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Letters to the Editors

Limerock dust pollution is an ignored hazard

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2000


Editor: I have lived with my wife, Karen, in Pasco County for two years. I have a small business, and Karen is a real estate agent. We access our house through Peachtree Road and Foxfire Drive. We reside on Easy Street in Hudson.

Peachtree and Foxfire are limerock roads. The Environmental Protection Agency has declared limerock dust a hazardous pollutant and would shut down any private business causing as much pollution as the county creates with the extremely dusty conditions of this limerock thoroughfare.

Traffic at even the posted speed limit creates a dust cloud so great that visibility is near zero. This dust is so potent it would be impossible for any of us to ever open our windows and enjoy the fresh air that country living should provide.

The county's road-paving assessment petition process requires just 51 percent or more to be approved. But if one, just one, property owner doesn't want to give up the right of way, that's the end of the deal. The county won't do a thing. It seems the system is stacked against us getting the road paved.

Although the road is heavily used by buses serving Hudson High School, Hudson Middle School and Northwest Elementary School, the traffic count was not made until after school was out for the summer.

There are "no truck" signs at the entrance of each end of our roads, yet countless buses and trucks use our roads as short cuts between State Road 52 and Hudson Avenue.

Hays and Hicks roads are the designated truck routes, but this is never enforced. Every day these vehicles pollute our air by traveling the roads, most of the time at speeds exceeding the posted limit.

Children must wait for their school bus in these choking clouds of dust. It is made even more hazardous by the fact that these children are nearly invisible behind the dust.

A pedestrian or bicyclist would be at an even greater risk, which makes it impossible for residents to utilize the road for recreational biking, or walking.

The Sheriff's Office seldom patrols the area, leaving it to resemble the Wild West with people dumping trash on the roadside, vandalizing mailboxes and kids racing ATVs and unregistered motorcycles.

Our neighborhood is a mix of houses from $50,000 to $500,000, owned mostly by people raising families and trying to enjoy the great country living that Pasco County can provide. But our frustration is that this limerock dust road is infringing on our health, safety and quality of life. I would invite you for a glass of iced tea, roadside between 7 and 10 a.m. and 3 and 6 p.m. any weekday so you can see firsthand the health and safety risks this road creates. I appreciate any help with this situation.
-- Michael Irwin, Hudson

Republicans, too, are hypocrites

Re: Republicans must stand together to succeed, April 21 letter

Editor: It is always hilarious to hear Republicans rant about freedom, the individual, responsible government, and a host of other things they don't actually believe in. The letter writer was no different. Here's the truth: Republicans and Democrats love big government. They just like different kinds.

Some examples: Liberal Democrats want to disburse money to the financially bankrupt using a cumbersome bureaucracy that isn't accountable to the people. Conservative Republicans want to use public school funds to disburse money to the intellectually bankrupt using a cumbersome educational bureaucracy that isn't accountable to the people. How about Mrs. Bunting's charter schools? Is it responsible to waste taxpayer money on any institution that isn't even indirectly accountable to the taxpayers? She thinks so.

The list of Republican hypocrisies could fill the editorial section 10 times over. But in all fairness, the Republicans have something the Democrats don't: hilariously absurd candidates. Watching Bush dance with Clintonesque ease around the street value of his Kleenex, and Ayatollah Keyes go into tent revival-style convulsions at the mention of the unborn is much more entertaining than Al Gore blathering about the CHIP program. The letter writer said that Republicans believe in electing the best candidates to office. I agree; no others could possibly provide such great entertainment value.
-- Eric Breitenstein, New Port Richey

A little rebellion would redeem Pasco

Editor: I really admire the passion of the Miami Cubans for a cause that does not concern them. (How fast would we have drop-kicked that kid to Cuba if the father died while kidnapping him and the mother wanted him back?) I pray that Pasco County citizens would be as fervent and involved in demanding a moratorium on construction to save ourselves.

Thirty years ago, Pinellas County was called the walking dead. They took our water -- now Pasco County is almost belly up. (Can you say sinkhole?)

Our commissioners have recently approved 15,000 new houses to be built between Land O'Lakes and Wesley Chapel. The citizens should be screaming, demanding slow growth. There are only about 20 people in Pasco who seem to care and are killing themselves to fight for water (for all of us) while holding full-time jobs and managing families.

The rest of you are sitting on your thumbs wondering when the next steeplechase race or rodeo will be, so you can enjoy animal abuse and wear your new hat.

Pasco citizens, this is your county. Do you think 15,000 new homes are a deterrent to your standard of living? Where will the water come from to fill their pools, green their new sod, fill their fake new lakes? The real lakes are dried up. Where to put 30,000 plus new cars, cars that need to be washed because Pasco is now just dust? Where will all those children go to school? Let's treat our water like Elian Gonzalez. Pinellas stole it and we want it back.

Let's rebel! Call or write the Pasco commissioners. March, picket and camp on their lawns. We are killing the land and thus ourselves. Get off your butt and do something. Get involved. The 20-plus private citizens striving to save our county can really use your help.

The commissioners are not listening to anyone but developers. The whole world knows about Elian because of the great intensity and passion the Miami Cubans have demonstrated. If Pasco citizens would show a fraction of that concern for our water, maybe Crews Lake, once a giant, would be more than just a mud puddle.
-- Carmen Blakely, Lutz

Libertarians stage income tax protest

Editor: This is to acknowledge the three Libertarian Party members who had the fortitude and courage to picket for about four hours in front of the New Port Richey post office on Monday, April 17, the last day for filing 1999 income tax forms.

They carried signs advertising America's largest alternative political party, confirming its position opposing the imposition of an income tax.

The federal income tax has been an alarming part of our lives since 1914. Before that year, the people of America had prospered. Since 1914, and especially since World War II, the federal government has grown to sickening proportions and the federal income tax code has become as gargantuan and ugly as Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.

The federal income tax accounts for at least one-third to 40 percent of the total amount of our wealth that the federal government spends/ squanders each year.

If the government were confined to its legitimate constitutional functions of national defense and the protection of our rights and property, the income tax could easily be eliminated and, of course, if that were accomplished, it would also be possible to abolish the single federal agency most feared by Americans, the IRS.

To discuss this and other issues crucial to the country, attend the Libertarian Party meetings each third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at John's Steak, Seafood and Pasta Restaurant at 6818 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey.
-- William F. Murley, Holiday

Canals are like a floating dump

Editor: I have lived in the Sea Ranch area for over five years. This is a nice area with canals leading to the Gulf of Mexico.

My gripe is the canals are a mess, and I believe it should be the gripe of taxpayers living here.

Canals sometimes look like a floating dump. Floating garbage bags, wood, sticks, dead birds, scum are the norm.

I believe a simple solution to remove some of it would be to have the county bring in a small crane with a scoop on it and truck away. This could be done from ends of canals near the main streets, when the wind and current pushes the junk to that end.

Whatever is done would be helpful.
-- Harold E. Hetz, Hudson

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