© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001
Editor: Pasco County's population will grow whether the folks involved in the Sierra Club or Citizens for Sanity like it or not. The real issue is how to manage growth. Excellent roads, schools, water and good jobs are critical.
Pasco must have good schools and roads to attract additional business, but it can't attract or pay for either until it has adequate revenue to do so. Raising taxes ahead of the growth curve will scare businesses away rather than attract them. So how do we grow our economy and develop infrastructure without raising the cost of living so much that retirees and people on limited incomes don't suffer?
In my opinion, a long-term and aggressive road construction plan must be pursued. The sooner roads like the Ridge Road extension are complete, the cheaper they will be to construct. Delays caused by threats of lawsuits should be met head-on. The opposition will not go away, so the county should stop wasting time and address the obstacles now.
Second, and most important, the county should quadruple its efforts to attract higher-paying companies. This has been done in the past, but the effort should be intensified. A higher-paying work force will increase the tax base and positively affect the county.
Currently, a conflict exists: Schools are needed now. Retirees from our northern states will naturally resist tax increases to properly fund our public school system. I don't blame them! The interest of a retiree on a fixed income is different from that of a working-class family. This demographic divide is going to grow unless industry is imported to Pasco County. How our elected officials deal with this issue will determine if we are a crowded county with lousy roads, poor, overcrowded schools and no decent jobs, or a progressive county where people want to live, rather than a jumbled suburb of Tampa where people just end up!
-- Jeff Lucas, New Port Richey
Editor: The deputy sheriff who arrested the lady throwing a cigarette out of a car should be rewarded with something other than praise. The deputy made a lot of us happy.
Every day, while driving, I see at least one person throwing their stubs out the window. This is littering, short and sweet. There are plenty of signs warning against littering and the penalties. Throwing lit cigarettes has started thousands of fires, some of disastrous proportions, across our country.
Almost as bad, but not as dangerous, is when a person thinks it's time to empty the car's ashtray, usually at red lights, in parking lots, in fast food lines, etc. It should be a constantly enforced littering/misdemeanor charge whether we are in a serious drought or not. Millions of butts on our roads yearly is not a pretty sight. It is littering.
-- Thomas Gowdy, New Port Richey
Re: Facing angry crowd, council delays decision, March 8.
Editor: I would like to take exception to a comment made by Mayor Wendy Brenner.
Mayor Brenner mentioned she was frustrated by some of the methods employed on the evening of the March 6 demonstration. Let me point out these are some of the same methods employed by Americans going back to the Boston Tea Party, which, I might add, was also held due to taxation without representation. (Although they did not have a bullhorn available for that particular demonstration).
Our demonstration, although loud, was peaceful. Protest signs, a bullhorn and literature were used. No one interferred with traffic or wandered onto private property and the organizers of the demonstration were all on hand to make sure no laws were broken.
Yes, accusations were made, and yes, people became upset. However, the only time a personal insult was directed, I apologized in front of council members on behalf of our entire group. We do agree that personal insults and unfounded accusations do not further any cause but rather only cloud the real issues at hand.
-- William R. Liska, New Port Richey
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