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Letters to the Editors

Environment is deciding issue

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2000


Editor: City elections will take place next month, and county, state and federal elections will be held in November. There will be many forums held during this time, and it is important for the voters to keep the welfare of our environment in mind when evaluating those who seek an office. Decisions made by the people we choose will affect our lives and generations to come.

Problems with the environment have long been ignored. Now they are at a critical state. The gulf and our rivers have been polluted by current sewage treatment methods and uncontrolled surface water. We are facing a severe shortage of water. Destruction of the wetland continues. Some of the candidates have shown concern in these areas. We need to question them all, evaluate and support the ones who will make a difference. We need strong, informed officials to take strong measures.
-- Patrick Raimond, Port Richey

Photo of grieving family was tasteless

Editor: I was appalled when I picked up my Pasco Times March 17 and saw the photograph splattered on the front page of June Bottner's family grieving. No, that isn't the first time that I have seen such unprofessional behavior on the part of your staff, but I always just passed it off as something that didn't really concern me and moved on.

This time it concerns me. I have known June Bottner in excess of 33 years. I have known her husband, Jim, for well over 20 years, about the same length of time I have known her daughter Debbie, whose privacy also was violated.

At this point you may say, "But it was on the steps of a public building." And I will say back to you that grieving is a very personal thing that does not need to be splattered across the front page. Was that necessary? No! Was that newsworthy? No! Was that bad press? Yes!

I have subscribed to your paper for many years, and have always held that the St. Petersburg Times was the best newspaper in the area. I have related this to the sales personnel of your competitor. Even the best, however, have shortcomings, and I am writing about what I consider to be a very serious shortcoming of your paper. It may seem insignificant to you, but if that were you in that picture grieving over a lost loved one, I believe that you would feel differently.

No, I am not going to give you an idle threat of cancellation of my subscription, but rather I am asking you to try to be a bit more humane to people in unfortunate circumstances. That was not news, and I cannot bring myself to believe that this type of act is the purpose of any newspaper.
-- John M. Price, New Port Richey

Developers' motives should be looked at

Re: Investigate motives of those who oppose Oakstead, March 10 letter

Editor: Let's first take a look at the man on whom Dara Khoyi, past chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, wants to focus this topic of questioning. Clay Colson has dedicated every waking hour toward making Pasco County a safe, enjoyable, decent place for all of us to thrive and raise our families. We cannot survive on asphalt, chemical pollution, oil (and other toxic fluids) runoff and exhaust fumes.

I hardly think that wanting to keep all these at a minimum for an entire county can be for selfish reasons. Clay Colson does not feel his rights are superior to anyone's. He is not only standing up for his rights but for all the people of Pasco County. When large, sprawling developments occur, it affects residents and property owners in ways that many don't even realize. The four things I pointed out above are just the beginning. We also have tax money that goes toward financing the developers spending money, disguised with the name of Community Development District bonds. Oakstead received millions of dollars from these bonds and still wants more. We have more schools to be built. More wetland filled in. More trees toppled.

I need not go any further than previous Pasco County headlines to see that there is a definite problem with overdevelopment. Some examples: "Massive Connerton almost ready to rise"; "New highways draw development plans"; "Expert: Less sprawl, less traffic"; "Limiting commercial development of U.S. 41 and State Road 54 is the key to keeping motorists on the move, a USF professor says"; and my personal favorite, "Ranchers plan sprawling development." For some reason, that word "sprawl" just jumps right out at me.

These are just a few from the stock of articles I have cut and saved. Oops. Forgot the one about the Pasco County Planning Commission rejecting Oakstead. Oh, that was a happy day. But, in true political form, money, over concern for Pasco residents and any environmental concern, prevailed in the county commissioners' vote.

Now, back to Mr. Khoyi. "A windshield survey is an insult to my intelligence." Well, sir, to say that there is not one single endangered species on 841 acres is an insult to mine. "The property is and has been a cattle ranch. When the cattle roam, land is pasture, exotic wildlife cannot flourish." After consulting Webster's Dictionary, I found the definition for exotic to be as follows: "introduced from a foreign country; not indigenous; unusual or colorful."

I could care less if kangaroos and panda bears can't exist in Pasco County. But I do care about the blatant lack of concern for the animals and people who do. Especially when the bottom line is the almighty dollar. We everyday people who live in this county have got to start standing up for our rights. Too many of us are just driving by on our way to work and saying "Look at that. Another development." Most of the time we are grumbling about the traffic already on the road. Clay Colson can't fight alone. And he isn't, Mr. Khoyi. Citizens for Sanity is more than 250 members and two homeowners' associations strong and growing. Clay Colson just happens to be the spokesperson for these people and an obvious threat to the wallets of developers and all associated with. So don't single out Clay. Take a look in the mirror if you are looking for someone with a personal agenda.
-- Debbie Blackwell, Lutz

Brown-Waite shenanigans hurt public

Editor: When I was a child, I got comic relief by reading the comics in the newspapers. Now that I am an adult, I get my roaring comic relief from press releases generated by state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite.

Brown-Waite is leaping for a political trifecta: Florida state senator, assistant communications director and community affairs director for Swiftmud.

The latter two positions require a lobbyist and, as a state senator, she would violate the trust placed in her. In essence, Brown-Waite becomes mute and of little help to residents. One could call this an unconscionable foray into muddied waters.

This trifecta stinks of political chicanery and political payoff for her giving up her attempt to run for Hernando Supervisor of Elections.

On Sunday, David Broder, a Washington Post columnist, quoted a well-regarded senator as follows: "Although public figures may face the same everyday pressures as the people we represent, we are not, and should not be, judged by the same standards. More should be expected of us. . . . We are public officials, not private citizens." He goes on: "So, the first question a public figure must always ask himself/herself when making a decision about personal behaviors or actions, about whether to take an opportunity, is not just "Is it legal?' but "Is it right?' "

The senator states she is known as "Ginny" to residents. To me and others, in the past year or so, GBW now stands for "Greedy Big Windbag," who should be ashamed for this blatant thrust at gorging herself on the political tax pie.

Senator, perception is reality, and in this matter it ain't right. Let it go.
Dom Cabriele, Brooksville

Counselor shouldn't be condemned

Re: Woman says counselor exploited her trust, March 8

Editor: Before Marvin Kassed is convicted by hearsay, let's keep an open mind. He has helped a lot of people, including some family members and me. I don't believe the accusations are true, and I believe that in time the real truth will come out.

In the meantime, he has my vote of confidence.
Marilyn Stansbury, New Port Richey

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