Letters to the editor for Sunday, February 5, 2023

Gun Rights


Our readers share their opinions on a variety of topics

Funding critical for charitable clinic

As the director of a charitable clinic, serving the uninsured and underinsured in Southwest Florida, the funding allocated by the state and dispersed through the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (FAFCC) is imperative to the sustenance and growth of our sector of health care. We are so thankful to receive these funds each year. 

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Samaritan Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) is an integrated primary care behavioral health clinic which provides an array of medical and mental health care to men, women and children who cannot access this care because of financial constraints and lack of insurance. The funding, which has been part of our budget for the past seven years, enables us to provide high level primary care to keep people out of emergency rooms and walk-in clinics that are expensive and should not be used for primary care needs. 

Along with the primary health care provided at SHWC, mental health counseling and addiction services are also available. Without the funding from the FAFCC, it would be difficult to maintain the salaries of our mental health counselors and nurse practitioners. 

As our legislators meet to determine the ongoing allocation of funds for free and charitable clinics, it is important that they understand the nature of the work being done to care for thousands of underserved Floridians. These funds must continue to be available for our clinics because the needs increase, and the work never ends. We thank Representative Mike Giallombardo and Senator Jonathan Martin who have supported this effort.

Dr. Susan K. Hook, DNP, APRN, BC, founder and executive director, Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, Inc., Cape Coral

Subsidizing filmmakers not role of government

The State of Florida does NOT subsidize filmmakers. We used to, but that program expired in 2016. More specifically, we do not bribe filmmakers anymore to actually make their films here in the Sunshine State. Other states continue to do so, so many films that are “set” in Florida are actually filmed in the sunshine somewhere else.

The News-Press recently had an article about an effort to reinstate this taxpayer-funded “financial incentives” program. (“Set in Florida, but …”, Jan. 29, page A-13). Some Florida lawmakers (and, of course, the “true-parties-in-interest”) are once again braying about all the money that will supposedly come to Florida, including all those beautiful jobs that will supposedly be created. Horse feathers.

Doing so is wrong, for a variety of excellent reasons. Why should our government get into a taxpayer-funded bidding war with other states to settle questions that can be settled for free in the free market? Just because taxpayers in other states are dumb enough to let their government get away with this doesn’t mean we have to, also.

The 2022 Platform of the Libertarian Party of Florida is quite explicit about taxpayer money being used for anything except utterly essential governmental services:

“ … VI. Paying for Government … 3. Tax Favoritism. … There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race or location. Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional. … “

Please let your state representative and your state senator know that you object to paying for something the government has no business being involved in, spending taxpayer money on matters that are none of its business.Also, vote Libertarian.

Larry Gillis, Cape Coral

Florida environmental scandal

Florida residents need to add an amendment to the Florida Constitution for a Right to Clean and Healthy Water (RTCW). This will be voted on in the 2024 primary.

Prior to 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) standard for healthy oxygen in Florida waterways was a minimum of 5 mg/L as measured by Dissolved Oxygen (DO). FDEP changed the standard from Dissolved Oxygen (DO) of 5 mg/L to Dissolved Oxygen Saturation (DOSAT) of 42%. A correlation between DO and DOSAT on Marco Island over a five-year period shows that a DOSAT of 42% is roughly equivalent to DO of 2.5 mg/L.

The FDEP lowered the oxygen health standard for all of Florida waters by 50%! FDEP is allowing massive destruction of the Florida environment to continue unchecked and demonstrating a terrible and callous disregard for marine life.

The “Hypoxic Spectrum” begins at 4 mg/L of oxygen. Aquatic life begins to die. Hypoxia (depleted oxygen) is fully established at 3 mg/L of oxygen. In October of 2022, six of 14 sampling locations on Marco Island were below this hypoxic criterion. Collier Bridge, Healthcare Center, Hollyhock, Kendall, McIlvaine, and Swallow are all becoming “hypoxic dead zones.”

By 2013 standards, Marco Island would now be declared impaired for depleted oxygen and remediation would be initiated. Instead, nothing will be done. This is happening across Florida. This is a Florida environmental scandal.

We need the new amendment. Sign the petition: floridarighttocleanwater.org

Eugene Wordehoff, Marco Island

Jesus embraced marginalized people

Hats off to Nancy Armour commenting on Tony Dungy’s repeating a phony story about litter boxes being provided for students who identify as cats. (Even if one couldn’t prove this was false it would be ridiculous on its face.) I’m with Nancy when she states that Jesus never said a word about LGBTQ people. What he did do was embrace marginalized people and sinners. These folks are our brothers and sisters, many of them suffering greatly.

John Speredelozzi, Naples

Lighting still inadequate after Ian

We are going on five months after the hurricane here in Fort Myers, keep that in mind. I believe this would be plenty of time for the city to work on the overhead lights on the major roads. Still, many roads have inadequate lighting. As a driver that is on the road at 6 a.m. and after 7 p.m., I have experienced drivers driving with their bright lights on. As a result, you are literally blinded by the light. I would think lighting the city back as it once was would be a priority.

Jim Damanti, Fort Myers

Wokeness promotes mediocrity in schools

A recent headline in Epoch Times states public schools lost 1.4 million students since 2020 lockdowns. If you look at all the school age students, 15 percent are either home schooled or attend charter or private schools. This trend for school choice is growing.Many states are looking at school choice to promote more competition with public schools. Iowa just passed a school choice bill where money follows the student. Governor DeSantis in Florida has proposed the same to his Legislature. However, many blue states, controlled by Democrats, either oppose school choice, try to eliminate it if it exists or prevent its expansion.Teachers’ unions play a significant role opposing school choice. They always advocate increasing funding exclusively for public schools knowing most will go to teachers/administrators for wages and benefits. Despite billions spent on public education today, outcomes haven’t improved for decades. The teachers’ unions in blue states are now advocating diversity, inclusion and equity to displace and/or supplement the basic education curriculum of reading, writing, science and arithmetic.During the pandemic parents witnessed what schools are teaching and they’re not pleased. Pushing a political agenda and teaching to the lowest level have motivated many to either flee blue states or use private/home schooling options. Parents who made these choices are highly satisfied with their decision.Public education is a failed monopoly. With the growing public school enrollment exodus parents are seeing education quality improve. Education is critical for our nation to succeed. Wokeness promotes mediocrity. Competition promotes excellence. We get what we accept.

Frank Mazur, Fort Myers

A solution for bathrooms

On a trip to Europe recently, public bathrooms were individual completely closed stalls for use by either (any) gender. Sinks were not enclosed nor private and open to all. This approach, for some or all bathrooms, might solve the issue of gender identity for students in the school setting. 

Ronald S. Bogdasarian, Naples

Why Republicans hate ‘woke’ people

“Woke” people opposed slavery, fought for workers’ rights, gave us Social Security.,Medicare, women’s rights and gay rights. “Woke” people know that teaching  slavery and racism is the best way to prevent history from repeating itself. 

No wonder Republicans hate “woke” people.

Bill Linehan, Naples

Undocumented gopher tortoises

Your recent article on gopher tortoises in Marco Island indicated that there were 1,308 gopher tortoises on the island and “many more undocumented.” I think this is a travesty. We should immediately work towards a pathway to citizenship for these undocumented tortoises or at the very least have a guest tortoise program.

Kene Wetcher, Naples

Truth about Biden, Burisma

A recent letter writer mentioned this: “Biden on live tape telling the Ukraine leader that he either fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma, where Hunter was on the board, or he would not give them billions of dollars of aid.” A simple search will show that Biden and our administration pressured to get rid of this prosecutor because he was not doing anything about the rampant corruption in the country. The U.S. was tired of aid disappearing corruptly. When pressed the prosecutor said he did investigate Burisma, during a period when Hunter Biden was not even at Burisma. Even a Republican Senate report found nothing to indicate Biden had done anything wrong. These days it is safer to assume anything a MAGA person says is a lie rather than take it at face value.

Paul Fowler, Bonita Springs

Public benefit applications

In the article entitled “Many struggle to access safety net,” the author implies that the government should approve benefits more quickly for those in need. I built computer systems to analyze and approve public benefit applications for almost 40 years. These systems are built to assure that the applicants are truly eligible and do not have undisclosed assets. This same author, in my opinion, would write an article faulting the government when it was revealed that benefits were granted to someone with a large hidden bank account.

Dennis Fecci, Naples

What do straight students think?

After reading about LGBTQ families being upset that their children must use the bathrooms of the sex they were assigned at birth, I realized there’s an important piece missing from this story. Nowhere in this story is an interview from the appropriately 99% of the straight student body that would be sharing the  bathrooms with the transgender kids. Other than the teacher who runs the Gay Straight alliance club who states, “ for the most part, kids really don’t have a problem with this.” For the most part? Really? If that’s the case, let’s hear from the 15-year-old girl who has to be alone in the bathroom with a 15-year-old boy who identifies as a girl. Let’s here from the painfully shy young man who has to be in the bathroom with a young woman who identifies as a man but still menstruates. Just for the fact he says “for the most part” means there are kids that have a problem with it. Why weren’t any of them interviewed for this story?

This is just another case of the few expecting the majority to turn their lives upside down for them and the Pied Piper press leading the way.

Michael Graback, Bonita Springs

Keeping guns away from children

For once I agree with the NRA (National Rifle Association).  A state legislature (Virginia) is considering a bill that would require parents of young children to keep their guns in a locked container. In opposing the bill, a lobbyist for the NRA noted that children can use YouTube to figure out how to access “secured” firearms.  D.J. Spiker stated: “There is no such thing as ‘inaccessible’ to a minor.”  I agree completely!  I guess the only way to keep guns away from children is to keep guns out of the home in the first place. 

Gail Hermosilla, Estero

Russian invasion of Ukraine

I think it’s high time we recognize a few fundamental facts relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. First and foremost is the undeniable fact that Ukraine, even with it’s NATO proxy sponsors, cannot win a war of attrition against Russia. Secondly, Vladimir Putin has stated empirically that Russia will resort to using its vast nuclear arsenal if necessary to return Ukraine back into the Russian fold. Most Western analysts don’t doubt his word. I fully agree that the Ukrainian resistance has fought with great distinction and valor and have no doubt that it would continue to do so. However, the futility of their persistence has already left many Ukrainian cities in shambles, cost hundreds of thousands of lives and will continue to until there is no pole left in the Ukraine upon which to hoist their flag. Make no mistake, Russia has the capability to win that war with the push of a button.

In the meantime, with the introduction of its newest tanks, the U.S. and other NATO members are seriously crossing the line between operating a proxy war and directly squaring off with Russia and its nuclear arsenal. The West must not do that.

After the decade-long Vietnam debacle, Henry Kissinger wrote a book that was intended to enlighten our government (as well as others) as to both the mistakes made therein and more importantly, how to avoid doing so in the future. Our more recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan would reinforce those precepts. What a lot of it comes down to is to objectively and analytically define the “long game.” Should the West deliberately pursue a course in the Ukraine that would force a nuclear confrontation with a deranged leader such as Putin? History and common sense say no.

Ukraine certainly has the right to defend its borders, but at the expense of all its cities, culture, infrastructure and most of its citizenry? Why defend a country that has been totally and perhaps irrevocably annihilated? It’s time to seriously consider relaxing the force-field. That would surely be the only way to salvage what’s left of Ukraine and, perhaps, live to fight another day. Putin has learned a valuable lesson here and any future movements into eastern territories would be less likely in view of that. In either case, we cannot force Putin to resort to nuclear weapons. That’s the ultimate line in the sand that our uninformed leaders seem determine to cross.

John Richman, Fort Myers

Blunder in Afghanistan

Another article in the News Press about the disaster in Afghanistan since Joe Biden, Mark Milley and Lloyd Austin performed the worst military move in U.S. history. The Three Stooges, Joe, Mark and Lloyd effectively destroyed an entire country, handing it over to Taliban terrorists. In addition, they left billions of dollars worth of weapons to make sure the terrorists are well-armed. Remember, when Joe entered office, we had about 2500 “advisers“ in Afghanistan, and there had been no American deaths in 18 months under President Trump.

Then came the Three Stooges. Old Joe was asked about the potential of the Taliban taking over if we were to stop managing the Afghan army, he babbled something about how the Afghans would beat the Taliban down if they tried to take over. This is exactly the opposite of what happened, and this idiotic mistake plunged the country into terrorist rule, which will cause unbelievable hardship on the Afghan people, not to mention the hundreds of Afghan men and women who helped the U.S. and were left behind to face torture and death. The Three Stooges’ withdrawal from this country is the biggest military and humanitarian blunder of our lifetimes, and could costs millions of people their lives, not to mention their basic civil rights.

The U.S. press never mentions that it was the Three Stooges who did this, destroyed an entire country. Joe is above reproach and not responsible in the press’s liberal bubble. They would never say: “look what the three stooges did to Afghanistan!” Although that’s exactly what happened. Oh, and they bombed a bunch of innocent brown children on their way out, and the Pentagon determined no one did anything wrong killing those kids. Joe Biden did that.

Jeffrey Naslund, M. Ed., Fort Myers

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