Letters to the editor for Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Election integrity intact

The Collier County Board of County Commissioners should reject the proposed “Resolution for a Legally Valid 2024 General Election.”As a citizen and voter in Collier County for almost eight years I have had numerous opportunities to learn how elections are run here. The process is exemplary. It is transparent and it works. There are already multiple laws intended to ensure the integrity of elections. These laws are followed scrupulously.

The current resolution is not only unnecessary, it seriously and unfairly attacks — without any evidence — the legitimacy of the election process in Collier County. The statement that “Florida’s 2022 General Election appears to have been invalid” is outrageous, incendiary, and simply, FALSE. Promulgating such nonsense is harmful to our community and undermines trust in our elected officials — including the commissioners.Do those who were elected to the Board in 2022 seriously question the integrity of that election? Do they believe that their election is not valid? Of course not. Do they, therefore, believe that only the election of persons they did not support (if there were people they supported who did not win) were invalid? The 2022 General Election was “legally valid,” as will be the 2024 General Election — as long as outside agitators like "United Sovereign Americans” are not allowed to disrupt and alter the current process for ensuring a fair and legal election. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.Our system is not broken. Do not waste time and resources trying to “fix” it.

Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing, Naples

Unsubstantiated claims

The Board of County Commissioners Resolution for Valid 2024 Election. Am I surprised that this proposed resolution is filled with unsubstantiated claims, and violates existing State of Florida election law? No. It is consistent in tone and intent with the previous Freedom Ordinance passed by the BOCC that violates existing federal law, thereby encouraging citizens to disregard the law and create chaos in the body politic.Am I surprised that it was brought to the BOCC via the Election Integrity Committee of the Collier County Republican Executive Committee (CCREC)? No. Some of the CCREC members were also affiliated with sending two busloads of Florida tourists / insurrectionists to Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.Am I disappointed that the BOCC is once again the water carrier for the CCREC and other like-minded organizations? Yes. I am disappointed but not surprised. Five men elected via the closed election process which (generally) disenfranchises all independent voters in Collier County in the August partisan primaries do not always represent the will of the people.Governor DeSantis described Florida’s election administration as the gold standard, and Collier County’s SOE office is one of the leaders in the state. What is the real goal of this resolution? Chaos? Sowing the seeds of distrust in our voting process and in democracy? Reduction of our voting rolls? Support of specific CCREC candidates by a body that theoretically represents all the people in Collier County? All of the previous!Libbie Bramson, Naples

Farmers unfairly targeted

There's a troubling trend of painting farmers as the scapegoats for environmental issues surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Having grown up in Clewiston, I've witnessed firsthand how certain groups vilify our farming communities, jeopardizing not just our way of life but also the stability of our nation's food supply.

Glades-area farmers are responsible for feeding more than 180 million Americans a year. Special interest groups have unfairly targeted them, particularly sugarcane farmers, while disregarding the realities faced by our many smaller, family-run operations.

It's important to set the record straight on these special interest, activists groups. They've relentlessly pursued agendas that would cripple our farming communities, seeking to convert large pieces of productive farmland into restoration projects to solve various water issues throughout the region, oblivious to the economic devastation and food shortages that would follow.

Despite farmers' significant contributions to improving water quality over the years, relentless attacks and misinformation campaigns have continued while the true sources of Lake Okeechobee's water issues remain largely unaddressed.

Behind their facade of environmental concern lies a stark reality; these groups are driven not by a desire to protect our natural resources, but by a blatant anti-farming agenda. They've capitalized on crises like the blue-green algae blooms and red tide to further their fundraising, all while conveniently ignoring the fact that over 95% of Lake O’s water/pollutants flows in from the north through a chain of lakes − not farms south of the lake.

We need to move beyond the divisive rhetoric and false narratives that have hindered progress of the big lake’s restoration.  A cleaner lake benefits all areas and all interests connected to it.

As president of the Lake Okeechobee Business Alliance, I'm committed to shedding light on the realities faced by our farmers and rural communities and advocating for their interests in the face of relentless, misinformed opposition.

Julia du Plooy, Lake Okeechobee Business Alliance

Kids and communism

Florida's governor and Legislature often proclaim the education of our young people as one their top priorities. The most recent proof of this is their passage of the History of Communism bill (SB 1264). The initial step enumerated in this bill is for the governor to appoint a History of Communism Task Force. This group will establish "curriculum standards and instruction on the history of communism for kindergarten through grade 12." I, for one, can't wait to learn how teachers will discuss communism with a kindergarten class.

Apparently I am not as aware of the threat of communism in Florida as is our governor and our legislators. Perhaps the Junior ROTC clubs in our high schools are really undercover Red Guards. Those Junior Entrepreneur clubs are also suspect. Perhaps they are sleeper cells, just waiting for a call to arms from XI Jinping.

I assume that one skill that our children and grandchildren will learn is "How to Spot a Communist." Registered Democrats are clearly suspect. Individuals who donate money or time to food banks also will come under suspicion since they appear to follow the Marxist doctrine "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs."

Unless the school day is lengthened, the teaching of some subjects will have to be abbreviated or eliminated so that communism can be fully discussed. Reading, writing and math are certainly good candidates for reduced emphasis.

John Chandler, Pelican Bay

Bad-faith propaganda

In a recent guest commentary article by John Bernardi titled Abortion a moral issue, not a health care issue he states:In Minnesota it’s perfectly legal to abort until the “fetus” exits the womb and miraculously becomes a “baby.”An easy fact check from numerous sources clearly supports that while this is technically a remote possibility in an extreme life or death situation, in practice this is not happening. No one is performing abortions up until the moment of birth. There is no such medical procedure, and any suggestion otherwise is bad-faith propaganda aimed at hijacking and toxifying the public discussion. In reality, more than 90% of abortions in Minnesota occur within the first trimester. Abortions later in pregnancy happen for differing, private reasons, and sometimes in instances when a pregnant person risks severe injury or death if they continue with their pregnancy. (Unrestricted Minnesota)While it may appear that this letter is an opinion about a medical procedure, it is not. It is about calling out “bad-faith propaganda aimed at hijacking and toxifying the public discussion.” This is the plague of our times; inaccurate, sensationalized opinion that prevents us as people, as a community, as a nation from having civil discourse, an exchange of ideas. Without this, we cannot understand another’s point of view or find common ground.Susan Kaercher Meyers, Naples

Reduce lawn fertilizer runoff

In reference to your article, Time to turn attention to nutrient pollution. A lot of the nutrient pollution is from Florida lawns. There is a solution that would reduce the lawn fertilizer runoff from homesites into retention lakes, canals and on to rivers and the Gulf.

I am seeing numerous articles, editorials and committee reports of recommendations to solve lawn fertilizer runoff that adds to river and waterway pollution such as algae. Even to stop all lawn fertilizing and go au-naturel. I have seen au-naturel in Arizona and it’s not pretty. All I have read seem to be 50 percent off in efficiency. I have had three homes in Florida over the years and mitigated runoff by at least 50 percent.

If there were no homes covering the ground, the ground would absorb all the water from rain under normal rainfall. However, homes, with their roofs and driveways send more than the ground they cover into the streets and or lakes, aka, retention ponds. The street water drains into storm drains that lead to the nearest lake or canal system if there are no lakes. The community lakes, when above their control or design level, send that extra water to the canal system too.

My method for mitigation is simple and should be made mandatory for all new construction. At least give government incentives to existing homeowners to make a few simple changes. If all the rain from our roofs, driveways, and streets went directly to the storm drains the lawns would be able to absorb normal rainfall without runoff. One would be amazed how little lawn is visible from an aerial view of a typical homesite. Most of that view does not absorb water.

I always have a home with rain gutters all the way around the roof. That leaves about four downspouts to handle all the water that will exit to the lawns. If the back of the home sits next to a lake I run inexpensive piping just under the lawn either directly into the lake or to a drain at its edge. The edge method is to satisfy building codes and piping into a lake. At least the runoff from a drain so close to the water’s edge leaves very little water running across the lawn and picking up fertilizer. If there are no lakes near the back I have the gutters sloped to the front.  In the front I run similar piping to the street or a drain at the edge of the lawn.

The water from the driveway already runs into the street. Another method is to add elbows from side downspouts so they exit onto the driveway. Thus avoiding the need for piping in the front. An added dividend from all the above is this method reduces runoff that affects fish or other wildlife in or on the lakes or canals. It is a conservative estimate that the lawn runoff is reduced by at least 50 percent.

John Piccolo, Estero

Downtown mail since Ian

33901 and 33902 mail customers must retrieve PO box mail from the Page Field facility. We go to a special door and press a buzzer and wait for a postal clerk to open the door. They are mostly friendly.

Sometimes, a note will be on the door: Be Back Soon. We have to wait or find something else to do before we return to our downtown place of business or residence. Worse, sometimes there is no note and no one comes to the door after 5-10-15 minutes. In that instance, we must go to the other end of the building and get in line with the other customers with packages to deliver. This is a huge inconvenience to have to endure all of this time.

I read the short of staff articles in this newspaper recently. Still no excuse to not leave a note.

Hoping for some relief soon by reopening the downtown branch.

Sheldon E. Finman, Fort Myers

Pro-Putin Republicans

The House of Representatives voted to approve support for Ukraine. Our congressman, Bryon Donalds, voted against financial aid for Ukraine. He supports Putin's invasion of Ukraine as one of the Pro-Putin Republicans in Congress. He must not be allowed to retain his seat in the November elections. Pro-Putin congressmen/congresswomen must not be elected or reelected in order to support their support of murderer Putin.

Bruce Miller, Naples

One Marine’s thoughts

If I were any male politician on January 6, 2021 who cowered under desks and behind barricades  manned by police who were bludgeoned and battered protecting me while I ran for my life from a mob sicced on me by former president Donald Trump and then later found myself pledging my support to that same Mr. Trump as he ran for president of the United States, I would on that same day cease looking at myself in any mirror and cease showing my face to any family I have which depends on me to defend them. I would further publicly admit that I am a person more willing to live on my knees in service to any carnival barker who can attract a voting bloc sufficient to allow me to remain in office rather than to die on my feet protecting the Constitution of the United States. Just a thought.

Thomas Minor, Colonel, USMC (Ret.), Bonita Springs

Teach all forms of government

Recently Gov. DeSantis announced he wants our schoolchildren to learn all about communism. The idea is to educate them on the dangers of a type of government which could endanger our democracy. Some have expressed reservations about DeSantis’ plan.

When many of us were in school, we had a Government, History or Civics class which gave explanations of all types of governments − communist, socialist, fascist, and democratic as well as full explanations of how our own democratic republic works. It seems that many today don’t remember those classes and our children should learn this.

I have no problem with explaining ALL types of governments and allowing our children to come to understand why we as Americans have often fought to defend democracy around the world. While developing an appreciation for our democracy, we all should learn to recognize the actions of leaders who gradually took control and led their countries into autocracy. Historians have identified the tell-tale actions of how past and present autocrats took control. Autocratic leaders work to control what the citizens believe. They work to demonize a certain group of people in order to stir up hatred and divide people. They demand loyalty and threaten and intimidate those who oppose them. Once hatred is instilled, they insist that only they can “save” the country. Rights are taken away with the excuse that it is necessary to obtain order. People are trained to only believe what the leader says despite whatever they may have heard or seen with their own eyes, books are banned, and schools must teach only what the autocrat wants people to learn. Suddenly a democratic country is changed into a dictatorship.

Oh wait! This sounds a little too familiar...

Joan Fanelli, Fort Myers

Socialist/Marxist texts

As I watch the news this a.m. and I see the outrageous Marxist student antisemitic protests, I can’t help but think of how the Collier County School Board simply ignores the socialist/Marxist passages in the “approved” texts that I and others have continually brought to your attention in the book reviews.

Two years ago, Mr. Carter stopped me after one of my presentations to tell me how impressed he was with my presentation that highlighted the very obvious socialist indoctrination in the new math texts, but he voted to adopt them anyway. He stated that the text was already approved by the state and that there was really nothing that he could do.

Now Mr. Rutherford tells me that he did not have time to read the very Marxist Chapter 9 in the Economics text that I recently reviewed (although he did raise many objections to other texts) and that, once again, the texts had already been accepted by the state.

As I watch the young college students seemingly celebrate the slaughter of 1,200 Jews and champion Marxist dogma, I think of you all and how you have helped to generate this with your passive inaction at the ground level. None of you have the courage to say no, enough is enough!

YOU are the problem.  I suggest that you go back and read chapter nine and then do something about it.

John Putnam, Marco Island

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Wednesday, April 24, 2024