Our readers share their opinions on a variety of topics
Matlacha water quality, manatees
Matlacha needs to take a serious look in their own backyard because that is the source of their pollution problem and it is adversely affecting our manatee population because their pollution kills seagrass, a manatee staple.According to the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Partnership, the South Florida Water Management District (and other agencies or organizations), water quality in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass shows excess levels of: fecal coliform, nutrients, phosphorous and mercury. Pine Island and Matalcha have between 4,500 and 5,000 septic systems which cause much of the problem.“Pine Island Sound has degraded water quality with 95% of the watershed impaired for at least one parameter category. Nutrients in the watershed are of increasing concern, as the draft watershed assessment lists indicate that Matlacha Pass is newly impaired for nutrients, likely as a result of storm water and sewage/septic runoff. The same runoff is also most likely the source of the pathogen category impairments, specifically for fecal coliform.”Pine Island and Matlacha use a combination of waste water treatment, including a larger sewage treatment plant in St. James City and about 11 smaller packaged waste treatment plants. About one-third of these have been cited for various violations, including sewage spills.These sewage problems are nothing new to Matlacha and Pine Island. Susan Dahod, a Calusa Waterkeeper ranger, recently teamed up with the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department to test the water in Matlacha, after complaints from residents who said they were getting sick due to marine toxicity surrounding their homes.“I’m currently pulling data for work being done by other organizations,” Dahod said. “I’m looking at the water quality data around Pine Island at sampling stations that already exist and I’ve looked at one in Matlacha Pass — it has total nitrogen values that are above the limit about half the time. It’s failing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s standards for water quality. It’s been failing for years and we haven’t gotten a handle on making it better.”Google Matlacha polluted canal pictures to see for yourself. Gross to say the least.Duncan Russell, Cape Coral
Biased version of American history
The political anger experienced by many older Americans is to a major degree due to the biased version of American history they were taught, one that focused almost exclusively on America’s virtues and none of its vices. Now as adults when they are confronted with a more balanced, realistic version of that history, exposing them to many flawed and tawdry aspects of America’s past, they are at first in denial, and then vehemently defensive. It is painful to admit that to some degree, “they have been had.” And having learned that “the best defense is a good offense,” they go on the attack against those who have “WOKEN” them up.
As just one example, no open minded reasonable American can gainsay that the Indian Removal Act, Jim Crow laws, Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese confinement, redlining, etc. are evidence that systemic racism has been a part of American history. Yet many Americans disclaim this reality and defend against it by “killing the messenger” who dares to expose them and present-day students to this truth. The result is educational confusion and conflict.
On balance, America has been and is a good country, but we and Gov. DeSantis should not be afraid to recognize and admit its flaws. Such denial is to deceive and delude the present generation of American students, who in the future, will only become angry adults who “have been had” like many of us.
Ed O’Keefe, Bonita Springs
Sunshine Law is his issue
It seems that some of your liberal foolishness loving readers find that Alfie Oakes’ chosen profession somehow disqualifies him to have political influence. While at the same time they have elected the last two Democrat presidents who would have trouble finding a grocery store, let alone run it. And I know that they could not start a tractor. The Sunshine Law is his issue, not your unbalanced political beliefs.
Don Rader, Naples
Congressman and gun legislation
Do you worry about the safety of your children and grandchildren? Our U.S. Congressman, Byron Donalds, apparently doesn’t.
Donalds has just co-sponsored a bill to repeal the Safer Communities Act that was approved by Congress in 2022. That bill enhanced background checks for gun purchasers between the ages of 18 and 21 and incentivized states to pass red flag laws which seek to keep guns away from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
When in the Florida House of Representatives, Donalds was the only member to vote against school safety legislation that was passed after the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
The National Rifle Association rates Donalds as an A+ politician.
John Chandler, Naples
Unraveling our democracy
We say that we honor those who died defending democracy in a numbing ritual for some and don’t see the Trojan horse that is unraveling our democracy.Divisive government does not have a place in a democracy.
Juan Puerto, Immokalee
Science, math and English
In his recent letter suggesting that we pay English teachers less money than we pay STEM teachers, Gordon R. Ultsch, Ph.D, displays his own creditable abilities in written English expression. He was obviously taught well by English teachers, whether they were his parents, peers, or professors, and despite their having, as he claims, fallen out of a shaken tree. Dr. Ultsch can scarcely share the science and math he favors without language . After all, we Americans speak in English, listen in English, read in English, and write in English. We also think in English and even dream in English. English teachers not worth the money? The letter writer wrote his whole letter in English! I suggest for his next letter, that Gordon R. Ultsch, Ph.D, write only in hydrocarbons, ventricles, dicotyledons, matrices, and Newton’s 3rd Law.
Kath Miller, Naples
As a former resident and citizen of Naples, I have followed political events in your state with more than a cursory interest. I will tell you that most of the actions of your governor have not given me confidence that Florida is headed in anything resembling a positive direction. But the latest manifestation of Florida drinking the “kool aide” being distributed by the DeSantis Administration happened just yesterday when a Florida school district banned the poem of Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in history, entitled “The Hill We Climb,” which was read by her at President Biden’s inauguration. I understand that this poem was banned after it was objected to by just one student’s mother who claims that the poem carried “hate messages.” I truly wonder if she actually heard or read the poem, but regardless, her claims are preposterous and have no basis in reality. It is time that lay people and politicians left school curriculum matters to the professionals,.
Philip Kingston, Wells, ME
Keeping it simple
Keeping it simple #1
Our country is in turmoil. And you are wondering who to support, vote for, or believe in. Answer: Say this aloud:
I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands (one Nation under God) indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
No parties are mentioned, no candidates, no politics. One country. Please, this one country needs you.
Keeping it simple #2.
If you do not believe in abortion (and trans care as well) don’t have one.
Meanwhile, stay out of our lives .
Karen Rafter, Naples
The front page of Tuesday’s News-Press was disgraced by a lengthy article written by your USA Today owners attacking our governor on several of his stances in favor of the people of Florida. Every word was aimed at convincing the readership to abandon Governor DeSantis’ run for the presidency of the United States before it even begins. If I hear the phrase, “Don’t Say Gay” one more time, I’m going to scream. Apparently, you people want school teachers to indoctrinate students as young as 5 years old in the ways of adult sex and to strongly suggest to them that they may have been born in a body that doesn’t comport with their “inner sexuality.”
Decent people believe that such conversations are the responsibility of the parents, to be brought up at the right time and in the context of questions posed by the child, if at all. Requiring voters to prove that they are citizens entitled to the right to vote is not voter suppression — it’s common sense! Likewise, disallowing school libraries from lending out pornography to children. Redrawing congressional districts is one of the duties of our state government. Doing away with the one district that extended in a thin line from Jacksonville to Tallahassee so that Black voters could be guaranteed a liberal candidate is not gerrymandering — in fact, it’s the opposite! The proper placement of editorial opinion is in the “Mailbag” section, not on the front page, but you don’t really care, do you?
Dave Bridgeman, Alva
Doing the hard work
The refusal of our political parties to work together is a deliberate diversionary tactic by both sides to keep from addressing the important problems facing our country. We have elected fools who refuse to communicate with each other, and don’t care if our republic may be in the process of descending into oblivion. Think of all the great dynasties which have faded away and are now only brief moments in history. Our country is more special than them all, so we must elect men and women who are willing to do the hard work necessary to keep our nation thriving. By the way, Kevin McCarthy would make a great president. He has proven his amazing ability to negotiate steadfastly and with dignity to protect our country against all those who would not even meet with him.
Marian Lauck, Naples
Respect will be returned
Your letter writers, or should I say, AI ChatGPT, are doing a great job with negative stories and comments about Florida. The quality of writing and the coherent thoughts are more than a slight change based on past years of reading and writing to the mailbag. The realization of our new mailbag writers is to demonize the state most of you fled to, to escape draconian lockdowns, destruction of small businesses. To enjoy personal decision-making, risk vs. reward, and a state that enjoys sunshine and warm weather as much as the northerners despise their freakishly cold and long winters. Why else would someone who writes about the hatred for Blacks, the cruel treatment of trans, the fake lies of school choice, and no taxes even want to come to Florida.
The rub is DeSantis has done a great job, and he now is running for president. Odds are he will be a considerable challenge to Trump and Democrats. Really? Biden beats DeSantis, not likely.
So as national organizations like the NAACP, ACLU, and other left-wing organizations place travel advisories, post negative comments, and frame racism as reasons not to come to Florida, well, you won’t be missed. You see, most of us love our country, many down here have served and paid a high price for our freedom, and most of us wish no undue harm or bad will against any human being. Hatred in SWFL is one of the least things we think about because we believe in all people being equal under the law and the rights and freedoms as outlined in the Constitution mean something to us.
Come if you want, you will only be allowed to have a good time and a safe vacation so mind your p’s & q’s, be polite and respect will be returned. If you believe all the bad rumors about Florida, I suggest California, things are going just swell there.
Jack Holt, Cape Coral
Now that Gov. DeSantis has entered the race and the latest polls are in on President Biden, the electorate appears to be wrestling with a complicated conundrum. Democrats and Republicans alike do not want another four years of Joe Biden. The only person in the country who does not comprehend this clear message is the president. And while Trump remains the clear Republican Party frontrunner, many Democrats may hold their nose and reluctantly vote for Biden simply because of the recent baggage Mr. Trump has accumulated.
There is a solution that may appease all. If elected, Trump could only serve for four years (having already served as president for one term). For the good of the country, Trump and DeSantis should run together. With Governor DeSantis as vice president, this may remove some of the fear on the part of voters regarding Trump’s behavior. Moreover, with DeSantis as a key advisor, voters fearful of Trump would feel more at ease. After four years, DeSantis would hopefully run and, unless the DNC pulls a Bill Clinton out of its hat, would win.
Notwithstanding the history of most polls predicting a Hillary Clinton win in 2016, let’s look at today’s data.
In the election pitting Trump against Biden, Trump 45% – Biden 39%. American voters who believe that re-election of Biden would be a disaster – 66%. Among Republican voters, 56% support a Trump candidacy.
In my opinion, Biden will run. And to prevent another four years of Biden, Trump and DeSantis need to team up. If for some reason the Republican tide should change and DeSantis is the candidate, then Trump may run as an Independent thereby assuring a Biden victory ( the Perot syndrome ). Trump and DeSantis.
Read McCaffrey, Naples
Lobbying should be illegal
If draining the so-called Washington D.C. swamp were a primary objective, what could one do? An obvious consideration might be the elimination of lobbying. Lobbying should be illegal. A number of civilized countries view lobbying as nothing but bribery; and lobbying is a deeply entrenched, poorly regulated industry and a major corruptive influence in our Capitol.Have you ever wondered why elected representatives and officials don’t vote and behave as you would expect, or asked yourself why in the world they would go against common sense and the common good? Could it be that they have been paid to do otherwise?
Clearly, there are many individuals and officers of large corporations who are not Americans first, and they pay handsomely to preserve or advance their own good. In the process they may be financing the destruction of America, and that should be stopped.Until then, perhaps members of Congress and government officials should be required to wear a uniform with patches sewn on from each lobbyist from whom they have accepted favors and funding, similar to race car driver uniforms, which would help voters understand the reasons for their legislative behavior and perhaps the betrayals of their sworn duty to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”Robert A. Strohaver, Naples
Trap of its own making
The Republican leadership is in a trap of its own making. For eight years, Republican leaders have defended Trump at every turn — from the ”Access Hollywood” tape to “very fine people on both sides.” From the first impeachment to January 6 to the second impeachment.They thought that by siding with Trump they were tapping into his power, but they were actually giving away their own power. By defending him, they have made it impossible for them to credibly accuse Trump of anything. This problem is compounded by the deep relationship that Trump has cultivated with many Republican voters. He has been a constant presence in their lives for eight years.
The Republican establishment seems to have resigned itself to another Trump presidency. DeSantis, once their hope, may still be in their plan. However, if Trump is prosecuted for all of his illegal actions, then DeSantis will percolate up with Disney all over his face.
It’s time for the GOP to return to principled politics by nominating someone like Liz Cheney.
Sally Lam, Naples
Relying on Fox Noise
Millions of Americans (unbelievably) rely on Fox Noise for their sole source of information. They recently ran a ridiculous story purportedly that veterans were being evicted from their temporary hotel homes so they could be used by illegal immigrants who were being bused in from multiple locations. Fox swore they vetted this sham in great detail with supposed proof. After airing this “earth shattering” expose for the entire day, they waited till the Laura Ingraham show late at night to say this information was a lie blaming it on an unreliable source who was extensively checked by Fox. Of course no apology was forthcoming for contaminating the already limited minds of it’s viewers subsequent to the false claims. Did you expect anything different?
Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral
How to improve their image
Our esteemed Governor DeSantis has been taking a lot of heat lately and I’d like to give him something to consider to improve his image. Consistent with the spirit and intent of Donald Trump’s photo op holding a Bible at St. John’s Episcopal Church in June, 2021, I’d like to suggest to the governor and the Florida GOP that DeSantis make his announcement to run for president of the USA at the Statute of Liberty. Wouldn’t it touch the heart of most Americans who are familiar with the poem inscribed on the statue:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door”
Written in 1883, the message was to welcome those in search of freedom, giving them the gift of hope. Is this not what Governor Ronald DeSantis is about?
Since Florida will have a second candidate vying for the presidency, we can encourage Donald Trump to make nice with Disney and seek approval to hold a mini-rally there near the same day as the DeSantis announcement. This would enable Trump to show DeSantis how to befriend business in Florida, plus it would enable his key supporters like Taylor-Greene, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, McCarthy, and Stefanik to frolic with Mickey, Goofy and the other Disney characters.
Wouldn’t this be a momentous campaign start for our two Florida contenders and the Florida GOP?
Anthony Penge, North Fort Myers
Money for guns
If you keep repeating the same behavior but expect a different result perhaps you are crazy. Could this apply to assault weapons controversy?
Why not apply our love of capitalism and the free market to the situation.
So let’s apply these principles to the assault weapon marketplace. Have the federal government establish and promote a buyback program that is controlled by an independent agency that does not rely on Congress to implement its authority. Offer participants 2 or 3 times the purchase price. Kids have to eat!
“Good guy with a gun” is a great marketing strategy. However, it proved to be a total failure in Texas and a huge blow to those who are hired to serve and protect.
National standards need to be established and enforced on a countrywide scale.
Our children go to school with the expectation of being safe.
They have no money, political power or self defense.
In short, they are easy targets.
While we mourn and pray for the dead the manufacturers and their families live their lives in the warm caress of “success.”
The truth can be a formidable adversary!
Ronald Soulard, Naples
Hit and run sentences
Following a few local hit and run cases, in the past couple of years I find the sentences vary in length of incarceration. A few case examples. Older teen runs over and kills a school girl waiting with her brother at a bus stop and leaves her to die. His parents try to hide the crime. He serves two years. Young woman runs over a girl and leaves her to die alongside the road. She gets 30 years. A few weeks ago a man crashes into a car kills two girls and gets life in prison. Woman crashes into school yard and runs over and kills a child. Ten years in prison. The recent case that involves a local female attorney looks like an open and shut case with a witness observing the whole tragic hit and run accident. She runs over a bicyclist and kills him. It will be very interesting to follow this case and see how the wheels of justice prevail and how many long years she will serve. Any one want to venture a guess?
Fritz Mett, Naples