Letters to the editor for Sunday, August 28, 2022

Editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoon

Pioneer in medical care mourned

The passing of Nancy Lascheid is a blow to medical progress of not only Naples and Collier County but to the whole region and State of Florida. Certainly the entire Neighborhood Health Clinic is in mourning but because of Nancy’s dynamic vision and steadfast leadership, now through her daughter CEO Leslie Lascheid, it will continue to thrive and grow and the low-income patients it serves will continue to receive first class medical attention. However the entire medical community, the region and state will now miss the intelligent pioneering and clear view Nancy brought to every local and statewide committee she served on. Consider the battle she and her husband, the late  Dr. Bill Lascheid, fought, almost single-handedly for nearly 30 years, to bring sovereign immunity to the free and charity medical clinics in Florida so that they could recruit volunteer doctors and dentists to serve patients without the worry of lawsuits or other administrative difficulties and bring their expertise to bear on the medical needs of the working poor. As Dr. Paul Jones, an original and current board member of the clinic, writing in a recruitment letter to potential volunteer doctors, said, essentially, to  think of how you dreamed in medical school of practicing medicine without the threat of lawsuits or administrative entanglements and just practice pure medicine. That is the arena in which our doctors, dentists and medical assistants work here and elsewhere around the state. This and numerous other innovations and projects were an important part of Nancy’s accomplishments. She brooked no fools, was decisive and clear thinking and had a heart that was golden and a commitment to a mission that was divinely inspired. John P. Cardillo, chair, Neighborhood Health Clinic, Naples

Everglades land purchase objection tainted

Terry Miller recently expressed his objection to my op-ed in support of gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s proposed land purchase of sugarcane fields in the Everglades Agricultural Area around Lake Okeechobee. The land, approximately 50,000 acres of the over 440,000 of sugarcane fields, is desperately needed to store and treat polluted water released from the lake.

The land purchase would allow the United States Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District to work jointly in sending excessive releases of critical water south to nourish the Everglades and Florida Bay, recharge ground water aquifers, attenuate the advancement of saltwater intrusion due to sea level rise, and minimize the adverse impacts on coastal estuaries.

Miller is a low level political operative whose rant forced him from the shadows of the political arena wherein which he has gained an unsavory reputation of aligning candidates with dirty money from the worst corporate polluters. Not surprising that Miller denounced the land purchase option in order to support one of the biggest contributors to his clients, Big Sugar. Miller’s message parroting Big Sugar’s defiance to be part of the solution in helping to restore the Everglades and our coastal estuaries speaks volumes of his self-serving interest to worship at the altar of Big Sugar.

Ray Judah, former Lee County commissioner, Fort Myers

Trash from short-term rental home

The problem is my neighbor’s trash. I live next door to house that has short-term rentals. In between each renter, the trash is piled at the end of the driveway, regardless of the day of the week, and sometimes sits for a full week before it is picked up. It has on occasion, ended up all over the road and surrounding five houses! Beginning two years ago, I have reported them regularly to the Bonita Springs code enforcement. I have seen two consecutive men in this position through these two years, and nothing is done! I have saved every email and submission on the city website from the very first submission, two full years ago.

This morning, after a week of uncovered overflowing trash out on the street I received a response stating that they would check and “open a case if it is necessary.”

I honestly don’t know what to do. It is a health hazard. It is unsightly, and it attracts rodents and other animals. It is disrespectful to the neighbors that live here, not to mention that there are rules. I am not asking for anything more than for the city to enforce a policy they have already in place.

Where should I go from here?

Paula Diamante, Bonita Springs

Bebe Kanter for Collier commissioner

I’ve been a Naples resident for more than 20 years and in that time I’ve always voted for the candidate who I feel is the best qualified regardless of political affiliation. With this in mind I believe Bebe Kanter would be the best choice for District 2 commissioner.

She brings a pragmatic and refreshingly creative approach to the challenges that face Collier County, in particular the environmental impact of the exponential growth we are experiencing. She is currently focused on construction site maintenance, reducing noise generated by congestion and ways to curtail the nutrient flow into the Gulf. She takes a balanced and well informed view of all sides of the equation so all parties are considered. As a photographer and video producer I am particularly interested in her desire to use art as a means of both communicating and ultimately building bridges across political, religious and cultural lines.

Gareth Rockliffe, Naples

Recruiting, retaining teachers

Just imagine if Gov. DeSantis were serious about recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers for the State of Florida. If he were serious, he would use the same strategy he devised  to strengthen the state police — a recruitment bonus of $5,000 and a retention bonus of $25,000.

With that strategy we would have talented, well-educated teachers eager to work and remain in our Lee County classrooms.

Just imagine.

Samuel B. Stewart, Ed.D, retired District Superintendent and County Superintendent of Schools in NJ., Fort Myers

Re-registering to vote was easy

Your article regarding the change to the voter law was misleading in one important way. Not surprising since your liberal bias against our governor and his administration is relentless.

You stated that the change to the law requiring re-registration every two years rather than every four may be a roadblock for voters. ROADBLOCK?

My registration had expired so, today, I placed a call to my Lee County office. A nice lady answered the call almost immediately and when I told her I needed to re-register, she asked four questions. She asked my name, legal mailing address, date of birth and the last four numbers of my Social Security number. I was re-registered in less than five seconds. ROADBLOCK?

I bet every registered voter has access to a telephone, a name, a legal mailing address, a birthdate and a Social Security number. If not, they aren’t allowed vote. At least not here in Florida.


Joseph George, Bonita Springs

IRS scare tactics are new GOP lie

“They’re coming for you.” “87,000 armed IRS agents will hunt taxpayers and small business owners” according to Senators Grassley, Cruz, and other GOP voices. “They’re coming after you; they’re coming after your small business” is their rallying cry to create fear among the ordinary taxpayers. This is the new lie. The GOP is afraid because the IRS will focus on high-earners, those with incomes over $400,000. That probably includes many of them. Republicans have been going after the IRS for the past ten years. They squeezed the budget with a 47 percent decrease that resulted in 45 percent fewer agents per American taxpayer. Since returns of the wealthy are often hundreds of pages and require more labor and expertise to audit, the high-income taxpayer has seen a dramatic decrease in audits. The audit rate for those earning less than $25,000 per year is five times the rate of the high-income taxpayer and those earning over ten million have less than a four percent chance of an audit. Additionally, it is known that misreporting of what is owed rises with income level. The Treasury Department wants to restore a sense of fairness. Low or middle-income earners and small business will NOT be the focus of increased IRS enforcement activity. Instead, the IRS wants to close a 500 billion “tax gap” by focusing on the wealthy which is projected to bring in an estimated 203 billion in increased revenue. So, if you earn less than $400,000, you can relax. An agent is NOT coming for you and the typical enforcement agent doesn’t carry a gun unless it’s a criminal tax case.

Rosemary Giovannone, Fort Myers

The real voter fraud

After touting clean and fair elections in Florida, our governor and Legislature felt it necessary to establish the Office of Election Crimes and Security. Like Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, this crack team of investigators fanned out across the state and uncovered 20 scofflaws who voted illegally in 2020. These were ex-felons, most of whom were probably confused by the overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendment restoring their rights in 2018 which were later restricted by the same legislators.

Is there a massive voter fraud scheme in Florida? I believe that, yes, there is.

Both coasts of our state are choked with condominiums. A large percentage of these units are owned by residents of other states who unlawfully claim Florida citizenship in order to take advantage of our friendly tax policies. The most recognized and efficient way to prove Florida residency is to register and vote in our state. This sham has been going on unchecked for decades and the recent popularity of short-term rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo has only exacerbated the situation. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of these illegal votes are cast in Florida each election yet there is never an investigation or even mention of it.

Per Politico.com, 8,220,494 votes were cast in the last Florida gubernatorial election and the race was decided by 32,463 votes (less than 0.4 percent). You cannot tell me that this widespread level of voter fraud does not matter or influence our elections.

Ken Buschle, Fort Myers

The most outrageous rhetoric

These days outrageous rhetoric seems to be the badge of a real Republican. The FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is the current subject of that outrage. A contest of outrageousness that exposes the Republican as a complete fool belongs to Florida Republican for Congress Sarasota businessman Martin Hyde who said, ”I wish they’d turn up at my home ‘cause they’d have gone home in a body bag.” You win Martin. Is anyone at all going to vote for this slug?

Roger W. Quagliano, Estero

Update democracy with technology

Maybe it’s time to bring democracy out of the horse and buggy days when this government Of, By and For didn’t have the technological means for its sovereign rulers (the people) to instantly make democratic majority-rule decisions except for every two years to vote for a new handful of decision makers who are easily influenced, not by constituents, but by special monied interests.

I’m surprised that this handful of empowered decisionmakers haven’t suggested we should upgrade democracy to reflect the technology that will make their jobs as deciders obsolete. Hmmm.

We can still have representatives as suggesters, but not deciders. That’s our Of, By and For job!

J. Cant, Naples

Look for fraud, you may find it

If you build it they will come, if you look for it you will find it. The history of medicine has many examples of diagnoses that were considered rare until a treatment was discovered. Suddenly, the diagnosis became more prevalent as doctors became more aware of the symptoms and the presentation and were more on the lookout for the disorder. The same holds true for jaywalking. Based on the number of citations for jaywalking you would assume that it’s very rare but look at any major city and you find that’s far from the truth. It’s just that law enforcement has better things to do than be on the lookout for jaywalkers. Until we begin actively searching for evidence of voter fraud we will continue to believe that none exists. Recently 20 cases were discovered in Florida because of purposeful searches. You may or may not agree with the basis for that search but it demonstrates that we have absolutely no idea how much voter fraud exists because we have no data based on the fact that no one looks for it.

Kenneth Wetcher, M.D., Naples

Why would DeSantis support Mastriano?

Why would Gov. DeSantis give any support to Pennsylvania’s governor’s race candidate Doug Mastriano, whose views on almost everything related to race, religion and values differ like oil and water from Gov. DeSantis? Please consider your character before standing next to Mastriano, he is nothing like you.

Mickey Glantz, Naples

Inflation not of Joe Biden’s making

Today’s inflation is the result of a powerful convergence of factors which cannot easily be controlled.

The COVID-induced global economic shutdown accelerated several long-term trends which led to the current supply-side shocks and the consequent return of inflation.   Central banks offered extraordinary amounts of monetary stimulus to support economies during the COVID pandemic but made some mistakes in timing.

Then, increased energy demand coincided with an adjustment to cleaner energy sources. The global move to renewables requires an enormous amount of transition investment which leads to a persistent inflation.

In addition, the war in Ukraine and its consequent sanctions have led to shortages of oil, gas and grain bringing greater inflationary pressures.

Another trend seen during COVID is the undoing of globalization which is causing supply bottlenecks and undoing interdependent supply chains. The demise of Brexit and strained trade relations with China add to this situation.

Changes in the work place because of the pandemic are also feeding inflation with the pressure of higher wage demands. As the cost of living increases while wages stay low, we will see higher wage demands as employers struggle to attract workers.

The question is: Is Joe Biden responsible for these factors?  No. COVID, not Biden, was the major cause of supply side shocks.  War in Ukraine was started by Putin looking for a control position on world food. Just as Trump did, Biden relied on the Fed to temper inflation; the Fed’s timing was off.

Joe Biden was not the cause of inflation. The causes of today’s inflation are COVID, deglobalization and consequent supply chain disruptions, Putin’s war, a shortage of qualified workers and a tardy Fed. Research reveals that Fidelity, MarketWatch, Bloomberg, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and more agree with this conclusion. Blaming Biden is a political distraction. Know your enemies; Biden is not one of them.

Sally Lam, Naples

Biden’s accomplishments

There was a letter printed challenging anybody to name one thing that Joe Biden and his administration had done for American citizens. How about these:

1) Got 500 million shots in arms for COVID.

2) Sent $160 million dollars in aid for food, rent and small businesses along with an expansion of the Child Tax Credit.

3) Safely reopened schools.

4) Commandeered the greatest ever year of job growth thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

5) Passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill repairing roads and bridges among a myriad of other benefits.

6) The Chips Bill enabling production of chips at home to rely less on foreign-made.

7) The recent nonpartisan Inflation Reduction Bill which no Republicans voted for which expands Medicare, lowers energy costs, enables prescription drug negotiations and applies insulin caps. It also closes tax loopholes and initiates a 15 percent tax on big corporations.

In summary, clueless Trumpers and far-right protagonists who blame Biden for inflation (which is worldwide) and the war in Ukraine (which is a big contributor to inflation), either don’t want to know what’s going on or just parrot what the election deniers feed them.

I hope these aforementioned items will tell voters that, if they want the government to work for them and their families, voting Democratic is the only real choice.

Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral

Current administration successes

A recent writer stated that no one responded to his claims regarding the extreme failures of the current administration. Well no one responded because it was just another disgruntled ramble but here are some accomplishments: The bipartisan Infrastructure Law (an unfulfilled campaign promise of DJT), Inflation reduction act, Afghanistan withdrawal bringing our service members home after 20 years (the withdrawal was lousy but it’s done when other administrations kicked the can), the Chips act, the Pact act, bipartisan gun law, killed Al Qaeda leader, job numbers up, leading support for Ukraine, expansion of NATO, American Rescue Plan, got federal judge appointees back on track, Medicare drug price law saving the government 265 billion (remember the DJT unfulfilled campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare?), expanded children’s mental health initiative for schools, finished the troubled gap in the Arizona border wall, and returned seized land to landowners, and the climate change law. These accomplishments aren’t perfect for everyone, it happens to every administration, but some important things have happened geared toward citizens’ well-being.

L. O’Brien, Fort Myers

The Patriot Readers project

The WRC, Naples Federated Literacy and Education Committee is proud to announce a special project called The Patriot Readers due to launch in September. The Patriot Readers consist of women of all ages within our community who are members of The Women’s Republican Club. These women have taken an interest in supporting our Literacy and Education Committee by volunteering to read books to students that promote Gov. DeSantis’ Civics Literacy and Excellence Initiative. Volunteers will spend 20 to 30 minutes reading and interacting in classrooms with students K- 6. The schools selected in the Naples community are public, private and charter schools in which our Patriot Readers hope to visit at least once a month. If you would like to suggest a particular school for our volunteers to visit or would like to inquire about how you could volunteer as a Patriot Reader, please contact Lytra Wilson, chair of The Literacy and Education Committee, at wrclitnedcommittee@mail.com.

Lytra Wilson, Naples

Priorities confused

There have been a lot of tragedies in the last couple of years. A virus of unknown origin has killed more than 1 million Americans and millions more around the world let alone the damage done to the economy and education of children. Overdose deaths have risen dramatically and have claimed more than 100,000 Americans each year. Homicides and violent crime have claimed thousands of lives and have increased rapidly the last two or three years. Foreigners have illegally crossed our border, many have died during the journey and we have no idea where these people are, what they are doing, crimes they may have committed, disease they have spread, potential for terrorist activity or the cost to the American taxpayers. The protests in the U.S. because of social justice claimed dozens of lives, injured many more, caused billions of dollars of damage, destroyed businesses and cost people their jobs. Thirteen American soldiers were killed during our withdrawal from Afghanistan. On a Jan. 6, the U.S. Capitol building was violently assaulted by a mob disrupting the transfer of power, threatening our congressional representatives and one of the rioters was killed.

So what do we know about all of these tragedies? You would think that since the major job of government is to protect the people, we would have thoroughly investigated and tried to deal with the deaths of Americans. However, the only extensive investigation seems to be in the tragedy that cost the life of one rioter. The DOJ has said that the Jan. 6 investigation is the most extensive in history. Around 1,000 rioters have been arrested. The J6 Committee has interviewed hundreds of witnesses, received millions of pages of documents, held untold hours of meetings and many hours of public hearings, some in prime time. The media reporting on Jan. 6 dwarfs reporting on these other tragedies. It seems to me that our government has their priorities confused.

Ron Wobbeking, Naples

Lighten up on the governor

There have been several letters published as of late criticizing the character of our governor. His is called Little Ronnie, Mini-Trump and of course the new Hitler. Combine that with your usual daily hit pieces and you are doing your best to get rid of what you consider an ideological tyrant. I think it is time to remind the Naples Daily News and the multitude of liberal letter writers that slander is the last weapon of those who have lost the debate. So please, relax and enjoy the sunshine and the opportunities Florida has to offer.

Don Rader, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, August 28, 2022

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