Today's Letters: Merger shifted coalition's agenda

Published May 16, 2007

Re: Child care coalition oversight chief resigns May 11 story

Staff writer Lisa Buie's article stirred some memories of a Pasco Hernando Early Learning Coalition board gone bad. Note this minor correction: I had left the board shortly before Jim Garrett resigned. I was already off the board when I wrote my third column about the coalition. I had called for the executive board to step down in two of my columns.

In all fairness to Jim Garrett, he did an excellent job for Pasco County before the merger. I was part of the team that hired him. The trouble began immediately with the merger. I, like Dave Marshall, will always regret supporting that merger.

I left the board because it became clear that a clique of voters on the board took control of the agenda. Lisa Hammond allowed this to occur and, of course, the board quickly broke down. The agenda had two elements; the first was to get the money away from public schools and place it in faith-based pre-K programs. They accomplished removing the money but never could find enough programs to commit the surplus. I still feel the anguish of those services that were sacrificed to poor children for that deliberate effort. Those services included an array of classrooms throughout the county, certified teachers, transportation, medical care, family services and meals. Ironically, the coalition ultimately gave the surplus money away.

The second item on the agenda was to break the contract with Youth and Family Alternatives; they backed off an initial effort and patiently waited for the contract to end, then associated with another contractor. The county recognized this and to my knowledge has never supported the new contractor. It should be noted it was George Magrill and Youth and Family Alternatives that was responsible for a stellar Pasco Coalition before the merger.

The real culprit is Hammond and her failed leadership as chairwoman of the board. Jo-Ann Fuller was just a good soldier. Hammond allowed herself to be influenced by the Office of Early Learning and the Agency for Workforce Innovation, who pulled the strings on how they wanted money spent locally. For that office to investigate problems was ludicrous. There should have been an outside audit, but that could never occur during Gov. Jeb Bush's tenure. After all, the agenda for the coalitions came out of his administration. In fairness, I can speak only for our coalition.

If there is a solution to all this, it is to give Pasco its own coalition. Originally, Pasco accepted Hernando County as a partner because it did not have enough Hernando children to stand alone as a coalition. Who could have anticipated the deliberate actions that ultimately fractured the board?

Hammond should go and the executive board be reformed.

Marc J. Yacht, Hudson

Re: Innocuous touch, or battery? May 11 story

Incidents show pattern of trouble

The article about the criminal complaint filed against David Pugh Sr. by Brooksville council member Richard Lewis caused me real concern. It appears the content of this article was based on the comments of the friends of Mr. Pugh and they have attempted to paint Mr. Lewis in a negative light.

The city attorney stated in this article that Mr. Lewis had "completely embellished" the incident and fabricated information. It must be noted that Mr. Lewis had attempted to have the city attorney dismissed from his position at the City Council meeting earlier in the evening; possibly that is the reason he made such outlandish statements to the reporter.

I had a similar incident happen to me. Several months ago, before a Brooksville City Council meeting, Mr. Pugh came at me in a very hostile fashion attempting to bully me. I did not agree with the actions of his son, the mayor, and thank goodness my husband was there to intercede on my behalf to stop this aggressive behavior.

Another incident occurred not long ago with two elderly ladies at City Hall. These ladies were in a conference room listening to recordings of prior council meetings when Mr. Pugh barged into the room, screaming at them. These ladies had to call for help to have him removed from the room.

This offensive behavior by Mr. Pugh has reached a point it can no longer be ignored. Councilman Lewis needs to be commended for having the foresight to walk away from this incident with Mr. Pugh and file the proper complaint to authorities.

Anna Liisa Covell, Nobleton

Re: Illness claims Kay Adams, utilities chief May 12 story

Department will miss Kay Adams

Kay Adams was a great lady, and a smart lady. She surrounded herself with highly qualified people and she was aware of every facet of the Hernando County Utilities Department, including its current status and the many plans for the future.

She briefed the Communications Advisory Committee periodically and the updates were informative and interesting. God bless Kay Adams.

Nick Morana, Spring Hill

Put good nursing before profits

Our nation recently observed Nurses Week. Women and men of compassion spend time, energy and money to qualify as nurses. Regrettably, the health care delivery system does not allow them always to practice nursing. Consequently, too many nurse a grievance.

It is a system that once was a service to all sick and injured, regardless of ability to pay. Then it became a business. Now it is an industry where shareholders' profits dominate. The patient became a consumer and now is a statistic.

There is no shortage of nurses, as employers claim. The shortage is in ability to make best use of the nurses available. Further, nursing vacancies sometimes are not filled to save money. Thereby, extra stress is put on employed nurses. Some leave for other nursing jobs and some leave the profession.

Registered nurses, hugging the nurses station, spend much of their time in administrative tasks. Reimbursement must be obtained for every aspirin tablet issued. Licensed practical nurses administer medications. Nursing assistants provide bedside care when summoned by the patient. Too often the patient is seen as a bundle of symptoms, diagnoses, tests, examinations, medications and procedures.

Increasingly, nurses are becoming physician assistants. There is extensive documentation for protection against liability and malpractice suits. It leaves little or no time for nurses to provide physical and emotional comfort for the patients and families. Such are in a strange environment apprehensive about outcome of care. Again, technicians perform many routine procedures once performed by nurses.

Sadly, the noble profession of nursing, so rich in tradition, likely will be driven into extinction by the powerful entrepreneurial machine.

James A. Willan, Brooksville

Re: An art buff's colorful journey May 14 story

News-free stories not appropriate

I am beginning to wonder about you guys.

For one of the best newspapers in the United States, your front page story Sunday (Introducing Susan) and the referenced article in the Hernando Times on Monday were a little tabloid, don't you think?

I mean, I'm a liberal and a live-and-let-live kind of person, but do we really need to see a picture of Steve Stanton in skirt and heels on the front page above the fold? Are there more important things going on to write about?

And the article about the woman who paints with her breasts and her "sexy" home was more appropriate for the personals! Honestly, it was all a bit much for a Monday.

Fran Hutchinson, Spring Hill

Tankless heater conserves water

Several letters to the editor have commented on wasting water, in that the water heater is located a considerable distance from a tap or shower.

There is a product available that is a pump that can be installed under a lavatory or sink at the most distant point from the water heater. When a button is pushed the pump will circulate the water back to the heater. When a preselected temperature is reached the pump will shut off automatically. See www.chilipepperapp.com.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with this company. But I have had one of these for about a year and it works great.

Phil Sanchez, Brooksville

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