Letters to the editor: Feb. 12, 2010

Here are letters to the editor from Daily News editions of Feb. 12, 2010:

Letter of the Day: How valuable they are

Editor, Daily News:

I was shocked that Dean Oestreich, in his Feb. 4 letter to the editor, would suggest frittering away a valuable asset like the sticky ads that often grace the front page of the Daily News by sticking them to the checks sent to renew subscriptions.

I’m a scrap quilter and those sticky ads have become an essential item in my inventory. I often find myself cutting and sewing little intricate cloth pieces together, resulting in a workbench cluttered with little bits of discarded cloth and thread.

The cleanup used to be a pain until one day I discovered that rubbing a sticky ad over the bench would instantly clean away a majority of the clutter. My need to use my dust buster and vacuum for a major cleanup has been reduced and I’m most grateful.

Also, I’ve found a secondary use for these little ads, as they neatly remove hair from my bathroom basin.

My inventory is running a little low and I’m sure hoping to find a Bernie Madoff auction ad stuck to the front page of tomorrow’s Daily News!

— Sue Witham

Naples

Your bias adds up

Editor, Daily News:

While I have forgiven you for putting the biggest news of the new year, Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, on Page 18 on Jan. 20, I was irked at your equivalent coverage of Saturday’s U.S. 41 tea-party demonstration in Naples.

I drove by from the south at 12:30 p.m. and there were at least 1,000 supportive folks, while I counted 13 opponents — you reported 25. Maybe the number swelled to that later.

I understand you having opinions different from mine or the nation’s on the editorial page, but I am disappointed when I see the reporting to be one-sided as well.

I do thank you for the good photo coverage on the front page.

— Bob Naegele

Pelican Bay

It was huge

Editor, Daily News:

It’s the most significant, the best international-style auto show of contemporary sports/GT cars in Naples.

It only happens once a year.

This past Saturday there were more cars than ever.

The Ferrari Club-sponsored event had a huge turnout all up and down Fifth Avenue South.

The Naples Daily News totally ignored it. Why?

It was not in the “coming up” calendar.

It was not in the “also coming” calendar.

It was not covered after the fact.

How is this allowed to happen?!

— B.D. Douglas

Naples

Broken art-ed

Editor, Daily News:

Perhaps your readers can help me solve a mystery.

Even if they cannot, they can hear my incredible story.

On Feb. 3, during an evening reception at my gallery — Rosen Gallery & Studios on J&C Boulevard — a guest knocked an abstract wood sculpture from its pedestal on the second floor, sending it to ground level, damaging another sculpture and slightly injuring another guest.

Amid the commotion and while we tended to the hurt patron, the senior woman left with another woman, perhaps a daughter.

Perhaps the excitement was just too much for them.

We would very much like to speak with one or both of the women, or someone who knows them.

Can anyone help us?

Please call me at (239) 821-1061 or e-mail me at rictra@earthlink.net.

Strange yet true.

— Richard W. Rosen

Naples

Why the change?

Editor, Daily News:

What happened to “oppose the president, support the terrorists”?

All we heard was that anything said against our commander in chief was making al-Qaida stronger. Remember when it was forbidden to criticize the president in time of war and you were labeled as “un-American”?

Now, that we have a different person in the White House, all the rules have changed. (Thanks, Fox News.)

The terrorists are still listening and the “protesters” continuously attack our president.

What hypocrites.

— Emily Randolf

Naples

Big day

Editor, Daily News:

Two interesting things happened on Feb. 6:

The first was the tea party at U.S. 41 and Seagate Drive, where the traffic passed the crowd with honks, waves, cheers and thumbs up. Those who looked silently and stoically straight ahead were in the minority.

My favorite sign, among many, was “Where is John Galt?” referring to the novel, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

If you haven’t read it, you should.

The second was Sarah Palin’s TV speech at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. It was refreshing to watch the speaker look straight out, eye to eye at the audience, rather than from side to side at the teleprompter. When asked if the movement was for a third party, she answered, and I paraphrase:

“No, it is for a return to the conservative values that made our country great in the first place.”

— Marilyn Doherty

Naples and Chicago

Challenge

Editor, Daily News:

Donavin A. Baumgartner Jr. is at it again (Feb. 6 letter), calling “liberals” liars, their tactics “deceptive,” the health-care bill “monstrous,” comparing President Barack Obama to Hugo Chavez, and asking why he doesn’t treat professional athletes and late-night comedians the same way he treats banks.

Ignoring the invective, the answer to his question is simple: Banks are in the business of lending money. Big banks were “bailed out” first by the Bush administration and later by Obama, at least partly in the hope that, when they recovered, they would lend money to small businesses to help them survive, expand, retain their employees or hire more.

Banks haven’t done so.

The distinction between banks and late-night comedians is obvious.

But I have one request for Baumgartner in his next letter (I’m sure there will be another). Will he please identify just three of “the many significant amendments (to the monstrous health-care bill) offered by Republicans” which liberals “continue to ignore and vote down”?

His answer will enable me, and other independent voters, to determine which special interest, if any, would benefit from such amendments and were voted down for that reason.

There must be three of the “many significant amendments” which are not suspect on that ground.

— John F. Malley

Naples

Surely they jest

Editor, Daily News:

On Monday, on Page 1A of the Wall Street Journal, the following news item appeared:

“The Mortgage Bankers Association struck a deal to sell its headquarters for less than it owes its lenders.”

I believe this proves “The Jay Leno Show” must remain on the air.

— Stan Breen

Naples

Get own house in order first

Editor, Daily News:

If President Barack Obama is serious about cutting the deficit (and eventually the debt) to avoid discouraging foreign (China) treasury bond buyers and risking hyperinflation, here’s some suggestions he might consider.

Since the U.S. government is the biggest single employer in the country (either directly or indirectly), he could insist on an across-the-board government employee pay cut of 5 to 10 percent, effective immediately (rather than a “freeze to begin next year”).

It would be best if it were pro-rated, say, a minimum of 5 percent for the lowest salaries up to 30 percent for those making more than $200,000 per year (including the president). Better to put one’s own house in order rather than meddling with Wall Street and big bank CEO bonuses and salaries, which are none of his business.

Another thing that would help would be a mandatory cutback in government department budgets along the same line. It’s well known that department heads “pad” their estimates for the coming year to cover contingencies and to “grow” their departments. I suspect this is one of the core reasons for the increasing deficit and debt and would be simple to counteract, especially if done for several successive years, until government is “lean and mean” like it used to be.

Remember when we all got personal computers and were told how much we’d save on bookkeeping and correspondence?

The idea might even filter down to state and local governments, where I’m sure there is an equal amount of fat to be trimmed.

Think about it, President Obama. Do we really want to bankrupt our children and grandchildren?

— Lee Webb

Naples and Broomfield, Colo.

By ignorance or subterfuge

Editor, Daily News:

Once again, apparently left-leaning letter writers have buried their heads in the sand regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to sponsor campaign ads.

The court decided this issue on the basis of our First Amendment rights, and either through ignorance of the facts or subterfuge, none of the letters printed even alluded to the other part of that decision — to wit, labor unions and others have been granted the same rights.

The enormous difference among these entities is that union workers are generally compelled to pay dues, often merely to obtain or hold on to their means of livelihood. No such coercive power exists for corporations. The court’s “Beck” decision many years ago prohibits forcibly obtained union dues from being used for political purposes without the consent of the member.

Most often, if not exclusively, unions funnel their contributions to the Democratic Party and its candidates. A large percentage of union members do not agree with the policies of that party, but, through intimidation and threats, they essentially “must” contribute.

(If you do not believe this, watch film clips of Service Employees International Union’s boss, Andy Stern, about the matter.)

As Thomas Jefferson observed: “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” It is not only the corporations that might seek to influence American elections; indeed, they are arguably the lesser of two evils!

By way of reference, I was a union member for 33 years.

— David Capitanio

Bonita Springs

Civil, happy to report

Editor, Daily News:

I participated in the tea-party demonstration in Naples last Saturday, because I wanted to know the behavior and the kind of people who would be there.

What I found was a civil demonstration of like-minded Americans protesting the policies of their government. Nothing new about that, right?

I’m glad I did. I am now one of them. We are people who understand something wrong is going on in this country and we want to change it.

For years, I’ve been complaining to like-minded friends that it was time we stopped riling each other up and find a way to coalesce. I found it on Saturday.

This was not a “mob,” as described by the Associated Press article on Page 17A of Monday’s edition of the Daily News. It was anything but.

Liz Sidoti, the writer is wrong. She should see for herself.

God bless America!

— Bill Malich

Naples and Lake Bluff, Ill.

Where have they been?

Editor, Daily News:

Many Republican congressmen are publicly stating their outrage at the huge deficits in our federal budget.

Where have these people been for the last 30 years? Republican voodoo economics has been the rule for 30 years. Huge deficits have been run every year, mostly from big tax cuts for the richest Americans. After trillions of dollars in debt, they’re up in arms over fiscal irresponsibility.

So what’s the difference between the voodoo deficits and the current deficits? It’s pretty obvious. The Republican deficits were caused by big breaks for the top 10 percent of our taxpayers and the current deficits are primarily focused on helping the middle class.

The neo-cons, with their bad fiscal policies, have pushed our country to the brink of economic collapse. They had the White house, House and Senate for six years, and look what they left us.

Any deficit is bad. A balanced budget amendment is what we need, but it will never happen. It would kill all pork-barrel spending.

Where is a real fiscal conservative like Ike (former President Dwight Eisenhower) when we need him?

— William R. Foster

Naples

Bottom line, usually

Editor, Daily News:

Every day I read the letters to the editor, articles by your journalists, comments from politicians.

It doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is (if it’s somehow related to politics) or on which side of an issue one stands.

In most cases, the common thread to resolve whatever the issue is is term limits.

I know they’ve been talked about for years. But the next time you read an article or hear a TV reporter talk about a problem related to politics, ask yourself if term limits wouldn’t minimize or eliminate the problem.

I think you’ll be surprised how often term limits is the answer.

— Ward Eldred

Naples and Chicago

Battle lines? Why?

Editor, Daily News:

The tea party was not a protest on Feb. 6, but a celebration of Scott Brown’s Massachusetts U.S. Senate win — the end of the one-party rule and the beginning of checks and balances.

A few Obama supporters arrived on the east side of U.S. 41 North with signs of their own; sadly for them, those cheering and honking from passing cars thought they were part of the tea-party group that were also spread out along the east side.

Again the contrast was evident in the Sunday Daily News article of the event: The tea party welcomed them and their right to free speech and assembly, while they said they are opposed to everything we are doing and fed up with us and our lies — one letter to the editor, saying we’re doing a smear job on President Barack Obama, and we have short memories.

As for memories, conservatives had to endure eight years of the worst kind of smear job in daily barrages of hate-filled demonstrations against former President George W. Bush, the likes this country has never seen before.

When Nancy Pelosi took her seat as speaker of the House, she went to a public attorney firm, asked for a way to bring down the Bush administration; the answer was attack, attack, attack. That is exactly what she did and is still doing.

So while this was all OK with the “Obama army,” it’s not OK for conservatives to enjoy the same right of free speech and assembly.

Question: What’s with this “Obama army” thing?

— Bill Monetta

Naples

Condo plea is right on

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Ewing R. Sutherland’s Feb. 4 guest commentary.

I support Sutherland wholeheartedly in his opposition to the expensive new fire-safety retrofitting requirements that are being forced on Florida condo associations. They will be extremely costly to all condo owners with no real evidence that they will provide more safety, especially as regards all the concrete-block-constructed buildings in this area.

In the case of our association’s condos, the officials are trying to force us to install a fire alarm system, at great expense, to the outside of our buildings. The alarm would have to be activated by someone outside the building. The alarm would have no direct connection to the fire department. This alarm is unnecessary as it is for two-story, concrete-block buildings that already have hard-wired smoke alarms in each unit.

I don’t believe the increased safety to be provided, if any, warrants the very high installation cost of this system, especially in this tough economic time.

As Sutherland stated in his commentary, there is a bill, H.B. 560, before the Legislature that would allow the condo owners to decide by a two-thirds majority vote if they would desire to have the retrofitting measures installed. The Senate companion bill is S.B. 1222.

Please give your active support to these bills by contacting your legislators, or for info, e-mail dberger@canfl.com of the Community Advocacy Network.

— William J. Donovan

Naples

The things you ‘learn’

Editor, Daily News:

Some troubling things I have learned from the Daily News letters to the editor section:

* The Democrats and President Barack Obama overthrew the Republican Congress and former President George W. Bush in October 2008 and passed the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

* The Constitution of the United States is an a la carte menu. You can pick and choose the articles that fit your needs.

* Unions are bad. Associations, guilds and parties are good — as in tea party, National Rifle Association, American Bankers Association, etc.

* Elections are like an amateur golf match. If you don’t like your results, you can take a mulligan and call it a tea party.

* If you are a retired executive, more than likely with a golden parachute and a retirement plan far and above anything offered to those common and pesky employees you had, you can belittle their desire to have a health plan they can afford.

* If you are working for minimum wages or have lost your job due to the work of unsupervised banks, insurance companies or investment cartels and cannot afford to pay $500 a month for health insurance with a $3,500-per-year deductible, too bad.

* There is no need for government intervention in big-business affairs. They have done an excellent job policing themselves in the past.

* As a member of the GOP (Guild of Procrastinators) you believe that if you work on the health plan for another 20 years it might just go away.

— Bob Upshaw

Naples

Count me out

Editor, Daily News:

The U.S. Census’ ballyhooed Road Tour expo rolled into Immokalee last week and chirpy spokesperson Helga M. Silva began to beat the “It’s about being counted” drum for all it was worth.

In truth, the government has an obligation to educate the masses about the decennial collection of population data which can affect so much of how the citizenry is represented in the government they pay for. But, pure numbers should not be the basis for tabulation of vital statistics which impact so much of our privileges — and obligations — under the law.

As the number of undocumented individuals receiving governmental largess increases exponentially each year, the public should look to a more careful evaluation of those residing legally in the 50 states as a true determination for congressional apportionment and the equitable distribution of federal funds to state, local and tribal entities.

The history of American political corruption is rife with examples of unscrupulous manipulators of elections and tax collections, such as Boss Tweed’s Tammy Hall combine. Unchecked, the accumulation and disposal of noncertified illegal voters can only prolong a partisan control of congressional strategies with undesirable results.

The U.S. Census Bureau may well have a mandate to count everyone who lives in the country, but the legal U.S. citizen has a mandate to assert his or her political integrity as an uncompromised cipher on the census rolls.

— Walter Tharr

Naples

Time to sweat the details

Editor, Daily News:

There have been several thoughtful op-ed pieces recently on the health-care debate; yet a few startling facts are overlooked in most discussions of this subject.

Medicare will run out of money in 2017, only seven years from now. Medicare’s unfunded liability far outweighs that of Social Security.

There are only two ways to resolve these unsustainable benefits: sharply raise payroll taxes for Medicare and/or reduce services. The latter can be done without significantly reducing the quality of health care.

I hope my fellow Medicare recipients will consider the above before avowing their opposition to any change in Medicare benefits, if not for themselves, for their children and grandchildren.

— Stanley Farb, M.D.

Naples

Quality is Job One

Editor, Daily News:

Collier County School Board member Steve Donovan implies in his Feb. 2 letter to the editor that families fighting the proposed rezoning are discriminatory based on race.

Donovan has proved through his remarks on this subject at public meetings that he is uninformed (dumb) and isn’t interested in hearing new ideas and alternative options (deaf).

Now he’s proven the blind, deaf and dumb trifecta by implying that I, and my white, black and Hispanic neighbors, have an issue of race at the root of our joint arguments.

I am insulted by this accusation and ashamed that individual is my district representative.

Quality of education is our concern, not the color of the students.

— Annalise Smith

Naples

Where I stand

Editor, Daily News:

Since retiring, I’ve had time to read extensively and to form some opinions about politics, human nature and our community. No one has asked my opinions, but I’m still going to share a couple of the more obvious.

1. Anyone who seriously considers Sarah Palin as presidential material should have their heads examined.

2. People who claim they want to “vote the bums out of office” (and I do agree with this line of thinking) would find they have Democrats filling most elected offices in Southwest Florida — and, gasp, Republicans certainly aren’t going to do that.

3. Tea-party members protesting against big government and President Barack Obama in particular are really protesting against Democrats winning the last election and electing a black president (look at footage of any tea-party rally and try to count the number of blacks, Hispanics or other minorities present).

4. Creationists who feel the world is a couple of thousand years old — see No. 1.

5. “Birthers” should get a life.

6. Red-light runners should stop complaining about the possibility of getting caught and simply obey the law. Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to do the time.

I realize there are a few people who might not agree with me, but you’re wrong.

— Robert F. Tate

Naples

Lights, cameras ...

Editor, Daily News:

Thousands of citations have been issued with the use of red-light cameras.

Many of those drivers could have been driving while intoxicated or impaired, or had no license or were violating the terms of their license. Many could have been wanted for very serious crimes such as murder, rape, etc.

The camera does nothing to take them off the road and they continue to be safety hazards to other motorists. This is a real safety issue.

If a fraction of those people had been stopped by a police officer they would be taken off the road. That is real traffic safety. Many times you hear of routine traffic stops resulting in many arrests for other crimes.

How many car owners have been cited for faulty camera operation? Have we done what many have, and that is to shorten the caution cycle at these intersections? Many communities are thinking twice about installing cameras and some are taking them out.

The installer has no safety concern and has said that if citations are not issued for right-on-red violations, they will jerk the cameras. That is a money issue.

The federal and state governments are against the cameras for constitutional rights issue, so somewhere common sense has to apply.

Is this a safety or money issue? You decide.

— Don Schummer

Naples

Why the change?

Editor, Daily News:

What happened to “oppose the president, support the terrorists”?

All we heard was that anything said against our commander in chief was making al-Qaida stronger. Remember when it was forbidden to criticize the president in time of war and you were labeled as “un-American”?

Now, that we have a different person in the White House, all the rules have changed. (Thanks, Fox News.)

The terrorists are still listening and the “protesters” continuously attack our president.

What hypocrites.

— Emily Randolf

Naples

Follow the money

Editor, Daily News:

I have just a few simple questions for the president and Congress:

With over $500 billion yet to be spent from the original stimulus package, why do they need another one, and what are the plans for spending the remaining $500 billion?

This might prove to be a good question for the editorial writers of this paper to explore.

— Fred Ruedy

Naples

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