Arrogant arbiters of ‘freedom’
A group of arrogant citizens, supporters of the so-called Medical Freedom Sub-Committee of the Collier County Republican Party Executive Committee, took it on themselves to deny medical information to poor Immokalee migrant workers. Seems that the group didn’t want the workers to receive the benefit of a $1.2 million grant from the CDC, at no cost to Collier County citizens,. As reported in The New-Press on Feb. 19 and other news sources, the grant money had to go through the Collier County government and was to be distributed to the 40-year-old Immokalee based Healthcare Network, to be used 95% for “primary care education” and 5% for “COVID-19 education.”
The news article said the Immokalee community had complained that Gov. DeSantis “was ignoring the poor farmworkers community, where the (COVID) virus was spreading.” So the CDC grant money was intended help the workers and their families. But the so-called medical freedom group, one of whom admitted she was from San Diego, felt it had the right compel the county to deny the freedom of poor impoverished workers to receive medical information the Immokalee community had requested. The reason given by the protesters was that COVID vaccines were “evil.” So the county commissioners marched in step with the protesters and voted to cancel the grant and even refund $167,000 that had already been spent, back to the CDC.
This group of “we know better than anyone else” are similar to the same kind of people who want to ban books, limit the freedom of teachers to teach and students the freedom to learn, as if they have the right to dictate to everyone else what books to read and subjects to teach. Like the so-called “Moms for Liberty,” they are a threat to democracy and real freedom, and they should be opposed at every opportunity.
Barry Fulmer, Fort Myers
No honor or care
I attended the recent Collier County commissioners meeting to support the expansion of the David Lawrence Center. That turned out as I hoped, with the commissioners voting yes. Before they got to that issue, however, they voted 5-0 to retract their support of a grant to provide health education to Immokalee residents. The 1.2 million-dollar grant was awarded to the Immokalee-based Healthcare Network. It called for hiring Immokalee residents to educate fellow residents about health matters such as COVID, diabetes and heart disease. The grant required the backing of a local government entity, and the county had supplied that backing. The vote was to retract that support.
The organization had spent $167,000 so far. That meant the commissioners were denying residents of Immokalee more than a million dollars’ worth of health education. One commissioner asked about the possibility of the county making up some of that loss, but the county manager admonished them that health care is not in the commissioners’ purview. Apparently, they can’t support health education but they can take it away. And then, worried they might be held liable for their action, even though their attorney told them that was highly unlikely, they voted to spend $167,000 of taxpayer money to send that amount back to the grantor. What did one of them say? “$167,000 is throwaway money in Collier County.”
They reneged on their support, they took away health education from their constituents, and they spent taxpayer money to protect themselves. They did not act with honor or care. I was sick to my stomach that day, and I still am.
Kathy McQuarrie, Naples
Insanity is better defense
I finally agree with the governor of Florida. Children are being indoctrinated. I was on YouTube and happened upon a 2018 campaign ad of candidate DeSantis. It shows dad reading the book of Trump with son on his lap. Then dad was showing toddler how to build the wall with the kids’ playthings. That’s not indoctrination? Sad to say there is one more thing I agree with Baby Trump on. Cracking down on the media. Dominion vs. Fox. They’ll claim they’re not journalists. Tell me about it. As they say. Honesty is the best policy but insanity is a better defense.
Charles Perkins, North Fort Myers
Rising star for Democrats
With Joe Biden reaching 80 years of age, even though he has accomplished so much during extremely trying times, the Democrats will need to find a charismatic replacement like Barack Obama. There is one such possibility with Wes Moore who is the newly elected Black governor of Maryland. His biography is incredible in that he grew up as a fatherless child in a violent neighborhood and somehow turned his life around — graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins then winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. He is also a decorated Army combat veteran, a best-selling author, and CEO of a nonprofit.
Wes is dismayed by the right-wing definition of patriotism perceived as camo, pickup trucks, flags and guns. What was patriotic about overturning an election?
He saw real patriotism in the paratroopers he led into combat who displayed real bravery each and every day.
Wes Moore should be the new standard-bearer for the Democrats as hope on the horizon.
Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral
Kindness and thoughtfulness
My wife and I decided to attend the free concert at the Resident’s Beach here on Marco Island. We drove to the event finding a parking space at the far south end of the crowded parking lot. I struggled to carry our two folding chairs and found I could carry only one and still use my cane to keep my balance. My wife also uses a cane and we were off to find a place in the shade to enjoy the concert along with the hundreds of others. We walked slowly and rested on occasion on the benches until finally reaching a location adjoining the sidewalk where we found some shade from two tall slender palm trees. I set up our one chair for my wife and sat on a nearby bench in the hot sun. I was concerned because we were crowding into a space very near others. Then what only can be a miracle happened. A smiling lady in the adjoining circle of her friends got up, came over, and said they had an extra folding chair we could use. I could sit out of the sun. She then held up a bottle of cold water and asked if we wanted it. What are the odds of finding an available folding chair out of the sun in a crowd of hundreds. The kindness and thoughtfulness of this smiling lady was a miracle for us, and a big one. When my wife later moved her chair to the retreating shade several others immediately offered to help her. When we left we thanked all for their kindness.
This was Marco Island where the maximum speed limit does not exceed 35. A place where the many boaters respect speed limitations out of concern for the aquatic life and fellow boaters. A place where drivers will motion you to go first at a four way stop and if following you drive a safe distance behind. Marco Island seems like a place where kindness and thoughtfulness are not only words but a way of living.
Andy Dalton, Marco Island
Truth of the matter
President Biden, his allies in Congress, and the mainstream media are attempting to get the American public to believe a lie. It goes like this: The GOP wants to take away your Social Security and Medicare benefits. The truth of the matter is as follows: Senator Rick Scott of Florida put forth a proposal that ALL federal programs sunset in no more than five years. Sunset does NOT mean cancel! It means that Congress would have to re-authorize each program when its sunset date came up, or the program would no longer exist. Can you imagine ANY member of Congress voting to eliminate Social Security and/or Medicare? Neither can I! Senator Scott did NOT have even close to all of the GOP members of Congress in support of his proposal, and he has since modified it to exclude Social Security and Medicare, to make his position crystal clear to those who believe the president and his followers. Anyone who tells you that the GOP wants to eliminate these programs is a liar! Try to remember that when you cast your votes in 2024.
Dave Bridgeman, Alva
Save water, limit new building
So let me see if I have this correct: The City of Fort Myers is now asking us to use less water as we must be getting low due to lack of rain. At the same time, Lee County is granting building permits without any consideration to where the water is going to come from.
Stop the building permits until you figure out where our water supply is going to come from. We are already overcrowded as it is — try driving on our roads in season.
Michael Adler, Miromar Lakes
Waterbody oxygen dropping
Prior to 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) standard for healthy oxygen in waterways was a minimum of 5 mg/L as measured by Dissolved Oxygen (DO).
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) which is the amount of free oxygen dissolved in water is an essential component of the aquatic environment. The most important and commonly used measurement of water quality, it indicates a waterbody’s state of health — that is, the ability to support aquatic life. A vast array of aquatic organisms depends on the presence of adequate levels of oxygen for survival. Generally, waters with DO concentrations of 5.0 mg/L or higher can support a well-balanced, healthy biological community.
In ocean and freshwater environments, the term “hypoxia” refers to low or depleted oxygen in a water body. Hypoxia is often associated with the overgrowth of certain species of algae, which can lead to oxygen depletion when they die, sink to the bottom, and decompose. Some aquatic species cannot tolerate even slight oxygen depletion, and when oxygen falls below natural levels, the result is often complete alteration of the community structure.
Marco Island had healthy levels of oxygen in the waterways until 2019. Since then, oxygen has been dropping. If this trend continues, in one year the entire waterbody would be considered hypoxic.
Florida residents must add an amendment to the Florida constitution for a Right to Clean and Healthy Water (RTCW). Sign the petition: floridarighttocleanwater.org
Eugene Wordehoff, Collier County captain, Right to Clean Water, Marco Island
Naples Pride aids community
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Naples Pride in the Naples Daily News of Feb. 17. The fearmongering and xenophobia vented on the front page from the City Council dampened down the effect of the story about Naples Pride’s successful community service accomplishment for the lady who lost her electric wheelchairs in the Hurricane Ian storm surge.
My husband and I responded to calls for help providing aid to the River Park neighborhood, the local historical Black neighborhood, from our friends in the local NAACP. The response from our Friends and our Unitarian Universalist congregation with blankets, mattresses, food, clothing, cleaning materials and other items was exceptional. When a rainstorm threatened to deluge the supplies in their outdoors location, we responded to a request to move them quickly. We were assigned to take supplies to Naples Pride, one of the organizations that opened their doors to assist. We had never been there before and had not interacted with this organization. A few trips transferring supplies became several weeks of sorting, arranging, and delivering them along with Naples Pride and other community members. The need seemed overwhelming, and the response was truly admirable.
Naples Pride was part of the group Hurricane Ian Rescue Effort in Collier and Lee counties, that had wisely divided the affected neighborhoods into districts that were to be served by one organization. Naples Pride members and other volunteers went door to door in their assigned area, asking what each household needed. These provided a list for the Naples Pride center, where other volunteers prepared the requested items for delivery to each home.
Ray from UUCGN, my husband and I were given the task of delivering the requests for the family in the news article, and it became clear that more than food and clothes were needed for this family. I approached Eileen Connolly-Keesler, the CEO of the Collier Community Foundation, for help, and together with the Naples Pride staff and the Salvation Army, the electric wheelchair for this family was provided. This was a true local community effort.
Therefore, please apply critical thinking processes to the Feb. 17 articles. Before you decide against Naples Pride for undocumented implications, fabrications, and insinuations about the Pride Fest, recall the real activities that Naples Pride contributed to this community and continues to provide for the Floridians who the governor and Republican Party continue to demonize.
Dina Finkel, Naples
Parks are for everyone
I’m a straight old guy. Nonetheless, I was highly distressed to read the complaints about the Pride Fest being held at Cambier Park. Under the guise of “believing in free speech,” parents are fearful of what their children might “see.” So the solution is to move it to a different park so somebody else’s parents can deal with the issue. The fact is, those parents probably just don’t “like” gay or LGBTQ folks. If that’s the case, be honest and just say so. Further, parents who say that they don’t want to have to check the park schedule — don’t. Turn around and go to a different park that day. Parks are for EVERYONE. If there is an event one day per year that bothers certain constituents — so be it. It’s just one day out of 365.
Bill Strome, Naples
Acceptance for LGBTQ youth
To the parents concerned that their children may be “exposed” to Pride Day participants in Cambier Park: despite efforts to shield your children from the reality of sexual diversity, a significant number will likely grow up to be LGBTQ. Eight percent of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ according to the Census Bureau’s 2021 Household Pulse Survey, a number consistent with a 2022 Gallup Poll in which 7.1% identified as a member of a sexual minority. I am the mother of a happy and well-adjusted gay son. I thank God he was able to grow up in a community where gay pride was openly celebrated, and where same-sex couples were so common as to not be noteworthy much less stigmatized. My son never even felt the need to formally “come out.” He simply grew up accepting who he was. I hope the inevitable minority of Collier County LGBTQ youth do not have to grow up with shame and trauma.
Vaune Davis, Naples
Regarding the Pride Fest event. This event has gone one since 2017; never once has there been an issue. The concerns of the parents who feel this impinges on their time at a park is so small-minded. A woman says she should not fear taking her children to the park as she is concerned as to what they will see. Well, for her and any other parents my advice would be forgo the park for this one day! This date of this event is disclosed well before the event happens. Mark your calendar to avoid the park that day if you are so concerned. It is so frustrating that there are so many small-minded people in the world. No, I am not gay, just a normal person who proudly has gay friends who by the way are very well respected and not at all judgmental of others! For too long now the government has been getting way too involved in OUR choices as citizens. I hope the Collier board will NOT reject this event and let the Pride Fest go on as planned. They deserve their day as we all do. There is so much separation in the world. Come on people please begin to respect everyone regarding race, color and personal choices. It is time we all UNITE.
Lee Miller, Bonita Springs
GOP must move past Trump
I voted for Donald Trump, twice. Due to his actions following his loss in the 2020 election, and its effect on the body politic, I now consider him to a destructive political force in our country.When Trump was elected in 2016 Republicans controlled all three branches of government. After four years of the Trump presidency, Republicans lost all three.The liberal and media treatment of Trump during his presidency was despicable and dishonest. Trump lacked the political skill and general likability to overcome that assault. He will never acquire those characteristics and will never win another general election.Trump’s claim that he really won the election was a dagger in the heart of our political system, which requires trust in an honest election and acceptance of the result by the losing party. Without trust and acceptance elections are followed by riots (January 6th) and we revert to third world behavior.Trump has injected a poison into our political system with his claim. It will be many years before he, the claim and the people who believe it are flushed out. They are already badly outnumbered.Kissing Trump’s ring is the kiss of a loser in the general election. Review the 2022 election results and there can be no other conclusion.Elections have consequences. Because Trump lost the 2020 election Biden and the current Democratic party gained total power and retained most of it after the 2022 electionIn the blink of an eye we have seen the nation transformed; a gigantic expansion of government, the resulting inflation, millions of illegal immigrants over our southern border, weakening of our criminal justice system with the resultant increase in crime and the imposition of government sponsored wokeism, whose core principle is racism. All are damaging and the the last is anathema to the founding principle of our country, which Jefferson called a meritocracy.The great country we have built over 200 years is being hijacked, degraded and looted.You can’t govern if you don’t win elections. Republicans won’t do that until Trump and the lost election myth have been expunged from our party.Bob Stabile, Bonita Springs
Reason for Texas grid failures
Regarding Byron Donalds’ opinion “The dishonest fantasy of wind and solar,” he blames the Texas grid failures on too much on wind and solar generation. However, the energy mix found in the Texas Grid using wind and solar is the number 6th issue with the Texas grid. My understanding of the Texas grid failure is due to a failed investor grid model used by Texas, not the energy mix. Books I read before the Texas failures cite problems with an investor grid.
An investor gets little return on reliability. Therefore, there were no incentives to the investor to put money into things like properly winterizing the grid. Windmills in Michigan did not fail in colder weather. The Texas grid has only one balancing area, which redirects electricity when one of the 500 critical components fail such as a power line. Balancing areas are the guardian angel of the grid and a Texas-sized grid should have at least two balancing areas. In hot weather power lines can fail so redundant power lines are needed. Each transmission line should operate at less than 50% capacity, then when a transmission line fails the electricity jumps to a parallel line without going over 100% capacity.
Out East there are dual fuel plants so when a natural gas compressor fails, there are a million barrels of oil on site. However, an investor gets no return on the million barrels of oil sitting on site plus the additional cost of dual fuel capabilities. Texas generation plants rarely have a backstop generator that is needed to restart a large electrical generator. The backstop plant can provide peaking power to prevent grid failure. The Texas grid was not connected to the rest of the grid to avoid the cost of additional regulations for reliability. The grid is one of the most complex engineering systems we have, let our electrical engineers design reliability into the grid while using some wind and solar, and ditch the Texas model.
Thomas Hallquist, North Fort Myers
Permit-less carry a foolish idea
Permit-less carry is unnecessary and foolish in many areas, but especially without merit in our heavily senior-citizens oriented community. As a former school administrator, I directly observed the normalization of active-shooter drills, the fear of children and young adults after these drills, the concerns of faculty and staff in meetings reviewing the protocols of these drills, and the conversations with families post-drills. Layer that trauma with publicly displayed weapons and any thinking person would clearly understand how foolish this idea is to us all! Public permit-less carry will force us to reconsider the reckless attack on our serenity! Please, do not normalize yet another assault on our peace; our children deserve better!
Dianna Mattern, Naples