Our readers share their opinions on a variety of topics
Day for remembrance, gratitude
Memorial Day is observed every year. It was traditionally observed on May 30 but now observed on the last Monday in May. This is the day when the entire nation pays tribute to its active military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the people of our now troubled and divided nation. It originally began as a day to recognize fallen Union soldiers and it was expanded following World War I and became an official federal holiday in 1971. It’s not about patriotism, it’s not about fireworks and celebrations; it’s a time of remembrance. It’s a time to pay tribute, pause and reflect upon the reason behind our country’s greatness. As you spend this three-day weekend – by the pool or the barbecue, at your place of worship or the cemetery, remember Memorial Day should not only be the day to start the summer season, but a day to count our blessings and remember those who served and died to protect our country and gave us the freedom to express our beliefs and feelings and made you safe even for the entitled self-centered and ungrateful people of this nation.
Lou Walker, Cape Coral
School superintendent search
Collier County recently concluded a search for a new school superintendent and hired the internal candidate, As a philosophical matter, if you had a satisfactory internal candidate (assistant superintendent plus 23 years in the system) why would you entertain 45 applications and pay a search firm $52,770 (confirmed by Collier County) plus unknown reimbursements to candidates and School Board hours in discussion and interviews?
Seems simple enough if you take the politics out of it. Which, apparently, Collier County cannot do. And the beat goes on. Two opposition board members (Moshier and Rutherford) are impeding the discussion of salary and contract length, opting for a one-year deal. Dr. Patten, who was essentially fired after the longest tenure in Collier Schools, was initially hired from out of town on a three year contract. Why can Ricciardelli not be given the same deal? Count on two school board members to nip at her heels all year and then re-institute their opposition when renewal time comes. Will we then need to engage another search firm at over $50,000 to repeat this silly process, bring in multiple candidates and then make no change?
This really becomes a financially burdensome financial situation. And the reimbursed expenses for interviews have not yet been tallied. How many meals would $52,770 buy for Collier County homeless children? (210 at last count). We are used to public debate when it comes to public figures, but why does a school superintendent change require all this noise when you have a perfectly suited and qualified internal candidate?
Charlie Berry, Naples
Unwelcome on Marco
Marco Island was our home away from home, since our first visit more than 20 years ago. Before buying our dream property more than 12 years ago, we always rented homes. Since we live thousands of miles away, we had a fabulous rental agency, that felt like family, rent our house, so that other people could enjoy Marco Island just like we did all those years. The rental income was all put back into the house to keep it in the best possible shape. Upgrades, furniture, appliances, improvements inside and out, new roof, dock, insurances, taxes, lawn, pest and pool services. Everything we earned was put back in the house and the local economy. During those 12 years we had a problem with a renter once. Our lovely neighbors called us, and it was handled by our rental agency immediately.
The political PACS rallying against short-term rentals spoiled it for us. The signs and the divisive rhetoric. It made us feel unwelcome. After an incident at a local restaurant where somebody at the bar asked us what brought us to Marco and we told him about us visiting our dream home, rude comments were made about us being out-of-town investors destroying the peace on Marco. We had enough. We talked to the Realtor who sold us the house in the first place. She sold it within a day. We will invest our love, time and money where it is appreciated. Sadly Marco Island isn’t that place anymore.
Max Apotowski, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alfie Oakes and school search
I read in today’s paper that Mr. Oakes had an issue with the process in selecting the new Collier County school superintendent. I read the entire article and neither you nor I could find any fault with his argument. So the natural thing do was to label him as “Polarizing” for reasons that only the liberal mind can understand. I guess if you belittle him in some manner that it in some way weakens his position? This is a topic that you, rather than Mr. Oakes, should have been all over.
You folks were very pleased to report that Disney put the hurt on Governor DeSantis by pulling the plug on a project that would have produced 2,000 new jobs. How did Florida lose if they are not going to build the project somewhere else? Disney is in the midst of what is referred to as downsizing. So if they are laying people off and closing venues it appears that Disney is in fact the loser. I know the objective is to belittle the governor at every turn, but you greatly missed the mark in the Disney fight.
Don Rader, Naples
Math, science teacher shortage
Not long ago, The News-Press had an article in which it was mentioned that it is difficult to find qualified teachers in specialty areas such as science and math. Why are these teachers harder to recruit than in other areas? One major stumbling block is teachers’ unions. Unions are often necessary for worker protection and fair treatment, but they also foster and reward mediocrity and insist that everyone be treated the same, regardless of merit, and teachers’ unions are no exception. In the private sector, and even in universities, scientists are paid more than psychology, English, and education majors, because their degrees are harder to earn, and hence there are fewer of them. But in the field of teaching, a difficult-to-find qualified high school physics teacher will be paid no more than an English teacher. English is a very important subject, but if you shake a tree, English teachers fall out of it. There is not a lot of demand for them in the private sector. It’s a market economy, supply and demand, and all that, and teachers’ unions choose to ignore such realities. Until you have differential pay for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers, they will remain in short supply and often be of dubious quality. I taught thousands of biology majors over 33 years, and only a handful of them expressed any desire to go into teaching, and poor pay was a major reason.
Gordon R. Ultsch, Ph.D., Cape Coral
Durham, Mueller reports
Now that the Durham report is out, we are, of course, getting conflicting views of the significance of his findings. Some suggest that because only one of three persons charged was found guilty that the report failed. They compare that to the Mueller investigation that received several convictions. However, the fact is that Mueller was charged with investigating potential criminal acts of Donald Trump and his campaign and administration regarding collusion with Russia to interfere in our election and obstruction of justice. He found neither.
Durham, on the other hand was charged with investigating misconduct, not necessarily criminal activity, in the Trump Russia collusion investigation (Operation Crossfire). He found that the FBI had no basis for beginning the investigation and the FBI has really admitted this because they have said that the changes they made after an earlier inspector general report would not allow that to happen again. How can that be interpreted other than an admission that they were wrong? I’d also point out that the Mueller investigation, which found neither collusion nor obstruction, cost around $45 million and the Durham investigation cost around $6 million. No matter how you try to turn and twist, the fact remains that the some four years of constant Trump/Russia collusion was a hoax. The Durham report lays that at the feet of Hillary and the DNC for starting the whole hoax. The damage done is impossible to determine. The focus on the hoax during the Trump presidency by the whole country and especially Congress and the press did tremendous damage.
Ron Wobbeking, Naples
Miramar Street construction
What with all the rituals of construction, the digging and dragging and conveyance of dirt on Miramar Street this past year, I believe the City of Cape Coral owes me free car washes for the foreseeable future.
Chris Edward, Cape Coral
A deserving role model
Being an athlete isn’t just about earning that top score. Being an athlete is all about being a good human and a role model for our younger generations. The world should not be impressed by who can run the fastest or who can score more points. The world should be impressed by kind humans, and those who make a difference in the lives of others. Where am I going with this? Let me tell you.
I work in Lee County as a mental health nurse, out in our community daily, seeing the profound effects of lack of compassion on our society. Even with my professional expertise, I still found my own daughter suffering from anxiety and depression due to bullying. My daughter is just 7 years old, and even being raised surrounded by nothing but love and support, she was still lacking confidence in herself as a result of the school bullying.
One day, I spoke to a woman who told me all about a youth bowling league. She shared her daughter’s experience in the league. I had tried other sports, but my daughter had too much anxiety being around the other children in such a competitive environment. We decided to give the bowling league a try. My daughter settled in and blossomed. She has found her niche and tremendous support in the youth league. She has been with the league since late September, and her confidence has just skyrocketed. I cried this morning when I dropped her off at school and watched her walk in with her gold medal around her neck – a gold medal she earned in her youth league! Let me now get to the real point of why I am writing to you.
Samantha Gardenhouse is not only a talented bowler, she is an amazing young lady. She has taken my daughter under her wing in the league. My daughter wears one of Sam’s old bowling jerseys with pride every Saturday. Sam is like a celebrity to her – my daughter idolizes Sam and wants to be just like Sam. Sam is not only great at bowling, she is an amazing scholar, a hard worker at her job and all around an amazing human. Her mom should be proud.Sam has changed my daughter’s life. My daughter sees Sam and lights up. She is so proud that she wears Sam’s old jersey and that Sam has taken her under wing. Sam didn’t have to do this. Sam is so busy between school, work and bowling, plus her friends. None of that stopped Sam from being a kind human. This is why Samantha should win BOWLER OF THE YEAR! My Gracie asked me to type this and said “Mommy, you have to make sure she wins.”
I hope this moves you to award Sam the honor after all she has done to change a young life! There is no greater champion than the one who showers another with kindness out of the genuine goodness of their heart.
Jennifer Gitlin, Cape Coral
Unlimited culture wars
What’s presidential wannabe loser DeSantis going to do if NASA sends a transgender astronaut into space? Classify it as “adult science,” prohibit it from being broadcast on network TV in Florida, make it illegal for minors to watch it, fire teachers and professors who mention the space program in science class, or all of the above?
And of course the number one question for DeSantis and his presidential wannabe loser advisors is, “are you kidding me, you start a war with Disney and you want to be president?”
David Liebenguth, Fort Myers
Greatest liar, worst court
Trump’s TV town hall gathering on CNN proves once again he is still the world’s greatest liar. The Republican fools in the audience laughed and cheered his lies and the belittling of at least three women, all while knowing he was just convicted of being a sexual predator. Who are these people?
I once wrote that the Chief Justice John Roberts’ conservative court would go down in history as the very worst; now there is little doubt that I was right.
They passed “Citizens United,” that allowed “dark money” to buy our politicians and government. Then they gutted the “Voter Rights Act,” allowing Republicans to cheat by gerrymandering. Next they overturned “Roe v Wade,” which voided a woman’s right to control her own body.
Now we have learned that Chief Justice Roberts’ wife made millions of dollars from law firms that argued many cases before the Supreme Court, which is obviously a conflict of interest. Worst of all, Justice Clarence Thomas and wife Ginni received millions in vacations and gifts from Texas billionaire Harlan Crow. Mrs. Thomas even received $600 thousand from the billionaire, and also received $80 thousand from Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, passed through Kellyanne Conway. Chicago billionaire “Barre Seid” donated 1.6 billion to the Federalist Society, the largest donation ever given.
My conclusion is that Justice Thomas is a traitor to our Constitution, and his wife Ginni is a traitor to our country, as she was part of the insurrection to overthrow our democracy.
E.L. “Bud” Ruff, Naples
Biden destroying country
Our president has a credibility problem that ranges from plagiarizing to outright lying. He keeps telling us he is a regular guy from Scranton, moderate, smart and a unifier. However, former Defense Secretary Gates said that Biden has been wrong on every major foreign policy and national security issue. Now he continues to be wrong on every fiscal policy and social issue facing his administration.
Biden’s agenda is destroying this country. This failure is perpetuated by the invasion of 6 million illegal immigrants crossing our open borders and the Mexican cartels’ drug trafficking that causes 100,000 American fentanyl deaths a year. He’s spending 50 percent more than Trump creating massive deficits/inflation. Biden is dumbing down education standards with diversity, inclusion and equity policies leading to a dependency and expansion of government. These are only some actions that are averse to the Democrat policies Presidents Carter and Clinton promoted a few years ago.
Many say President Biden is infirm and does not understand how devastating his actions hurt Americans. If it’s not him then it’s his “handlers” who have worsened our division, attacked our culture making America poorer, less safe and respected since assuming office. Are there any moderate Democrat leaders who understand his failures and are willing to join Republicans and fix them?
Frank Mazur, Fort Myers
As a country we are now well over 30 trillion dollars in debt. China has become a huge adversary to the United States yet we now find ourselves owing China well over one trillion dollars. That’s Trillion with a capital T. To most Americans this is a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” This complacency is normal when citizens think it’s not their problem.
But the reality is a huge problem as we continue to kick the can down the road. Of course the elected officials are the problem as they vote for any and all reckless spending as long as it appeals to their constituents. This allows them to stay in power ignoring the debt increases. Here are the solutions. The easiest is print more money, continue egregious spending, and pass the debt on to the children and grandchildren. This of course is the definition of insanity. Another choice is to raise taxes. In this case the middle class takes the hit. Affluent households can absorb more taxes. The poor, middle class, and retires on fixed incomes are struggling enough. The harsh reality is that no business or household in America could function ignoring dangerous debt levels like our government. In fact, 100 percent would be bankrupt. Solution should be to vote these power hungry politicians out of office.John McWilliams, Fort Myers
DeSantis emulates Trump
Who does Ron DeSantis remind you of? With his latest debacle against Disney, he single-handedly cost Florida thousands of new jobs with Disney’s cancellation of the one billion dollar office complex all because they had the audacity to oppose the “don’t say gay” bill championed by none other than our temperamental governor. Like someone else you might know, he refuses to admit a mistake and doubles down on his stance while also signing a bill to ban abortion after six weeks. With these two missteps, he may not even win his home state in the 2024 primaries.
Independent women are ticked off by the abortion ban and the electorate in general can’t back someone who cost Florida jobs and tax revenues thereby triggering more taxes for state residents.
Who else do you know who childishly sees apologies as signs of weakness? Correct, it’s the twice impeached and indicted loser.
Nice going Ronnie.
Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral
Flooded with guns
More guns, yes sir. Well the NRA and gun manufacturers are probably reaching new heights in sales, they have successfully flooded the country, our America, with millions of guns, all shapes and sizes, while hiding behind the Second Amendment.What are these guns for? Handguns in case the neighbor’s Pekingese comes in their yard, AR-15 in case kids break a window, a riot shotgun for when a neighborhood basketball gets loud.So with this success of sales, do the rest of the citizens now need guns to protect against these new gun owners (what a mess)?By the way I own guns, always have, shot a few deer, some grouse, handy tools.I’m not a liberal, almost not a conservative. I’m an atheist, but God please help us all.Andy Rooney was right , common sense died in 1992.Heaven forbid anyone with mental stability issues gets a hold of these super guns, oh, oh wait a minute they already have, what do we do about that?Oh by the way when we grew up, truth, you remember, honesty etc. were taught in thehome and in school.I would like to know how parents explain Donald Trump.
Len Wassmer, Naples
Socialist Democrats and inflation
Don’t’ be too excited when you see the CPI numbers showing a lower level of inflation.
We were at a rate of about 9% and now we’re at about 5%.
So, if that pound of bacon after the 9% increase was $6 per pound the reduction in the CPI only means that the new cost is $6.30 per pound. The price didn’t go down. Only the rate of increase in the price abated slightly. This is why we still see polls saying that inflation concerns are going up, not down.
When you received your Social Security increase, it did not pay you back for the previous year of increased prices. It only provided some additional money for the next year. You will never get that money back unless we have a recession. During a recession, prices decline and your goods and services that you purchase will cost you less, not more. Of course, there are other downsides to consumers in a recession, fewer jobs, lower pay, lower stock prices, lower home prices and a general feeling of depression.
This administration totally lost control of all aspects of our economy in addition to many other things. The Fed was more than a year behind the curve on addressing inflation and even when they figured out that it was not “transitory” they were too slow to raise rates high enough and fast enough to correct the problems the Biden Administration had already inflicted on our economy.
Inflation, like the type we have now, will not be driven away anytime soon. It is an insidious and devastating event, particularly for those on fixed incomes. They have no way to combat it unless they can go out and get a job and start earning extra money to pay for goods that now cost far more than they can afford.
If you are a socialist Democrat, you are happy about the declines of our standard of living that may ultimately be the downfall of our country, our Constitution and finally bring an end to the land that provided the freedoms that all people should have, but few do. For the rest of us, we will never understand why you hate this country that has given you so much with so little sacrifice on your part.
Max Christian, Saint James City