Letters to the editor for Saturday, January 15, 2022

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Editorial cartoon
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More COVID deaths on Biden's watch

That was an interesting letter Jan. 12 juxtaposing 2020 vote tallies with COVID vaccination rates and COVID death rates in nine pro-Trump Florida counties vs. six pro-Biden counties. It was not clear exactly why these 13 of Florida's 67 counties were selected. But the message was abundantly clear: Trump voters, the great un-vaxxed, are dropping almost twice as fast as Biden voters, the wisely vaccinated. Okay. I'll accept all that, false premising that it is. But if politics is the game here, we need to point out that a majority of all those deaths came on Biden's watch. And that was the one on which all this would be fixed.

J. Taylor Buckley, Sanibel

Cape proposal would lead to tax favoritism

The Cape Coral Breeze recently noted a proposal that would give the City of Cape Coral “… an economic development incentive tool … [granting tax] exemptions to developers of specific projects …”. In other words, a slush fund. Please remember that a slush fund -- even with openly stated criteria and with an elegant review process -- is still a slush fund.

In other words, the city would be interfering again in the operation of the free market, picking winners and losers. This is not a proper function of government at any level. The rest of us taxpayers would be subsidizing the “winners” of these exemptions. In other words, we would be the losers. Again.

As the 2020 platform of the Libertarian Party of Florida says (Part VI, Section 3): “As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business. There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race or location. Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.”

What is even more disturbing is the mindset that underlies this type of proposal, the “Nanny State” mindset. In the immortal words of President Ronald Reagan, “government should get off our backs and out of our pockets.”

Larry Gillis, Cape Coral

Questioning Naples council endorsements

The Naples Belter Government Committee has endorsed three candidates for City Council without having interviewed the two other candidates, one of whom is the current vice mayor; and here they are co-sponsoring a candidate forum following their endorsements. Why wouldn’t they wait till after the candidate forum to make their endorsements? This is a committee of 12 individuals, some of whom don’t live in the city, and represent no one but themselves. I submit how credible can they be if this is the process they wish to follow?

Charles Offutt, Naples

Ian Rudnick for Naples City Council

I have now lived in the north end of Naples for the past 18 years, and this is the first time I can recall when our area of the city has not had at least one of the seven members of the City Council residing in our community. The slice of the city from Doctors Pass up to Naples Cay pays a major share of Naples' tax revenue, and the issues of greatest concern to us are not necessarily the same as those that would resonate with the communities farther south. We need representation, but that is just one of the reasons I am supporting Ian Rudnick in the Feb. 1 election. Ian has lived in the city for virtually all of his adult life and currently resides in Park Shore, near the Village Shops on Venetian Bay. But apart from his place of residence, he is young, energetic and personable, and a very hard worker. His 17 years of service on the Naples Police Department have made him intimately familiar with all of the various segments of our city. Though I am myself a retiree, I believe that, in terms of planning for the city's future, it would be of great benefit to have one person on the council who is not retired, but who has a young family, lives in Naples full-time and will be here for many years to come.

Howard Handler, Naples

Excellence in Naples must be nurtured

I have been a resident of Naples for 43 years (four generations). People enjoy being part of the fabric of our community by joining any number of volunteer organizations. Mayor and City Council have only recently been paid positions. These were voluntary and considered an honor to serve.

This commitment to excellence and service has been the driving force behind all the accolades we receive. This has been the #1 result of surveys and "visioning" of the citizenry -- keep the "small town" feel without the politics. Times are changing and so are the politics. We can no longer assume everything is done in the public interest. There is a lot of money and influence at play.

We are losing key people in positions that have brought the excellent services that we are provided in the past. We have lost leadership, experience and some of us feel a growing sense of incompetence. I have worked very closely with Dana Souza, who was the interim city manager and an excellent administrator and he has been snatched up by another city. Talent doesn't wait around -- it looks for opportunity.

The number of voters in the last election cycle was pathetic! Excellence doesn't happen by itself -- it has to be nurtured! If you came here to "milk the cow" some of us are paying attention.

Ronald A. Soulard, Naples

Strategy outlined in book almost reality

The Redmap strategy described in the 2016 book, "Dark Money" (DM) by Jayne Mayer, has nearly reached fruition. DM outlines the billionaire class’s sentiments regarding the end of taxation along with all social programs to ultimately create a have and have-not America.

To abolish the expensive military, and end federal regulations that guide business practices that protect citizens. Full throttle capitalism, unbridled greed and underhanded business practices included. These objectives are accomplished through the manipulation of the campaign system (Citizens United) and the puppeteering of Republican politicians with threats of being primaried and the clandestine operations of Super PACs. DM’s funding of media such as hate-and-lies radio and Fox News followed the rescission of the Fairness Doctrine by Reagan’s FCC and eventual veto in 1987. Control of the judiciary to curry favor from Republican federal judges including the SCOTUS court packing by McConnell. The ending of democratic elections and the peaceful transfer of power are the final pieces of the puzzle. Their goal is to create a plutocracy complete with an authoritarian dictator of their choosing.

While the animus between the reds and the blues may at the surface appear to be differences between conservative and liberal values and agenda, don’t be fooled. The divide is intentional and has been underway for many years as part of Redmap. Divide and conquer.

DM’s dream is almost a reality. It’s a sad time for patriots and believers in the Constitution. Watch what they do, not what they say.

Peter Karastamatis, Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Saturday, January 15, 2022