Letters to the editor for Sunday, July 17, 2022

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Keep Hayward as Lee County Judge

The Honorable Judge Archie Hayward Jr. is up for reelection this election cycle, having effectively served as a Lee County Judge since 2008. Political campaigns for judge preclude discussions of specific cases or rationale for decisions rendered. Thus, as voters, it is incumbent upon us to assess the qualifications of candidates.

Judge Haywood is a seasoned civil and criminal judge who is worthy of your support to be reelected for another four-year term. I have known Archie for nearly 30 years since he returned to his native Lee County from University of Florida to begin practicing law. His devotion to the community is extensive in his service to so many organizations including Southwest Florida Community Foundation (now Collaboratory); Ruth Cooper Mental Health Center (now SalusCare); Edison College (now Florida Southwestern); Dubin Alzheimer’s Center; Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency; Fort Myers Rotary (including as president); Juvenile Detention Center and so much more.

Judge Hayward has respectfully fulfilled his role as Lee County Judge with professionalism and is well respected by local attorneys and others who interact with the court system. Please recognize this wonderful native Lee County public servant by voting to keep Archie B. Hayward. Jr. as a Lee County Judge.

Jim Nathan, Fort Myers

Vote 'yes' on Marco rental ordinance

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” – Winston Churchill

Unfortunately, Churchill’s quote is painfully relevant to the current debate about the short-term rental (STR) registration ordinance on Marco Island.

Here are just a few of the many falsehoods:

Claim: The STR registration ordinance bans short-term rentals. Reality: FALSE.

Claim: Condos, which have HOA restrictions, will be subject to the ordinance. Reality: FALSE.

Claim: All Marco homeowners will be subject to occupancy limits under the ordinance. Reality: FALSE.

Every single one of these mistruths can be easily debunked by reading the text of the ordinance on the city’s website.

That last claim is an especially egregious attempt designed to mislead voters into thinking that the rental registration ordinance will limit friends and family from staying over at their homes. It is simply not true.

Let’s be clear: this ordinance ONLY applies to rentals of less than 30 days in the single-family districts. It does NOT apply to any single-family home that is not a short-term rental.

Here’s the truth: hundreds of Florida cities and counties have implemented short-term rental registration ordinances. Others, such as the City of Naples, have outright banned short-term rentals in most zoning districts.

Yet these localities haven’t suffered from an erosion of property rights or an economic catastrophe that opponents of the registration ordinance are predicting. Does anyone seriously think that Naples—whose short-term rental ban is inherently more prohibitive than the registration ordinance being discussed on Marco — is some economically depressed shadow of its former self? Of course not.

There’s no doubt there are some great STR operators on Marco who truly care about their neighbors. But the purpose and effect of the ordinance is not to punish these model examples — it is to hold those who are operating in bad faith to the same high standard, and to provide peace to our residents.

All Marco voters should vote YES on the STR registration ordinance.

Hayden Dublois, Marco Island

Regional airport improvements

It was disappointing to see that our airport, RSW, was not among the U.S. airports that received a billion dollars to provide upgrades (faa.gov/bil/airport-terminals). I believe the public would like to hear how RSW plans on improving service in the coming years. It is hard to get here with a direct flight from most of the U.S. We are ideally located to act as a gateway to Central and South America, relieving the congestion in Miami. What are we doing to finalize the runways and tower, and start getting better service for the region?

Robert Schmidt, Fort Myers

Threats are no joke

It is sad to see a young boy arrested. This is a lesson to anyone posting threats. It should not be seen as a joke or fun. Some threats have been ignored and later put into action resulting in serious injuries or death. The sheriff is laudable for providing a lesson to anyone who posts threats. Thanks to the person who informed authorities.

Virginia Davidsaver, Fort Myers

McLeod for county commissioner

As a resident of Windstar on Naples Bay in the Bayshore district, I am writing in support of Michelle McLeod for Republican county commissioner representing District 4.

Michelle’s background experience includes a seat on the Naples City Council where she worked collaboratively with others to lead the Baker Park initiative, the reconstruction of the City Dock, and the construction of the city’s Emergency Operations Center. In addition, she has held various board and committee positions, and she holds an MBA in business administration. Her education and experience in the community have laid a foundation for her to excel at the job.

One of the most important attributes of a commissioner is to be willing and able to relate to their constituents. Michelle is very approachable, direct and communicative. Residents and business owners in the Bayshore Gateway Triangle can rest assured that Michelle will be responsive, ready, and able to assist with issues.

The Bayshore district is in need of a commissioner that is qualified, responsive, and willing to work to carry out the wishes of the district’s constituents. I hope that you will join me in voting for Michelle McLeod as county commissioner.

Suzan Earney, Naples

Supporting Michelle McLeod

I am writing you in support of Michelle McLeod as the next commissioner of East Naples. I am supporting Mrs. McLeod because it is rare in my opinion to hear a candidate speak about issues and back their approach with facts and data. as she demonstrated at a meet and greet at the Isles of Collier. earlier this year.

Anthony Cantasano, Naples

Consider changing voter registration

Democrats and Independents are you aware that unless you are a registered Republican you cannot vote in the upcoming Republican primary election for Collier County commissioners Aug. 23? I was shocked to learn this, as this upcoming election, particularly the Dist. 2 and Dist. 4 commissioners seats, is really important. There is still time to register to vote and time to change your party, like I did, so I can vote. It's that important to me! I will do what it takes! The decision regarding which of the four Republican candidates for commissioner will be made Aug. 23. The deadline date for changing your voting status is July 25. I will likely change back to my former status after the election and it IS permissible. I hope all consider the education, work experience and community work these candidates have in their history, as well as their local endorsements, when making this important decision. The commissioners' decisions affect our lives in profound ways. Go to colliervotes.gov to register or change your status today!

Karen Beatty, Naples

Reject the 'Big Lie'

I ride my bike around town and notice signs exclaiming “Trump Won!”

Given that ALL evidence regarding the 2020 election demonstrates that Trump lost, I keep wondering, “Who are these crazy people who believe his lie?”

But, in a very real sense, they’re right! This sniveling, paranoid, and incompetent genital-grabbing cad has largely remade America. He has infected millions with vile and baseless conspiracy theories; he’s re-ignited racism and isolationism; he’s incited violence; and he’s legitimated sedition. His hostility to science is responsible for many deaths.

Witnessing the steadfast rejection of the Trumpian base to the mountain of facts produced by the Jan. 6 Committee demonstrating his corruption leaves me wondering how America can address real problems like climate change, inequality, and racial injustice when millions of Trumpians are enthralled by and engrossed in BS culture wars?

Judge J. Michael Luttig was correct when he told the Jan. 6 Committee that "Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy." He and his key enablers must be held accountable for their actions. Otherwise, the cowardice of most Republican office holders like Rubio and Scott in their support of this tyrant will be rewarded, and America will sink into the abyss of authoritarianism.

Winston Smith’s acceptance of Big Brother’s demand that he agree with the assertion 2+2 = 5 is the climax of Orwell’s "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Those who require fealty to the Big Lie are asking the same of us. “No!”

Michael Sales, Naples

This Supreme Court the worst

In my opinion, the Chief Justice John Roberts conservative court will go down in American history as the very worst. By passing “Citizens United” in 2010, they put the first nail in the coffin of our democracy. That decision allowed the wealthy — (dark money) to buy our politicians and government. The second nail went in when the Roberts court gutted the “Voting Rights Act” and that allowed Republican controlled states to gerrymander districts and put in ostriches to suppress the minority voter, therefore rig elections. The third nail was overturning Roe v Wade, which voided a woman’s right to control her own body. That decision will lead to more suicides and back-alley abortion deaths.

The same Roberts court apparently believes there are not enough guns on the streets of New York State, as they just ruled against the New York’s ability to restrict people from carrying concealed weapons on their person. This decision undoubtedly will lead to more deaths.

On top of all that, the Roberts court just gutted the “2015 Clean Air Act” — Climate Change.  Who in the world are they protecting? It would appear to be the big polluters, gun crazy people, and the Republican Party in general.

Our planet in is great peril, does anyone care? Certainly not our Supreme Court.

E.L.  “Bud”  Ruff, Naples

No feedback on Dem candidate websites

I agree with the recent letter to the editor about the failings of Democrat candidates to allow input at their websites. These Democrat candidates have one set of instructions:  “Pay up, then shut up.”  And they purport to represent the little person.

They have joined the ranks of their hypocritical Republican foes.

Sally Lam, Naples

Representation in a republic

A recent writer was questioning whether we were actually a democracy in the U.S. In fact this is a republic. Then the writer lamented that the popular vote totals in the Senate did not reflect it's makeup. The Senate is not supposed to represent the U.S. population over all. It was not originally designed that way. The truth is, before they amended the Constitution, people did not vote for senators. They were appointed by the state Legislature. Then the writer tried obfuscation with stories about gerrymandered districts and voter suppression using deceptive statistics.

She ignored the fact that a senator in California needs about 9 million votes and in Vermont 180,000 is a landslide.

The Electoral College is set up in a similar way with every state having at least three votes, even if the population would only rate one.

This was done to prevent the whole country from being run by a dozen big cities. It was the only way they could get the rural states to join the union. This is not a democracy, it is a republic and the people in the less populated states deserve representation.

Greg Fretwell, Estero

Soft landing from inflation

Inflation is a problem. Day to day we face true sticker shock. Managing a return to acceptable inflation is essential. The metric which now matters most is the month on month, quarter on quarter decrease in the rate of increase, not hyperbole that the sky is falling. For now we need to see a slowing of inflation until we can start our descent! That is job #1 to assure a relatively soft landing!

Harvey Cohen, Naples

Mother should have exclusive rights

Whether a fetus is human or not is not a relevant issue in the debate over abortion right. As long as the fetus cannot survive outside mother’s womb, it is an integral living part of a woman’s body like her heart, kidney, lung, brain and other organs including limbs and the mother should have exclusive rights to make decisions about that fetus like any other parts of her body.

Mukhtar Ali, Marco Island

Pro-choice, pro-abortion not the same

I have written several letters to the editor of the Naples Daily News espousing a pro-choice position on abortion. Several Catholic friends have confronted me saying: “How can you be pro-abortion?” My response is: " I am not pro-abortion; I am pro-choice. I am mostly anti-abortion. I am not a woman, but, as a male, I mostly have control over what goes on with respect to my body. Women should have similar control.

There are about 500,000 “reported rape cases” annually in the United States. There are few statistics on the annual number of rape cases by fathers against their daughters. Nor on the resulting pregnancies. When I lived in Chicago, a friend psychotherapist confided that he treated hundreds of incestuous rape victims. These were girls assaulted repeatedly by their natural father or another father figure, many of whom became pregnant.

When that happened, Catholics would pray for them and then go back to life as usual. The young girls would never go back to life as usual. They would have a child by their father and have to care for that child reminded constantly of the events which caused this to happen. While Catholics prayed, the young mother suffered guilt, emotional distress, shame and economic disaster having delivered an incestuous child.

My point is simple: Rights are not equal. Women should have reproductive choices when it comes to their physical and mental health. The foreclosure of those choices is not only inhumane; it is unGodly.

Joe Haack, Naples

Well-regulated arms

More mass shootings by young men with high power automatic rifles and high capacity magazines of ammunition resulted in many deaths and injuries to innocent people. Those people were merely enjoying their holiday off at events meant to celebrate the independence of our country. These types of weapons clearly can kill many people in a mere minute or two.

Our public safety was further threatened by the U.S. Supreme Court recent ruling that open carry of weapons in public is legal.

The Second Amendment of the Constitution says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Until and unless owning and using weapons is well-regulated, as evidenced by no more mass shootings, I say we should ban the ownership, carrying and use of automatic rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines, in the interest of our public safety and security.

Linda Lindquist, North Fort Myers

Education, not indoctrination

Ron DeSantis is championing the new School Civics Initiative, giving a presentation to Florida teachers that downplays slavery, and insinuates that the founders did not really intend for there to be a separation of church and state. History has recorded the Founders' clear intent from their writings. From Jefferson to Madison, their intent was clear. “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” - James Madison, known as Father of Our Constitution, wrote in 1803.

Trying to indoctrinate students to think otherwise is nonsense, or worse. In Lee County teachers have left the profession in droves.

DeSantis tells the teachers that religion belongs in public life. Has he lost touch with reality? This nation was founded upon the principle of separation of church and state, enshrined in our Bill of Rights. DeSantis’ political pandering to religious fundamentalists should not be tolerated.

Our children are pawns in his struggle to undermine history. Denouncing the importance of slavery and separation of church and state are clearly the intention of the Civics Initiative. Measure after measure seeks to indoctrinate students. Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association statewide teachers’ union, criticized the measure, saying it was based on a “manufactured political narrative.”

Teachers are voicing their disapproval in the Washington Post and other publications.

“It was very skewed” and “Disturbing” and “Christian Fundamentalist” were some of their remarks.

The primary purpose of public schools is to educate, not indoctrinate. History should not be skewed or whitewashed to prevent our next generation from learning accurate history, and the lessons that can be learned from it.

Susan Schroeder, St. James City

Left LA behind, love Cape Coral

I was delivering pizzas and my last customer of the night asked me about my Dodgers hat. Yes, I am from Los Angeles and yes they were also from Los Angeles. Our response was the same “Frank California” only we didn’t say “Frank.” The situation in California is not what is seen on the news. It is worse. The problem is the homeless and not just the syringes, trespassing and pilfering, it is the fires.

The fires were my real issue. Los Angeles has a water shortage. There are periods where the city will not allow the watering of grass. But not only my grass, the grass that is on city property. The grass where the homeless live and cook on open flames. CBS News reported in June of 2021 that the homeless accounted for 80 percent of the fires in Los Angeles. If realtor.com had a features section next to waterfront for encampment front property, I would have been able to check that box. The encampment fires were so frequent that we had to evacuate our house three nights in one week during October of 2020. I had to call out of work one day and hose off my roof as flaming ash fell from the sky. An entire neighborhood of people watering our roofs at eight o’clock in the morning because a junkie had a hankering for Spaghetti-os in the dry brush. My wife, my baby and I moved here to Cape Coral and we love it. I promise that none of us are bringing the politics of California with us.

Anthony Rainone, Cape Coral

Constitution must address new reality

The Founding Fathers envisioned a constitution that would reflect the changing needs and mores of its citizens. Originalism is diametrically opposed to the framers' philosophy.

Yet, in their overturn of Roe, six justices erroneously perceived the Constitution as an ark of the covenant imbued with deified wisdom and innately impeccable. Life evolves (and, sometimes, devolves) because new discoveries are made, new truths are identified and  promulgated, new perspectives are shared and adopted, folkways are modified and/or rejected. As our societal milieu changes, so too, must one's written constitution be amended to better address the new reality in which we live (See the 27 Amendments). It is shamefully ludicrous to suggest that one generation (late 18th Century wealthy white privileged males) had sole possession of the pipeline to governance truth and would impose its ideology upon future generations without the benefit of amendment. Unforeseen circumstances necessitate flexibility -- originalism dismisses constitutional change despite its full disclosure of how to do so as cited in Article V.

James L. DeBoy, Fort Myers

Hatred of all things Trump

I continue to read letters to the editor that indicate a true hatred of all things Trump, including the millions of folks who voted for the man. These letters are often laced with vitriol because American citizens decided that they were not happy with the way government was going. This doesn't mean that they were less of a citizen than those who voted against him. I also read letters that indicate a vast knowledge of jurisprudence when discussing the ongoing Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 but make no mention of the fact that the committee is composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans (in name only), presenting open testimony with no rebuttal based on hearsay evidence. Finally, I question how those screaming the most about abortion rights often thank their parents for not aborting them while understanding that abortion rights are simply left up to the states, not the federal government.

Robert Wickboldt Jr., Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, July 17, 2022