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Just can't work up any empathy

Published February 28, 2007


Let's see, the good folks of Wesley Chapel want to continue to pontificate to, criticize and condemn the communities around them on economic issues, zoning, naming of streets and other things. Yet, they live in gated communities with no streets named after civil rights greats, don't want any poor people around, will not get along long enough to form a city and want to control an area of miles around them. They didn't buy up the property near them though collectively they could have afforded it.

Snobbery and sniping, I understand. But, when a community has the wherewithal to prevent and correct its environment, yet still constantly complains about their plight, where is the impetus compelling us to empathize?

Delbert W. Allegood, Zephyrhills

His inquiry took him on a goose chase Feb. 18 story

Water district did all it could to help

The article painted a picture of the Southwest Florida Water Management District as being unhelpful to a resident complaining about tree cutting activities. In fact, although the activities did not fall under the district's jurisdiction, our staff provided the complainant with the contact information for the appropriate agency and also suggested an alternative course to pursue.

The district received multiple calls complaining about tree cutting in the Lake Padgett area. The first call was anonymous. District staff determined that the activities fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection, but we had no way of informing the complainant of this information because he didn't leave a phone number or address.

When he called back a second time, the staff explained that DEP was the appropriate agency to investigate the incident because it involved a single-family home. We also suggested that he contact the county to determine if the responsible party had obtained any necessary permits from the local government. The complainant did contact those two agencies, both of which investigated the activities.

District staff did everything possible to assist the complainant. For the newspaper article to describe the complainant as "getting nowhere" with the district is simply untrue.

Michael Molligan

Communications Director

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Union asks more pay for less work Feb. 27 letter

Negotiator has much to learn

Barbara De Simone, the "chief negotiator for the Pasco County Commission" is either unprofessional or ineffective in her dealings with the IAFF (Fire Rescue Employees). Any professional negotiator should know that negotiating in public is counterproductive. We, the public, are not the ones with whom she has to settle.

She also should know that there is really no big difference between negotiating a contract in the public sector and negotiating one in the private sector. All employees, regardless of where they work, want to work less and get paid more. In both sectors, it costs more to hire and retain good employees. What's new? This seems to be a large surprise to Ms. De Simone.

Money, for contract improvements, has to be found somewhere in both sectors. I would venture to say I could easily find more money to redirect in Pasco County government than in any well-run private company. Give me a week in her operation and we could probably fund good raises for two fire departments.

She also seems to think you can compare a normal eight-hour shift in the private sector with a 24-hour shift in the fire department. She should give it a try for a week and then maybe she would more willing to sit down and do her job instead of complaining about her employees in public.

Finally, quit banging the public about how you will raise property taxes if you don't do your job, Ms. De Simone. The windfall county government has received in recent years continues to be largely squandered. Pretend you are in the private sector. You can't just raise the price of your mediocre product. Surprise, you have to negotiate!

There are lots of ways to reach an agreement and Ms. De Simone needs to start looking for them. Any good mediator could give you a list, which unfortunately it appears, our chief negotiator, desperately needs.

Stephen Smith, Trinity

[Last modified February 28, 2007, 07:04:59]

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