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Letters to the Editors

News articles should contain facts, not innuendo

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2000

Re: Counselor's psychology degree questioned, March 22

Editor: When our founding fathers guaranteed "freedom of the press," it's a shame they neglected to add a few simple parameters, i.e. logic, non-bias, and (God forbid) require intelligence! If the article written by Christopher Goffard is read carefully, it's obvious that it is not the counselor's degree that is in question but the school that granted the degree; nor are all the degrees suspect, but some are, and mainly those issued in the last few years.

In responsible journalism, the graduates would not be named prior to an indictment, or at least not until the investigation was concluded. Regrettably, that would not be grandiose enough for the Times junior wanna-be Mike Wallace. Instead of sticking to the facts, Goffard chose to single out one alumnus and filled out his story with innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations.

I have been a patient of Dr. Kassed for over two years. He was highly recommended to me by a psychiatrist who is well known in the Tampa Bay area. Dr. Kassed is working with me for severe clinical depression. It is through his help that I have been able to understand the whys and wherefores of my problem and what can realistically be done to improve the situation. Thanks to Dr. Kassed, for the first time in years, I can look into a mirror and think "Hey, you're not really that bad after all." I've recommended Dr. Kassed to several people and will continue to do so.

A few things you might not know: Dr. Kassed enlisted in the military as a private. Through hard work he rose through the ranks, qualified for officers' school, and retired with a distinguished career as a colonel. Do you know about all the pro bono work he does? Do you have a clue what a professional, compassionate, caring, intelligent, spiritual man he is? No! Has any recruit Dr. Kassed approved ever become a problem to the force for psychological reasons? The reason these issues were not addressed by Goffard is that he deemed it more important to fill the space with unsubstantiated statements. For example, the person who used to share office space with the doctor -- why is she "ex"? Could it be possible that she may have a personal ax to grind with Dr. Kassed? We'll never know, at least not from Goffard. It might smudge the gorgeous canary hue of his favorite shade of yellow journalism!
-- Bill Crawford, New Port Richey

Demand for development? What about the problems?

Re: Developers just react to demand for growth, March 22 guest column

Editor: What demand? Real estate ads in our papers: Work in Tampa, sleep in Pasco; half an hour by new toll road?

How can families want homes without water? The rules are once a week to water lawns, no car washings, no decorative fountains, and the results are buildings settling and dry wells.

How about the shortage of classrooms for your kids? Or the shortage of police protection, roads, firefighters and paramedics.

What demand?
-- J. Gordon Rosser, Hudson

Showing respect for flag transcends generations

Re: Respect for flag droops along parade route, March 28 letter

Editor: I just wanted the letter writer to know that myself, 30 years old, my husband, 38 years old, and our two boys, ages 5 and 6, stood and saluted our American flag during the Chasco parade.

Before the parade we told our children what it meant when you did stand up when it passed. They reminded us, the parents, to stand up because the flag was coming. This letter is to let you know that it is not only the elderly veterans who stood. It was parents and small children alike. And thank you for carrying our American flag. There are still parents who teach their children values and respect. More need to do it, but some, like myself, do it every day.
-- Allyson Dechent, New Port Richey

Lindrick customers, city need decision soon on utility issue

Re: Utility sale plan drops rate lock, March 25

Editor: Lindrick customers, beware, your day of reckoning is looming. Port Richey has removed the rate lock clause from its term sheet for the utility acquisition. Why make a volatile situation worse? I would have to theorize that spreadsheets did not support an ability to make a profit, repaying potential investors, and accordingly, trolling for a lender hasn't gotten any bites. If anyone has held out hope to be treated as first-rate customers, this should be the wake-up call that here is only the potential to be the highest-rate customers.

Water rates will climb for everyone over the next six years. This is not a prediction, but an absolute certainty stemming from the regional impact of dealing with stressed resources and the costs involved trying to overcome them. Present rate analysis doesn't even broach a monthly bill in 2007.

No matter what anyone says, there are two irrefutable statements to keep in mind: Only voters get representation, and New Port Richey city residents pay the cheapest water rates anywhere in Pasco County.

Comparing the three potential suitors, if Port Richey buys the system, bills will be surcharged 25 percent on top of the 25 percent additional rate New Port Richey wholesales water and sewer treatment for, and there is no voting representation. If the county became the owner, residents represent 3 percent of the overall population and accordingly have some vote but would still be charged a rate similar to Port Richey's and more than New Port Richey's. Only by becoming an annexed portion of New Port Richey will residents gain a powerful voice in community concerns, as 40 percent of the total population. Only by paying municipal taxes will the additional dollars pried out of Gulf Harbor budgets be able to return any additional benefits for the cost.

For approximately the same amount as an inflated water and sewer utility bill to the county or Port Richey, those dollars would return the enhanced benefits of our public works, recreation, development services, library, police and fire departments and their increased service levels and response times. As city taxpayers, residents could expect and demand the benefits of the just-beginning neighborhood revitalization program and would enjoy the associated improvements to infrastructure the area now needs and is not likely to receive in a stressed county budget.

Port Richey has stated this bid serves its citizens' best interest (not Gulf Harbors). Yet if the goal is to become independent, the costs are astronomical for a 15,000-customer-base system, if even permitable in a coastal flood zone with other plants that have idle capacity. Considering the $15-million for the Lindrick system, the $5-million for wells (which apparently have been covertly constructed in New Port Richey city limits and may face legal battles before coming on line, and, if overpumped like other Lindrick sources, could face saltwater intrusion) and $25-million to $100-million to construct a treatment plant up to 2004 codes, it is hard to believe that present rate structures could pay even the interest on such a massive undertaking. To go down this road could someday threaten Port Richey's very financial existence and force the incorporation of the Port Richey system into the county.

I urge all affected citizens to become concerned and involved. Whether in Gulf Harbors or Port Richey, this plan is certain to raise your rates. When the bed is made, it will be a long and discomforting night, indeed. Port Richey citizens should make this issue their No. 1 election concern, April 11. Gulf Harbors residents should expedite their comparison analysis and petition their request to annex into the city that lends them their addresses and will act to protect their rights far into the future. New Port Richey will not buy Lindrick to expand our revenues, but we will protect our family. This is the only scenario that can be mutually beneficial, and without action quickly the opportunity will soon be lost forever.
-- Tom Finn, council member, New Port Richey

Horse carriage operator upset by news coverage

Re: Good looks claim council's vote, March 23

Editor: A couple of notes as I read the horse-drawn carriage article:

The proposed legislation sparked a "sheaf" of protest letters as well as letters of support.

I was not "willing to accept the restrictions"; I am the one who requested them in the first place!

Frank Parker did not say he wanted to "restrict the days, hours, etc. ... " he said that he would like to see the permissible hours and routes listed as part of the ordinance. This is typically accomplished when the operator files for the permit. The prospective operator must file proposed hours and routes. We'll see how this one shakes out.

Several business owners as well as citizens (actually more supporters than detractors) turned out to support the proposal.

The supporters testified to not only my character but to the awesome opportunity which this represents to the city.

Council member Miller said that by requesting this rule (as opposed to continuing to operate in New Port Richey as carriages have for decades) that " ... Mr. Purtlebaugh has raised the bar."

I'm pretty disappointed in the lopsided review presented by the Times. It kind of contradicts a unanimous decision in favor, don't you think?
-- Brad Purtlebaugh, business manager Avalon West Carriage Service

Community can be proud of Hudson Middle jazz band

Editor: What a joy it was to hear Hudson Middle School's Jazz Band and Upbeat Vocal Ensemble perform Sunday at First United Methodist Church of Hudson!

Under the direction of John Keon and Gary Sawyer, these sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students wowed the audience with their talent and professionalism.

Who says that all teenagers are lazy and irresponsible? Certainly not these hard-working and capable young people who represent our community in many local and statewide musical events. And in May, they plan to perform in Williamsburg, Va.

We should be proud of these dedicated students and support their fine efforts.
-- Donna True, Port Richey

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