Today's Letters: Politics prevail in Wal-Mart vote

Published May 17, 2007

Re: Tide turns against Wal-Mart May 13 story

That was quite an ominous photograph of Anna Liisa Covell of the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on the front page. It was befitting of the commission's attitude. If she thought the County Commission's vote at the Wal-Mart hearing was political, her department is right there among the rest of them.

Time and again, the P&Z muscles its way to give just cause for every decision made. Its members seem to have the idea that their decisions are just and right and should not be questioned. Their attitude suggests the commissioners' job responsibilities should be restricted to invocations and community service recognitions. Public hearings would have no harm or good.

This isn't the first time I've noticed blatant disregard from P&Z officials toward the county commissioners. Specifically, during the hearing for Hickory Hill's entry into the political influence of Hernando County, there was a moment when the verdict was all but said; the camaraderie between a commissioner and a teacher was a shock to Commissioner Diane Rowden, as it was to some of us who attended the hearing April 26. The lady panicked, visually shaken and distraught about a totally unexpected decision. Commissioner Rowden made a respectful attempt to maintain her composure. She sought out answers to questions that may have been no longer pertinent, but Ron Pianta, planning director, became quite obstinate toward her persistence at trying to understand the outcome. The poor man got so flustered to the point where he was speechless; he didn't know what to say. I guess he thought his word was final and she was no longer entitled to grill him; her three minutes were up. It had been a long day, but that's no excuse. I'm sure very few spectators remember who it was or what he said, but an interloper's kindness toward Commissioner Rowden was the most appropriate moment of the day.

The Planning and Zoning Commission should be proud of its Hickory Hill victory; it was done their way. The P&Z gives itself autonomy and is intent on having another Wal-Mart in Hernando County exactly where the petitioner wants it.

Our commissioners are aware that Wal-Mart is the number one taxpayer in the county and they want to accommodate another retail location.

Is it out of the question for Wal-Mart to back down from a legal solution for just a little while to see if someone can come up with a compromise? Perhaps another location that is less intrusive to residents? Am I to assume this can't be done?

In the meantime, Ms. Covell, you can be reassured that politics abound in every nook and cranny of Hernando County government.

Ron Rae, Spring Hill

Spring Hill needs tornado sirens

"The Kansas town was obliterated after only 20 minutes warning from the tornado warning sirens, " the CNN reporter intoned. Nine people were killed and many more were injured.

In the two years I've lived in Spring Hill, I've wondered, with concern, why we don't have such a warning system. What would be the destruction if we were hit by a tornado at night, when televisions were quiet? How many lives would be lost unnecessarily for lack of a siren system?

All the places I have lived have been protected by sirens and I know the cost is minimal. I strongly believe it is time for the appropriate governmental agency to put a warning system in place.

Dale Joan Freundlich

Spring Hill

Law enforcement deserves praise

May has been declared Law Enforcement Awareness Month. This week is Law Enforcement Appreciation Week and Tuesday was Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Our committee is proud of all our law enforcement officers in Hernando County and throughout the U.S. They are on the job 24 hours a day in all kinds of weather and in whatever situation they are called to. They are willing to risk their lives to "serve and protect" their community and safeguard its citizens.

We honor the memory of Hernando County Deputies Lonnie Coburn and Michael Stegner, who dedicated their lives and paid the ultimate price to "serve and protect."

It takes a special person to wear the uniform and bear the title of Law Enforcement Officer. We give your thanks and sincere appreciation to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, Brooksville Police, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They are our true heroes.

Mickey Cook, founder/chairperson of Committee Against Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers, Brooksville

Your voice counts

We welcome letters from readers for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to www.tampabay.com/letters and fill in the required information. Type your letter in the space provided on the form, specify that you are writing the Hernando 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) 754-6133, or mail it to: Letters to the Editor, Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613.

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