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Today's Letters: Mentally ill still face prejudice

Published March 7, 2007


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

Did it ever occur to Greg Hamilton that Mr. Couey may indeed be "sick?"

Insinuating that the Public Defenders 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, Mr. Hamilton, "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 that suffers severe prejudice and is now even ignored by our supposedly open-minded press with further ridicule.

James V. Mathieu, Port Richey

Re: Commissioners try to keep lid on spending, Gary Bartell guest column Feb. 26

Give credit where it's due on budget

As a concerned taxpayer and resident of Citrus County, I was surprised and mystified at Commissioner Gary Bartell's guest column in the Feb. 26 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. He has attempted to take credit for suggesting implementation of the zero-based budget process. This is and will be a process to save taxpayers money, improve services, and increase restraint in budgets and cost increases.

The person and group that have been advocating for a zero-based budget process for several years, and I emphasize several years, are Morris Harvey and his Fiscal Watch Committee, which is a division of the Citrus County Council.

Mr. Bartell should have noted that in his column. Taxpayers in Citrus County should be aware that Morris Harvey is the recognized ombudsman for the citizens of Citrus County. He has always advocated fiscal restraint and savings in all Citrus County departments. Commissioners Joyce Valentino and Vicki Phillips have been very helpful to the Fiscal Watch Committee; they recognized the value of zero-based budgeting long ago.

Robert Geffken, Beverly Hills

Efforts fall short of cutting costs

The editorial response that Commissioner Gary Bartell presented on Feb. 26 is, contrary to what he says, indicative of an attitude that is trapped within "the box."

There is a sizable difference between efforts to review expenditures and eliminating wasteful expenditures. Thinking "outside the box" would involve decisions to not spend. The concept of prioritizing falls short of the goals citizens are demanding.

I have always felt that if I had a multimillion-dollar estate in the Bahamas I would be safe from terrorism, but I realize the difference between finding "other funding mechanisms" and doing without - something the commissioners should consider.

Maybe it would be prudent if, instead of having a "Capital Improvement Planning Workshop," they had an Overhead Reduction Planning Workshop. Rather than looking for more ways to spend money, look for ways to stop spending as much as they do now. Rather than having a commission meeting to "educate the public" they could have a meeting to educate the commissioners.

Now, that would be "thinking outside the box"!

Steve Brown, Inverness

Re: Deputies: Sleepover was a ruse Feb. 23

Girls' behavior is disgusting

My name is Desiree Crocker and I attend Crystal River High School. I heard about this incident and I was appalled. This was the most petty and stupid thing I have ever heard, and this is ridiculous. It was none of their business if (the victim) was cheating on her boyfriend. They had no right to beat her up, and I feel so sorry for this poor girl. These girls need to grow up and get a life because once they get to high school and try the same stuff they may find themselves in the same shoes as the victim.

This video just leaves me speechless and disgusted at the thought that someone could do this.

Desiree Crocker, Homosassa

Re: Saga of property insurance smacks of shell games, letter by Frank Hill

Industry is just doing business

Mr. Hill swings at the insurance industry piata for its nasty tendency to continually raise rates on homes in the hurricane belt, failing to provide any evidence that these businesses are behaving differently from any profit-seeking corporation.

Yes, insurance companies employ a team of risk analysts and actuaries to develop rates that allow both coverage of customers and profit for the company. And yes, they have increased rates across Florida as payouts and legal fees have increased in past years. And yes, they have made a bundle following this strategy, not only in Florida but also across the country.

Their success, however, does not license homeowners like Mr. Hill to demand that these companies burden themselves with the risk he assumed when he chose to buy 10 homes in Florida. Insurance companies, like any business, should be allowed to charge rates based on their analysis of past events and the fair market value of their product. Aside from Mr. Hill's rosy prediction that there is money to be made by charging low insurance rates in a high-risk area, there is little evidence to suggest Floridians should not be paying extra to protect their beach bungalows.

Anna Henderson, Tampa

Senator is out for personal gain

I was so disappointed in State Sen. Nancy Argenziano's choice to seek a seat on the Public Service Commission. It indicates to me that this woman is purely seeking personal gain through "public service."

She is paid "only" $32,000 as a state senator? Her actions clearly spell out two desires: financial gain and power. What is the next "political plum" awaiting, Nancy?

Please do the job I voted for you to do.

Vince Vukelich, Inverness

Your voice counts

We welcome letters from readers for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to and fill in the required information. Type your letter in the space provided on the form, specify that you are writing the Citrus 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) 860-7320, or mail it to Letters to the Editor, Citrus Times, 301 W Main St., Inverness, FL 34450.

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 and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

[Last modified March 6, 2007, 19:41:46]

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