Letters to the editor for Saturday, July 2, 2022

·13 min read

Collier school board incumbents endorsed

Feeling the current Collier County School Board has done an exemplary job over the past few years in increasing graduation rates to 92 percent, providing a safe environment for the students in conjunction with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and practicing fiscally conservative management of the school board’s budget, Naples Better Government is announcing its 60 percent or more vote of endorsement of each of the incumbents, Jory Westberry, District 1; Jen Mitchell, District 3; and Roy Terry, District 5.

Ten of the eleven candidates running for seats on the school board were interviewed by NBG. Candidate Kelly Lichter elected not to participate. The NBG board was impressed with the passion and willingness to serve on the part of all candidates; however, the wealth of knowledge and understanding of the school system on the part of the incumbents was evident and reassuring to know they are willing to work diligently in selecting a new superintendent for Collier schools when Superintendent Patton retires June 2023. Candidates Kimberly Ann Boobyer, Dr. Arthur Boyer, Jana Greer, Jacqualene Keay, Timothy Moshier, Jerry Rutherford and Ana Turino are urged to continue their involvements in the schools. If used in a positive way, their talents and passion can help the school system to remain strong and focused on its mission, with the children, teachers, administrators and entire community benefiting.

Sally Tiffany, president, Naples Better Government

Michelle McLeod for Collier commission

Michelle McLeod was interested in our neighborhood of Riviera Golf Estates when others were not.

She was the only candidate who took to the time to visit us. Michelle learned firsthand about the threats we face here by the potential development of the Riviera Golf Club. Those are the kind of qualities I am looking for in a county commissioner. I'll be voting for Michelle for District 4 county commissioner and I encourage you to do the same.

Hans Johnson, Naples

Reg Buxton offers experience

It’s seldom voters have the opportunity to choose someone as well qualified for public office as Reg Buxton, a candidate for District 2 county commissioner.

In addition to a successful career in publishing, Buxton has logged years of community service in Collier County. No other candidate even approaches the government experience Buxton offers, including years on the Naples City Council and service on the North Naples Fire Commission and over 25 civic and advisory boards.

A strong environmentalist, Buxton believes in “Smart Growth” and has the clout to deal with developers. He’s committed to expanding our mental health facilities and has specific ideas for providing more affordable housing, both critical county needs.

We would be fortunate to have Reg Buxton deal with these problems as our next District 2 commissioner.

Dave Trecker, North Naples

Bishop condemns anti-Semitic incidents

Recent reports of anti-Semitic incidents within the northern and southern portions of the Diocese of Venice are disheartening, and disturbing. This is especially concerning since there was a similar incident in the area only a few months ago.

I ask all to join me in condemning these hateful acts. Pope Francis spoke recently about this "escalation of evil" in the world and identified an antidote. "The antidote to this escalation of evil is remembrance of the past... of its wars ... of countless other atrocities." Let us remember!

The Diocese of Venice has tremendous compassion and empathy for what has occurred in the history of the Jewish people and has always valued and indeed cherished its longstanding relationship with the Jewish Community. An emphasis has been placed on deepening our shared roots, the teaching of tolerance in our schools and parishes, and fostering interreligious friendships.

Anti-Semitism is simply unacceptable. It must not be tolerated. Let us work together to prevent hate in all its forms, in our words, in our deeds, and in our prayers.

Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida

Frank Mann cared about everyone

I am so very sad about the passing of my friend, Commissioner Frank Mann. I met Commissioner Mann many years ago, in 1995, when I was employed with Lee County government. He never passed by without saying good morning, hello, etc. He was so very kind to the employees when most of the other commissioners basically ignored them.

After my employment with the county ended we stayed in touch and I was glad. He was kind, smart and funny and cared about people.

Fast forward, about 15 years, when the SW Florida Community Foundation started an LGBTQ+ fund. Commissioner Mann was invited to the opening, as were the other commissioners, but he attended and even donated to the cause.

In 2017 he was invited (as were the other commissioners) to the opening and ribbon cutting for the SW Florida Harmony Chamber of Commerce (LGBTQ & allies). Commissioner Mann gratefully accepted and attended the opening. I remember that he spoke to the group and cheered us on.

He cared about the LGBTQ+ community. He really did. Even though in our environment it was not a popular thing for politicians to do. But he did, because he cared about everyone.

Rest in peace my friend.

Arlene Goldberg, Fort Myers

Sickened by child's perp walk

We have long given up trying to rehabilitate people in our prison system, and now we jeopardize children by flashing their picture in a perp walk. It sickened me to see a child being used to make Sheriff Marceno’s “Law and Order” point. Even if his 10-year-old mind could comprehend the whole thing, the sheriff could have and should have handled it more discreetly. He could have been taken in custody without that absurd fanfare. If the sheriff wanted to say he will not tolerate threats, he could have done that as well without showing this child. It made the sheriff and our whole system look ridiculous. After seeing that I have little hope that any child will get the help they need to put bad behavior behind them and live a better life having been taught by more reasonable adults just how to do that. Studies have shown that juveniles treated this way does not work to the deter crime, in fact, it is the opposite.

Carol Crown, Bonita Springs

Vote out extremists on both sides

Independence Day is an excellent time to reflect on the state of our nation. If Washington, Jefferson and their chums had a time machine and traveled ahead to 2022 they might hop on a boat back to England and forget that petty tax on tea because their noble experiment in freedom has evolved into political warfare in a highly divided country.

Donald Trump and Co. are responsible for a morally challenging chapter in history concluding with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol but Democrats must bear their own crosses of ineptness; starting with President Obama. While he was apologizing for America's shortcomings the Russians were developing hypersonic rockets, battlefield nuclear weapons and cyber warfare strategy. Consequently, the Russians and Chinese no longer fear America's military might.

Starting with the Afghanistan debacle, Joe Biden and his cadre of radicals like VP Harris, Pelosi, Sanders, Warren and AOC have been busy attempting to rewrite the Constitution while ignoring the chaos at our southern border; rampant city crime and record fuel prices and sky high inflation. Likely more important, decades of progress in race relations was erased after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a white policeman. That was when a Marxist movement began heaping guilt on whites, using the "Racist" tag as their weapon of choice. While this was transpiring, the mainstream media stood idly by, ignoring the ramifications of this blackmail chicanery devised to further split the nation into factions.

If this great nation is to survive and thrive, voters must start replacing extremists on both sides of the aisle, starting this November. It's time we all heed JFK's immortal words of "Ask not what the country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." Simply put; It's time to remove that red "R" or blue "D " from our chests and replace it with a bold "A". First and foremost we are AMERICANS.

Gerald Ponder, Cape Coral

What the Founders were thinking

Judges keep looking at the original intent of the Founding Fathers when they interpret the Constitution. They consult outside sources when they do this because the outside sources provide insight into what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution. Of course they don't look into everything the Founders were thinking. For example, half of them were slave owners, and I bet they were thinking about how to hang onto their slaves when they wrote the Constitution. SCOTUS often looks into what James Madison was thinking about. I bet James gave a lot of thought to what Dolly was thinking about as he was writing things. I think that opens the door to also look into the original intent of the Founding Mothers.

Bob Schmidt, Sanibel

Article factual and dispassionate

To whomever is responsible for the content and the placement of this article “What does the fall of Roe v. Wade mean for Florida?“ in The News-Press:

Thank you. The article is factual and dispassionate. You resisted the opportunity to inflame passions with hyperbole and half-truths. I’m pleasantly surprised, hence this letter.

Gary Marsh, Estero

Supreme Court becomes political virus

The United States Supreme Court has lost its standing. It is no longer the hope of the downtrodden. For years, it protected the underdog. No longer does it do so. The Supreme Court’s current mode is one of divesting us of democracy and even annihilating humanity.

Taking away women’s rights with its overturning of Roe v Wade combined with its denuding the EPA of its congressional authority to regulate air pollution manifest that the court is hell-bent on eliminating the rights of citizens and rejecting the admonitions of science with respect to climate change.

Our Supreme Court has turned from a stalwart beacon of democracy to a political virus infecting the lives of Americans for years to come.

Joe Haack, Naples

Reject candidates preaching the Big Lie

We must stop this chaos immediately. I don’t care what side of democracy you are on.

We must maintain truth, facts and laws. It is not your job in the USA to lie, cheat and steal. What goes on in your home is your business unless you are breaking laws. What you believe in religiously is your business but don’t bring it into politics and please don’t use God’s name in connection to your political beliefs and rants. I was raised that the flag was a sacred sign and not used in hats, clothing and flying on cars.

When you can see and hear, watch the hearings. Stop the rhetoric about the facts that have been disclosed. These are people that worked in our government in very confidential roles that are talking about the disgusting amount of disinformation that this past “president “ wanted to preach. We have local, state and federal elections coming up very soon. Many running still are preaching the Big Lie. How can you ever trust someone like that to make decisions affecting our country, state and cities.

Choose wisely about moving forward. Especially as a woman. And Florida is more blue than you think.

Christianne Murphy, Fort Myers

Understanding Trump

To understand Trump in 2021 you must consider Trump in 2016 when the most pernicious fraud in American political history was perpetuated against him: the Russian lie. Even before his inauguration, the undocumented dossier claiming Trump was in effect a Russian agent had been fabricated by angry Democrats in the White House, Clinton campaign, the FBI and the intelligence agencies. The patently false accusations led to the Mueller investigation that took a year and a half to find nothing. However, the accusations alone were enough for the Democrats to retake the House of Representatives.

Afterwards, at a State of the Union speech, Trump offered two paths: cooperation with the Democrats or continuous opposition. Nancy Pelosi chose continuous opposition when she famously, on television, ripped up her copy of the speech.

Despite the Mueller investigation, the first two years of the Trump presidency had been very productive. Taxes were lowered for ALL taxpayers, illegal immigration at our southern border was being addressed, and the administration was canceling onerous regulations that hindered our economy. Even the two years that followed were a period of rising employment and prosperity; for example, the USA became a net exporter of oil and natural gas.

But when Trump visited the Ukraine and asked some questions about the activities of Joe and Hunter Biden, it led to a ridiculous impeachment trial that the Democrats had to know they would lose. Joe Biden, while vice president, had publicly boasted of threatening a Ukrainian official with cancellation of a foreign aid package unless a prosecutor investigating Joe’s son was fired, which he was. Trump was accused of revealing classified information, which is totally absurd because the president is the top official who controls what is classified and what is not.

Again, the impeachment trial was sufficient to turn the election in the Democrats' favor. A second political fraud had led to losing the presidency. Sadly, Trump focused his rage on the Georgia senatorial races in a way that led many Republicans to stay home on Election Day, and the Senate effectively turned Democratic with the new vice president as the deciding vote.

There were clearly some incidents of voting irregularities, for example in Pennsylvania where the voting period was extended in violation of the state Constitution, but not enough to change the election. I certainly don’t condone his failure to act promptly when a protest he had invited turned into a riot, but I can understand his state of mind after being the target of not one, but two massive political frauds. He has been treated shabbily twice and ought not to run again, but his accomplishments prior to 2021 will be recognized by future historians.

Ira Cotton, Naples

Danger of Trump and Putin

The facts are in and overwhelming. Many Republicans have sworn under oath the facts of Trump’s criminal attempts to stay in power. His idol Putin has committed war crimes in Ukraine and against his own people as Trump would do if he regained the presidency. In spite of the overwhelming evidence millions still blindly support Trump, listening to lies and misinformation (red herrings) from OAN and Fox News.

Both Putin and Trump are using threats to prevent accountability for their crimes. Putin threatens atomic bombs and Trump threatens nationwide attacks with his goons like those who attacked Congress Jan. 6. Yes, Trump=Putin and Putin=Trump and far too many people accept Trump’s lies and misinformation blindly.

Historically, appeasement of dictators only encourages them to worse crimes as has occurred with Adolf Hitler and Putin. Failure of the West to force Russia out of the Ukraine and convict Putin of war crimes will lead to more attacks on weak neighboring states. Failure of Attorney General Garland to convict Trump and his associates in crime will embolden him and his criminal gangs to further attacks. Anyone who can read and think who continues supporting the criminals Trump and Putin, in the face of all of the evidence, should consult with a psychiatrist.

William Pettinger M.D., Bonita Springs

The example set by Canada

Imagine a country where military-grade semi-automatic weapons cannot be sold or owned, where the sale of handguns are banned, and where there are no mass shootings.

It's not hard to imagine: it's Canada.

R.N. Williams, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Saturday, July 2, 2022