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Letters to the Editors
Mining bill shakes resident's faith in GOP leaders
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000
Editor: During the 2000 session of the Florida Legislature, Senate Bill 772 was passed and has been signed by the governor. The new law has a profound effect on this community. It's a done deal and was so slickly accomplished by our Republican Legislature and governor that an emergency rule putting it into effect was ready on the same date and was promulgated three days later.
As many of you who are affected by local blasting know, for 15 years we have been moderately protected by blasting limitations negotiated by Withlacoochee Area Residents Inc. in 1985. The level of vibration, measured at the mine property boundary, was limited to a value that local representatives considered to be the maximum acceptable.
The new legislation sets aside that limitation and establishes a new one four times higher to be measured not at the mine property, but at your residence.
I will not attempt to predict what the consequences will be to you. I will submit, however, that our governor and Legislature have decided to place your welfare in this matter entirely in the hands of the miners. What we now experience when they blast will be entirely up to them. They are now authorized to subject us to vibrations many times higher than anything we have experienced before.
This is not intended to be a political diatribe. However, this longtime Republican has been given reason to wonder what inducement was sufficient to bring about this action. The 2000 Republican Legislature and our new governor have given me many reasons to rethink my political philosophy. This one strikes within 3,000 feet of my home and is most compelling.
Beverly Hills taxing unit idea too costly
Editor: The Beverly Hills Community Council has notified the residents of Beverly Hills of its plan to create a municipal services benefit unit, which is a step away from Beverly Hills becoming incorporated.
If you recall when this issue was first presented to us, the cost to each homeowner was $6 per year. The proposal now has climbed to $9 per year. What will it cost in the following years, $10, $20, or whatever they decide will accommodate their grandiose ideas?
The council proposes the grass on Roosevelt Boulevard and Beverly Hills Boulevard be cut 20 times a year to beautify the area.
The county cuts the grass at least four times a year, which seems to work very well. They estimate the cost to be $6,400. I don't know anyone who cuts their lawn 20 times a year. Considering that grass is dormant in the winter months, and with the drought, the grass does not grow. They also estimate that it will cost $11,200 to cut the grass on Forest Ridge Boulevard.
Then there is a cost of $1,000 to trim the trees on Beverly Hills Boulevard, Roosevelt Boulevard, Forest Ridge Boulevard, Regina Boulevard and Truman Boulevard. Now there is an additional $10,000 to cut the grass on Beverly, Roosevelt and Forest Ridge boulevards. They also are asking for $1,570 for trees and shrubs.
How much money are they spending to beautify Forest Ridge Boulevard? They also are asking for $10,000 for welcome signs and other unspecified costs. What other costs? Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money. They are further requesting we approve of the purchase of 44 light poles, parts, labor and material for $6,000.
If the county commissioners have a meeting to decide whether or not to put the referendum on the calendar, many Beverly Hills residents will not be able to attend. Those who can attend probably will not be able to find seating. The people who are out in the hall will not be able to see or hear what is going on.
I suggest that all of us write or call the commissioners now to have their meeting (regarding this subject) held in Beverly Hills.
Candidate says salary not a factor
Editor: Re: Is salary the allure of the tax collector?, June 18 column by editor Greg Hamilton:
Hamilton wrote a lengthy piece in which he contended that the allure of a great-paying job is the primary reason people are running for the job of Citrus County tax collector. Since I am one of the candidates he disparaged with a broad brush, I feel I need to present my individual reasons for pursuing the job.
First, let's get money out of the way. I am a Florida certified public accountant. I have consistently earned an income comparable to that paid to the Citrus County tax collector. If the residents of Citrus County choose not to elect me as their next tax collector, I can easily continue my current occupation.
Second, you question the experience of the candidates. My current occupation requires me to regularly represent my clients before the Florida Department of Revenue. This is important to my supporters, since a successful tax collector must constantly work with the department.
Lastly, Hamilton implied that people's impression of a tax collector is formed by fictional characters, ". . . portrayed as ruthless and cruel, a scourge on the suffering populace." To demonstrate how ludicrous this caricature is, one needs look no further than our own tax collector, Norine Gilstrap, or Mr. Olson in neighboring Marion County. Both of these individuals have earned the respect of their peers through intelligence, honesty and hard work.
The primary reason for my candidacy is the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of these role models.
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