1. How do government personnel, including the local Public Health officials, perceive the contamination at the former DPW site, the risks associated with the site, and how the site affects the lives of the residents of Mitchell Heights?
2. How do race and class affect the resident’s exposure to, and perception of, risk as it relates to the former DPW site? How can risk communication in public health policy and practice better address resident’s perception of risk?
Case Study Description: Brooksville, Florida
During my time as the Redevelopment Coordinator for the City of Brooksville in the mid-2000’s, it was my job to research, document and recite somewhat inane facts about the history of the area. One of the most famous and controversial stories is the one surrounding the naming of the City which is the county seat in Hernando County, approximately forty-five mile North of the City of Tampa in Central Florida.
The name was chosen in 1856 to honor South Carolina State Representative Preston Brooks. Brooks was well known and revered in the South as a ferrous advocate of slavery and is famous for his severe beating of Senator Charles Sumner in the United States Senate (Hoffer 2013:526). Senator Sumner was an abolitionist who had recently disparaged Brooks’ uncle, Senator Andrew Butler, while in the mist of a prolonged anti-slavery speech (Hoffer 2013:527). This enraged Brooks so much so that he sought out Sumner and beat him with a cane to the point that Sumner was unable to serve in the Senate for three years (Hoffer 2013:531-532). The founding families in Hernando County felt this action by Brooks deserved to be memorialized and honored Brooks in the naming of their city “Brooksville.”