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Letters to the Editors

Coach's punishment too harsh

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 17, 2001


Editor: Re: Charge threatens coach's job, Sept. 28 Times:

I find the treatment of Parrot Middle School's Johnny Roberts truly unfair. I think what people do on their own time is their business. I agree that what he is accused of doing (soliciting a prostitute in Tampa) is disgusting. But if he has no prior record or any complaints from students or female teachers for harassing them, then his life should not be destroyed.

Again, I don't agree with what he's allegedly done. I don't even know who he is. But I just do not agree with the punishment of losing his career.

A few years ago a movie star (I can't recall his name) was charged with the same thing. Well, he is still acting. I don't feel there's any difference in this case, except money. There must be another way for this coach to be punished.

I also think someone should talk to his students and find out what their response is. I am a mother of four girls. I honestly think there would not be anything for my girls to fear, unless I'm told differently. Give the coach a break; everyone makes mistakes. There is too much to deal with in this world right now that is more important than this.
-- Marjorie Sheltra, Spring Hill

Victims, survivors didn't ask for terror

Editor: Re: Physician is neither heartless nor vindictive, Oct. 8 letter to the editor from Bernie and Jane McDonnell:

Are the two of you Americans? Do you have children and grandchildren who enjoy the freedoms of this great country? As an American, you have a right to say and write whatever you please. Perhaps you have taken this for granted. Maybe you two should go to Dr. Durgarao Parimi's homeland, let him be your physician there and enjoy his country's freedom and rights.

There is a reason Dr. Parimi practices here and not in his homeland; it's called freedom (and money, I'm sure).

I was not home at the time of Dr. Parimi's remarks. My husband (a retired New York City firefighter), my two children and I were driving to New York hoping against hope our son was alive in the World Trade Center. After witnessing Ground Zero for ourselves, we knew there was no way he could have been.

I don't believe our son "asked for it" when he got up that morning to go to work and support his family. I don't believe his son, born on Sept. 1, 2001, "asked" to grow up without a daddy. I don't believe his wife "asked" to be a widow at the age of 32. I don't believe more than 300 firefighters "asked" to die that day, saving people who didn't "ask" for it, either. I don't believe any of us "asked for it."

I also would like to give support to Dr. Jandali. He has been my children's pediatrician for 10 years and has shown great concern for their health and well-being. It is a shame Bubba the Love Sponge listened to incorrect information, chose to broadcast it, and possibly ruined the reputation of a good physician.

I don't think anybody "asked for it." But I hope and pray the people who did this to our family and so many others get "it" good.
-- Terry Holland, Spring Hill

Fire commissioner answers criticism

Editor: Re: Squabble stirs up fire board meeting, Oct. 12 Times:

This is a rebuttal to the derogatory comments of Spring Hill Fire Rescue District Commissioner Jeff Hollander regarding Jennifer Couch's EEOC complaint and potential lawsuit against the district, and the supposed "vendetta" by Commissioner Dennis Andrews and myself toward Chief Michael Morgan.

First, his opinion that we have placed "the department in danger, after being forewarned by the (fire district) attorney," has absolutely no merit on its face or in fact. At our public meeting Oct. 3, our attorney (who is available to make recommendations but in no way dictates to commissioners what they can say or do) suggested we not speak of the Couch complaint in public. Three of the commissioners stated they wanted to touch the surface of the issue. In less than a minute, Commissioner Andrews tabled the issue.

The only information discussed before tabling were facts already available as public record, per the Florida Sunshine Law. How does this place the department in danger?

If there is a lawsuit resulting from the EEOC complaint, it will not be due to a discussion of what is already public record. It will be due to problems that could have been avoided if the commissioners had received timely information on the matter from those who are paid to provide it.

It is our job and the law -- the Sunshine Law, Commissioner Hollander -- to continually inform the taxpayers of Spring Hill about any department issue at our public meetings. It is also the only way we can legally discuss any of these issues. I hope it is not your intent to keep any of these public facts from the taxpayers.

Regarding Commissioner Andrews and I having a "vendetta" toward Chief Morgan, Commissioner Hollander has either forgotten or chose not to remember the time I talked the chief out of resigning over a breakfast meeting I had with him, and on at least two occasions that Commissioner Andrews defended the chief at our public meetings.

It is true that we have taken the chief to task when he has not performed up to the high standards required and expected of the position. That is one of the jobs we (all commissioners) are elected to do by Spring Hill taxpayers. If a person hired by this board is not performing up to expectations, I cannot and will not ignore the problem. If more than one commissioner agrees there is a work performance problem by an employee, then it all but eliminates the possibility of a "vendetta."

It is my goal as an elected commissioner to require that every employee of the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District perform his or her job at the highest level possible.

One last note. Commissioner Hollander campaigned for his office on a platform of developing harmony among the commissioners. While we can and should be able to agree and disagree on issues, I don't think verbally attacking fellow commissioners in the media will help him achieve his goal.
-- Robert Kanner, commissioner, Spring Hill Fire Rescue District

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