Letters to the editor for Sunday, September 18, 2022 – Naples Daily News

There is a confusing item on the November ballot: a referendum for Lee County superintendent of schools. As with many such items, the language seems deliberately baffling. The choice is between an elected politician whose only requirement is to be an adult resident with no felony convictions. A low bar, indeed. 
On the other hand, the appointed superintendent must be experienced, with a high level of education (generally a PhD.) The appointed superintendent is evaluated by the nonpartisan School Board, and works full-time to improve student learning, recruit qualified teachers, and enhance the district. The elected person will hold the post for four years without evaluation. They will spend their term raising funds for the next election, and can solicit funds from any person, group or business. The appointed person has no need to raise funds because it’s not a political job. They will have been vetted and interviewed after an extensive, nationwide search by the School Board, parents and community leaders — not by politicians. 
A nonpartisan appointed school superintendent has worked well in the past, Lee County, why change it? The choice is clear: VOTE NO.
Sonya Lubner, Fort Myers
My Friends, Brothers, and Sisters, once again, I thank you for your great contributions to our campaign for Collier County School Board. We lost the election; however, we have over 6,000 reasons to not abandon our race for the best interests of our students and our teachers.
Before the election, Roy Terry and I agreed that we were going to work together and help one another regardless of the election’s results for the greater good of our students, our teachers, and our schools. So, the morning after the election, I contacted him to congratulate him. I also told him that I am ready to honor our agreement. Yes, he appreciated it. Apparently, he was not expecting that. Nonetheless, I love my words. I value my words.
My Friends, Brothers, and Sisters, after all considerations, I believe that Roy Terry’s knowledge, experience, and values reflect our platform and the greater good of our school system.
Thus, I am glad to tell you that I support Roy Terry for Collier County School Board, District 5. We join his campaign. He earns my vote. He is the choice. Let’s get to work to re-elect my friend, Roy Terry.
Dr. Arthur Boyer, EdD, Immokalee
Last Sunday’s News-Press ran a story about the Naples City Council reconsidering its special events approval process “following criticism of the number of events, concerns about the strain on city resources and residents’ complaints about LGBTQ+-related events.” Let’s be honest. The bulk of the fuss is really only about LGBTQ+ events and the drag show that was part of the Naples Pride Fest last July.
The story included the account of Naples resident Teddy Collins presenting videos to the Collier County Commission in July, saying, “Many of these male performers dressed in outfits where I felt (sic) were lewd and inappropriate for children to be attending. . . I would view this as a form of sexual abuse.” He was particularly offended by “children handing out money to the drag performers and one of the performers doing the splits.” (Ouch!)
Last time I checked, as long as no laws were being broken, (The Naples police were there and saw no reason to intervene.) the Pride group had the constitutional right of freedom of expression to put on their show in a public place. Clearly, Mr. Collins did not attend the event looking to be entertained. What he saw as “lewd” was probably seen by those who did attend strictly for the entertainment as a little “naughty” at worst. If children were giving the performers money, it must have come from their parents who brought them to the show. Some of them may well have been friends or families of the performers. I thought conservatives in Florida were big into letting parents decide what was best for their kids, unless, of course, it conflicted with their own views of how the world should be run.
Cross-dressing has been a significant part of theater/entertainment events since before the Ancient Greeks. It’s a good thing Mr. Collins didn’t live in Shakespeare’s time when all the female roles were performed my men in drag. He would really have been grossed out by the love scenes in “Romeo and Juliet.” I can think of several novels and operas, not to mention recent movies, whose plots revolved about cross-dressing.
There is a simple solution to Mr. Collins’ aversion to such events – don’t go. This whole saga evokes the famous quip attributed to H. L. Menken in the 1920s, “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy.” Democracy’s biggest problems appear when one group tries to impose its views and phobias on another group. I urge the Naples City Council not to let this happen.
Jay Light, Fort Myers Beach
Are you satisfied with the way our current Lee County commissioners have been running the county? You have a choice in the upcoming election.
Is it responsible to vote to increase residential density by 70 percent in the Coastal High Hazard Flood Zone? Is it responsible to approve a 96-slip marina (which requires dredging) where seagrasses are being restored (Owl Creek)? Do we want starving manatees as has occurred on the east coast?
Are you satisfied with the lack of funding for road improvements, resulting in increased traffic congestion? Are you happy with reduced impact fees resulting in the current residents subsidizing new infrastructure costs in order to increase developers’ profits? Other counties have maintained full impact fees and kept ample growth.
Is it responsible to approve a settlement agreement that will allow 10,000 homes on 6,676 acres in the DR/GR area (Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource), including 2,474 acres that were not involved in the original lawsuit? Is it responsible to continue to overdevelop rural areas, significantly reducing wildlife habitat, including habitat for panthers, gopher tortoises, and other threatened and endangered species?
Is it a conflict of interest when Commissioner Hamman serves both as a Lee County commissioner and head of the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce? When he votes on the commission, is he representing the citizens of Lee County or the interests of the Chamber’s members?
Is it in the public interest to prohibit communications with commissioners regarding zoning applications when other counties allow these communications? Under the current Lee County rules there is never an opportunity for a citizen to have a conversation with any commissioner or the hearing examiner when there is a rezoning application.
Do you want commissioners who get most of their campaign funds from developers, and then say it has no impact when they vote on development applications?
You have a choice. You can send a message to the commission that the county is headed in the wrong direction. If there is enough dissatisfaction demonstrated in November it will encourage candidates who are committed to the peoples’ interests to run in the future. If you want the commission to change direction, write in Karen Watson for commission District 2 and Jim Sheets for commission District 4.
Steve Brodkin, 47-year Lee County resident, former Local Planning Agency Member, North Fort Myers
I have been on blood pressure medicine for five years. Within the first year doctors were wanting to add multiple pills for blood pressure. The side effects were overwhelming. I decided to try medical cannabis for anxiety and self medicated by discontinuing the “multiple” blood pressure medicines. Every time I go to the doctor they raved about how my blood pressure was always within a perfect range.
I’m a firm believer that medical cannabis is necessary moving forward. I’ve worked with children and adults with special needs, dementia, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Many families have found relief for their loved ones with medical cannabis.
I’d rather support the dispensaries than the pharmaceuticals!
Vote YES to allow medical cannabis in Collier County.
Debora Dean, Naples
I am a member of the Bonita Springs Incorporation committee and chairman of the city charter subcommittee. The city charter of 1999 was approved by a vast majority of the voters of Bonita.
Section 15b of the Bonita Charter reads as follows: “No candidate for a council member seat may spend more than $2.[00] per registered voter in his or her district on an election.”
In 2021 the State Florida Statute 106.08(11)(a) passed as a stealth act and it was signed by Gov. DeSantis. This was passed without informing the Florida League of Cities per James Mullin, assistant to Rep. Adam Botana.
11)(a) A county, a municipality, or any other local governmental entity is expressly preempted from enacting or adopting:
3. Any limitation or restriction on expenditures for an electioneering communication or an independent expenditure.
(b) Any existing or future limitation or restriction enacted or adopted by a county, a municipality, or any other local governmental entity which is in conflict with this subsection is void.
In overriding our charter the state Legislature and governor clearly think they know better than Bonita voters. Nigel Fullick, one of the current council candidates, has already raised about $13,000 in District 5 with 4,500 voters, and seemingly intends to disregard the will of Bonita voters on campaign spending limits. If he does not, then he should return the excess he raised mostly from developers. Our election should be won by the candidate with the best ideas, not by the candidate backed by developers.
Alex Grantt, Bonita Springs
With less than two months before the midterm elections, Democrats are doing their best at distracting voters from the most important issues facing individuals and families today. Inflation and the impending recession are hurting the poor, the middle class and us retired seniors the worst. It has been caused by reckless spending by a Democrat controlled Congress and President Joe Biden yet Congress continues to spend. Using the same definition that was used during the Carter stagflation years, our current inflation would not be 8-9 percent but 15-18 percent. President Biden refuses to acknowledge that returning the U.S. to Energy independence is the way to reduce energy inflation as well as to help our allies in Europe. President Biden and the Democrat Congress refuse to accept the fact that we do not have either the electrical grid or electrical power capacity to handle the fast conversion to EVs. Democrats control the major cities where the crime rate is unacceptably high and where criminals are valued over the victims. Lastly, the open border policy of the Biden Administration is an unfunded mandate to border states that has unnecessarily increased the demand for housing, welfare, education and health care that already have insufficient funds and capacity to handle our own American citizens and legal immigrants.
This November is our opportunity to wholly reject the destructive Democrat policies listed above! I encourage all voters to reject these destructive Democrat policies and vote for Gov. DeSantis, Rep. Donalds, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott.
Mike Downing, St. James City
If you think big money doesn’t buy elections just look at Florida TV ads. The Rubio and DeSantis campaigns are blanketing the TV with attack ads containing many false or misleading claims. Telling lies is not illegal. Using right-wing police to tell lies is not illegal. Fight back by donating or by educating yourself to the facts. Let’s get rid of DeSantis and Rubio before they try to turn the USA to the extreme right.
Albert King, Naples
The arts are a vital part of any community. Painting, music, drama, dance, cross disciplinary art forms — they are ways to express, ground, and share knowledge. Patterns are a way that we learn about ourselves and the natural world. Think spirals, and the many ways they appear from the way a root grows into the ground to Archimedes screw to the movement of the galaxies, to the flow of blood through our bodies. We humans like patterns because we have an affinity for design over chaos. Indigenous cultures have elemental/ancestral beings who dance to educate tribal members about their cosmology, history, science and inter/intrapersonal interactions. By embodying story we internalize information in a profound way.
Bebe Kanter and her husband Craig understand this. They are arts supporters. They live within walking distance of Artis-Naples and the Baker Museum and attend the season. They subscribe to the Naples Players and attend concerts at area churches that present them. 
Bebe envisions local artists from all disciplines invited to display/perform their work in Collier County facilities and libraries, and will actively work to create those opportunities. She understands the importance of supporting upcoming young artists as well.  Bebe sees the possibilities of supporting arts education and arts integration as supplemental to learning by bringing teaching artists into the Collier public schools. Creating art is an act of power and expression of autonomy for children. Among the many other qualities of life issues she would like to see addressed in Collier County, this is one that she feels is often overlooked but also important. 
Appreciating the arts is shared magic. It unites people. In these times of chaos, a sense of calm unity and appreciation would be so welcome. The arts are one way to cultivate that sense. I urge you to please support Bebe Kanter for commissioner for Collier County District 2.
Kathleen Kingsley Báez, arts advisor to the Bebe for Commissioner campaign, executive artistic director, MoveWest Center for Movement Exploration, Santa Fe, NM
Why we do what we do is called motivation. We’re driven to please our loved ones and our friends. We want to get ahead, earn more. We’re motivated by ambition, fear, or any other emotion we want satisfied. We often have good instincts and are motivated to do what is right.
What prompts people to choose one political party over another, or one candidate over another? Hopefully, it is conviction based on facts. It would be nice if we could all be rational when deciding. Or, we could act based on predispositions, convenient alliances, age old biases, or even religious convictions. If we can only see what we want to see, the truth may be obscured.
Why do people support Donald Trump? He’s a success, a good businessman, a solid conservative Republican. He’s principled. He has religious convictions. He can be trusted to hold our interests above his own.
Of course, none of that it true. His inherited millions led to bankruptcies. He has conveniently flip flopped on issues all his life. He’s a serial groper, unfaithful to all three wives. He never met an altruistic cause he’d embrace. He doesn’t have a religious bone in his body. He lies for fun. He’s lied about verifiable election results which showed he lost. He conspired to undo the results of that election. He stole top secret and confidential documents which weren’t his to steal. He’s the carnival barker who just keeps barking. Why can’t he just go away?
The challenge is to find someone who’s not an unprincipled, narcissistic autocrat. Try someone who is smart, decent, honest and has our best interests at heart, someone a rational person would be motivated to support.
Kevin McNally, Bonita Springs
I wrote the original article and stand by my statement in which I outlined my goals for Making America Great Again. I want to thank those fellow Americans who shared their views. As expected, some agreed with me, and some didn’t. Unfortunately, those who disagreed with me chose to not focus on the goals that I outlined. Instead, I was lumped into a small group of people whose actions were not mine, nor supported by me. Further, some insinuated that I am fascist and a danger to America. For those who disagreed with me, I’d ask that you please put aside your ideological vitriol and take an objective look at my proposed goals. Which ones do you disagree with? What are your alternatives? The answer will not be found on Fox, MSNBC, or any other media outlet. You’ll need to do your own research and your own thinking. Isn’t it time for all Americans to focus on goals, policies, and results, not identity politics and name-calling?
Michael Mainelli, Estero
As a psychotherapist for over 40 years and the son of a Holocaust survivor, I have always been intrigued how a population of human beings can be psychologically manipulated into believing ideas contrary to the reality of their existence. In the history of civilization populations have been directed by leaders to engage in extraordinarily destructive behaviors toward their fellow human being for some cause that usually ends up in their own demise and inflicts great pain and suffering to others. My father described stories where his German neighbors and friends were “converted” to do harm to him and his family by the Nazi propaganda machine that would twist and turn reality into a web of lies and untruths to manipulate the population to participate in the destruction of humanity for the sole purpose of power and egomania. Putin, the leader of Russia, controls all media and messaging to the citizens of Russia. He uses this platform to manipulate Russians to believe only what he says to be the truth and not to question his words. Politicians in the United States use the same strategies to manipulate us by emotionalizing a topic so that we do NOT communicate in facts but in passions of the moment. We can hear someone repeat an idea over and over again and believe what is being said is true, without questioning. Dehumanization, or name-calling or bullying is a political tactic to reduce another human to being worthless, a person without value. Once a person is labeled a derogatory name, their voice is not to be respected. These concepts are the Achilles Heel of our society practiced by politicians and others. Let us be conscious of the psychology that is taking place with politicians in our environment so that we can ask the question, “Am I being manipulated and not know that I am?”
Frank Kohn, Fort Myers
“All politicians lie” is a common refrain heard mostly from Republicans when trying to defend Trump’s telling of thousands of verifiable lies before, during, and after his stint as president. My emphatic answer is no they do not.
To lie is to knowingly say something that is verifiably untrue. Examples: Trump won the 2020 presidential election; Trump built the greatest economy this nation has ever seen; the U.S. became energy independent during his term in office; Trump developed the corona vaccines. The News-Press may not have enough ink to print all of Trump’s verifiable lies. A politician’s promise, no matter how ridiculous or outlandish, does not become a lie if it is unfulfilled.
As a check, make a list of all of Joe Biden’s, Hillary Clinton’s, Nancy Pelosi’s, or Adam Schiff’s verifiable lies (not promises or stated intentions). I’ll be surprised if the total exceeds a quarter of a page if that much. Now watch a single Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, or Fox and Friends show. You will need extra paper.
Also frequently heard: all of this (the lawsuits, investigations, search warrants, potential indictments and trials) is being done to keep Trump from running in 2024. Categorically not true. Disregarding my opinion that Trump has no intention of running in 2024, that he has been a known criminal for nearly his entire adult life is admittedly and currently only partially true but stands a good chance of being verified when his story comes to its predictably sad conclusion.
While much of the damage Trump has done to this country is known and ongoing, and assuming we survive him, it will be up to the historians to give a full accounting of just how bad he really was. 
Wilburn P. Reed, Fort Myers


Leave a Comment