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Today's Letters: Illness needs help, not ridicule

Published March 4, 2007


If this is a ploy, color it sick March 1 Greg Hamilton column

John Couey needs to be incarcerated and removed from the public so he can be punished and not commit a crime of this nature in the future. But there is another tragedy here. Did it ever occur to Greg Hamilton that Mr. Couey may indeed be sick?

Insinuating that the Public Defender's office is staging this coloring book behavior is a cheap shot. It is also an ethical violation of attorney rules of discipline to promote such fraud upon the court. Did it ever occur to Mr. Hamilton that Mr. Couey may indeed be suffering from a severe mental illness?.

Such a tragedy that a beautiful young girl is brutally murdered. Just try to imagine that the behavior in court of Mr. Couey is a symptom of a tragic illness and perhaps congenital. Where would we place our rage then?

Our rage should be on a society that has ignored our seriously mentally ill and left them to fend for themselves usually disguised as the homeless. Try to have an open mind and revisit the picture in your article of the public defender showing coloring books. I guess if Mr. Couey was being helped with a prosthetic device for a disease, your comments would be different.

Yes, if this is a ploy it is sick, but if it is not a ploy it is tragic. I am not defending Mr. Couey just commenting on society's ignorance of a disease. There is severe prejudice and now mental illness is ridiculed and ignored by our supposedly open-minded press. James V. Mathieu, Port Richey


Fire rescue isn't like other jobs 

Union asks more pay for less work Feb. 27 letter

The letter from personnel director Barb De Simone outlined how Pasco County fire rescue workers are under-worked: only working 122 days per year and overpaid, with their captains making on average $65,000 per year.

What Ms. De Simone failed to share was that a fire rescue employee working 122 days per year works 848 hours more every year than a 40-hour per week employee.

She also reported that if the county were to pay for insurance for fire rescue workers and their families that it would cost $10-million. Wow, that is a lot of money. Fire rescue currently employs about 400 people. Family insurance costs about $800 per month for family coverage. That comes out to about $3.84-million per year, assuming all 400 workers used the insurance. Many are single without children.

I am unsure where she came up with $10-million. The firefighters union negotiates for its members only, not the entire county. Ms. De Simone seems to believe that whatever is given to the fire department has to be given to every county employee. She has on several occasions referred to fire rescue employees as being no different than any other county worker. If this was true, nights, weekends, and holidays would be a bad time to have an emergency.

Fire rescue employees are asking for what has become the industry standard in the surrounding counties. She states Pasco fire rescue workers can't be compared to surrounding fire departments. With overtime being used to cover minimum staffing on a daily basis, this should lead one to believe both current and prospective employees are not having the same comparison problems. Mike Stuiso, New Port Richey

[Last modified March 4, 2007, 07:45:18]

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