Letters to the Editor: July 16, 2011

Got questions?

Readers' questions are invited for the weekly "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle" program airing Sunday mornings at 10 on ABC7.

Check the guest list for coming weeks below and submit your questions by calling 213-6070; emailing newsmakers@naplesnews.com; or online at naplesnews.com/newsmakers.

* Lee County Commissioners Brian Bigelow and John Manning

* Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk

* Collier County Commissioner Candidate Tim Nance

* Collier County Commissioner Fred Coyle

* Fox News Radio talk host Trey Radel

LETTER OF THE DAY: Sing it proud

Editor, Daily News:

I read that some want to change our national anthem?

Whatever reasoning, it just doesn’t make sense. The Star Spangled Banner is historical. It is a tribute to not only the flag, but our country, the service men and women and inner peace.

If you cannot reach the high note, then let someone else who can.

Just place your hand over your heart, listen and give thanks.

— Marie Dekkers

Naples

Location, location, location

Editor, Daily News:

In Dr. Michael Wilson’s recent letter suggesting that Mayor Ben Nelson push for St. Matthew’s House (SMH) to move into the defunct YMCA, he chooses through innuendo and misinformation to malign both the mayor and SMH.

The mayor is somehow not to be trusted because he has a vision for a better Bonita Springs. Wow, what a terrible thought for a mayor to have.

The mayor has taken the time to visit and learn about SMH and should be congratulated for understanding how SMH would benefit the Bonita community.

He has also seen that the SMH Naples location is seven paces from a wonderful residential community — the Glades — and that there are no fences between us. And Glades residents consider SMH a good neighbor.

The same goes for the landmark restaurant across the street, Alice Sweetwater’s, and likewise Home Depot across the street, a contributor and supporter of SMH, who located there after SMH.

The proposed SMH site — formerly Causeway Lumber — is located between two commercial strip malls and is bordered by railroad tracks and Old 41. Across the street is the prestigious taxpaying property containing the dog track.

I am sure that if Dr. Wilson would agree to visit our facility in Naples, he would appreciate the incorrect characterization of the SMH mission and residents that we serve.

— Bill Vonier

Trustee, SMH

Civic duties

Editor, Daily News:

Citizens of District 2, North Naples: Please mark your calendars for Monday, Aug. 1. This date is for the first meeting of the newly formed North Naples Civic Association Inc.

This meeting is open to all association officers located in District 2 and to those citizens who have an interest in issues with which we are dealing within our area.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the North Naples Government Center, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive (next to the public library). We will be discussing various matters in establishing the new civic association. Future dates and time for upcoming meetings.

We look forward to seeing you there.

— Doug Fee

President, NNCA

Spend at home

Editor, Daily News:

I was shocked to read the other morning — actually I really wasn’t — that the U.S. government is on the verge of sending $800 million to Pakistan so they would be our friends, in addition to the billions sent to them over the years; all this while people who worked all their lives in this country are getting no increase in Social Security benefits and the government is trying to reduce Medicare benefits due to a shortage of money.

Let’s see, not being a rocket scientist, if we stop paying people to be our friends and invest in our own country and citizens’ welfare, we might just climb out of this mess we are in. Maybe it’s time for a recall to throw out all these guys who keep giving away the farm to all these countries so that they will be our friends while people here are starving, families are losing homes and people are living on the street.

Great investment, huh?

— Don McDonald

Naples

Top to bottom

Editor, Daily News:

Let me get this right: President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats want “faired sacrifice” — the wealthy to pay their fair share. The Republicans say the wealthy are paying enough.

Define “fair share.” What percentage of the federal income tax should be paid by the wealthy?

I am a tax consultant and have instructed tax law at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I understand tax law, and that one of the principles of tax law is taxing people on “the ability to pay.” There is also a tax principle of “benefit.” That is, those who benefit from programs should pay. The issue is they cannot, so think about the following.

The bottom 50 percent of tax filers pays just under 3 percent of the income taxes. That is based on adjusted gross income. In that group there are many taxpayers who not only do not pay income taxes but get tax credits in excess of income and Social Security taxes withheld through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

There are also millions of people who do not file income taxes, pay no taxes and are not reflected in those percentages. Add those to the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers. It is obvious that well over half the people in this country pay no taxes and rely on support.

The top 10 percent pays 70 percent of all income taxes, and the top 10 percent starts at approximately $115,000.

So where should we make changes in the tax code to make sure everyone pays their “fair share?” The top 10 percent paying 70 percent or the bottom 50-plus percent who are paying nothing?

— Dr. Robert Lovett

Naples

Not this time

Editor, Daily News:

The Democrats cannot argue the issues, so they demonize the Republicans by calling them racists and anti-minority.

President Abraham Lincoln, Republican, freed the slaves; President Dwight Eisenhower, Republican, in 1957 proposed a civil rights bill that was blocked by the Democrats led by President Lyndon Johnson. The reason: Ike was just looking for the black vote and, of course, most southern Democrats opposed it.

President Ronald Reagan, Republican, gave amnesty to millions of illegal aliens during his term and President George W. Bush, Republican, in his term in office produced more minority home ownership than any president before him.

The name calling and demagoguery won’t work this time around and the 2012 elections will clean the slate of left-wing liberals from the top down.

— J.N. Miranda

Naples

Do it again

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Andrew Joppa’s July 11 letter.

Having read and reread his pedantic polysyllabic diatribe on President Barack Obama and his supporters, I hasten to assure all like-minded personages that I am not deeply emotionally disturbed, nor am I intellectually “challenged.” My IQ is just fine and I practice rational thought every day.

I voted for Obama and will do so again. Joppa’s letter only reinforces my opinions and intentions.

I am neither benighted nor abashed and am a political independent.

— Roxie Michener

Naples

Blame where due

Editor, Daily News:

Republicans seem to have very short memories.

They blame the deficit on President Barack Obama’s “out-of-control spending,” when, in fact, the deficit is a result of former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, bailout of AIG and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Said unfunded war cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars.

What Obama is spending now to try to fix the mess Bush got us into is a drop in the bucket compared to what Bush spent.

The Republicans voted to increase the debt ceiling seven times during the Bush administration without any concern about deficit reduction. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is famously quoted as saying at that time: (Former President Ronald) Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” I guess deficits only matter to Republicans when there’s a Democrat in the White House.

Social Security and Medicare have been derisively labeled as “entitlements.” I’ve been paying into SS and Medicare my entire working career, since I was a teenager flipping burgers at the local hamburger joint. Now, 45 years later, you’re gosh darn right I’m entitled. I’m entitled to what’s mine.

The Social Security system would be fine at this point if the politicians (Democrat and Republican) hadn’t diverted Social Security money to the general fund over the last 30 or so years with promises to pay it back. Those promises are worthless, of course, as are all promises made by politicians.

Obama may not be the answer to our problems, but he certainly isn’t the cause of them; that can be laid at the feet of G.W. Bush, the worst president this country has ever had.

— Phidias Pollis

Naples

Job advantages

Editor, Daily News:

The first article was written by Robert Mulhere, chairman of the Economic Development Council, and can be seen as a guest editorial in the July 7 edition of the Daily News.

Mulhere exposed the many inaccurate positions taken by Collier County Commissioner Georgia Hiller in her denouncement of Arthrex and its application of the Collier County Board of Commissioners for financial assistance.

The second article was an open letter on July 11 from Reinhold Schmiedling, president of Arthrex, to Hiller stating how Hiller had made false statements about the authenticity of discussions, thus discrediting the Arthrex position in at least 15 different ways pertaining to Arthrex and its application.

Please accept this submission as the third effort to classify some of these issues.

“Economic development” is a “tossed-around phrase,” which I define as a joint effort between the private and public sectors in order to subsidize private companies in the original application for commencement of a new project, product and/or construction of new applicable buildings.

There are many cases where original research is involved. The private sector applicant can be either a profit or nonprofit enterprise, working with a country, state and/or federal agency. Financing can be critical to the commencement of a new venture, as appears to be the case with Arthrex.

There are many advantages to our community, including new —

1. High-value jobs inherent with the program involved.

2. Jobs with construction companies doing the construction.

3. Dollars created in the local marketplace.

As this new venture evolves, additional benefits include Arthrex’s contributions back to the community. This prosperity can finance new universities (i.e., Ave Maria/Domino’s Tom Monaghan).

We have already seen how this cooperative system worked with Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts complex, which was due in major degree to the largesse of the Drackett family and Drackett Company. A newly enlightened person-to-person environment will occur throughout the entire community.

I support the Arthrex expansion in Collier County.

— Rayburn Cadwallader

Naples

That’s entertainment

Editor, Daily News:

Congratulations! We have become the entertainment capital of the world. In and by itself this is a great accomplishment. In the larger picture, is the tail wagging the dog?

Somewhere along the line, priorities have gone astray. A well-run and productive nation capable of world leadership does not inherit its tiara by being “entertaining.” The values of being entertaining and the qualities of being a well-run and productive nation run along different paths.

The fact is that one is not good and the other bad; it’s just that they are distinct and separate. Entertaining should be a smaller part of a nation’s identity, not the other way around. Effectively running a state is a serious business and demands full-time involvement.

In our nation today, the news presentations are the best formatted and produced creations available throughout the world. Unfortunately, the “presenters” and the scenery have become the subject rather than the content of their presentations. The proliferation of “reality TV” has become the dominant focus of our daily TV fare.

Are we descending into the world of fantasy and losing track of reality? Are we in fact entertaining ourselves to death?

The answer I suggest is twofold. First, in a stressed society, entertainment is a method of “relieving” the everyday anxiety in a troubled society. Second, the real and difficult goals of growth and excellence in society are being hidden and sidetracked by the entertainment format currently in vogue today in America.

Are we on the wrong track? Unless we change and recognize priorities, the future may be less than optimal.

— R. Michael Hoy

Naples

Mad men

Editor, Daily News:

We live in scary, uncertain times — no doubt about that.

But I always rely on the sage advice offered by two of this nation’s most famous philosophers. The first, by Bluto Blutarsky of “Animal House” movie fame: “When in doubt, drink heavily.”

The second, by Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine: “What? Me worry?”

— Phillip M. Donovan

Naples

Even the Gipper

Editor, Daily News:

So now the Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with warpaint smeared all over their faces by the tea party: no tax increases, absolutely not one thin dime!

They decry that tax increases on the wealthy will smother job creation. So let’s lay off another few hundred thousand government employees so we can add more jobs.

Let’s get America working again by continuing to increase the wealth disparity between the haves and have-nots, nearly as significant now as during the “robber baron” era of the late 19th century.

Let’s make sure corporations have plenty of working capital to build more factories overseas, as well as extra cash to make ample campaign contributions to candidates’ coffers so they don’t lose their jobs.

Even their demigod, former President Ronald Reagan, raised taxes. That’s because he wasn’t bought and paid for.

— Ross Edlund

Naples

A poor trade

Editor, Daily News:

Since its inception, the World Trade Organization has been an undemocratic organization run by haves at the expense of the have-nots.

Sold as a way to combat income inequality around the world and allow everyone’s boat to rise, the organization has actually increased the gap between the rich and poor, favored multi-national corporations over people and blatantly ignored labor and environmental issues.

Since China’s entry into the WTO in 2001, enormous trade deficits with the Asian nation have resulted in the loss of millions of jobs domestically and precious export capacity, decidedly lower wages and less bargaining power for American workers, along with the accumulation of massive amounts of foreign debt, according to EconomyInCrisis.org.

In Florida, the losses have been significant. From 2001 to 2007, the state lost 100,900 jobs due to the growing trade deficit with China, an unfortunate trend that will likely continue under the current trade regime.

— Fran Goddard

Palm Beach Gardens

Higher justice

Editor, Daily News:

For a long time now I have felt our justice system has deteriorated and has not been, shall we say, “just” on many levels.

The Casey Anthony trial and verdict, for one, has proven my assumptions are true.

Nobody involved seems to give a hoot about the innocent victims.

All these barristers care about is how clever they are in court, proving and disproving the guilt of the perpetrators without offending these not-yet-proven criminals.

Just remember, God will be the final judge.

— Milla Price

Naples

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