Letters to the editor for Wednesday, July 26, 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

Value of affordable housing

Affordable housing provides fundamental stability to a community. Hurricane Ian has eliminated those homes and rentals that our workforce and seniors could afford. Our islands are dependent on the medical, police, firefighters, teachers, skilled labor, postal and hospitality workers. They are the backbone of the community. Our island seniors are the pioneers who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the community and now need our help.

Employees spend 30-50% of their income on housing alone. That puts them as rent burdened and in many cases severely rent burdened category (according to Waller, Weeks and Johnson rental index). Community Housing & Resources (CHR) provides that assistance. CHR is faced with many challenges, repairs to existing buildings, loss of 11 units and high insurance premiums and deductibles. Community Housing & Resources has been in service since 1979 and will continue to fulfill our mission.

Nicole Decker-McHale, CHR executive director, Sanibel

Oppose storage project

I am a resident of 13 Ave. SW and Collier Boulevard trying to expose what will happen on our street if the commissioners approve as commercial the two lots on the corner designated by the Growth Master Plan as residential.They want to place one of the largest storage units with many arguments that do not consider how it will change our quality of life in terms of security, traffic and compatibility with the electrical station we have. Potential buyers of low-priced lots want to request a change of use and place a storage that is pure concrete, damaging the character of the residential area with which we acquired our homes, harming the traffic that is chaotic at the moment; it will interfere with the school buses that stop at this corner to give priority to moving trucks and other kinds of heavy traffic, leaving our children exposed to imminent danger with these unattended units day and night. Golden Gate Estates does not need storage because we have enough land for that, (it’ll be good in an industrial zone). Incompatibility of use next to an electrical PE that will increase the chances of fires, accidents, floods and blocking our only emergency exit to Collier. We've already made our case to the planners, and our next meeting is among the commissioners. We do not understand why if most of us are in opposition to this project, investors continue to insist with a right given to two lots over 60 more owners.

Gloria Marques, Naples

Health care decisions

As a retired Registered Nurse, I see the world through the lens of a health care worker for over 50 years. Regretfully, now I see two health care conditions tossed around like a soccer ball to the detriment of the people and our society at large. What are they? You know. You hear about them on the news all the time.

Think pregnancy decisions instead of the A word. Pregnancy is very complicated. If you don't believe me just study fetal circulation like I did when we studied Human Anatomy 60 years ago. Women are not receiving proper care because health care workers are now working in fear. There are spontaneous miscarriages and Ectopic pregnancies, meaning that the egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tube. That won't allow the fetus, not a baby yet, to develop outside the womb, the uterus.

These are not political decisions. They are human health care decisions and they are not easy for the very highly educated workers. Please give them a break and the women affected, not just the fetus. Perhaps the people opposing the A word believe they are doing the right thing for the fetus, not yet a baby, but there is likely a lack of knowledge.

You've also heard about LGPTQ, also known as Gender Dysphoria. It is a medical condition that they were born with and cannot control. The cause is not completely known but possibly a genetic condition or hormonal abnormality during pregnancy. It is like any other genetic condition and there is no treatment for it. They are just people like the rest of us with all our own differences. Give them a break too. Ever heard of Live and Let Live. Sounds like a good idea to me. I rest my case.

Alice Mack, RN, retired, BSN, Fort Myers

Unthinkable to an educator

As a teacher of American history, I would like a detailed description of HOW slavery benefited the slave.  Slaves were beaten, separated from families, raped, abused and a not given an education.  Most importantly, never forget they were owned and considered property.

So please again describe in detail how this was a benefit to them.

Why does this state government feel the need to change history? What are they afraid of?

I do find it "interesting" that it is fine that primary students are strong enough to learn how to hide in corners so as not to be shot to death by an intruder.  But somehow not strong enough to learn our country's true history.

This is all unthinkable and to an educator. Unbearable.

Jeri Heap, Fort Myers

Biden vs. Aldean

After the Lefts have had their minds blown over a country music song, two IRS whistleblowers came forward with information on how wrong the IRS was in handling information on both President Biden and his son.

I don't understand why more people are not aghast over the Biden situation.  The proof is in the whistleblower testimony.

If Biden continues his direction to run for president, think long and hard why you would vote for him. And yet, why this song bothers you more.

Sharon Heard, North Fort Myers

Make your vote count

We are at a critical turning point for this country. When leaders profess lies over truth, fiction over facts, news sources to lie to their minions, and paid elected officials not working for we the people -- mission control we have a problem!

Teachers must be able to teach without restrictions and penalties. More teachers are quitting in Florida because of these new laws that we did not vote for. Reading is a dying art that should be encouraged for growth.

Take a serious look at your political candidate choices. Do not involve their families.

If you are really concerned with government overreach which many say they don’t support, take a look at book bans, religion in schools, intentional discrimination and a governor who wants to be king on our dime, insurance companies walking away and so much more. This new law making procedure to wrap two unconnected laws into one is beyond ignorant but meant to deceive. Hmmmm.

Who is the person you are voting for? Do they have a personal agenda to become famous and wealthy or work for we the people? You get to decide the fate of our country. Make your vote count on all levels for our future, not the 1% which I am sure you are not. Your kids matter and so does the USA.

Christianne Murphy, Bonita Springs

DeSantis and Freedom Caucus

In 2015, a new breed of conservatives retaliated against John Boehner after he made a deal with Barack Obama on the debt ceiling. That retaliation gave birth to the Republican’s House Freedom Caucus. “Their organizing principle was to make themselves relevant by being willing to stab leadership in the back at any moment,” says Brendan Buck, former aide to Boehner and Ryan.  The Freedom Caucus’s secrecy flows from this episode: Not knowing precisely who was plotting against him made it difficult for John Boehner to maintain control.

The Freedom Caucus is best known for what it’s against: the Republican establishment, business as usual and compromises of any sort.  The principal strategy of the Freedom Caucus is destruction; its main tactic is disruption.  They abhor bedrock conservative values like the rule of law and embrace the most radical populists in modern times.  John Boehner once described Caucus members saying:  “They’re anarchists. They want total chaos. Tear it all down and start over. That’s where their mind-set is.”

About 45 Republicans in Congress are members of this secret, by-invitation-only Caucus. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) joined the caucus but became disenchanted. He said the group’s name is ironic because of the conformity it requires: “They call it the Freedom Caucus, but it’s really the Borg.”  (The “Borg” is an alien group who appear as recurring antagonists in Star Wars' fictional universe.)  The Borg members include Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene (apparently just kicked out for lack of conformity) and Byron Donalds.

The Freedom Caucus denies human contribution to climate change (in spite of our dumping 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually), is anti-woke, is anti-LBGT, anti-gun control, anti-vaccine, anti-immigrant, anti choice for women, but pro stolen election, pro overturning elections by force, pro conspiracy theories.

Sounds a lot like Florida’s governor, and rightly so.  Ron DeSantis was a founding father of the Freedom Caucus in 2015 while a member of Congress.  You can take a Borg out of the Caucus, but you can’t take the Caucus out of the Borg.

Joe Haack, Naples

Affirmative Action

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the concept of Affirmative Action.  Some folks seem to think that it gives an unfair advantage to a select few (mostly undeserving, mostly minorities) over others (mostly white Christian males).

I offer an analogy that may help them change their position.

I think most people can get a mind's eye picture of a 400-meter foot race on a circular track.  Assume the eight contestants come from different ethnic backgrounds (and even countries) but are fairly equal in their running prowess.  Each runner is assigned one lane.

It may not be obvious to some that the outside lane is longer than the inside lane on a curved or circular track. That means that if all the runners started from a line that was perpendicular to the lanes, i,e., straight across the track, the runners in the outside lanes would be at a significant disadvantage versus those on the inside lanes.

In order to provide a "level playing field" each starting block is placed ahead of its inside neighbor and behind its outside neighbor. To some, that may appear to give runners on the outside lanes an advantage but they would be incorrect; all will run the same distance.  When all opportunities are equal, everyone succeeds or fails on their own, as it should be.

That is what Affirmative Action does -- it provides equal opportunity, not equal outcome. The Supreme MAGA Court is wrong (again) in their ruling.

Wilburn P. Reed, Fort Myers

White grievance codified

New standards for teaching African American history in Florida are a distortion of facts. Beginning with the trip by boat from West Africa and continuing through the buying and selling of humans in cities throughout the South, often separating families, through emancipation and the Jim Crow years there is nothing remotely redeeming about being enslaved. I've been asking myself and others I know why our state department of education feels comfortable debasing themselves with these standards. Is it really because, as they stated, that they do not want Florida students to feel discomfort with history that is related to their race, sex or national origin? This reasoning appears shallow as an explanation for the misrepresentations in these new standards.

To me it now appears crystal clear that the historical guilt associated with the extraordinary mistreatment of those enslaved is something they would like to put an end to right now. These standards are what I recognize as white grievance codified. But if what we want for our students is that become fully aware of U.S. history, we would share accurately what enslavement was like in our country. So onerous were U.S. laws regarding race and racial segregation, that Nazi bureaucrats meeting in Berlin, June, 1934 to decide the fate of Jews, rejected adoption of some U.S. laws about segregation of African Americans as too harsh for Jews! (Isabel Wilkerson, "Caste," Chapter 8, Random House, 2020). If we were to examine the severity of the mistreatment by a slave overseer in the the U.S., we would conclude that even today it is rarely matched anywhere for it's inhumanity.

Joseph Curran, Naples

Truth and reality ignored

It was extremely gratifying to me as an African American to be informed by our omniscient governor that whatever skill sets I possess can be directly attributed to my having benefited from being a descendant of former slaves, and, oh, by the way, I should be grateful. The governor’s new guidelines for teaching African American history in the state do not say that directly but with our Yale and Harvard educated governor, one must always extrapolate his real intentions, which, with regards to anyone not in his political corner, are usually bad. And, as with most lies, in this case the assertion that our children are being indoctrinated by being taught the good, bad and ugly facts of history, it has necessitated the governor’s lackeys come up with one more ridiculous assertion to replace or de-emphasize historical facts with a version of truth pleasing to the governor.  We all should know by now that lies beget more lies. This logic train will eventually lead textbooks in Florida to record the January 6 insurrection, if it is mentioned at all, as just another normal day of tourists visiting the Capitol with unruly Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters attacking the Capitol police. Based on recent statements by Mr. DeSantis himself, I would say Florida may well be on the way to getting that version of history in its textbooks, if not already. None of us should need to be forewarned that truth and reality ignored have a way of eventually smacking you right in the face. The sooner Republicans learn how to handle the truth, rather than invent their own, the sooner they will rid themselves of the Trumps, DeSantises and others of their ilk, become more critical viewers of the Fox propaganda network and maybe finally get back to serious efforts at supporting those intent on governing the country for all its citizens.  As a veteran and a citizen, I hope it’s sooner rather than later, for the sake of the country.

Thomas Minor, Bonita Springs

Benefits of being a slave

I am grateful to Gov. DeSantis and his acolytes at the Florida Board of Education for educating me and Florida students on the overlooked benefits of being a slave in the pre-Civil War South.

My teachers neglected to point out that slaves learned valuable skills from their masters, such as blacksmithing, cotton picking, wood chopping, dish washing, cock fighting, etc. that would help them prosper in the new industrial era.

And of course, I now realize that being shackled, branded, horsewhipped, bludgeoned and raped, taught slaves how to endure humiliation, pain, and suffering, a skill that would serve them well when later brutalized by the KKK.  Also, my history books failed to mention the benefit to slaves of being kept ignorant and illiterate, since reading about systemic Jim Crow laws would only confuse and irritate them more.

Yup, evidently there were a lot of other great benefits from being a slave that my teachers and history books overlooked. Perhaps Gov DeSantis and his Board could enlighten me further.

Ed OKeefe, Bonita Springs

Pompous, idiotic idea

Florida children will now be taught that slavery benefited slaves because some learned a skill. What a pompous, idiotic idea! What next?

Ro Jones, Isles of Capri

Separating children, families

President Putin was recently told that if he attended a meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that he would be arrested under an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The charge related specifically for his regime's deportation of Ukrainian children into Russia.I wonder if charges will be considered by the ICC for the separation of children at the U.S. Mexican border from their parents carried out by the Trump administration. As of a recent tally parents of 545 children remain separated from their families.

Charles Theisen, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Wednesday, July 26, 2023