April 29, 2015
Shouts of relief erupted throughout the Hernando Board of county Commissioners chambers Tuesday morning from a small but mighty group of residents that fought with every ounce of energy they could muster for more than a year in a David and Goliath battle.
The group in past weeks were starting to wear down when the final stone was catapulted in just the right spots and hit the giant right between the eyes.
Local residents were up against a powerful group of landowners, referred to as ‘the fab five’ here in Hernando County. Additionally, they were up against a huge company with historical economic influence here in Hernando County as well although their base is in Mexico.
Hundreds of residents lined up to make their final pleas with the BOCC to make the right decision for Hernando residents.
The most remarkable demeanor of the BOCC was their behavior as members of the BOCC as they were supposed to be listening to the citizen’s comments.
Citizen Millie Smith spoke up and explained that her father was a disabled veteran and moved here 40 years ago after the war to live the rest of his life in peace. Her father is getting on in years and if this Cemex plan were to be approved her father would have to leave because the carcinogenic silica dust could kill him. Smith went on to ask the BOCC if they would choose to live in an environment like what they are proposing and even more importantly would they subject their loved ones to such an unhealthy environment?
After Ms. Smith made her comment and the room erupted in applause.
Commissioner Nicholson loudly admonished citizens that there were over a hundred people that wanted to comment and applauding would just make the ‘day longer.’ Residents spoke up and laughingly told the BOCC it wasn’t a problem. They were there to ‘spend the day and it was raining anyway’.
Shannon Jurinick of Hernando Beach arrived at the podium to make her statement saying, ‘I believe as most will agree, that certain board members will have a deaf ear to any form of negative public input regarding the mining issue, as they have displayed in the past. I have been sitting here in the audiendce watching you all looking around reading notes, and watching Commissioner Nicholson cleaning his ears and checking out what comes out.
This issue is important sir. This proposed section of land is not only one of the most scenic and desirable building sites but is also location friendly. I gives access to rt 50, rt 19, I-75, the Sun Coastplus being the gateway to the City of Brooksville and Spring Hill.
If the CEMEX plan passes the financial situation for Hernando County is seriously bleak.
Personally, I would like to know the true driving force of pushing this plan through. How can this board honestly justify the loss of and destruction of this beautiful prime piece of land.
In closing, I ask all votors to remember what this board is supposed to stand for. Is it for us or their own personal agenda.”
Bob Whitmar came up next and explained that there were three key words associated with this plan. Vision, growth and encroachment. When he and his wife made the decision to move here those were the things he had on his mind. Whitmar goes on to encourage everyone to look at the Hernando County web site and note that there is not one word about a mine. Future residents have a right to the vision, growth and protection from encroachment they are promised when investing in Hernando County for their future.
Mary Ellen Urban spoke next and asked the BOCC,”How many of you would like to have a 60 foot cliff drop off in your back yard? Raise your hands please.”
Not a single hand was raised.
As DeeVon Quirolo got up to speak, she was interrupted by Commissioner Jim Adkins.
And here’s where it got good.
Just as the leader the opposition, DeeVon Quirolo, was about to speak, Commissioner Adkins asked to interrupt and made the statement that he would not vote in favor of the change.
Comprehensive land use plan changes require at least four yes votes on the five-member commission or two out of three no votes to deny it, and it was widely known that Commissioner Diane Rowden, planned to vote against the change. With Adkins joining Diane that was it. No change.
The commotion swept through the room like a tidal wave.
Shortly thereafter, a representative stood up and they would like to withdraw their petition without prejudice. The big boys packed up their big toys and will return another day.
For now the battle has been won by the people but the war isn’t over.
This is Democracy.
If you see corrections or typos or just want to say hi you can reach Dorothy Famiano at 352-247-2410 or by email at email@example.com.