After reading the missive by Ms. Kelly, (see advertisement on page A3, March 30, 2017 Times) I can only repeat my oft-said statement that “Journalism is dead,” certainly in the Carrabelle Times!

Anyone who knows me also knows that on most political, social, financial, and environmental issues, Ms. Kelly and I are pretty much diametrically opposed! However, there are three things you can take to the bank:

Ms. Kelly is my friend!
Ms. Kelly is among the few, true intellectuals that I have met since first coming to Franklin County in 1986.
Ms. Kelly knows and understands our Constitution and Bill of Rights more so than most.

The First Amendment of our Constitution does not say that there is only “freedom of the press” when nobody is offended, political correctness is followed or only those officially protected need submit an opinion. For Ms. Kelly to be required to pay for space to publish her views is beyond disgraceful. Moreover, to deny Ms. Kelly the opportunity to voice this very important perspective in a space often devoted to her opinion columns shows editorial cowardice.

As for Mr. Lockley and others who believe what he says, I don’t care where you came from either, Mr. Lockley. Readers may recall that before outsiders came and settled Franklin County, it was essentially a swamp inhabited by snakes, vermin, and other local creatures. And were it not for the influx of legal immigrants, their ideas, volunteerism, tax monies, active participation and responsiveness to community needs, Franklin County would still be a vast wasteland.

Remember when local, state and even national representatives of the people listened to their constituents? Mr. Lockley and others should remember that they serve at the pleasure of the people. As such, they were voted into office and; they can be voted out of office. I urge all citizens of Franklin County to take back their government; throw such rascals out until elected officials learn to respect their constituents.

Remember when Franklin County was free of corruption? Well maybe you can’t. Franklin County has long been an embarrassment to the state and the nation for generations. For example:

• CVS - give up on Apalachicola, as one citizen said, cross the bridge!

• How much money has been allocated for books in the new library in Apalachicola? Or will it be another day care center where kids and adults can play on the Internet?

• Education - Has anyone wondered why the handful of students that graduate from Franklin County Schools, go on to college and, do not come back to Franklin County? Because there are no jobs! Then, of course, there are the graduation rates, teacher retention, dropout rates, absenteeism and tardiness among students AND teachers. These all need attention (administrators, school board members and, the superintendent come to mind).

• Health Care – A retired general from Apalachicola once told me when I first came to the county that “until all governmental agencies in Franklin County are out of the health care business, there will be no health care in Franklin County.” He was so right! Why do you suppose SummerCamp never took off? Why do you suppose people drive to Sacred Heart Hospital and medical complex, or to Tallahassee for their medical care? Why do you suppose retirees are not flocking to spend their golden years on the “Pearl of the Panhandle?” Because there is no health care!

The list goes on but you can certainly get the picture - corruption and fiscal irresponsibility of the first order, failure of zoning enforcement, failure to require mandatory trash pick-up (Florida does not have a bear problem – it has a trash problem coupled with poor bear management practices). There are many more examples.

By the way, were it not for folks like Ms. Mel Kelly and Mr. Allan Feifer and others who come from someplace else, Franklin County would be a place where many would wish is to be 1950, but who want to see that “Uncle” ensures 2017 dollars in their pockets and county jobs for their relatives.

Last but by no means least, citizens of Franklin County, take YOUR county and its governing back. The alternative becomes more frightening with each election.

John Hitron, PhD