Letters to the editor for Sunday, August 14, 2022

·17 min read
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Re-elect Collier school incumbents

One of the most important events in recent Collier County School Board history will take place this school year with the appointment of a new school superintendent. If we are to attract the highest caliber candidates it is vital that they see a welcoming, supportive and stable educational environment. As the CCPS board chair during the search that resulted in the hiring of Dr. Kamela Patton, I know this from experience.

As required by their oath of office, the current board members have complied with all state laws and gubernatorial executive orders and have delivered remarkable results despite the challenges of a global pandemic. They have taken their fiscal responsibility seriously and the district is on track to be debt free by 2026, while reducing the school taxes homeowners will pay. Academically, the district has maintained an A grade for the past five years as measured by state metrics, one of only three districts in the state to do so. In addition, the graduation rate has increased by 20.2 percent over the past 10 years to 92.7 percent.

This is not the time to rock the boat if we are genuinely concerned about providing the best learning environment for our children and attracting the best candidates for our next superintendent. The current incumbents need to be returned to office. Vote for Jen Mitchell, Roy Terry and Jory Westbury in the Aug. 23 primary election.

Julie Sprague, CCPS board member 2008-2016, Naples

Nancy Lewis for Collier commissioner

Collier County is at a crossroads with many groups all competing for the same resources. We have more people that want to move here, some from the states as well as internationally. We have roads, many of which cannot be widened. We have developers who want to build higher and higher buildings with more density because there is a market to sell them. We have hoteliers who see Naples as a very lucrative market. We have owners of sports complexes who want to turn Naples into a Disneyland. All of these are competing with the very scarce resources enjoyed by the residents, such as our clean beaches, safety of our roads, family oriented neighborhoods, quaint downtown, etc.

We have grown too fast to accommodate all the needs required by those who are still arriving and we are continuing this growth at record speed. It is time to institute new plans to address this growth and not just let it continue unabated. We need commissioners who will look at long range plans for Collier County and not just keep approving exceptions to our zoning laws.

Nancy Lewis is the candidate from North Naples, District 2 who has been addressing these issues from the beginning. She is the only candidate not accepting donations from PACs or developers. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road and expect anything to change. I am supporting Nancy Lewis for commissioner because I know Nancy and I know she will work diligently on behalf of all of us. She is my choice and I hope, yours as well.

ELizabeth Pircio, Naples

Elect Daija Hinojosa

We have a very pivotal election coming up on Aug. 23 in Collier County for the role of county commissioner for District 4. We are in need of true leadership in this town especially following the aftermath of the overreaching oppressive actions from the current leadership of the incumbent who occupies the seat.

I fully support Daija Hinojosa to become our next county commissioner. She has always been destined to run for elected office since pre-pandemic. She is a principled leader with strong conservative values. Daija is a beacon of hope and promise for Collier County.

Daija advocates for clean water, lower taxes, small government, balanced development, fiscal responsibility and will not give you lip service. She has been at every board meeting and many other community events addressing the crucial issues facing Naples.

Her peaceful protests and community awareness initiatives are what sparked the “freedom movement” in Naples, helping to revoke the illegal mask mandates that plagued our businesses, town and way of life.

I have stood by Daija’s side as a good friend and am very involved in her campaign with marketing support, voter outreach, campaigning and in other capacities.

As a Republican, proud patriot father and small business owner, I believe Daija is the best candidate for the job.

If you feel the same way about Naples and you too think it is time for a much needed change in leadership, then stand with me and many other like minded voters to elect Daija on Aug. 23!

Nick Ummarino, Naples

Public participation limited in Lee

Our Board of County Commissioners is at it again. They have been limiting public input at their public hearings to three minutes. (Is this an abridgement of free speech?) Now, shame on me for this, I have just discovered that their Administrative Code (AC-2-7) calls for five minutes for the public. Well, they just can’t have this so they are in the process of amending the code to limit citizens to three minutes.

If that is not enough, they want to eliminate a portion of the code which requires a showing of hands by the public as to whether or not they agree with the commissioners. I know they have been avoiding this and can only assume that they might be embarrassed by the lack of citizen support.

They are this arrogant because we, the citizens of Lee County, have allowed them to be.

Norman Cannon, Fort Myers

Michelle McLeod's vision for Collier

Michelle McLeod has a great vision regarding many of the issues of Collier County, including: the Paradise Sports Complex in eastern Collier County - funded with local tax dollars at approximately 567 million over budget; Great Wolf Lodge -- the county board agreed to fund this, again funded with local tax dollars. Also, both of these projects are in direct competition with the remaining hoteliers in Collier County. I trust Michelle McLeod to work hard for the taxpayers of Collier County and not waste our tax money.

Murray R. Wise, Naples

Bonita Lions support eye clinic

For over 20 years, our local Lions Clubs have been screening adults and children for eye problems and came to realize that many of them are underserved and cannot afford eye care. In 2008, the Bonita Springs Lions Club in their wisdom, decided to build an eye clinic on their campus in Bonita Springs. The clinic treats patients 200 percent below the poverty line and with no insurance. Today the clinic treats 2,000 patients a year and it is entirely free, even surgery. The clinic is the only free standing eye clinic offering in-house surgeries in the state. In kind services are valued at over $950,000 a year.

Though the name changed to the Florida Lions Eye Clinic, as it serves people from all over Florida, one of our major supporters continues to be the Bonita Springs Lions Club. With over $400,000 donated since the clinic’s inception, we are hugely indebted to them. Without the collective support from all of our volunteers, donors, foundations, charitable institutions, our local news sources, and the support we get from Collier and Lee County’s United Way, the clinic would not exist.

Any person who resides in Florida who is underserved, does not have medical insurance, and meets the qualifying guidelines, is able to make an appointment for free services at 239-498-3937. The clinic treats eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, and provides eye exams and surgeries for children and adults at no cost.

The Florida Lions Eye Clinic has a vision to improve the quality of life for those who cannot afford eye care by providing exemplary and comprehensive vision care. As founding physicians, it is impossible to show just how grateful we are for all of the support the clinic has received since its opening.

Richard D. Shapiro MD, Howard Freedman MD, Alfonse Cinotti MD, Joseph Carpentieri MD, Florida Lions Eye Clinic, Bonita Springs

Campaign attacks shameful

While I realize this has been an extremely vicious campaign season for local races in Naples, I think intelligent people are very fed up with the social media and mailings we have received from candidates attacking their opponents with misinformation and down-right lies instead of focusing upon how they will work with others in our community including elected colleagues and concerned citizens on ensuring that our community continues to be the best place to live.

Where are their ethics! What will they do to ensure our community, our school district, our infrastructure, our natural resources are addressed. No clue when the only focus in their mailings and posts are attacking opponents. The most recent mailing was done by Penny Taylor against an opponent. The viciousness was beyond belief from Penny and her campaign team. Shameful!

My votes go to those who focus on the work and how they will contribute! Jen Mitchell, Roy Terry, and Jory Westberry get my vote in the school board race! Michelle McCloud, Collier County Commission District 4 gets my vote. All have a track record of great work, ethical behavior, collaborative leadership and proven track records, and their campaigns focus upon the work and not attacking other candidates!

Kathy Curatolo, Naples

Vote out DeSantis

freedom, Freedom, FREEDOM!  Hey, how about that freedom!  Yeah, how about the freedom of women making their own health care decisions with the consultation of their doctors?  NO! says DeSantis. We can’t have that. We’ll let Big Government make those decisions. Women should stay home, barefoot, pregnant, and serving their man.  Disgusting?  Yes!  Let’s do something about it. Vote these Neanderthals out of office starting with DeSantis in November.

Patrick Kroll, Fort Myers

Governor's overreach

Once again Florida’s Republican governor has demonstrated his political power overreach due to a difference of law interpretation. He has suspended Democratic State Attorney Andrew Warren who was elected twice by voters in Tampa  in 2016 and 2020, thereby voiding the voice of the people.

Dorothy S. Kuzneski, Naples

DeSantis attacks public education

Attacks on public education are disgusting. President Wannabe DeSantis leading the charge is revolting.

Most people don’t realize what it takes to become a teacher or certified educational administrator. I’ll illustrate the rigor of educator training by briefly looking at what it takes to be a middle or high school biology teacher in Florida’s public schools through the lens of the requirements for this degree at Florida Southwestern State College.

An undergraduate degree in this field at the college entails completion of 40 courses, including 12 courses in General Education (i.e., Communications, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences) and 20 courses within the specialization, e.g., “Methods in Teaching High School Science with Practicum,” which addresses both the theory and practice of the science classroom.

Southwestern State isn’t an elite school, but I will bet my bottom dollar that everyone who graduated this program with a B+ average or better worked their tails off.

Certified educators are skilled practitioners. But loud-mouthed know-it-alls treat them like dogs. Have these screamers ever cracked a serious book about teaching? Have they studied the goals of education? Have they researched managing discipline in classrooms? Does a focus on “human development” sound like part of a socialist plot to indoctrinate their children?

There are bad cops and bad police departments. But, just as with the cops, there are more competent educators than there are poor ones. Listen to them. Show them some respect. Pay them appropriately. Most of us couldn’t do their job.

Michael Sales, Naples

Ray Judah out of touch

Thank you News-Press for printing the op-ed by former Commissioner Ray Judah. It serves as a happy reminder of why voters overwhelming rejected him six years ago in a landslide loss. He remains as out of touch with SWFL voters now as he was when they kicked him out of office, yet he still seems to be desperate for attention when his day has clearly passed.

Of course Ray is supporting Charlie Crist and his anti-business, anti-property rights and socialist utopia platform -- proving true the "birds of feather" proverb. Ray campaigned unsuccessfully for Charlie in his last failed attempt at governor and has a long record of supporting failed candidates at both the state and local levels. What he repeatedly fails to comprehend (and blame others for, rather than develop a better sense of self-awareness) is that voters consistently reject his liberal agendas and attacks on Florida’s farmers.

Ray, let me break it down for you. You had your chance and you failed us. The world has moved on and you should consider doing the same. Ron DeSantis has done more to restore and preserve our environment than you, and your fellow career politician/opportunist buddy Charlie Crist, have ever dreamed of doing. Your words are as empty as the suit Charlie Crist has worn while scamming voters for the last 30 years.

Unlike you and Charlie, Gov. DeSantis will be successful again at the ballot box -- while the two of you will be relegated to the sidelines to continue to irrelevantly point blame and throw stones. Maybe it’ time that you embrace retirement. It’s for the best.

Terry Miller, Alva

Monthly payments for families

Do you know a parent who would benefit from up to $350 payments per child each month? The Child Tax Credit did this for a brief time at the end of 2021, but when it was not renewed, parents like myself were left to fend for themselves during historic inflation. The Family Security Act is cost neutral and promises to bring back these payments in a greater amount.

Sen. Romney’s new plan would not contribute to inflation, and would provide parents with the essential help they need to afford necessities in this economy. The FSA would provide $350 payments per child ages 0-5, or $250 for 6-17, more than the original CTC. Furthermore, expecting parents can qualify for $700 per month in the last four months before birth.

As a mother, when I was receiving the CTC I could pay for health care costs for my two kids. It allowed me to be stress free and focus on my business. I know many other parents are struggling to put food on the table, or commute to work with expensive gas prices. The Family Security Act could be the saving grace our middle and lower class desperately needs.

Marilu Garbi, Fort Myers

More IRS agents

The new inflation reduction act which the president will soon sign into law will increase the number of IRS agents by 87,000. There’s 724 billionaires in America, who do you think they will come after once they are finished with them?

Carl Schumann, Fort Myers

Constitution, rule of law prevail

The recent legal search of Mar-a-Largo was long overdue and evidently involved the harboring of classified documents illegally removed from the White House. This has never occurred in our history and, if it did, under normal circumstances the perpetrator would already be behind bars. It was not a raid as the orange man would have us to believe but an above-board legal search. There were no doors smashed and the operation went smoothly with compliance by the caretakers. The perpetrator wasted no time to alert his minions and sycophants in Congress to characterize this as an illegal raid drummed up by the Democrats. The Justice Department, which is a completely separate branch of government, carried out this operation with evidence of the sequestration of classified documents. Immediately, the clueless followers took to social media threatening a civil war which is scary and obviously taken into consideration prior to the search. The fact remains -- “no man is above the law -- no man.”

The consequences of this and the possible repercussions could and should preclude the target of these illegalities from ever running for office again. The repercussions of this will drive these deranged flag-wavers crazy but they were already crazy. Country, the rule of law and the Constitution should and must be upheld to hopefully put an end to this madness.

Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral

President Biden and legislative actions

Our current administration and Congress in the past 18 months have passed an impressive list of legislation that has addressed many of my prioritized concerns and helped many regular people like myself.

1. A recovery stimulus during COVID-19 lockdown to replace some lost income

2. Infrastructure spending adding jobs to make needed repairs to roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports.

3. Gun safety -- new laws for the first time in decade to keep us safer

4. Medical aid for veterans suffering from toxic burn fumes

5. Funding to bring chips manufacturing back to the USA from China and solve a supply chain issue

6. Increased jobs and decreased unemployment

7. Gas prices are coming down reducing inflationary costs

8. Uniting NATO against Russian aggression of Ukraine

9. COVID-19 vaccinations that have reduced deaths and ICU hospitalizations

10. Climate change spending to reduce carbon emissions

11. Medicare benefits changes to reduce costs to seniors -- cap on out of pocket costs and negotiated drug prices

12. 15 percent minimum tax rate for billion dollar corporations who currently pay no taxes

13. Reduction to the national deficit

Issues that I am concerned about remain to be addressed. Most have to do with protection of our rights:

Protect voting rights and rules for counting votes

Protect public safety by banning open carry of assault weapons

Protect our paid-into Social Security benefits

Protect women’s rights to choose their best health care

Protect people’s freedom from discrimination

In this November’s general election, be sure to vote for candidates who represent your best interests.

Linda Lindquist, North Fort Myers

No resemblance to the Gestapo

Sen. Rick Scott should be ashamed of his rhetoric and apologize to every WWII veteran and victim still alive. His remarks comparing the execution of a legal search warrant to the Nazi Gestapo is inflammatory and a gross lie.

An FBI search warrant has to include an affidavit that includes probable cause for a search, and information to support the likelihood that evidence of a crime is located at the place of the search. A “neutral and detached” federal judge must sign off on the warrant. All this because the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution protects Americans from unlawful search and seizure.

This bears absolutely no resemblance to the Gestapo. The Gestapo (translation of the abbreviation of “secret police”) ruthlessly eliminated opposition and was responsible for the roundup of Jews throughout Europe for deportation to extermination camps. The Gestapo operated outside the law, ordered murder and torture, and operated mobile death squads. Its actions were not subject to judicial appeal.

Millions of innocent civilians were systematically exterminated by Nazis during WWII. Scott’s comparing the U.S. FBI and judicial processes to Nazi atrocities is a disgraceful display of contempt for our Constitution and our laws.

Susan McGuire, Bokeelia

Underhanded tactics

The raid on former President’s Trump home when the National Archives and Records Administration referred the case to the Justice Department because of alleged security threat posed by having classified materials taken from the White House when he left office is unprecedented

The Justice Department and FBI have a "strange way" of addressing mishandling of classified material. Hillary had classified material on an unsecured server, and the FBI said it was careless.

People should be fearful and aware of the corruption and underhanded tactics being used by federal agencies to take down a former president

If Trump committed criminal acts hold him accountable. As Americans it's imperative that we hold all elected officials to the very highest standard, not just members of one party. as they serve and answer to us.

The FBI has been used as a political weapon against those who are not part of the establishment government in the past. It's just like they've been doing with the IRS (Lois Lerner) inappropriate targeting of conservative groups and people, no one got arrested, she got her hand slapped and a pension and they want to hire another 87,000 agents, be prepared to be audited

It’s up to the American people to fight for their freedoms. The people have forgotten that the politicians work for them -- we do not serve them.

Lou Walker, Cape Coral

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, August 14, 2022