Letters to the Editors
Tax break for seniors should favor poorest
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 5, 2001
Editor: Your editorial addressing a tax exemption for seniors is right on the money. It will be a difficult task to make it equitable. Your suggestion that county commissioners add to social service agency coffers is a great idea, but as you mentioned, won't make a big splash politically, only morally.
Another idea is to tax seniors on the first $25,000 of value, and not the second. This would recognize those who are truly needy and living in less expensive homes. This, too, would keep more of our taxes serving the community.
I would prefer that the County Commission look at this very carefully, keep their heads on straight, and see that all citizens are well served. With an expanding population, expanding services and infrastructure, a tax cut is the last thing we need. Though we are senior citizens, we care about our community's development.
Firefighters' efforts deserve thanks
Editor: I would like to say that I am dismayed at the recent decision the mayor and fellow members of the City Council made to sever the relationship between the city and the members of the San Antonio Volunteer Fire Department. However, I can't believe they are nothing if not predictable.
To date, we have supplied more than two years of reconstructed operating budgets and copies of all checks among other records. The first was unacceptable because it was "just numbers on a piece of paper." The second was unacceptable because the city needs copies of the back of a check as well as the face.
We complied with the request to the best of our volunteers' abilities, all in the name of a financial audit that the city was conducting. Nearly a year later we have yet to see the first professional auditor; however, predictably, it's the volunteers' fault.
So, acting on the city's request, the board and I have delivered every record in the department, in addition to full access to the bank account and complete responsibility for the day-to-day business operation, which the city has refused to accept. I look forward to the next predictable criticism or request for information that does not exist.
If they had just stopped and looked, they would have found what I found years ago: volunteers who should be thanked for what they are able to give. Instead, the city criticizes them for what they are not able to give. Even the most dedicated volunteers grow tired of ungrateful individuals such as city officials.
I hope they find peace from whatever it is that drives them to hurt good people who have dedicated themselves to this department and the community. Since this is an open letter, my apologies to those who have supported and will continue to support the rich tradition of the Volunteer Fire Department. For it is my hope and prayer that we can continue to do so despite diabolical and hateful acts of others.
Give teachers what they need: money
Now that the election rhetoric is over and our government finally gets down to fulfilling campaign promises, what is in store for the educational field? I read where some bonuses were paid and teachers were given computers, etc. But it seems the larger concern should be focused on the real problem of teacher salaries as was so vividly reflected in the article.
Sure, they can get by and still teach, but barely by the skin of their teeth, which entails holding a second job or moonlighting. Does this give our teachers a real opportunity to become the type of quality teachers that our society now demands? We can give students all the modern technology, but we still need the expertise of those overworked teachers to make sure they know the basics.
I believe the time has come to face the issue of bringing the pay of teachers into our modern day lives. Just recently I read that one major league baseball player makes enough in one game ($169,000) to pay the salary of five teachers for a whole year. Is this really what the politicians were talking about when they said we must elevate our educational standards? If it is, let's start at the right place and get teachers' pay where it should be so they don't have to moonlight or hold two jobs.
Incidentally, I am not a teacher but well into retirement, and I think a lot about my grandchildren and their schooling and can only hope that the political rhetoric will come true some day.
Future of our fish deserves coverage
Editor: I have enjoyed the many interesting and informative articles in the Captain's Corner column relative to catching fish. However, I feel that an important ingredient is lacking. How can we protect our fish?
Fishing has always been an enjoyable sport as well as a means of providing food for the table. In recent years the abundant supply has gradually dwindled, and we are warned that eating fish may be hazardous to our health.
Your expertise is needed for direction in developing a program to clean up the pollution of our rivers, bayous and waterways. It is obvious that fish do not reproduce well in polluted water.
Think about this problem during the slow fishing season while you recondition your fishing equipment. Maybe someone will come up with some answers, direction and much needed support.
Pavement plant is ruining neighborhood
Editor: Lakewood Acres: sounds pretty and peaceful. Not. How can Pasco County let this nerve-racking, noisy, dusty eyesore exist in a residential area off Hicks Road in Hudson?
Thirty years ago the neighbors approved a quiet truss sawmill on the 40 acre tract of land. Now it has been replaced by an operation that grinds old concrete and mixes sand with it to use for paving driveways. Dump trucks are in and out hauling this mixture from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The neighbors regret ever approving the sawmill because the operator is not a considerate neighbor.
There have been too many accidents on Hicks Road. School buses and cars don't need to compete with dump trucks on this narrow two-lane road.
I cannot enjoy my back yard anymore because of the concrete dust and noise. I do not feel safe driving on Hicks Road, sharing it with dump trucks. If they think the neighbors will quietly sit back while our neighborhood is destroyed, they're sadly mistaken.
Real property ownership questioned
Editor: Quote from S.C. "Bud" Bexley: "I own this property; they don't own this property."
Yes, Bud, you own a piece of paper that says this piece of property belongs to you. But in all reality, the land belongs to the Earth and our creator.
Your arrogance is a joke.
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