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Time to take on FCAT, NCLB

Letters to the Editor
Published March 2, 2007


The Pasco School Board took the right action by rejecting the demoralizing STAR plan. Pasco schools sent a message that they will not be bought and paid for; Pasco schools will do what is right for our teachers and students.

Now, let's take on the FCATs and No Child Left Behind. These are two political products that do not have a clue about the dynamics in the classroom or what it takes to improve the education of our kids.

Marc J. Yacht, Hudson


Hire nonunion employees only? 

Union asks more pay for less work, Feb. 27 letter

If fire rescue workers get paid $65,000 a year for working only 122 days a year I believe that they are already far overpaid. Workers outside of government work twice as many days and are lucky to get half the pay of the fire rescue workers.

Certainly, the fire rescue workers are paid enough to pay for their own and their families' sickness costs.

I'm not sure what their duties are. Do they have to enter burning buildings?

Perhaps the county should hire only nonunion employees. The taxpayers can't be too happy with the overpaid union employees. The taxpayers have to pay all the costs out of far smaller incomes.

The county commissioners represent the taxpayers and the taxpayers are the enemy that the unionized government employees are unionized against. If the unionized employees get to vote on their wages and benefits so should "we the people" - the taxpayers.

Certainly the government employees have the right to join a union but the taxpayers also have the right to not recognize or deal with those unions.

Charles Derer, Hudson


Insurance needs to be cheaper 

Union asks more pay for less work, Feb. 27 letter

I am a veteran with Pasco County Fire Rescue and I have seen many great people leave this department after they are trained. Other departments are benefitting from the revolving door in this county.

I believe fully paid health insurance is not what we are seeking. It is cheaper insurance.

As far as pay goes, currently we are way below the standards surrounding us. Do not insult the captains of this department as to their worth. The letter writer has no idea about what their job is about or the responsibility on their shoulders.

We have never had a on-duty fire death in Pasco County. I think that in it self is worth 20 percent.

I also never remember myself or any of my co-workers refusing the 2.5 percent raise. I do remember someone stating we don't get it. How does a good employee go about getting this 7.5 percent merit raise? I have heard of it but never have seen one.

Rick Someillan, Lacoochee


Letter an insult to all residents 

Union asks more pay for less work, Feb. 27 letter

I have been in the EMS field for 18 years, a Florida paramedic since 1993, and a nationally registered paramedic for 10 years. I also carry a Colorado paramedic certification. I have worked in Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Lake and Pinellas counties.

The letter was not only insulting to the men and women of Pasco County Fire Rescue, but to the people of Pasco County. Have you ever had an EMS job in the field? Have you ever had to work overtime because the office was short? Have you ever had to work overtime because you had to make ends meet, and work a second job? Have you ever worked for 24 hours or 48 hours in a row? In the rain, cold, storms? Have you ever had to choose between going to your child's activity, or taking overtime for the bills? How much of your family life have you missed because of your job?

Those of us in the EMS field are here because we chose to be; for us it is a calling, a career, not just a job. The EMS profession is woefully underpaid nationwide, and especially in Florida.

EMS is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If our shift falls on a holiday, we must work. Weekends, too. We have given up our family life, social life and many precious moments in our children's and family's life to do what we have been called to do. To say that we are asking too much for higher wages is ludicrous.

I have a challenge for county personnel director Barbara De Simone. Why doesn't she take two weeks and ride shifts with crews from stations 11, 12, 17, or 19? Eat when they eat, sleep when they sleep, go home when they go home. If they are mandated or need to work extra, she should stay, too. It does not matter what was planned for the next day. Reschedule it. We do. After two weeks, I dare her to look in the faces of the Pasco County Fire Rescue men and women, and tell them that they do not deserve more compensation.

Laura Smith, New Port Richey


Serve time and then move on 

Man regrets refusing jury duty, Feb. 24 story

So the kid who didn't "want to sit and listen to other people's problems" is on the other side of the jury box now. I hope he doesn't expect others to feel sorry for him and listen to his problem.

Mr. Harrell should suck it up, serve his 15 days, take the felony, and take personal responsibility for his actions.

The judge told him what would happen if he did not serve. Without doing much thinking, Mr. Harrell accepted his fate. Then he is surprised when he couldn't post bail and just walk out? The mother's excuse that "he didn't understand the consequences of his actions" doesn't fly. How can someone 19 years of age not understand "serve jury duty or go to jail?" He was more concerned with himself than his civic duty, part of being a citizen in this country, plain and simple.

There are millions of people trying to get into this country to have the rights and privileges you were born with. You want to disregard what doesn't seem convenient to you at the time. Maybe you can trade citizenship with someone who wants to be here, and wouldn't mind sitting on a jury.

Dave Scott, Port Richey


Having stores nearby is nice 

Thrift store does not belong here, Feb 14 letter

I was appalled at the attitude of the letter writer. He feels his area is too upscale for a Salvation Army thrift store. His neighborhood will have unsavory and homeless people around. Let me tell you, homeless people are not comfortable hanging around upscale people. The truth of the matter is the residents don't want any large, commercial use near their homes.

The same is true when Wal-Mart and Home Depot want to put up a store. Nobody wants it in their back yard, but they don't mind going to someone else's back yard to shop.

The writer should feel fortunate he has a nice home in a nice area. My home in Holiday is special to me, too, but I don't mind the Salvation Army thrift store near me nor the Home Depot, Publix and Walgreen's. I love it. I don't have to drive far to any of the stores. I can hardly pass the Salvation Army store without stopping to check out what they have and I'll be at the store in Wesley Chapel as soon as it opens.

Ruth Vinson, Holiday


Sales tax increase is a worthy idea

The idea of a sales tax increase over property tax elimination is a good idea. Although I have not read how much of this increase is paid for by nonresidents and tourists, it must be substantial.

Also, if for some reason I had to take a pay cut for myself, I would find a way to survive. Pasco County commissioners find a way to survive like your constituents would have to if they had less money to work with.

Robert Clark, Port Richey


Two other books for consideration 

It helps to be reminded of a higher power, Feb. 28 column

After Mindy Rubenstein has renewed her acquaintance with the Old Testament, she might care to find out how the disjointed fantasy of the Pentateuch was cobbled together from several sources. Harold Bloom makes a strong case for its origin in both The Book of J and The Western Canon, in which he posits that it began life as children's fiction by a woman in Solomon's court.

Nick Hobart, New Port Richey


Road memorials shouldn't be there

I don't understand how local governments or even the state allow all these memorials to people who have died along a street or highway. Personally, homage should be paid at the grave site and is a very private matter. Seeing all these crosses, flowers and messages are very marked and certainly not a tribute to the deceased persons' memory.

I hope city and state officials remove said sites. They have no place on public property. I'm sure the majority of the public feels offended by having to be exposed everywhere you drive.

Whatever the reason, though unfortunate, why expose your personal grief to all who have no connection or concern?

Jean Parker, New Port Richey


Act of kindness at Sweetbay

I had an amazing experience this week at the Kash-n-Karry (Sweetbay) store on Mitchell Road. I am the career specialist at J.W. Mitchell High School, and I was in the store one morning before school purchasing doughnuts and juice for a morning meeting. As I was in the check-out line, the gentleman in front of me asked me if I was a teacher (I was wearing my school ID badge) and if these items were for my class. I said, yes, they were, and then he asked me if I had to pay for them out of my own pocket, and I again said yes.

He then insisted on paying for these items for my students. I thanked him several times, but was so absolutely stunned, I didn't ask for his name. The clerk and I tried to figure out his name from the credit card signature to no avail. On behalf of the 40 J.W. Mitchell High School seniors who enjoyed doughnuts and juice that morning, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the generous gentleman in the white Sequoia. He absolutely made my day! Thank you for your random act of kindness!

Michele Chamberlin, New Port Richey


[Last modified March 2, 2007, 06:59:05]

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