Letters to the editor for Sunday, January 16, 2022

·6 min read
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Affordable housing initiative welcome

A big “thank you” to Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor for wanting to encourage action on affordable housing by pursuing a possible opportunity to negotiate with the new owners of the Cove at Naples Bay (formerly called the Gordon River Apartments). Not only could an agreement help restore lost affordable housing in Naples, but it could greatly benefit the neighborhood of River Park, which has received such unfair treatment in the past. Public-private partnerships have worked well in other areas such as Washington, D.C., which has similar problems, such as a large service industry workforce.

It is unfortunate that the money being sent to the Sadowski Fund, created in 1992 by the Florida Legislature to provide a dedicated source of revenue for affordable housing, was permanently slashed by 50 percent in May 2021. Citizens need to urge our elected officials to protect this fund so that it can only be used for affordable housing.

E.E. Schwartz, Naples

Voter fraud lies ignore real threats

I want election integrity and to minimize the chance for voter fraud. Don’t we all? A review of every case of voter fraud in the six states disputed in the last election was conducted by the Associated Press recently. It found fewer than 475 cases of fraud. That is 475 out of the 25.5 million votes cast for president in the six states. So, yay – we did it!

In a recent editorial, the executive director of a dark money group claimed people are clamoring for strengthened election safeguards. The Honest Elections Project spent $250,000 on ads prior to the 2020 election to fight the use of mail voting during the pandemic, and was involved in multiple unsuccessful election lawsuits. He later admitted there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. To sum up: There was no problem. He helped created the illusion that there was a problem, and now he has solutions to fix the non-problem.

It sounds like an effort to give credibility to voter suppression efforts.

People inclined to want to commit election fraud may refrain because they gain nothing personally or financially, but suffer severe repercussions if convicted. In Florida, up to five years in prison.

When you pull back the curtain, it is clear that election fraud isn’t a problem. The real problem is ensuring all votes are counted. Voter fraud lies are not only making it more difficult for millions of Americans to vote, but ignore the real threats to our democracy.

Jan Sommer, Fort Myers

Mollusks smaller; beach sand fosters life

Kudos to Amy Bennett Williams for her article on shelling “Can I take that home? How to shell safely,” It’s a good thing to inform tourists and newcomers and remind residents how to preserve and protect an important element of our marine life.

The article prompts two observations.

The first is something my wife and I have noticed since we first started coming to Naples as snowbirds in 2004: Mollusk shells on the beach have gotten smaller. One no longer sees shells of four and five inches in diameter, which used to be quite common. Mollusks seem unable to grow to the sizes they did in the past. This is no doubt due to loss of habitat and pollution.

The second has to do with the sand. As humans, we tend to think of sand as something lifeless and inert. But scoop up some sand offshore at natural beaches like Delnor-Wiggins or Lovers Key and one comes up with all sorts of animal life amidst the grains. For the many creatures that inhabit it, sand is as much a living medium as air is for us and water is for fish. We need to think of it as such.

As people who want to maintain our tourist attractions, it’s understandable that we want to replenish eroding beaches. However, quarried sand is dead sand. It may even harm creatures when they’re buried under its weight.

When shelling, we need to respect and protect the living mollusks we may find at the beach. But beyond their pretty shells, we need to respect and protect the natural sands in which they live.

David Silverberg, Naples

Support decent, honorable Republicans

On Jan. 6, 2021 I watched the insurrection taking place at our nation's Capitol via television. One year later, on the anniversary of the shameful events, I watched and listened to several news stations; some were bashing the Democrats, namely President Biden, while other stations were bashing the Republicans. The word "heresy" was woven into some of their comments. Former President Trump's name was mentioned by some as a hero who was being unfairly blamed for the insurrection while others condemned him for his role in inciting the mob to violence.

Donald Trump's goal is to destroy our democracy and establish himself as a dictator. He has no regard for our Constitution, and the thousands of his misguided minions, who worship at the altar of Trump, are lock-stepped in the support of his lies and ambitions.

Donald Trump is a scourge on our society. It is time for Trump to accept the reality that he was defeated in a fair election and he needs to stop trying to poison the minds of the Republican legislators who mistakenly believe they need his support to be elected/re-elected. The time has come for all legislators to stand up and be counted for their actions.

I have been a registered Republican since I first became eligible to vote. I sincerely hope that the leaders of the Republican Party will wake up and support those in my party who are decent and honorable legislators and are willing to put personal ambitions aside for the benefit of our democracy.

Barbara Geisenburg, Bonita Springs

Republican myth dispelled

During the last 40 years (1981-2020), the average annual growth in federal government expenditure during the Republican administrations was 10 percent and that during the Democratic administrations was 4 percent (data source: U.S. Office of Management and Budget). Thus, the government expenditures have been increased more than twice as rapidly by the Republican administrations as by the Democratic administrations. The popular belief that the Republicans are for small government and the Democrats are for big government is, then, a big fish story.

During the same period, I find the average annual taxes as a percentage of income (GDP) to be the same 17 percent for the Republican and Democratic administrations. Thus, the belief that the Democrats are for tax hikes and the Republicans are for tax cuts is another myth.

During the same period, every Republican administration increased the budget deficit, whereas every Democratic administration reduced it. The average annual growth in deficits during the Republican administrations was up by 76 percent and during the Democratic administrations was down by 13 percent.

Coupling the information that every Republican administration increased the deficit whereas every Democratic administration reduced it, with the findings that both the Republican and the Democratic administrations, on the average, assessed taxes almost identically, and that the government expenditure has been increased more than twice as rapidly by the Republican administrations as by the Democratic administrations, it is safe to conclude that the Republican administrations borrow (tax children and grandchildren) and spend; and the claim that Democratic administrations tax and spend is a Republican invented myth.

Mukhtar Ali, Marco Island

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, January 16, 2022

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