Solution for children with disabilities
Rutherford is right. There are not sufficient supports in the classroom for children with disabilities whose behavior becomes disruptive. He is wrong about the solution. Corporal punishment is not the answer.
Children with disabilities have a civil right to obtain extra help so they can remain in the classroom with their non-disabled peers. This is based upon the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
By law, schools hold a yearly meeting between parents, teachers, administrators and special educators. At that meeting they determine goals and objectives, specific services and accommodations necessary for the disabled child to meet their goals.
The plan they arrive at is called the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If the IEP is not sufficient, parents have a right to sue the district to get those services and accommodations.
It is not fair to anyone to keep a child in school with insufficient supports, not to students, their parents, fellow students, nor teachers. Students come to school not just to learn subject matter, but also to learn how to function and participate in society. Students with behavior disabilities need specialized support to do that.
Students not properly diagnosed or who are poorly handled in school become our drop-outs, with diminished options for a decent quality of life as adults. For people with severe behavioral disabilities, there are very poor or no supports for them as adults. The consequences to our society are obvious.
We need school board members who understand this and are able to work on approaches with these students that are humane, legal and actually work.
Judy Freiberg, Naples
Trump should step aside for DeSantis
Congratulations Ron DeSantis on being re-elected as governor of the beautiful State of Florida. Now let's talk about the 2024 presidential election. Lately the media outlets have hinted at a growing rivalry between you and Donald Trump. He sees you as a threat to his recently announced intention to make a third attempt to run again for president of the United States. Well, this is how I see the situation. You can run on your own merits; Trump has too much baggage. You are a decent family man; Trump a philanderer. You, a Navy veteran; Trump a draft dodger. You have a proven track record of governing the State of Florida; Trump a series of business failures resulting in bankruptcy filings. I know it's not politically correct to mention age, but think about it.
My message to Mr. Trump: You need to gather up your MAGA hats and retire to Mar-a-Lago. Try being a decent husband to Melania and a father to your young son. Leave the politics to those leaders who will govern through experience and with integrity and dignity.
Barbara Geisenburg, Naples
Seniors contend with stock market pattern
The holiday season is upon us. But how many seniors are thankful for the economy, their 401K and the stock market? I know when I planned my retirement, much was based on the performance of the market and the economy. So, as we inch closer, how many seniors have returned to working? How many returned because it was necessary? How many did so because they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the market recession? But why? There is a pattern.
Going back the last 50 years in the markets, there were two big things I call ground zero. The first is the crash of 1987 -- Black Monday! The second was the added products to financial organizations, the 401K! Quickly, this new product was to offset the loss of pensions in the private sector.
The next big event, 1999 and the internet phenomenon. The markets hit hard in 1999-2000. The bubble collapsed. Markets tumbled, the new 401k accounts get hammered. it has been 11-12 years since the last collapse.
2009 is the next bubble to burst the stock market. The housing bubble wiped out 50 percent of most 401K's. This is beginning to look like a trend.
2021 is the newest contraction of the market. 401K's, stocks, investment tools all take a 30 percent haircut. No one is spared from inflation, an overheated economy and a divided country.
So, every 10 years or so, with the invention of a new product such as 401K's, the internet, the housing bubble, and historic climate spending, you can see for yourself a pattern. This pattern will run its course, about 18-24 months, and we will reset. But what will the new product be? Figure this out early, make loads of cash and get out of the market before another 10 years go by.
Jack Holt, Cape Coral
Insurance industry gouging homeowners
It seems to me that if the governor wanted to work on something that would help the people in the State of Florida they would tackle the gouging that the insurance companies do. We just went through one of the worst hurricanes we have had in 30+ years. Tons and tons of damage. People are devastated and have lost everything. Insurance companies are very happy to take your money every year to insure your property and the typical homeowner will have few if any claims. In fact they are banking on you not having any claims. They make billions of dollars annually. I live in a condo association. Last year our insurance went up drastically. Now the company is already telling us our insurance will go up this year between 70 and 100 percent. That is gouging any way you look at it. We had very little damage and didn’t submit any claims. So all the insurance companies are either going to run out of Florida or jack up prices dramatically. Shouldn’t this be illegal? Don’t I remember DeSantis saying he would not allow gouging? How about tackling the insurance companies?
Gail Ruperd, Naples
Time for action to stop mass killings
The day before Thanksgiving I awaken to the news of six people killed at a Wal-Mart in Virginia. This follows killings at the Q nightclub in Colorado only days earlier. Several months ago, shootings at shopping malls in South Carolina and Texas in addition to the murders of the elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas.
I am numb; I think of Pete Seeger's song with the refrain, "Oh, when will they ever learn?"
When are our legislators going to advocate for us, before we become the next victims?
Is the NRA lobby that important that our representatives cannot prohibit the sale of AR-15s and other military-style weapons?
"Oh, when will they ever learn?"
Adrianne Cady, Naples
Think anything is wrong?
It took 20 years, four U.S. presidents and $2 trillion to replace the Taliban with the
Taliban! Think anything is wrong? Spent $3 trillion on COVID pandemic because we
were told a million Americans would die. They did! Think anything is wrong? People running this country are idiots! Think anything is wrong?
Donald Geraci, Alva
Republicans aiming at Social Security
Whoops, some voters just didn’t understand what they voted for.
They voted for Republican representatives who are now led by the new speaker of the House with an agenda to curtail Social Security and cut back on Medicare coverage. As Thomas Jefferson once proclaimed: “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” Unfortunately they are taking the rest of us folks with them.
The Republican agenda in the new Congress includes raising the Social Security age from 67 to 70. It also includes reducing the Medicare coverage significantly. The devil is in the details. Since the elderly population currently has big numbers, we are a significant target for budgetary reductions. Better us than taxing big oil companies. And Florida’s Rick Scott is there to pour gasoline on the fire.
DeSantis is really good at that too. In Florida, over 82,500 died from COVID to make room for the next generation of elderly. Keep them coming. Fortunately, the Republicans have Joe Biden to protect them. Biden has vowed to veto any legislation curtailing Social Security or Medicare.
Sally Lam, Naples
Republican bait and switch
The Republicans, not surprisingly, are up to their old tricks.
The party campaigned primarily on the three “I” issues in the recent election: inflation, immigration, and insecurity or crime, along with an unhealthy dose of Big Lie election denial.
Now that they underwhelmingly have obtained a majority in the House of Representatives, albeit a slim one, the GOP’s first utterances out of the box have been directed to the investigations it plans to undertake against President Biden, his son, and members of his administration. While a few ultra-extremists hinted at this maneuver during the campaign, they kept it hushed, probably at the advice of cooler party leaders and consultants who recognized how repellent it would be.
But now that they are not answerable to the electorate, at least for a couple of years, they show their true colors: an intention to obstruct rather than legislate.
That’s understandable because, in consort with their negativity during the campaign, they never really offered any positive proposals to address the three “I’s” they moaned about so loudly.
It’s a classic but fishy type of bait and switch, which many voters, primarily in the GOP base and some deceived independents, fell for hook line and sinker.
Marshall Tanick, Naples
Move on from Trump
Republican political consultant and former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff points out how Donald Trump profits from your donations. He asks for donations to meet the "Official Georgia Runoff Fundraising Goal" to help Herschel Walker. What he doesn't tell you is 90 percent of any donation goes to Trump's super PAC and only 10 percent to Walker's campaign. Typical rip-off artist Trump move. Fellow Floridians, please keep your money in your pockets.
After six years, writers from conservative newspapers across the country apparently have changed their tune on Donald Trump. They had sung his praises over those years and now, in more recent articles, they want the Republican Party to move from him, say he is wrong about the stolen election of 2020 and go as far as asking if Trump can change his stripes (but we all have doubts). Let's hope the readers who follow these writers and those continuing to back Trump take note and move on from him. Our democracy cannot take another Trump regime.
Lou Vigliotti, Naples
Wakeup call for Republican Party
If this most recent election proved nothing else; it proved Americans were tired of the former president! It actually defied history. Many past elections, the sitting president's party has lost the Congress by substantial margins. I think it was a wakeup call. Many Americans are so tired of the nonsense. My former party (GOP) couldn't, or worse, wouldn't present a thoughtful approach to what they had to offer. Just the same old tired we're going to investigate everybody not a Republican. It cost them before; and in two years, it will cost them again. I suggest this to my former party: HAVE A PLAN! Tell us how you'll give us the opportunity to improve our lives. Just that and nothing more. As to Republicans, Lincoln stated: A house divided will not stand.
Robert Jenkins, Naples
College degree not required
According to a letter writer, the former football star running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia is less than qualified as a candidate because he is not a college graduate. Is that a vital credential for the office? Somehow a lack of a college degree disqualifies you from elected office. Such snobbery! A college degree doesn’t make you a great leader. I wonder if George Washington was a college graduate?
What really is needed in all candidates is common sense, integrity, and a willingness to serve the nation and its people.
Richard S Piccirilli, PhD, Naples
Women voters fail to ensure rights
In the Dobbs case, overruling Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court urges women to exercise their electoral and political power with the legislative branches of government. Justice Alito wrote: “Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.” (Page 65 of Alito opinion in Dobbs.)
Women in Southwest Florida did not vote for candidates who will recognize and support women’s rights. Only the Democrat candidates pledged to protect the rights of women. In this election, Florida women missed the Alito boat. Their rights will surely sink under those whom they elected. Next right to go: the right to practice birth control. At center stage is Justice Samuel Alito who is intent on eliminating this right of women. Your right to vote will be next; a woman’s place is back home raising kids. Know your place!
Joe Haack, Naples
Misguided Democrat policies
Our petroleum reserves have been tapped again, and the fear is they will finally stop, after this election. Will gas then climb to $6 or $7 per gallon, even buying from communist Venezuela?
We see what massive spending and huge inflation have done to England. People are struggling putting food on the table and paying their rent or mortgage, there and here.
The powerful Democrat Party has no answers on inflation other than more spending and "it is minor."
No answers for the border immigration. But they are costing us billions in education, health and welfare. Crime is out of control. Power outages and heat costs will add to pocketbook pain.
And we see hundreds of Democrats fleeing to Florida from New York and California's oppressive economies and crime. Will they now vote for the same policies here that they helped install back there?
Burke Cueny, Naples & Rochester Hills, Mich.
DeSantis and his authoritarian Free State
Gov. DeSantis has been touting that we are now The Free State of Florida due to his policies. Regrettably, his actions have not created the Orange Free State that he imagines. Instead, he has pursued policies that are ruthlessly authoritarian in nature.
He has suppressed voting by minorities and by felons who have served their time.
He has bullied the Legislature into creating gerrymandered districts that surgically limit minority representation.
He has tried to intimidate the universities and colleges in Florida by way of a student "survey" to determine if there is too much "leftist" teaching.
He has tried to limit the ability of state university professors to serve as expert witnesses if their testimonies may be counter to his dogma.
He wants to limit objective evaluation of American society and history by falsely stating that Critical Race Theory and “wokeness” are taught in our high schools.
He has demonized the LBGTQ+ community and his staff have insinuated that teachers are grooming children for sexual orientation and gender identity.
He has bullied and punished organizations that criticize his policies.
His attempts to control women's health and choice are notorious. However, he now tries to institute his most egregious insult, his policy to require all female athletes to document their menstrual cycles!
I have only read of one country that mandated supervision of women's menstruation: Red China in the days of the failed one child policy. Is he trying to add a new shade of red to the concept of Florida as a Red State?
There is nothing free in the DeSantis Free State. He does not deserve any further elected positions.
Michael Finkel, Naples
Court becomes obstacle to liberal aims
In 1954, in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court voted to desegregate the public schools. “Separate is inherently unequal” they wrote.
Whole Southern states terminated their public school systems. Municipalities closed their swimming pools. “Impeach Earl Warren,” billboards sprang up across the nation.
The court stood firm in the public mind. Perhaps there was a realization that the court has a judicial function, not a political one.
Now, because the court corrected a wrongly decided decision about abortion,
the legitimacy of the court is an issue in the public discourse.
Liberals are seeing their path to societal change by circumventing the legislative process and turning to the courts to achieve objectives the majority of the people in this country do not want and would not vote for may now may be blocked.
The Supreme Court, as it currently exists, is an obstacle to their aims and that obstacle has to be removed.
These people are the real threat to our democracy.
Every group has to establish a method to determine a final word on matters. Our method is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not the last decider because it is always right. It is always right because it is last.
This system has worked for several hundred years. No better one exists.
Bob Stabile, Bonita Springs
Reasons not to retain DeSantis
If I were to hire someone to take over the reins of governor of Florida and they presented me with the following resume, how difficult would it be for me to make a decision?
I used taxpayer dollars to transport immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, and in doing, misrepresented (lied) to them about the benefits this trip would offer them. Adding to that, I was able to surprise everyone in Martha’s Vineyard with their arrival. They had no idea they were coming. It only cost $12,000 per person for the one-way flight, and I was able to use taxpayer dollars.
As part of my budget, I set aside $1.2 million to create an Office of Election Crimes & Security to investigate illegal voting in the state. And just prior to that, I stated that Florida had the fairest election ever.
Just to prove those dollars were well spent, I had 20 individuals arrested and charged with voter fraud. I guess I wasn’t aware that most of them had received voter registration cards and had been told it was legal for them to vote. That came as a real surprise to me.
In a knee jerk reaction, I reversed a tax arrangement Florida had with Disney of Orlando for over 55 years. I was able to do all that without even a study, and without even knowing who would pay the millions of dollars Disney had been providing to support all the necessary services in that entire area. It was a price I felt they should pay for disagreeing with me on the Parental Rights in Education law (an LGBTQ issue). I’m proud of the fact that I have no patience for such opposition.
In hiring the surgeon general for the State of Florida, I ignored the unfavorable recommendation I received from his employer in California. I assumed it must have been a typo error, as Dr. Ladapo completely agreed with me on my approach to COVID. And I was able to railroad it through the Legislature, while incorporating a huge salary increase and to do so in unheard of time. I was also able to quickly find him a job in Florida’s university system, again in record time.
A side note to that, Dr. Ladapo was the only surgeon general in all 50 states that discouraged vaccine shots for men 18-39, apparently due to a heart concern. His decision was based upon a short state analysis that had not been peer-reviewed, carries no authors and warns that its findings are “preliminary and “should be interpreted with caution.” To think that all 49 other doctors and the CDC totally missed that.
So would I hire this man? My real question is, would you hire someone with this resume to run a company you owned? For me, those are far too many reasons not to. And I’m just basing it on his own resume.
Chuck Gass, Naples
Facts ruin their fantasy
Wishing doesn’t make it so. Tens of millions wish that Trump had won in 2020. Some have convinced themselves, lacking any evidence, that Trump did win. It’s not that they have diminished mental capacity. They hate that the facts ruin their fantasy. Their intellect tells them he lost but that narrative doesn’t help their self-serving needs.
If we focus on some critical Senate races, we can see Republican candidates who embrace the big lie, not because they think Trump won (they know he didn’t) but because they lack integrity. Rather than focusing on the issues, they saw the big lie and allegiance to the snake oil salesman as their best shot to win.
Oz (Pa.), Vance(Ohio), Budd (NC), Laxalt (Nev.), and everyone’s favorite fibbing fullback, Herschel Walker (Ga.), all had a chance of becoming U.S. senators on Nov. 8. There could be reasons to consider any of them (well, maybe not Walker), but their dishonesty — they know the truth, but tell the lie — disqualifies them.
Shouldn’t voters throughout the country vote against such obvious liars? If candidates disassociate themselves from the Big Liar Trump and focus on issues like immigration reform, crime, taxes, voting rights, women’s rights, the threat of climate change, dependence on fossil fuels — maybe then they would deserve our attention.
Kevin McNally, Bonita Springs
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, November 27, 2022