Letters to the editor for Sunday, November 26, 2023

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Sunken vessel near Matlacha Pass.
Sunken vessel near Matlacha Pass.

Sunken boats smell of diesel fuel

I launch my kayaks at the Matlacha Community Park at the paddlecraft launch.I row out to North Matlacha Pass to harvest oysters during the season which just opened this September, one year after Hurricane Ian. As I pass under the small second bridge I pass by many docked boats. I was very surprised to see at least four of these boats still sunken, partially submerged and a heavy smell of diesel. I'm not sure whether this diesel smell was coming from the water or the land. The fueling station for boats was in the same area. It is my opinion that these boats need to be removed from the water and an oil barrier surrounding the whole docking area. My oyster bed is a long way from this area but something needs to be done.

John Simon, Cape Coral

Letters to the editor should be 250 words or less. Include your name and city or community of residence. Guest opinions should be 600 words or less and include a brief summary of the author’s credentials relevant to the topic. Guest opinions may include a head shot of the author. For the Fort Myers News-Press, email submissions to mailbag@news-press.com and for the Naples Daily News to letters@naplesnews.com

Pelicans no longer dive in bay

Pelicans cruise over waterways seeking food. If they see a fish, they dive. If they just cruise around, it means there are no fish. Pelicans will not waste energy by diving into the water if there are no fish there. This is a natural “tell” for polluted waterways.An organism that has been described as “a world-wide sentinel species to assess and monitor environmental pollution in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries” is the osprey, a large raptor bird with a wingspan that can exceed 1.5 meters and a mass up to 2 kilograms. Found in all continents throughout the word, except Antarctica, the osprey feeds almost exclusively on fish.There used to be an osprey nest on Marker 13 in Smokehouse Bay in front of our house. We observed many generations inhabiting the nest and delighted in the parents raising the chicks. Lots of noisy “bird arguments.” Osprey no longer nest on Marker 13. Eagles no longer perch at the top of the Norfolk pine in our yard, which provided a wide view of the bay.There are no longer any fish in Smokehouse Bay due to record low oxygen in the water because of “reclaimed” water pollution. Reclaimed water is partially treated sewage distributed across the island for irrigation at condos along the beach and the two golf courses.The Marco waterways are becoming eutrophic and clogged with algae. Watch the birds as indicators of polluted waterways.

Eugene Wordehoff, Marco Island

Neighborhood Health Clinic

Celebrating the holidays offers many of us the opportunity to be thankful for what and who we have in our lives that amplify goodness and provide meaning.Speaking for everyone at Neighborhood Health Clinic, we feel thankful and blessed to be part of a community of neighbors so willing to share their resources, volunteer their expertise, and show unbridled compassion for low-income workers in need who have nowhere else to turn for health care.This community has stood by us for over 24 years, helping us to provide medical services to more than 15,000 uninsured patients. And we look ahead to 24 more years helping neighbors in need, because Naples is a community that cares. We exist to serve the underserved; we are successful because of you.Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Thanksgiving.Leslie Lascheid, CEO, Neighborhood Health Clinic, Naples

Democracy and Cape council

The Cape Coral City Council has suspended the first freedom of a democracy on the pretense of saving money. They are taking away your tight to select your political leaders and giving that right to themselves.

City Council will pick a new council member to replace the suspended District 4 council member rather then letting voters choose their representative. As a sitting council member this person will have a definite advantage in future elections.

Freedom is choosing our political leaders. Autocratic control, whether you call it fascism or oligarchy, is political leaders choosing cronies that agree with them to act as governing representatives. Please defend democracy by protesting this action.

Steve Sherman, Fort Myers

Rise above Trump

Kudos to Robert Tate for his incisive article concerning Donald Trump and the very dangerous rhetoric that continues to spew from his mouth.

Behind all of Trump's vicious diatribe is his insatiable desire for revenge.

In my opinion Trump is a very deranged individual; Trump is harboring such anger at having lost the 2020 election that he won't stop until he has destroyed our democracy.

How can the Republican Party support Donald Trump? Are they so desperate to regain the White House that they are willing to choose such a dangerous egomaniac to represent their party in a presidential election?

My advice to the leadership of the GOP is to look within their ranks; there are several Republican representatives, senators, and governors who have earned the respect of their constituents.

There is still time for this country to rise above this seemingly dark abyss that Trump represents.

We need a president who will govern with dignity and respect for the values and principles upon which our democracy was founded.

Donald Trump is not that person.

Barbara Geisenburg, Naples

Evening attire

As a 25-year-round resident of Naples from the Chicago area and as a retired travel agent of 30 years in that industry, I am embarrassed more lately by some American men's evening dress attire at fine restaurants and cultural events. In our warm climate, of course, linen or cotton shirts, long sleeve /cuffs turned up should be minimum standard evening attire at above locations. And cooler weather, light weight jackets with or without tie at the symphony (when the orchestra is in black or white tie!) They deserve it. Who told you there was one outfit from a.m. to p.m.? This has been a longtime observation of mine. Of course the effort most women make would be pleased with a similar thoughtfulness by her partner or escort. Coincidently, the Nov/Dec. issue of Veranda magazine on last page features Ralph Lauren on his yacht in Jamaica dressed in white dinner coat and barefoot -- just because he felt like it. I like to be a thoughtful citizen of the world when I travel and at home.

DeAnn Shawkey, Naples

Fentanyl risk

President Biden’s success in convincing Chinese President Xi Jinping to throttle back the production of chemicals used to make fentanyl, while commendable, won’t change much of anything.

Even if Xi follows through, and there’s no certainty he will, other suppliers will pick up the slack. Rogue labs around the world have the capability to manufacture fentanyl without any Chinese precursors. Illegal laboratories in the American desert are already doing just that.

It’s important to understand that fentanyl is a small molecule, a relatively simple propionamide. It’s easy to make. There are four well-documented synthetic pathways. Feedstock chemicals are not unique; they’re easy to come by.

Lack of Chinese intermediates certainly won’t stop production in Mexico. Cartel-controlled labs will simply get the starting materials elsewhere. And because of our open border, there will still be easy access to the American market.

The fentanyl risk is enormous. Just 2 milligrams, a tiny amount, can be lethal. Because of its incredible potency, overdose deaths in the U.S. topped 70,000 in 2022, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. And huge quantities of non-medicinal fentanyl are already out there. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reported that in 2022 it had seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American – over 379 million doses.

And more is coming. As long as there is demand, the killer drug, easy to make, will be manufactured somewhere, with or without Chinese chemicals.

Dave Trecker, PhD, Naples

Successful administration

Prices are coming down. Things are quietly getting better.The tone set by the current president is “steady at the helm.”When the country and the world most requires these qualities, the current leader and statesman brings experience, wisdom, and courage.Even prices are finally coming down, due to patient edging of the country’s booming economy into the hoped-for soft landing.• Gas is down 5.3%; used cars and trucks, -7.1%; airline fares, -13.2%; televisions, -9.4%;“inflation once again lessened its grip on households in October, extending a year-long trend…strong economic growth, unemployment at longtime lows, wages finally outpacing inflation, all leaving Americans with more money in their bank accounts than they have had in years.” Washington Post 11/13/23Although there is more work to be done, thoughtful people who examine the actual accomplishments of the past three years will see a highly successful administration that keeps us safe in a time of threatened chaos.

M.L. Sheehan, St. James City

'Pure evil' of Hamas

I have participated in three "peace" missions to Israel. These trips were designed to help fund and facilitate "transboundary" cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors, including Gaza.

2006, the year after every Israeli left Gaza, Hamas won the power to set up a government. Sadly between free money from U.S., EU and UN, corrupt Hamas leaders resulted in a vast terrorism infrastructure with limited civilian resources. Basic safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing, sewage and agriculture etc. is marginal at best. For decades Israel provided needed water (from its modern desalinization plants) and electric power.

Water is the scarcest natural resource in the shared desert environment. Israel’s advanced technology also developed an amazing machine, Watergen, which draws the limited humidity from pure air and "makes water!" Amazing! These machines have been placed for use of off-grid Bedouin Arabs living in Israel and placed in villages in Gaza designed to pull pure water out of the dry air. Amazing!

And their gratitude for the world’s humanitarian generosity is sending the barbarians of Hamas to butcher, rape and kidnap babies, children and elderly, women and men, unleashing what the president termed "pure evil!" And still over 200 hostages, if alive, remain captive in Gaza.

Shame on the International Red Cross who have yet to eyeball, assess and assist these living victims, the hostages. IRC absence is either cowardliness or just politics. This is why IDF soldiers search so desperately to "bring them home!"

Don’t be fooled! The "innocent" residents of Gaza by large measure approve of Hamas’ barbarism. Shocked? When asked last week by Arab World for Research & Development pollsters, based in Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah, the numbers are overwhelmingly Hamas supporters! By their own reporting, 63% in Gaza supported the recent slaughter of Israelis and citizens of 30 other countries, including dozens of Americans. Innocent? 70% in Gaza want to kill infidels (Christians and Jews) in Israel to establish the caliphate "from the river to the sea." A one state Islam solution!

I was fooled to believe peace initiatives would be repaid with peace or at least appreciation. I was naive. Now, the Palestine based pollsters tell us their truth. We should believe them. The inhumanity of October 7th runs deeper and wider in their culture than I previously thought imaginable.

I applaud President Biden for giving Israel latitude in their war against the butchers of Gaza. I hope the administration truly offers a green light until the State of Israel and Israelis feel safe once again. Remember, Hamas and and their ilk broke the ceasefire and started this war. All blood and destruction is on their hands.

The Allies battling Nazi Germany chose a necessarily relentless and ruthless path to victory, followed by DeNazification of the people and culture. Israel, with America’s backing, follows the Greatest Generation’s example to rid the planet of the "pure evil" of Hamas. Only then can a Marshall Plan-like effort bring resources, hope and civility to the people in Gaza.

Harvey Cohen, Naples

Partisan politics

I'm a bit confused here. Greatest amount of job growth, a very good GDP growth, gas prices coming down due to record domestic production; and unemployment at an all time low. Now this is the source of my confusion; as I can't see a problem with these seemingly positive statistics. My father would say figures do not lie; yet liars figure. This, I believe is the case here. Indeed wages are increasing, and inflation is coming down, we need to stop denying facts in the face of partisan politics. It does no good. I watched Texas Republican Chip Roy on the floor of the House, decrying that he had nothing to take home to his district; to "rev" his constituents up. I read a statistic that claimed the 118th Congress is the least effective Congress since Herbert Hoover's administration. That's now acceptable in any way shape or form. One of our local Congress members said in an interview, Byron Donalds, believes he was elected to "break" things in D.C.! No Byron, you were NOT! You have become the very type of swamp creature you speak against! In short Byron, DO YOUR JOB! Either that, resign, wait the allocated amount of time, and move to K Street!

Robert Jenkins, Naples

Silence of GOP leadership

Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Chris Christie seem to be the only two prominent members of that party who have spoken out against the Veterans Day remarks at a rally and on social media  by former President Trump calling his political opponents “vermin,” along with other Nazified language and plans to indict them.

That others in GOP leadership positions have chosen to be mute is not moot. The silence of the lions of the party signifies that either they haven’t heard about the statements, which is doubtful; don’t care about them, which is distressing; are afraid of the ex-president, which is regrettable; are fearful of offending his staunch supporters, which is even more upsetting; or agree with him, which is terrifying.

Whichever reason it is — or others — the voiceless acquiescence of the GOP leadership makes them nearly as deserving of opprobrium as the promulgator of the venality  himself.

Marshall H. Tanick, Naples

Attitudes toward China

Why were all those Chinese Communist Party flags flying in San Francisco for the arrival of the Chinese dictator? Is that the manifestation of a fifth column? Can those people be relied upon in the event that we have a major problem with China? How come no one speaks out about it or expresses concern or even animus. What would’ve happened in 1938 if the flag flying in San Francisco was that of the Nazi party? Would we have questioned their motivations and their loyalty?And what the hell is wrong with American CEOs? Chinese communist dictator Xi Jinping receives a standing ovation as he delivers the keynote speech in San Francisco. Is business that important to them that they applaud a "dictator"?

Apparently, so.

Joe Kiernan, Naples

Republican charlatans

Last year, the IRA was passed which actually was an infrastructure bill that was talked about incessantly by Republican administrations for years but failed. When this bill passed, with zero, that’s correct, zero Republican Senate votes, they disparaged it by saying it was a giveaway to those not in need. One year later, with the effects of this bill finally being realized, these same do-nothing Republicans are accepting plaudits for the benefits to their state -- whether it be roads, bridges, dams, WI-FI, clean energy installations, buildings and jobs as if they actually voted for it.

This is so reprehensible but predictable because this is what they always do. I certainly hope the voters in their respective states remember this when these charlatans run for reelection.

Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral

Trump's perceived wealth

Donald Trump has called himself a self-made billionaire, even though evidence reveals he received hundreds of millions from his father, much of which he has squandered. He has engaged in multiple tax-avoidance schemes and outright fraud as he seeks his fortune. Six of his businesses have gone bankrupt; others are seriously burdened with debt.

Last month, the former president was very disturbed when Forbes dropped him from its list of the 400 richest people. His image is built on his perceived wealth. He cannot tolerate the diminishing of that wealth which is about to happen in his New York fraud trial as a matter of reality, not hype.

Joe Haack, Naples

Weakness breeds disdain

A recent NBC presidential poll shows Trump and Biden are in a dead heat (46-44).  These results are shocking especially with evidence showing President Biden is infirmed, unable to speak coherent sentences or walk without shuffling.  His staff is even developing a “Bubblewrap strategy” to stop him from tripping. Yet with all these issues, both are even in the race for president.  This should imply to political observers that if Biden is replaced leading the Democrat ticket in 2024, Democrats could very well retain the White House.  Conversely, it should be a wake-up call to Republicans on who should lead their ticket.

Jews remain strong supporters of Biden because he is adamant in his support of Israel’s right to exist as a nation. Yet, the Biden administration and Senator Schumer, who’s Jewish and the Senate leader, are complicit in giving billions to Iran and millions to Hamas and Hezbollah that is used to fund terrorists/genocide attacks on Jews. In fact, Hezbollah has attacked American troops many times since the start of the Hamas/Israeli conflict with only a token response by President Biden.

Where are the leaders speaking out on the Biden’s conflicting Israeli policy and why are Republicans supporting a former president with very high negatives and lukewarm support from Independents? The 2024 election will determine the future of our country.  Uniting our country and securing peace through economic and military strength should be the focus of any president we elect.  Weakness breeds disdain as evident in our foreign relationships today.

Frank Mazur, Fort Myers

No interplanetary visits

There are approximately 200 billion galaxies in the known universe.In our Milky Way galaxy neighborhood alone, there are up to 100 billion fellow planets orbiting up to 400 billion stars (suns).Surely, at least a handful of those planets possess intelligent beings that have mastered the ability to overcome the speed of light limitations in order to zip around our galactic neighborhood to explore and discover fellow advanced life forms and report their findings back to their home planets.Perhaps after checking Earth out, they classified our world as a "Do Not Visit" planet. In other words, we are the crazy family in the galactic neighborhood.

J. Cant, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, November 26, 2023