Letters to the editor for Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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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

Disappointing decision

Four out of five county commissioners made an error with their constituents, voting against funding for Conservation Collier.

Conservation Collier is a successful program that brought us the Gordon River Green Way, Freedom Park and Pepper Ranch among other natural lands for us to enjoy.These natural lands help recharge our precious aquifers and recharge our spirit.

A thriving, well managed urban park also is proven to enhance property values.

Astonishingly, their decision showed a disregard to the fundamentals of a democratic process.How? Conservation Collier was voted on not once; not twice, but three times in recent years by an overwhelming majority of Collier County voters.

Three times votes were cast to support funding to secure and maintain environmentally important lands for a strong ecology, and as importantly, a strong local economy.

It’s ridiculous to see a successful program hobbled under the guise of: “saving money from being taken out of the taxpayers' wallet” when Collier taxpayers voted three times to support this initiative.

Critical funding has been gutted.

Here we are Collier County residents.No different than our neighbors on the east coast.

Struggling with constant traffic in the future, scraping off natural areas at lightning speed and having a bare minimum of urban green space to enjoy.

What a disappointing loss for Collier County residents.

Tim Thompson, Naples

Was this wise, informed?

On Thursday (9/21) four Collier County commissioners (three of whom are new to the Commission and two relatively new to the county) decided — in all their infinite wisdom — to ignore the cautionary comments of their staff, the full chamber of eloquent speakers, hundreds of emails, and the mandate of over 75% of Collier voters. They not only reduced the millage rate of Conservation Collier but decided to raid the Conservation Collier Trust Funds significantly in order to make up for their cuts to the millage rate of other important funds. This at a time when keeping rates at their established levels is likely needed to keep up with the costly demands of our growing population. Contrary to the old adage, growth does NOT pay for growth.

How did these newcomers to the Commission become so wise? How is it they are so sure the county government is “bloated?” Did they study the work/recommendations of the Collier County Productivity Committee, the committee which reviews the efficiency of county government departments and divisions “in order to assure taxpayers that tax dollars are being used appropriately and that waste of tax dollars is avoided” — were they even aware of the existence of this committee? Did any ever serve on a county advisory committee prior to their election?  Attend committee meetings, such as the Conservation Collier Land Acquisition Advisory Committee meeting? How about prior budget hearings?

So was their recent decision really so wise?

S.L. Calkins, Naples

Collier voters ignored

Three times over the past 20 years the voters of Collier County voted overwhelmingly to tax themselves to create sacred monies to buy environmentally sensitive land, Conservation Collier.  Three times at rates of 70-80% of the voters.  I believe it is the only tax we voted upon ourselves.  The funds were to be protected, so that Collier County wouldn't become like Dade and Broward counties. These funds, thoughtfully managed, were to maintain and purchase land that otherwise would go to developers. These funds were to be used to protect our future, so we would want to live in Collier County. Three times. But our Political Pythons, the commissioners, like the Burmese python, slithered in at midnight last week and took this precious money, 46 million dollars, to fund their budget. Midnight, with no one around just like the dreaded python.  They chose not to make difficult choices to pare down budgets of their sacred cows.  Instead they choose to strike at the voters' heart and take our future away from us. A wise person once shared that one should always watch what these political pythons do, not what they say. They approve high-rise buildings in the Isles of Capri against the wishes of those residents, and take Conservation Collier dollars, so that big donors will keep feeding the python.  The money will never come back, the budget will grow unchecked, the pythons behind the scene in their club meetings will ignore the sacred land, the water, and the wildlife. Let us be clear, we and even the pythons came to this county because of the land, the water, and the wildlife. Talk about taxation without representation, and penny wise and dollar foolish.   I can only hope the Collier voters hold a political python hunt and throw them out, or at least hold them accountable publicly.  These pythons couldn't get 70-80% of the vote, but the land, the water, and the wildlife did, and does.

Andrew Sillin, Naples

Parking payment with phones

Lee County will establish payment for beach parking with cell phones. Seems like a subtle change at first glance, and hurricane damage to the meters necessitated something be done. But this seemingly innocuous change further institutionalizes the expectation that owning a smart phone is a requirement of citizenship. Can everyone afford devices that cost several hundred dollars and a hundred or more dollars monthly? To say nothing about the intrusiveness of the technology and the nuisance of having a device on hand at all times.

Peter Johnson, Fort Myers

Climate and epidemics

Although tourism may contribute to the duration of flu season, climate plays a considerable role in prolonging seasonal epidemics. The Florida Department of Health indicates that the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) remains prevalent throughout autumn, winter, and spring months as a result of Florida's subtropical climate. Studies have also shown that humidity may exacerbate the continuance of influenza season. The Journal of Virology, vol. 88, no. 14 poses implications for how humid environments influence the duration of flu season by affecting “the efficiency of respiratory droplet transmission” (Lowen and Steel). Ultimately, Florida's humid subtropical climate is a prominent cause of year-round influenza, making influenza and other viral respiratory ailments a perpetual concern for the Florida demographic.

Christian Michael DeSalvo, Naples

DeSantis strikes again!

When it comes to COVID, our governor is again proving that he is more lethal to Floridians than any hurricane. His opposition to masking in 2021 almost certainly caused some serious infections and even deaths. Let’s examine his rationale that masks are unnecessary for school children because if they catch COVID, they may be asymptomatic or have a very mild case. It appears, however, that he didn’t’ consider the possibility that the infected school children might infect their parents or grandparents. Imagine all the hugs and kisses during the holidays! The COVID infections of grandma and grandpa might have much more serious outcomes.

Well, he’s at it again. His reckless opposition to the federal government’s current recommendation of updated COVID-19 vaccination for all people over 6 months old may very well cause more heartache. And the bald-faced lie being broadcast by state Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo that the vaccine may actually be lethal to many Floridians. Freedom from vaccines does not mean freedom from COVID!

Finally, the claim by DeSantis that the FDA and CDC lied to the American public when they claimed that COVID infection could be spread via physical contact with others and surfaces is absurd. Our well educated governor surely learned something about the experimental method of formulating and testing hypotheses to find the actual cause of the phenomenon being studied. It’s called research, Ron! An early hypothesis of how COVID spread was not a lie; it was an initial hypothesis that was tested and proven to be wrong. Further research uncovered the fact that the COVID virus is airborne and led to the precautions of safe distance and masking. It’s been estimated that 200,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives by refusing COVID vaccines. And it’s no surprise that COVID death rates of Americans in red states were 38% higher than those in blue states.

Ignoring medical advice can kill.

James G. Goodale, Fort Myers

Pragmatic politics, please

Competent House representatives prioritize their constituencies first and foremost.  Byron Donalds, as the leader of the Freedom Caucus, has blocked  the House Appropriations process.  His efforts would be more productively engaged by  increasing  spending for health care, extreme weather mitigation and clean energy development.  Donalds accuses the bureaucracy of slowing down the adoption of small nuclear reactors.  These DOE applications can’t even be generated, because Donalds opposed funding them.

Secondly, his leadership of the  “Impeach Biden” initiative has made it difficult for the Freedom Caucus to win any concessions from Democrats. Collier needs pragmatic elected officials that support the physical and financial welfare of District 19.

Bebe Kanter, Naples


In response to a letter writer, and his what-aboutism. Did you want deaths in response to the murder of George Floyd? I have a what-aboutism you may enjoy. Many persons have been shot and killed by law enforcement. The most frequent response is: If they had only complied. Well, if Ms. Ashley B had only complied; she'd be alive today! Well there it is. I suggest everyone confronting law enforcement; simply comply. There are courts and lawyers to sort it out.

Robert Jenkins, Naples

Governor lacks empathy

Judging by the recently enacted laws championed by the “free” state of Florida gov., it’s obvious he is out of touch with the average person.  He is cold-hearted and lacking empathy.  And, he’s meaner than a junkyard dog!  Leroy Brown is a saint by comparison!  In fact, he should have a cardiologist perform a full examination to determine if he has a heart at all!

Tricking poor frightened immigrants (people!) into boarding planes, with the promise of jobs and a better life, then dropping them off in “truly free” states, with nothing that was promised, is heartless!  Denying medical care to poor confused children who are trying to understand why they feel the way they do shows an absence of cardiac muscle!  Yelling at young school children to remove their face masks is bullying!  The gov. would have us believe he is a good Christian, but I doubt Jesus would agree.  Why is it that Jesus never seems to be around when “good Christians” act contrary to his teachings?

Jay Custa, Estero

We know who Trump is

Maybe some of Trump’s supporters could be dissuaded by considering what so many Trump appointees think of him, having worked with and for him. Much to their dismay, they got to know him. The list is long and their comments are harsh and informative. Here’s an incomplete but impressive list of Trump critics: Rex Tillerson (State), Bolton (NSA), James Mattis (Defense), Mark Esper (Defense), John Kelly (chief of staff), Lt. Gen. H..R. McMaster (NSA), Richard Spencer (Navy), Gary Cohen (National Economic Council), Betsy DeVos (Education), Elaine Chao (Transportation), William Barr (A.G.), Stephanie Grisham and Alyssa Farrah Griffen (White House press corps).

These are all people he selected.Their consensus is that Trump is a moron, morally and intellectually unfit, a racist, detached from reality, a liar, a divider, terrible for our country, and basically a miserable excuse for a human being. We should pay attention to what they’ve said.What if we were foolish enough to ignore their assessment? His second time around would jeopardize our democracy. He’d pick loyalists, not dedicated civil servants, for his Cabinet and staff. They would be true believers serving an unstable president. Unrestrained, he would invalidate those parts of the Constitution he finds inconvenient. He’d use an autocratic playbook to rule, not govern. He promises us retribution. This is one time we should listen to his craziness.Voters should be forewarned. We know who he is.

Kevin McNally, Bonita Springs

Impact of polls

The public opinion  polls showing former President Trump running even or ahead of President Biden may not be predictive — or even accurate — but are understandably causing shudders among  Democrats.

Yet, the polling may be having  even greater effects  on the other party.  They negate the main  argument of two of the ex-president's chief rivals for the Republican nomination, our Governor DeSantis and Nikki Haley. Fearful of  antagonizing  his loyal base by  directly criticizing the ex-president, they seek  primary voter appeal by asserting that he is unelectable and would also be a drag on down-ballot GOP candidates.

But the polls make this argument a non-starter, further solidifying his seemingly impenetrable lead in the Republican race.

The favorable polls also augment his ability to raise  money  from big donors, not just the small ones that have fueled  fund-raising for his legal fees, while deterring funding of other candidates as they  justifiably ponder the prospect of becoming  targets of his oft-declared mission of vengeance against his foes.

The polls, to be sure, are snapshots and subject to changes over time  based on evolving developments. But, for the time being, they are causing as much impact in Republican ranks as consternation in the Democratic camp.

Marshall H. Tanick, Naples

Biden and the border

If there is one issue that exhibits the total ineptitude of Joe Biden and his administration it is the absolutely abhorrent situation at our southern border.

Instead of doing something to prevent the millions of illegal immigrants entering our country, draining our resources and poisoning our citizens with illegal drugs, Biden blames Trump. He says Congress needs to enact immigration reform.

It was not that long ago when Obama and Biden controlled both the House and the Senate and they could not pass an immigration reform bill.

Biden and Harris, our useless border czar, along with Mayorkas cannot and will not address the issue as these illegal immigrants will undoubtedly vote Democratic and that is all the far left cares about.

If Biden etc. cannot take control of the border they must be removed from office in 2024.

Michael Zubrow, Naples

Save vital program

I am asking everyone please to write or call their U.S. congressman and our two U.S. senators to request that they pass the continuation of the PEPFAR program. It was instituted by Pres. Bush in 2003 and since then, it has saved over 25 million people from HIV. This is a vital program that continues to save people and it is also a very useful tool in promoting the good that the USA does abroad.Beth Summer, Naples

You want fact or fiction?

A recent contributor to this column was going on about God’s wrath, Adam and Eve and Noah’s ark. I have a question. I don’t claim to be a theologian, thankfully, but I remember Noah being 600 years old. Give or take a couple hundred years. His sons were 500 years old. Good health plan. Before Social Security. Then they built a boat that will hold two of every animal on Earth. I assume that within a few miles of this boat he collects all these animals. Maybe he can have Santa help him out. God's wrath. I thought your god was a loving god. Until you p**s him off. Then everyone dies. You can find his book in school libraries. Right next to the empty shelves that used to hold real history. If I had school age kids, too old that means I lived history, I would have them make their choice. Do you want to read history books that cover our nation with all good, bad and ugly, with every wart we have? Or do you want to read fiction? Seven deadly sins? That describes your hero. Orange Crush and half of Republicans. Woke, woke, woke. That’s all I hear from them. I can answer it in three words. Equality for Everyone.

Charles Perkins, North Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Wednesday, September 27, 2023