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LETTERS & OPINIONS | Vol. 6, No. 51, December 21, 2006
(Year IN Review)

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Rant & Rave

NEW LOW! Your annual practice of providing a list of Christmas gifts to various local public figures reached an all-time low this year (Independent News, “Naughty or Nice?” Dec. 14).

I was highly offended that you mentioned that I drive a purple Lincoln Continental. It is actually a purple Lincoln Town Car.
—Ronnie Arnold, Escambia County School District Associate Superintendent, Public & Interagency Affairs, Pensacola

UFO FAN CLUB I love the cover! (Independent News, “War of the Words!” Dec. 7) How did you get James Carville to pose in the nude like that?

Thanks for the coverage.

It was a tough ordeal to get past my perfectionism and OCD to actually let this book go in faith, rather than continue to tweak and tinkerfor another decade. It’s not perfect (what is?) but I am pretty pleased with the results.
—Craig Myers, “War of the Words” author, Robertsdale, Ala.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER Sometimes a “leader” isn’t (Independent News, Outtakes, Dec. 7). If someone questions why you want to do something and you choose to completely ignore them rather than answer the question, you aren’t a leader. You’re a bully.

We have a constitutional amendment to maintain a certain student-teacher ratio.

Escambia County School District Superintendent Jim Paul says there are too many schools and he wants to close some. His decision seems good since there are more schools here than in the rest of the state.

The only question asked was how does he plan to meet the student-teacher ratio after closing the proposed schools. No answer.

When there is no answer it appears that the student-teacher ratio issue is either on the back burner or non-existent in his mind.

A leader? Let him answer the question. If it is an acceptable answer (and schools can close, while maintaining the voted for student-teacher ratio) then proceed with the plan.

Instead, he whines, you whine, and the town is claimed to be stupid. Now THAT is leadership.
—Richard L. Walker, Pensacola

DEPRESSION AHEAD? We are committing economic suicide. Property taxes are rising faster than incomes, which is not hard to do in the land of the $8-an-hour job. At the same time, the current tax structure benefits those who make more than $100,000 per year. The pie is simply sliced unfairly in Escambia County. We, as a county, are committing economic suicide.

The undercurrents in our longterm economic outlook are poor. Escambia County is growing more slowly than the surrounding counties and what growth is occurring is happening at the wrong end of the spectrum that drives economic growth.

Our population is aging at an accelerated rate not because we’re all getting older, but because young people are leaving. It is young professionals with high education levels who will drive the economy in the future.

Local companies will have trouble finding employees with the appropriate skills. Technology companies, whether they’re global or domestic, large or small, will need a young, highly educated workforce. Local companies will expand more slowly or relocate, and new companies will open facilities in other places.

In the next few years the search for talent will surpass low costs. Fewer young people equals fewer families that support the public schools and the year-round retail and service economy.

The result is an unbalanced, under-skilled working-age population with a local economy overly dependant on tourism.

Unless young people are given reasons to stay or move here, our economy and growth will give way to the opposite.

We are already the hole in the donut. Look at Mobile, Alabama and Santa Rosa County. We are becoming a left-behind community and committing economic suicide for low-wage, short-term profits for the same old few families. Pensacola is a Plutocracy and it must change or we will be left behind more so then we are now.
—Stephen Embry, Pensacola

UNSAFE COURT Last year, we wrote to the board urging the Santa Rosa County Commission to construct a new judicial center. The circuit judges for this county write again to highlight additional concerns.

In addition to the lack of adequate, secure, or sufficient courtroom and office space, we lack for other services as well. Mediation is an important process whereby a trained mediator helps litigants to resolve civil disputes. The process should be confidential. However, mediation typically takes place in a corner of a courtroom or a hallway. This is unsatisfactory and further underscores the county’s failure to address immediate security and space needs for the Santa Rosa County court system.

The court’s and clerk’s office serve the entire community, including victims of crime, those in civil disputes and dependent children. The lack of space and deteriorating condition of the courthouse is threatening the right of the people to a functioning and efficient judicial system. Stopgap measures to house clerk personnel in prefabricated, temporary units do nothing to address fundamental security and court structure issues. Citizen safety is at serious risk. We urge you to make this issue an immediate priority.
—Ron Swanson, Circuit Court Judge, Milton

GREAT ARTICLE I would like to congratulate Ms. Krueger on the article about the Indian tribe in Montegut (“Small Indian Tribe Survives”, Dec. 14). It was quite moving and well-written. It moved many of us who tend to be slow to react to action. Thank you for telling Pensacola about the situation there. Keep up the good work! I look for your newspaper every week.

Karen E. Christakos, Pensacola