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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Letters to the editor


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Kudos for Publix employees

A week ago Friday, I was coming out of the Pinehurst, Spring Hill Publix on a riding cart full of groceries, on the way to my car parked in the handicapped area. Employee Zach Meisner was accompanying me, an elderly woman. When we arrived at the car, we discovered a flat tire.

It was very hot so Zack brought the groceries back into the store to put them in the cooler until we could resolve the flat tire issue.

He then returned with store manager Gary Steinmetz and his assistant Kevin Shuster.

Mr. Stienmetz gave Zach permission to change the tire and offered to escort me back to the store where I could wait in the cool. I chose to remain outdoors so he brought me some cold water.

A couple noticed what was happening and came and took a picture. Another person came over shouting “Hooray for Publix.”

I must say Publix’ service far surpasses all others.

Genvieve Gartz

Spring Hill

Let voters decide red-light camera issue

A recent guest column from a visitor from Orlando highlighted the problem with Brooksville’s use of kangaroo courts for the red-light camera scheme. A kangaroo court is one that makes a mockery of justice.

The law that created kangaroo courts came to be in the 2013 legislative session thanks to a 1:35 a.m. amendment to a highway safety bill on the day before the session ended. These last-minute amendments are impossible to stop, and the public has no chance to comment upon them. What this law did was allow cities using the camera scheme to:

1. Hire their own hearing officers

2. Hire hearing officers that are not required to have any legal training

3. Prohibit the hearing officers from using formal rules of evidence — things established to protect the rights of the defendant.

This early-morning amendment also allowed scheme users to tack on up to $250 in “costs” that unlike the $158 fine are not shared with the scheme vendor or the state.

To use an analogy most would be familiar with, this is like the Orlando baseball team coming to Brooksville to play. Upon arrival, they see Brooksville’s team hired the umpires, the umpires were not required to know anything about baseball, and the umpires didn’t have to use the rules of baseball — for example, Orlando gets 2 strikes and Brooksville gets 4. Brooksville will win, and then the final insult is Orlando gets to pay for the cost — and then some — of the game.

When the above is coupled with the guilty-until-excused camera scheme state law, it’s easy money for the city and an impossible uphill battle for the vehicle owner. This scheme is not how the justice system worked in my years as a state trooper. When I wrote a ticket, I had to prove who broke the law. Our American system of justice (at least until the camera scheme) was based upon this principle of innocent until proven guilty, with the government proving the guilt.

There remains an alternative to those vehicle owners (not drivers, as they are ticketed by real police) ticketed by the camera scheme — fail to pay the ticket, and get a real hearing in front of a real judge.

It is essential that Brooksville’s voters be able to vote on the camera scheme this election. For the elected officials that supposedly represent the voters to try and block this vote shows who they are truly representing — and it is not the voters, but instead the camera scheme vendor.

Paul Henry

Palm Harbor

Unhappy with Hernando County Utilities

I just want to vent a little about my water bill in Hernando County.

My average bills is $13.00 and I received a bill for more than $391. I went thru the normal complaint system with no results. Here are a few reasonable requests that they denied.

81,000 gallons of usage.

1. I asked 2 different employees about changing the meter to a different one. DENIED

2. I put in a request for forgiveness of this bill. DENIED

3. I requested the name of the person or persons who denied the request. DENIED.

The only response from the employee was “they” denied it.

4. They pulled my old meter and ran their tests on it and said it is working within their guidelines and put it back on.

I now will try our county commissioner and see where that goes. The Utilities department is basically calling me a liar about the usage on their denial. I have no leaks, no water faucets inside or out were left running, no toilet running. There is no explanation of the usage other than a glitch with their meters.

I researched Neptune Water Meter complaints and found that, over they years, they have had thousands of complaints about high water usage. I gave the utilities department a copy of the websites. One lady had a bill of more than $3,000 dollars but not in this county. Thanks for listening and if anyone else incurs a problem with them, don’t be nice. They take it as a sign weakness.

Henry Callithen

Spring Hill

Saying goodbye to the RVs

Another money making opportunity leaves Brooksville. Another loss of revenue to add to the long list of businesses and another name to put in the ledger as moved elsewhere.

Just who in Brooksville is responsible for these businesses leaving? This exodus is ongoing and slowly turning Cortez Boulevard into a stretch of abandoned buildings and empty store fronts.

Wayne Dukes says he’s sorry to lose the RV rally but the organizers needs could not be met, which included a multi-use building for them to use at the airport. Also, attendance was down and the cost would have been prohibited to meet the requirements the rally organizers needed. My question to Mr. Dukes is did anyone offer the RV rally organizers the facilities at the fair grounds a couple of miles down the road? The facility has buildings large enough to accommodate their meeting requirements, which was the main sticking point at the airport. It is certainly big enough, has permanent bathroom facilities, and the power sources to accommodate their needs.

The attendance problem could have something to do with what the airport lacked and participants would have been a lot closer to businesses in Brooksville. Just maybe we could have saved a revenue maker instead of watching taillights headed down the road.

This exodus of businesses and events from Brooksville has to stop. If we don’t take action soon we will all be shopping and spending our money in Spring Hill because there will be nothing left in Brooksville but red-light cameras.

J. T. Woods


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