Letters to the editor for Saturday, May 21, 2022

·9 min read

Rental assistance fiasco

How many high paid administrators at DCF missed the ball in telling residents their rental assistance would be ending in a couple days?

This is indicative of total disregard and contempt of our lower-income neighbors.

Again, all those high salaries, well-heeled Our Florida program administrators and DCF administrators didn’t analyze the budget and could have and SHOULD have alerted renters months ago so they could relocate if needed or be prepared for higher rent costs.

Someone needs to be responsible for this obvious kick to the curb of low-income citizens.

Perhaps Gov. DeSantis could get his head out of Mar-a-Lago and see what low-income Floridians of all ages are dealing with; he needs to be accountable to all for this rental assistance fiasco and humiliation and unnecessary overwhelming stress to thousands of Floridians.

C. Kay Best, MSW , LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Lehigh Acres

Saying thank you to our military

There are many days associated with recognizing veterans. Some are Armed Forces Day (today), Memorial Day (May), Veterans Day (November) and days associated with different wars.

President Harry Truman in 1950 established a day to recognize the branches of the military. The National Security Act (1947) identifies our country’s readiness for any eventuality by land, sea and air. Armed Forces Day is our reminder of the unity in the branches (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard) of the military. Memorial Day remembers those in the military who died in service for our country as we assisted other countries. Veterans Day is a day to remember those who have served, and who are serving presently.

As Americans we need to understand the oath/promise one adheres to in safeguarding our country. We need to understand the wars and conflicts in the world and listen to the journalists within written and television media to feel in heart and mind the sacrifices that are taking place for freedom, liberty and human rights.

Maintaining peace is the goal of our military, and it is an objective worldwide. I start on this Armed Forces Day, and continue everyday saying thank you for your service in the past, present, and future as veterans.

Louis Cohen (Koltun), Naples

How to eliminate gerrymandering

Gerrymander and district drawing; the issue comes up after every census. To gerrymander districts requires just two pieces of data. First is a map of population distribution and the second is a map of political voting history. The first is required because the law requires that the final districts be approximately equal in population because of “one person, one vote.” The second is required for nefarious purposes. The political party in power then draws the requisite number of voting districts weighted in its favor often resulting in the well-known and universally recognized silly looking districts.

I’m no computer expert and perhaps an expert could explain why this is not possible but it seems to me that an algorithm could be devised to draw these districts using only the map of population distribution. A computer could then be instructed to draw the required number of districts using the population distribution map and applying only two rules: First that each district shall have equal population as near as possible and, second, that each district shall have the shortest boundary possible.

Robert Gabriele, Cape Coral

Burning our planet and ourselves

The world is poised to unleash fossil fuels in spectacular volumes. Planned projects around the globe will release 419 billion metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully realized. A study published on May 12 in the Energy Policy Journal found emissions from these coal, oil and gas “carbon bomb” projects were four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases expelled globally each year, placing the world on track for disastrous climate change because of the these “carbon bomb” projects.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, human emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels have risen to more than 35 billion metric tons per year, while volcanoes produce less than 1 billion metric tons annually. Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the Earth’s surface. Normally this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter: the greenhouse effect.

The warnings issued by environmental scientists are dire. The Earth’s rising temperatures are fueling longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes. In addition, we are witnessing disappearing glaciers and severe droughts which will cause more dramatic water shortages and continue to increase the risk of wildfires. Rising sea levels will lead to more coastal flooding on the Eastern Seaboard, especially in Florida and areas on the Gulf of Mexico. Forests, farms, and cities will face heat waves, heavy downpours and increased flooding. All of these will damage or destroy agriculture and fisheries.

The riddle of the lily pond applies here. In the beginning, there is only one lily pad in the pond, but the next day it doubles. And thereafter, each pad doubles daily. The pond completely fills with lily pads in 30 days. When is the pond exactly half full of lily pads? On the 29th day. If we have only trapped half of the extreme heat on the 29th day, what will we wake up to on the 30th day? Economists operate as though we can have infinite growth on a finite planet. That is an absurdity. We are burning our planet and ourselves in the name of growth and we headed towards extinction.

Sally Lam, Naples

Skilled teachers a family’s best friends

Nurturing children to follow their true callings is our job. We’ve got to live our values in a way that helps them have their own. Demanding that they think and feel the way we do backfires.

Ours is an ever-increasingly complicated era. There are many rights and many wrongs and lots of gray in between. To navigate the 21st century children need to think critically. They need to learn, articulate and express what they really feel, rather than simply parroting their parents’ list of do’s and don’ts.

Rigid, fused families that cling obsessively to whatever religion, politics, and/or tradition won’t cut it today or tomorrow.

A strong family is both a wonderful and a limiting context for learning. The role of education is both to make it clear why some family values make sense and to expose children to information, ideas, and horizons that are beyond those present in any family. Compassionate, informed, and skilled teachers are a great family’s best friends.

We don’t own our kids. We're their stewards, not their bosses.

Michael Sales, Naples

Early education supports mental health

Our children are struggling. Access to quality early childhood education is more important than ever — not only to prepare for kindergarten, but also to support their mental health. Even before the pandemic, up to one in five children, ages 3 to 17, had a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder, according to the 2021 U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory report on youth mental health.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase of 3- and 4-year-old children entering our programs with social-emotional delays. Their ability to manage emotions and behaviors are on the toddler level. They are biting, hitting, having tantrums, and some have language delays.

For children with access to early childhood education though, developmental delays brought on by stress or trauma are identified quickly. Quality early learning programs typically screen children within 30 days of enrollment. If a delay is discovered, a plan is put in place to overcome setbacks so they can learn and grow in a safe, nurturing environment. For example, children who argue over blocks, which results in a screaming match, could be encouraged to replay the situation as the teacher guides them with appropriate words to get their needs met. Social-emotional skills help create the foundation for future learning and positive mental health long into adulthood.

Investing in quality programs and providing access to those who need it most helps ensure children have the skills needed to adapt during a pandemic or another crisis they may face in the decades to come.

Heather Singleton CEO, Child's Path, Naples

Republican victory in 2024?

What would a Republican administration look like after a presidential victory in 2024? Some prognostications follow:

The major assumption is that the "The Lord of the Lies," would be president, with Greg Abbott installed as V.P. and Culture Wars Czar.

Ron DeSantis, after a bitter Republican presidential primary campaign, during which Trump called him a “little Napoleon from Naples,” would have his feelings soothed by being named attorney general. His first action would be the implementation of a nationwide election police force along the lines of the one in Florida. There would be no sense in taking a chance on a Republican election loss in the future. This would be followed by an order to disband the Capitol Police to ensure any future radical right insurrection would succeed.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would be named director of National Intelligence, assuming she could first read the book "Intelligence for Dummies." After mass resignations of all competent professionals from the intelligence agencies, Greene would blame the "gazpacho police" for the exodus.

Matt Gaetz would take control of the Department of Transportation. His experience in interstate traffic would be deemed invaluable in that role.

Sen. Rand Paul would be named surgeon general. His advocacy of "NO": no vaccines, no masks, no science was muted because of all who had died adhering to that prescription.

Sen. Ted Cruz, would be named to a new position, "Ambassador of Empathy." His inane odyssey to Cancun while 4 million people in Texas were freezing from lack of electricity is legendary among fellow lawmakers.

Speaking of ambassadors, would there be a more qualified candidate for U.S. ambassador to Russia than Tucker Carlson? With credentials that could fit on a thimble, he would be welcomed to Moscow after the new U.S. president abandoned NATO and let Putin carve off what was left of Europe.

Anyone for a recount? Anyone?

Manny Cacciola, Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Saturday, May 21, 2022