Letters to the editor
Highlands TodayDoes tourist tax stand change your vote?
Published: August 5, 2012
Published: August 5, 2012
The issue of putting a sunset in the tourist development tax is a very hot one. Some of our present commissioners think the tax should be forever no matter what and some think there should be a sunset in it forcing accountability to the voters.
If it is doing what was promised, we keep it. If not, we toss it out — just like we do with all elected officials.
Thursday night at the first Highlands Today forum, I asked the following: "If elected as county commissioner, would you vote to put the issue of a tourist development tax sunset every 10 years starting two years after approved on the ballot and allow the citizens of Highlands County to decide? Yes or no?"
As you know, some politicians find it very hard to answer a question "yes" or "no," and feel a need to explain why their answer is not what they think the public wants. But in the end the answers from the Republican candidates running in the primary election came up like this: District 1, Will Bennett, yes; Jim Brooks, no. District 3: Jeri Canale, yes; Nadine Elliott-Tedstone, yes; Ron Handley, no.
I hope this helps you answer the question: Who do I vote for?
Citizens for Government Accountability
Jim Brooks is best for county commission
I am pleased to endorse Jim Brooks for the Highlands County Commission. I have known Jim for almost 30 years and worked very closely with him for eight years as a member of the SFCC District board of trustees.
Jim has broad experience in both the public sector and the private sector, including 23 years of volunteer service on the Highlands Planning and Zoning Commission and 27 years of developing and managing a highly successful family business from the ground up.
His website, www.brooksforhighlandscounty.com, provides the long list of his public service, proving that Jim has indeed "earned his spurs."
Jim is a common-sense conservative who studies problems, seeks facts and options, and finds solutions that best fit the situation. We can count on Jim to always have the county's and citizens' best interests at heart.
Dr. Catherine P. Cornelius
South Florida Community College
What will Cox do about dropouts?
Mr. Wally Cox: I am writing this letter to express my feelings regarding the Highlands County school system and hopefully give you some suggestions regarding the problems you are facing with students today and your re-election.
I was employed for 30 years with Richmond, Va., public schools in various positions and worked mainly with high school dropouts.
I moved to Sebring in 2001 after the loss of my husband, and my parents were living in The Palms nursing home. I felt it would be beneficial for me to remain in Florida and help them in their declining years.
I was hoping to apply to Highlands County schools so that I could work part-time and meet educated people in town. However, when I submitted my application, I was told I had to take a math test, reading test and writing exam. I informed the person who called that I did not want to, because I had 30 years of working in the school system and credentials to prove my knowledge and many awards over the years; therefore, I didn't feel it necessary to take a test to work part-time or substitute.
Her remark was, "It's required and when you get over your test phobia, give us a call and we will set a time for you to be tested." I was extremely upset and wrote you a letter to ask for your help. I received no response at all. I wonder why you would want me to vote for you when you had no time to acknowledge me. I feel you need to address the truancy and many other problems I've observed the past 10 years.
Many parents are working, and there is no supervision at home. It's always going to be a problem trying to educate a child that doesn't want to attend school. I worked and trained peer facilitators. As we found, they will seek out each other to talk about problems they may have.
I will have to give some thought and listen to what you have to offer before I can decide who to vote for on Election Day.
Mary E. Shivers
Road rage could turn ugly
It happens every day. Some "idiot" cuts someone off in traffic, threatening property or life, leaving one driver filled with rage and the other with fear, heading for a confrontation — a dangerous cocktail, especially in Florida, which is number one in concealed weapon permits.
Hopefully, both drivers had left their guns at home and push stops at shove.
Ultimately, our guns-at-the-ready will be used not so much to defend against street criminals, but more to protect us from each other, and we will become the outlaws.
Florida's Wrongful Death Act is unfair
He was born with special needs, yet he blessed all that knew him. His name was Troy. Many of you who read this will know who this is.
I am writing this to educate those of you who are not aware of what can happen to your loved one and you have no control over it. Troy died an untimely death in February 2009. Medical mistakes were made and it cost him his life. Realizing that we are all human and open to error, all that we wanted was accountability.
After speaking with professional people who knew the law, I was appalled to find out about the Florida Wrongful Death Act. What this law states is that if the person who died has no spouse and no living children under the age of 25, then no legal recourse can take place. So if you have a loved one in their 80s and their spouse has died, guess what? Anything can happen and all you will get is "I'm sorry for your loss."
I have spoken with the Legislature. They are sympathetic to my loss; however, inform me that it is basically about money and insurance companies. So let's get this straight: In Florida (not in other states) anyone's life can be taken by a mistake from the medical staff and nothing can be done if you are over 25, have no spouse and no living children under the age of 25.
I guess accountability will have to come on Judgment Day.
Say nothing at all
When I was growing up, my mother told me that if you can't say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all.
I wonder what the mothers of our politicians told them when they were growing up, or weren't they listening?