Letters to the editor for Sunday, September 25, 2022

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Escalating bills pressure seniors

Color me frustrated! With a $200 increase in an LCEC bill in two months, and a $2,332 increase in a homeowner's insurance policy, how is anyone expected to stay in their home, particularly seniors like me? How is this justified, and what are they doing in Tallahassee to help? Nothing as far as I can see!

Phyllis Mills, Cape Coral

Vote for man with a plan for Bonita

My “Winning Water Plan for Bonita” (News-Press 2/2/2022) would reduce flooding, reduce pollution and red tide and reduce your average BSU bill by $400 a year.  My opponents say they are for “clean water”  but offer no plans.

My article on jude4bonita.org/articles  “A New Vision for Old 41” shows a way to create a viable Bonita downtown that will attract people from near and far. The Barron-Collier plan for downtown is fraught with problems. Where is the parking space for 230 cars needed for 200 residents plus guests, and proposed businesses? Where is the traffic  infrastructure to support it? My opponent supports the proposed development regardless.

Another problem is that the site is a flood plain at only 6 feet above sea level. Elevating the site to the required 11 feet for the current code could flood lower surrounding properties and businesses. Our downtown riverfront  area is a natural jewel at the center of Bonita. Let’s not hurry to make it a pale imitation of downtown Naples. We can do better!

My recent article in the News-Press (8/28/22) titled  “Let the sun shine in on city government” shows how we can make our local government more inclusive and responsive. It shows how to bring our city government into the 21st century by using the internet and Facebook to help government and people connect and interact.

I am asking for your support  for City Council on Nov. 8 to help steer Bonita to a better future.

Jude Richvale, Bonita Springs

Kathy Fanny for Lee school board

In District 1 (most of Cape Coral plus Pine Island and Sanibel), our best candidate for school board is Kathy Fanny. She is an experienced teacher, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. She has nearly four decades of classroom experience. In addition to full-time teaching, Kathy Fanny has also served as a union representative and advisory school board member. She has been in charge of involving parents in the educational process.

Kathy Fanny taught 26 years in Title I schools (all Cape Coral schools are Title I) and knows how to meet the mandates to get the additional federal resources available to them. We need this kind of experience on our board to make sure our students get the best resources available.

We should elect Kathy Fanny. We are grateful that we have this knowledge and experience available to our kids' schools.

Elaine Stulbaum, Cape Coral

Law enforcement officer's duty

In response to Bebe Kanter’s (Candidate for Collier County Commission District 2)  letter to the editor labeled, “Epidemic of gun violence,” I am totally appalled by her misrepresentation of Col. Bloom’s presentation. At no time during this entire presentation did Col. Bloom convey his “private” political opinion.

During this presentation, Col. Bloom discussed law enforcement's progress in dealing with school shootings and other safety issues that are trending in Collier County. It was only after being asked his opinion that he responded that he was in favor of the Second Amendment and that he is always armed. What Ms. Kanter fails to understand is that a sworn law enforcement officer has a duty to act if needed, on or off duty.

I was very pleased to hear all the steps that the Collier County Sheriff's Office takes to keep our county safe. We are very fortunate to have this high quality of leadership and highly trained working deputies.

Victor Ortino, Naples

Thoughts from Martha's Vineyard

I asked a friend of mine who lives on Martha's Vineyard to give me his thoughts and reactions:

"We are all immigrants. Even Native Americans migrated here. What DeSantis is doing by dehumanizing those who have sought refuge from oppression at home is nothing more than a white supremacy tactic.

Bravo to Martha's Vineyard. You have been a racially diverse island for centuries and better for it. With no notice you accepted two chartered planeloads of men, women and children who had been misled into boarding those planes and dumped on your airport’s runway.

You greeted them with warmth and respect —  qualities sadly lacking in DeSantis’ resume. The Statue of Liberty is weeping, and her flame is sputtering."

Michael Hanson, Bonita Springs

Portrait of Ron DeSantis

Thank you Gov. DeSantis for providing us with more information about what kind of leader you are and even more significantly, who you are. It is especially helpful considering you portray yourself as a value-based person and policy supporter.

You authorized two private jets, without notification to authorities or truthful information to passengers, to deliver immigrants to Martha's Vineyard where the season has ended. The population of folks who might have helped drops dramatically and the job market is greatly reduced.

Were these passengers/immigrants in Florida causing problems for us? No they were not. They were in Texas. You sent the planes to pick them up and bring them to a place you knew as a wealthy, summer retreat ill equipped to provide opportunities, especially at this time of year.

This political statement was paid for by, well, that is still not clear, but what is clear is that it was paid for by us, the taxpayers, your employers. Did it come from the American Rescue Plan, the interest on the COVID relief package, or from our state resources? According to the Washington Post, a little-noticed part of Florida’s recent budget dedicated about $12 million to a relocation campaign. It wrote into law a plan to tap the interest it accrued on federal funds, which may allow the state to sidestep questions of misuse.

The governor’s office otherwise did not respond to questions about the source of the funds or whether the $12 million in interest on COVID aid had been used for the flights to Martha’s Vineyard.

One thing on which most can agree is, the immigration issue needs attention. We need to figure out how to live up to our historical  image of America as a country of immigrants, and manage the numbers of people who flood our borders attempting to cross illegally. However, the thought process that went into dumping people on Martha’s Vineyard, the use of funds when the needs are so great and the lack of concern for human dignity adds color to the portrait of Ron DeSantis.

Susan Kaercher Meyers, Naples

Bravo to Gov. DeSantis!

Most of the letters printed this week show a complete lack of understanding of the actions of Gov. DeSantis in his quest to help the illegal migrant situation in our country.  Well over two million migrants have streamed across our southern border, mostly in Arizona and Texas. Thousands of people have died, many have been raped, beaten by their traffickers, and starved to death. Many are forced to bring drugs across laced with fentanyl. Some are wanted criminals. The towns of El Paso and Eagle Pass, Texas, are overrun with people sleeping in the streets, with human waste everywhere. One town reported over 20 deaths per week! Seeing the hundreds cross over every day and night on the TV often brings me to tears. And our president and vice president, as well as our Homeland Security head, have been completely inept. The heroic Border Patrol are overwhelmed.

Bravo to Gov. DeSantis! No one has any idea how many illegal immigrants are here in our state or any other, for that matter. Why not send some to sanctuary cities, especially ones that could well afford to take care of them? This has brought the situation to national attention.

Thank you, Gov. DeSantis for all you do to keep illegal aliens out of Florida and out of this country. Those who do come in should be treated with respect as human beings, but they must also comply with the laws of the United States. Gov. DeSantis, I join with most Floridians in giving you my support on this issue.

Mary DePrisco, Naples

DeSantis doesn't deserve to be re-elected

Am I the only one who thinks Gov. DeSantis is out of control? We know he sent immigrants to Martha's Vineyard last week utilizing funds HIS Legislature appropriated. Does anyone remember that these immigrants crossed from Mexico into Texas? From there, they were flown to Massachusetts. They were not from Florida.

Our population of illegal immigrants did not decrease. The drugs and guns and whatever that they supposedly would have brought across the border were not removed from Florida. Florida is no more safe now! The bad guys are not gone. This political theater did nothing for Florida. It was a sham (and probably illegal on a federal basis) in his quest for president.

Mr. DeSantis does not deserve to be re-elected. It would only be a stepping stone toward the presidency. Instead of governing for the next two years, he will be on the same campaign trail as he is now; only more so. He cares not about Florida. Give him the boot.

Raymond Brooks, Fort Myers

Hypocrisy in action

There is nothing wrong with our open border policy and accepting millions of people from all over the world.  After all, what’s wrong with accepting the poor, underprivileged, multiracial, multilingual, and unvaccinated individuals who are simply seeking pursuit of wealth and happiness? Our country embraces all such immigrants. 

After all, as we are repeatedly reminded by our president and vice president, we are the nation of immigrants. We welcome them to our neighborhoods, schools and homes, regardless of their background, color, national origin, or health or vaccination status.

But wait! This is all true -- unless it entails such immigrants going to Martha’s Vineyard.

Frank Sterdjevich, North Naples

What era does MAGA emulate?

Make America Great Again. I’ve always wondered what era, decade or time in our history that they feel was great enough to take us back to that time. I’m guessing the 1950’s. They’d like to go back another century. Baby steps though. Ahh, the Fifties. The only immigrant you knew was the old Italian couple that ran the local grocery. Back when we treated Blacks with respect. Gave them their very own drinking fountain, bathroom and their very own seat on the bus. Even in the armed services they were given special treatment. Women didn’t have to worry their pretty little heads about trivial things like politics and business. We let them do the things they were meant to do. Cooking, cleaning and birthing. You were proud to call your child gay. Gay= Happy. Go figure. Back when we had roommates not partners. Now that was when America was great. For some. If that’s great I’d rather be average, but vocal. Vote.

Charles Perkins, North Fort Myers

DeSantis campaign should pay for stunt

This week it was reported that our governor used Florida funds to fly 48 immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard. I have to question whether that use of those funds was improper, if not illegal. According to news reports, these individuals were in Texas and flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. They were not in Florida and were not the legal, financial or moral obligation of Florida or its residents. Nothing was gained for the State of Florida or Floridians in general. What justification, then, is there for having used Florida funds for this purpose? How is this any different than had he put his Texan Republican donors on the plane for a weekend visit? Wouldn't that be an illegal use of state funds? Clearly, this was yet another political stunt by the governor to bolster national attention to himself for his undeclared, yet, undoubted, presidential run in 2024. As such, it would seem that the cost of this action should have been borne by his political campaign and not the residents of Florida. He has accumulated well more than $100 million in his political war chest. So, I ask, Dear Governor, please reimburse the state for those misused funds.

Ed Welch, Naples

Democrats the path to poverty, chaos

It’s election time. Why would the citizens of Florida willingly give up their freedom and prosperity to elect anyone other than Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio and Bryan Donalds and other statewide Republicans? Electing Democrats is the quickest way to poverty and chaos and a state income tax.

If members of the Democratic Party are elected, they will simply continue to tax and spend, make inaccurate claims about the results of the bills they enact, what they really cost, and who really benefits from all of them. The Inflation Reduction Act is an example; it will have no impact on cutting inflation but hiring of 87,000 IRS agents will probably get you audited. Many uninformed Floridians are being sold a bill of goods on these unrealistic and unsustainable expenditures through their rhetoric and the media.

New voters coming from other states, you left behind all the high taxes, regulations, and crime problems and ineffective services for Florida. Don't elect politicians whose goals and policies are to raise taxes, increase government subsidies to people who don’t want to work, over-regulate, empty the jails and have a no bail policy in Florida.

It’s also time for the old guard politicians from both sides of the aisle in Congress to retire, they are way past their prime. They are disconnected from what regular families and working Americans are facing in this day and age. These positions were never meant to be lifetime positions. If they care about their party and America, they will step aside for younger leadership. We are also past due for term limits in Congress along with a pay and benefits cuts for them.

Lou Walker, Cape Coral

Inhumane misuse of tax dollars

I am writing to express my disgust with Gov. DeSantis's inhumane and callous flying of families of asylum seekers from Texas to Martha's Vineyard. I am also angered that dollars that I paid in federal taxes, returned to Florida for the purpose of assisting Floridians, is being wasted for this pathetic stunt, while many of Florida's residents can't find an affordable place to live. There is nothing conservative about this action, which DeSantis has the even poorer judgment to brag about.

While members of the Florida Legislature may have had no role in making this particular terrible decision, it is the Legislature which authorized the use of $12 million of Florida dollars for the governor to use in his apparent quest for personal political gain at the expense of helpless people. As the daughter of refugees from the Nazis, I am appalled at this entire incident, which should be condemned by all, especially those who voted for this inhumane misuse of tax dollars. This governor has shown that he deserves no discretionary authority. Any other individual in government or business would be fired from his job for this action, which is what I recommend the voters of our fine state do this November.

Suzanne Low, Bonita Springs

Legal immigrants sickened by crisis

Joe Biden happens to be the president of our once great country. We have a southern border that is wide open and Biden has no clue how to handle it. Vice President Harris claims the border is secured as millions of immigrants cross into America. The number of migrants counted don't include those who cross our border in the dead of night and we know nothing about them. Wake up America. We the people want to know who is coming into our country and for what reasons. Believe me when I tell you, they are not all peace loving people who just want a new life for themselves.

I am a legal immigrant to this once great country. It took me two years of filling out papers and going through medical examinations at the American Embassy in Manchester, England, just to get a green card. Five years later, I and my beloved wife, who legally emigrated from the country of Holland, became citizens. It was a very sad day in 1968, the day after Robert F, Kennedy was assassinated.

How could I ever forget that day.

It is little wonder that I and millions of legal immigrants are sick to our stomachs when we see what is happening to our country.

Mr. President, finish the wall and close the borders. Show some guts and act like the president of the United States. You could not shine the shoes of  presidents like JFK. Process these people the way I was processed in the UK, in 1962. I was 20 years old when I first put my foot on American soil. Now you know how old I am. I take great pride in what I was able to accomplish in America. I will close by saying, we have a humanitarian crises going on at our border, please fix it!

God Bless America, we need it more than ever!

Brian Whitehouse, Cape Coral

Why they're fleeing Venezuela

The front page of The Naples Daily News on Sept.17 had an article that any decent high school newspaper editor would have surely rejected for lack of seriousness.

The article, which was continued on page 13 and then onto page 14, attempted to inform the readers why Venezuela was hemorrhaging people, many of whom are crossing our southern border. The article went on and on and on and even threw in some Spanish phrases for some reason or other.

If I were writing such an explanation, it would have easily fit into a few sentences and would have been much more informative. Here it is:

In a little over 23 years, Venezuela went from being the most prosperous country in Latin America to the poorest country in Latin America. This calamitous descent was triggered by the government of then president Hugo Chavez adopting policies almost identical to the policies promoted in the United States by politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Bernie Sanders. These policies have been introduced in many countries over the last 100 or so years, and in each instance they have failed dramatically and they have resulted in much human hardship.

Robert Rappaport, Naples

Half-truth history of Gadsden Flag

Gov. DeSantis tweeted July 30: "The free state of Florida has a new license plate for pre-order that benefits the Florida Veterans Foundation and sends a clear message to out-of-state cars, 'Don't Tread on Me' or Florida."  Plate shows Gadsden Flag with coiled snake and threatening four-word warning.

Christopher Gadsden, Revolutionary War general of South Carolina, designed it. Buy the new plate? Be an informed buyer. The flag was not Gadsden's only significant historic creation.

He built and owned Charleston’s Gadsden's Wharf. Ships departed exporting rice and other products. Arriving ships imported African captives. In 1807, Congress made importing slaves illegal after January 1, 1808. The 22 months before that deadline saw a horrific deluge of nearly 30,000 slaves inundating Gadsden's Wharf. (Gadsden's Wharf history: Charleston County Public Library)

Gadsden's Flag is the "freedom story" part of Gadsden history DeSantis hypes to sell the plate. Gadsden's Wharf is the little-known “slavery oppression story” and is particularly relevant for Florida’s estimated 200,000 Black veterans. Many live in Gadsden County, honoring James Gadsden, grandson of Christopher. Our only Black majority (52 percent) county. James and some Wharf arrival descendants ironically share the family legacy of flag pride and wharf infamy.

Publicity about the new license plate by the state and media should acknowledge Gadsden's Wharf was the entry point for tens of thousands of slaves. Otherwise, the plate’s “freedom story” trumpeted by DeSantis will remain the only story. Half-truth history sold to unsuspecting buyers. Let’s not let that happen.

Steve Chupack, Punta Gorda

Why I am not MAGA -- Part 2

To the original poster, I asked the three questions (do you believe the ex-president's false claims regarding the 2020 election, did you support the insurrection, and do you believe the ex-president had the right to take TS-SCI intelligence from the White House when he lost by 7 million votes) because you never addressed those in your letter. You claim you did not take part nor support those actions, and I say good for you! I will say, in MY opinion, YOU are not a threat to this country by dint of you answering those questions.

And ideological vitriol? Really? Ideological is relating to a system of ideas or ideals. OK.

Vitriol is cruel and bitter criticism. If you consider what I said was cruel and bitter criticism than I hope you can toughen up.

To another response to my letter, yes, I do know what MAGA stands for. In MY opinion it stands for making America less diverse, less well read and to be less accepting of the worst part of our history so we are doomed to repeat it.

I have an American flag, not a flag with the ex-president's picture on it.

Can you say the same?

Priscilla See, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, September 25, 2022