Frank Schwerin was going out on a limb.
He knew it was “politically incorrect” for him, as the chairman of Collier County Republicans, to publicly call for surging presidential candidate Herman Cain to release his medical records from a 2006 bout with colon cancer.
Yet, as a physician — Schwerin is a cardiologist — he knew health issues can recur and it would be better for Cain to air it all out now rather than have Democrats do so as an October surprise in 2012.
He chose to go public with his concerns on our “Naples Daily NewsMakers” program last Sunday.
Two days later Schwerin was feeling like the Maytag repairman. Ignored. Irrelevant. “Hardly any ... minimal response,” he reported.
Then on Wednesday, things changed.
George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s “Good Morning America” wrote on his blog that Cain was a guest and, claiming to be a medical “miracle,” the former pizza magnate said he would do as Schwerin suggested.
An ABC News story later that same day went further, mentioning Schwerin by name and quoting his comments on the local network affiliate, WZVN, which most of us know as ABC7.
“Cain’s decision to disclose his medical records may not have come from him alone but in response to Frank Schwerin, the chairman of the Collier County Republican Executive Committee in Florida, who implored Cain to hand his records over,” ABC News reported.
“Without having seen Cain’s medical records, doctors hesitated to discuss his medical status and diagnosis. Nevertheless, while the term ‘miracle’ is often thrown about in cancer-survival stories, medical experts said Cain’s survival could be attributed to cancer treatments that have become more personalized and focused on long-term care.”
Some of the medical disclosure had already taken place, with an Atlanta doctor in July writing that Cain is cancer-free following colon and liver surgery and chemotherapy since 2006, unbeknownst to Schwerin until later.
“He has promised to release more records and to put the issue of his health to rest,” Schwerin told me on Thursday.
“I applaud Mr. Cain for his courage and candor. ... I am proud of him and our other highly qualified Republican candidates. I am confident that one of them will be our next president.”
n n n
Our country, state and even communities are searching for something, anything to spark new business and jobs.
Schools. Specialties. Some niche.
The city of Fort Myers is looking at a road.
Mayor Randy Henderson is eyeing good old U.S. 41 as nothing less than a catalyst for new life.
Much as the Tamiami Trail was touted as an engine of progress when it was completed in 1928, Henderson and his city look at aging, sagging parts of its roadside development and wonder “What if?” in terms of bringing together the right mix of zoning, tax incentives, grants and private investment.
The part of U.S. 41 in their sights is from Page Field on the south to the heart of downtown by City of Palms Park to the north.
There is some vintage stuff there, and Henderson is leading the charge to look at it as laden with residential/commercial potential.
He plans an ambitious overview of the past, present and future at an Oct. 26 Southwest Florida Chamber of Commerce lunch at Crown Plaza at the Bell Tower Shops. (Reservations, 239-275-2102)
“Money is one item, of course, but next you need vision, investment savvy, confidence and good due-diligence skills,” Henderson says. “And, of course, there must be a business need — that is, pent-up demand, location and business opportunities, all of which exist in our marketplace. Curb appeal is everything — and quality! This attracts consumers and synergy.
“Naples has done this well and is a great example for us to follow.”
n n n
Daily News reader Bill Henry played watchdog this past week.
He wrote to tell us about what he perceived as an abuse of public spending on multiple signs at a public works project between Naples and Marco Island.
“There are three entrances to the Riverwood community behind Erin’s Isle on State Road 951,” he said. “At each entrance is a sign proclaiming ‘Water System Replacement.’ On each sign are the names of the contractors and the five Collier County commissioners.
“Waste of money whoever paid for them.”
His view was not swayed by a county “operations analyst” who tried to explain: “The sign requirements are contained within the technical specifications section of the contract documents. Normally for smaller projects, one or two signs are located to provide maximum visibility of the project information, which includes the name of the contractor and county project manager information. In this case, since there were three access points to the development, with traffic limited to any one of the entrances during the course of the project, the Project Delivery Team decided that having the project information available at every entrance with contact information was appropriate, for safety, security, public information and the contact information.
“The cost of the signs were paid for out of the project budget. I hope this answers your concerns.”
Henry was not impressed. “Circumlocution,” he said.
He asked again for the cost. “The signs were $300 each,” he was advised by the operations analyst.
Nice work, Mr. Henry. A starfish to you. Waste of money indeed.
Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call him at 263-4773. Check his blog at naplesnews.com/blogs/jefflytle.