning Jim Crow and the Jim Crow laws. It's true that Jim Crow laws were passed long after the Civil War, but Jim Crow was around long before 1890. Jim Crow was actually a term describing the American racist culture against blacks. It originated as a derogatory way of depicting black people in minstrel shows in the early 1800s. By 1860, the term was used commonly in the nation's vocabulary.

Mr. Anthony, if you do not understand the connection between the display of the Confederate flag and the plight of black Americans today, you fail miserably in recognizing the tragedies from that history. Prejudices take far too long to leave.

Jerry Blomgren, New Port Richey

Your voice counts

We welcome letters from readers for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to tampabay.com/letters and fill in the required information. Type your letter in the space provided on the form, specify that you are writing the Hernando section of the newspaper, and then click "submit." You also may cut and paste a letter that you have prepared elsewhere in your computer.

If you prefer, you may fax your letter to (352) 754-6133, or mail it to: Letters to the Editor, Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613.

All letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and telephone number. When possible, letters should include a handwritten signature. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed. The Times does not publish anonymous letters.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste, length and accuracy. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

[Last modified January 28, 2007, 23:33:11]


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