Open conversation leads to good compromise on stormwater utility
The July 19 Vero Beach City Council meeting was a long one at which the proposed assessment to fund the city's stormwater utility was debated.
The Indian River Neighborhood Association would like to commend our City Council members for listening to the pros and cons presented by the public. In the end we believe a good compromise was achieved. Stormwater projects are a good use for a portion of the city's remaining federal relief funds and leaving in place a percentage of the planned assessment allows next year’s council to move forward without the cost of starting the assessment process all over again.
We have always wanted the stormwater utility to have an incentive component for property owners to retain more stormwater on their own premises. We hope they will revisit that part of the legislation. It may not be feasible for single family residences, but might incentivize owners with significant impervious areas to use either conventional solutions like tree islands or innovative technological methods to manage or treat stormwater runoff and receive a credit against their assessment.
The next step is to complete the stormwater master plan. The sooner, the better, to identify stormwater treatment projects. We will now have dedicated funds with which to compete for state and federal grants for such projects, thereby leveraging property owners’ assessments. With council’s action the city has taken a big step toward reducing stormwater pollution now entering our Indian River Lagoon.
Jean Catchpole, Vero Beach, is the co-chair of the Indian River Neighborhood Association Water and Lagoon Committee.
Voting by mail is more vulnerable to fraud: Vote in person
Too many public service announcements and media reports tout vote-by-mail ballots for the upcoming elections. Not physically voting in person is not good citizenship. Voting by mail divides the nation’s populace, insulates citizens from their government, and provides evil actors the ability to abuse the voting process.
When Googling mail-vote problems we need to dive deep because most media outlets don’t want to open the can of worms that is vulnerability to fraud in our elections. When digging we see the usual “baseless claims” sources, but the contrarians are there. For instance, Pew Research says that big percentages of mail ballots have historically been rejected due to carelessness. In 2016, 1.2% of ballots were rejected for missed deadline, no signature, non-matching signature, not registered, or dead. In 2018 the percentage increased to 2.1% of all mail-ins. “Already voted” percentages increased by almost 50%.
So, in 2020, was it due to increased education in completing mail ballots, or to lax scrutiny, that rejected mail ballots decreased to 0.8%? Inexplicably, rejections plummeted when more than twice the votes, 70 million, arrived by mail. “Contrarians” might have other explanations.
In 2016 and 2018 about 30 million mail ballots were returned, many from states that have been mailing ballots to registered voters automatically, California, Washington, Oregon; or “no explanation absentee” ballots, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island.
The common thread among many of these states is they are blue, Democrat-run states. That’s the party affiliation of many, if not most, inner-city poll workers across the country. Too many opportunities remain to “help” confused absentee voters more efficiently complete their ballot.
Otherwise the Board of Elections must return the envelope, have the voter fix it, then try again. Smart people should draw conclusions. Vote better. Vote in person.
P. Norman Grant, Vero Beach
We should be doing more to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion
I am ashamed that our country isn’t doing more to help Ukraine fight off this Russian army. These people haven't sat back and waited for someone to come to their rescue. They’ve shown the world their determination to save their country.
If we allow Russia to take over Ukraine, which of the European countries will be next? When will this evil of Russia ever be stopped? All of the countries in Europe are at great risk. Does anyone think that Russia will stop at Ukraine? If so, get your head out of the sand and think again.
The United Nations should be stepping up and putting an end to this invasion. Why aren't they? They should let Russia know that they will never be allowed to take over another country.
Have our leaders forgotten WWI and WWII? Russia is like Germany in their quest to take over that part of the world. Don't let this happen! The last three presidents have weakened us as a nation. We don't have the respect we once had. Even President Reagan realized Russia would always pose a threat to the free world.
Stop playing games, stand up, and work together. We need leaders who have a sense of morals and ethics to be in charge of America, regardless of what they call themselves, Democrats and Republicans.
May God bless America.
Patricia Boddy, Fort Pierce
Thanks to the people who found and returned my wallet
In March, I was a patient at St. Lucie Medical Center in the orthopedic department. Inadvertently, I left my wallet, which contained my driver's license, medical card, Social Security card, and a credit card, plus $40 cash. Not knowing where it went, I replaced them all.
Last week, I received a call from Brittany in the ortho ward letting me know that they had my wallet. She actually remembered me but had been on maternity leave.
She mailed my wallet, which was intact, including the cash. Thank you, Brittany, for making the extra effort to track me and call. Kudos to the honesty of the employees.
Judith Hamel, Port St. Lucie
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Letters, Aug. 4, 2022: Vote in person — and let's end Ukraine invasion