Letters to the editor: Feb. 24, 2010

“I actually took this photo myself last August when we went to Mobile for a wedding,” writes Clark Adams. “My wife and I were shocked at the (number) of oil rigs so close to shore there.” Submitted photo

“I actually took this photo myself last August when we went to Mobile for a wedding,” writes Clark Adams. “My wife and I were shocked at the (number) of oil rigs so close to shore there.” Submitted photo

Here are letters to the editor from Daily News editions of Feb. 24, 2010:

Picture this here?

Editor, Daily News:

Re: The town-hall meeting at the Daily News concerning drilling off our coast.

This photo (at left) was made recently from the coast of Mobile, Ala., and the rigs go on as far as the eye can see.

Do we really want this for our view from our beaches and the possible environmental problems that will go along with it?

I cannot believe that we would think of drilling so close to shore.

Think about it.

— Clark Adams


* * *

Letter of the Day: How unpleasant

Editor, Daily News:

A very annoying trend is going on when you enter a retail store today.

Without naming any specific store, I entered a store and every employee I was in view of said “hello” or other, similar greetings.

I went looking for my wife and I counted 12 employees, all saying “hello”!

Thank goodness I found my wife.

I told one employee that she did not have to say “hello.” She said, “We are required to by management.”

If any management is reading this, please send out a survey and you will find out how annoying this is.

You may lose customers instead of gaining them.

A simple smile will suffice.

— David Kmet


‘Community’ and money

Editor, Daily News:

Florida Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples advances a good discussion for the relief needed for condominiums, homeowner associations, mortgage holders and even those banks that have benefited from governmental TARP funds.

He interestingly points out how well-intentioned public-policy decisions (supporting bank survival and at the same time keeping overleveraged borrowers in their homes) frequently disrupt normal market forces and ends up hurting other homeowners.

The “passionate debate” he anticipates in the 2010 legislative sessions must look forward with innovative solutions and must deal with more than nondomiciled owners.

Expediting the foreclosure process and better bank underwriting will always help and I encourage any efforts made to improve both. However, there are many domiciled owners who also overleverage themselves. Associations need to be given more rights to protect themselves from the potential of that occurring.

Associations can rewrite their declarations (at considerable expense) to prohibit “highly leveraged” ownership and/or to establish escrow accounts for highly leveraged units. Let’s make it easier and less costly by having additional “enabling legislation” put into community legislation that would offer association members additional protection without the expense of modifying their documents.

Lenders and governmental agencies like Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration are currently limiting loans where delinquencies and foreclosures are a risk. Please consider giving us some innovative legislation that lets the “paying members” defend themselves, be preventive on future bad debt losses and self-determine the type of community many of us call “home.”

— Ed Duch


Legislative vice president,

Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums

A different recipe

Editor, Daily News:

The Daily News treated us with a guest commentary from Jack Tymann on Feb. 17 — another repast of “Tymannomics.”

This dense polemic pudding has as main ingredients the road kill of Ayn Rand and archaic laissez-faire economics. Neither of these nourished us very well under former presidents Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.

History has shown this recipe produces indigestion because markets are not self-regulating. Tax cuts don’t work. Trickle down is really trickle up.

Tymann assumes that any incursion into laissez-faire is socialism. But there has been no laissez-faire in our capitalistic system for over a century since former President Teddy Roosevelt busted up the trusts. And business has required continued oversight ever since.

It has not made us socialists, and supervising the rules of the game will not make us so. There is a long history of bailouts, in which the captains of enterprise have run to Washington for corporate welfare.

Tymann requests more of the same in various forms while at the same time deploring the horror of government interference.

There is a long history of tax dollars funding research programs which wound up as products that fueled the fortunes of private corporations. Think of electronics and the information age, the spin-offs of basic scientific research from the space race.

What we have had is a partnership of the public and private sector in areas too numerous to mention. But the swing in our economic cycles shows our financial, industrial and commercial establishment is incapable of maintaining a stable economy.

The notion that extensive deregulation will trigger a flood of ingenuity and entrepreneurship to create a new consumer boom and that we are somehow going to invent our way out of this mess is a fairy tale.

We need to tighten up, not loosen up. The free-market-expansion philosophy always blows up the balloon to bursting. We need conservation instead of consumption, savings instead of credit, insourcing instead of outsourcing, regulation of the marketplace instead of a free-for-all. Times call for change; call it what you will.

Change is fundamental to all human institutions and economic activity is no exception. Whether conservatives like it or not, a new paradigm for capitalism is emerging, away from rugged individualism and profit without conscience. Increased oversight is inevitable.

Europe has shown us a different model — and it works.

— H.C. Klingman


He did what he had to do

Editor, Daily News:

Tiger Woods did the right thing by starting with one-way communication in person and without the spectacle of questions and cross-examination in a press-conference atmosphere.

His first public appearance since his world came tumbling down was never promised to be a traditional press-conference apology. It was clear Woods was emotionally in a lonely and dark place as he apologized with humility and soberness not seen in public-figure apologies over the years.

Some are critical of the carefully crafted text he read. He would have been foolish to do otherwise.

Some were offended they were invited to listen in person but not talk. Their righteous indignation for not getting their pound of flesh confirms the wisdom behind the first-appearance format.

The “search for the truth” is the battle cry of the press. It often becomes a mission to humiliate and embarrass. Woods has acknowledged he has done a good enough job on that without help from professionals.

His next step would be a one-on-one interview with questions he is advised of in advance. Remember, he is not a polished politician. He is a golfer with some personal flaws he has been forced to face and reconcile with his family.

We have no right to know more than we do after his Friday appearance except one thing: When is he going to tee it up again in a PGA tournament?

— Dick Selvala


Talking from experience

Editor, Daily News:

I am a snowbird from Michigan and I’d like to tell you about a great newspaper — the Daily News.

The whole paper, including the comics!

I am a 17-year retiree from the newsprint department of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

Keep up the good work.

— Art Kainz

Marco Island

Food for thought and more

Editor, Daily News:

Is media violence really totally to blame for children’s aggressive behavior?

How we express ourselves when in the presence of children has a huge impact on how they are going to express themselves.

Most aggressive behavior is learned from their role models. When we punish a child versus using discipline techniques, we are teaching them how to deal with their aggression.

Example: If we just take something away from a child with little or no warning we are teaching them to steal toys from friends. However, if we talk to the child and explain to them that his or her toy will be taken away if this behavior continues, they will learn the value of consequences.

Sleep patterns and poor nutrition also have an effect on a child behavior. Having a set bedtime helps promote positive mental simulation, giving the children the opportunity to apply logical self-direction.

Having a diet that involves a high sugar intake promotes hyperactivity. Children need a diet that is low in fat and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, providing them with a good source of energy.

Children need to learn that society is not like TV or video games. In society we talk and work out our difference. We don’t kill or fight when we have a disagreement.

Helping children understand the value of life and consequences is part of growing up. Media also helps them learn and understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Being aware and talking about what the children are watching is a great learning experience, as long as it is age appropriate.

Instead of placing blame for the undesirable behavior, discover the cause. Guiding, promoting and exchanging ideas help children understand and make sense of today’s world.

— Sara Mason


Watch me smile ...

Editor, Daily News:

What a beautiful smile.

There’s that man from Iran (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).

He never stops smiling!

I think the smile is painted on because it’s always there, even as he pulls the rug from under everyone!

— Alvina Oechslin


‘Sicko’ can help us

Editor, Daily News:

A letter writer wondered why anyone would want to change “the best health-care system in the world.”

I’m sure the CEOs of the health-insurance companies would agree. It’s profitable.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. health-care system 37th (a bit better than Slovenia at 38 and Cuba at 39). The conspiracy theory enthusiasts will undoubtedly have a field day with this and call it a communist, socialist, liberal plot to embarrass our nation.

However, WHO uses sound and measurable criteria, such as infant mortality rates, life expectancy, etc. The U.S. is represented. The group is just doing its job.

The country with the top-ranked health-care system taxes its citizens fairly and uses private insurance companies to cover all citizens. There are no co-payments; no out-of-pocket expenses; pre-existing conditions are irrelevant. There are no lifetime caps and no bankruptcies for medical bills.

Doctors make house calls 24/7. Medical facilities and personnel are exemplary.

The top-ranked country spends 8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. The U.S. spends around 16 percent of its GDP (and rising) — an unsustainable situation. We obviously need reform.

I urge everyone to see the documentary “Sicko” (available from the library, Netflix or Blockbuster). Director Michael Moore is not my “cup of tea,” but his movie is.

Responding to this letter without seeing this film is the same as saying, “Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up.”

Americans are not the only people on the planet with good ideas.

— J. Paul Jodoin


Riding to the defense

Editor, Daily News:

Dale Danford’s letter of Feb. 13 made me proud that we women have in the 21st century knights in shining armor defending us, treating us as human beings with the same rights as men.

He and fellow letter-writer Rob Winslow and others have been there for us women, fighting the fight with women to keep our rights as full human beings from slipping back to the dark ages when women were no more than chattel.

Most anti-choice people are against more than abortion and don’t even believe in contraception. And remember, because of those religious beliefs it wasn’t until the mid-20th century, with much effort by both men and women, that contraception was even legal.

You, who believe those antiquated and religious ideas about women’s subservience, do for and to yourself as you like, but keep your hands off of the rest of us.

There is potential life in most people, but in no way should we be forced to bring that potential life to fruition.

Unfortunately, it seems we have to accept that many are not ready to forgo those old beliefs, and they will diligently work to force the rest of us to comply even though they themselves don’t like big government in “their” lives. Well, we women don’t want you in our lives. We’ll decide what we’re able to bear in reproduction.

Furthermore, most religions have always seen women as subservient and those religious attitudes are the exact reason why we thankfully have a protective, secular government.

— Jane Varner


Sharing our roads

Editor, Daily News:

Kudos to David Tetzlaff for his interesting and insightful guest commentary on Feb. 10.

I take issue with only one aspect of his commentary: the stop-sign debate. Is he suggesting that “responsible cyclists” be given a free pass at the stop signs? Should “responsible automobile drivers” then be given a “free pass” at stop signs?

I thought traffic laws were instituted so that all citizens using the public roadways would know what was expected of them and others using the road. Cyclists expect me to stop at stop signs; should not I expect them to stop as well?

Granted, we all should interpret the law with human respect, kindness and practicality. Our roads were meant to be shared with one another in a safe and thoughtful manner.

“Lane drifting” by drivers and cyclists, that’s another whole issue!

— Bud Thorne


Banks aren’t really helping

Editor, Daily News:

I read with interest state Sen. Garrett Richter’s guest commentary regarding the foreclosures and association fees.

I agree that there needs to be some middle ground. However, when banks purposely delay foreclosures for two and three years, and then decide to have a short sale, it further complicates matters.

The banks take forever to clear a short sale. This only makes things worse for those of us who are paying our fees on time.

Why should those who are current on their assessments subsidize a bank in the form of paying higher assessments to make up for the budget shortfalls from those who are not paying and in foreclosure? Meanwhile, the bank just sits and waits until things get better and uses every tactic to avoid taking title to the property.

I would be glad to speak with Richter, president of First National Bank of the Gulf Coast, in trying to get some equity in the system.

As a general question, how many foreclosures and what is the value of those foreclosures that are presently in the First National Bank of the Gulf Coast loan portfolio?

— Thomas Ruple


Now it is the voters’ turn

Editor, Daily News:

Well, the Collier County School Board voted for rezoning and allowing rising juniors and seniors to continue at their current schools. Unfortunately, this should have at least been started with the freshmen, but the majority of the board voted against it.

Any of those curious about the superintendent may find information at Web sites based in Rockford, Ill.: www.wifr.com and www.rrstar.com.

I hope that the School Board members are happy with their decision and know that there is a unanimous parents’ vote against them come August.

Please remember to consider home-schooling or virtual schooling your child/children instead of filling seats for our one-sided Collier County School Board.

Thank you, board members Pat Carroll and Roy Terry, for caring and at least voting to start with the freshmen. It made our day at least to know that two members of the board were listening to our concerns.

— Cesarina Somogy


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