Fasten seat belts, approaching turbulence
On [Feb. 5] the City Council discussed how to word the ballot that you will be voting on in August. That vote will decide whether or not the city should add its own ambulance service to the service already being provided by the county.
Chairman Grifoni presented a proposed ballot that, in my opinion, was embarrassingly obvious in its design to produce a “yes” vote from you. The casually informed voter would mistakenly think that a “no” vote might leave Marco Island without any ambulance service at all. Even more disappointing was the appearance that, out of the seven elected councilors, only two seemed willing to present the ambulance issue objectively, with the remaining five councilors apparently dug in and rooting for a “yes” vote.
Happily, Councilors Reed and Roman correctly criticized the biased language of the proposed ballot, and other faults such as costs, funding and what problem exactly is this supposed to “fix?” Statistically, Marco enjoys above national average ambulance service from the county. Also, will Marco have to give up something in order to remain within our three-percent spending cap? Chairman Grifoni felt that it was up to the voters to do their own homework because it’s impossible to explain everything within the word-limitations of a ballot. Well, yes indeed, there’s a 75 word count limit to any ballot, but nevertheless I happen to think it’s the council’s responsibility to educate the constituency on the pros and cons of any given issue well before voting day, don’t you? Unless, of course, there’s an agenda here somewhere.
At any rate, a few gnawing concerns deserve attention:
If approved, Marco’s ambulance service and costs do not replace the county’s service and costs but are in addition to them.
If approved, Marco-owned ambulance service will, by law, still come under Collier County control.
County ambulance response service to Marco, (93 percent of responses are eight or less minutes), far exceeds the national average, so what exactly is the problem that owning our own ambulances is supposed to fix?
Owning our own ambulances seems to promise three certain things: doubles our costs, adds a city bureaucracy and paints “City of Marco Island” on the ambulance. Unless the hospital moves nearer to Marco, all else remains the same.
I’m just an interested resident and certainly no expert, but this seems to be what my little research has turned up. How about yours?
Russ Colombo, Marco Island
Re: Feb. 6 letter ‘disgraceful behavior’ by Beth Povlow
Kelly Lichter is dedicated to providing a quality education for the children of Collier County, something the Collier Public School District as a whole is not currently accomplishing. According to U.S. News and World Report, our public run schools in Collier County as well as the State of Florida are mediocre at best and most would fail compared to Massachusetts, with a few exceptions, like Mason Charter Academy founded by Kelly Lichter.
Taxpayers in the county are spending significant dollars to educate the children in this county and the School District has failed to deliver. Decorum has not improved the counties public schools and the county school administrators have not been honest with the taxpaying public about the quality of the education being delivered to our children.
So it is understandable if someone as dedicated as Kelly Lichter gets frustrated when the public is being deceived by C4QPE (Coalition for Quality Public Education). The State of Florida is 47th in the nation in SAT scores and 50 percent of our children are below grade level in math and reading. Florida schools are graded on a curve and if you’re at 60 percent you get an A, while in Massachusetts you would be considered a failing school. Private schools and charter schools are managing to educate the same demographic pool of children that the Collier public school system is currently failing.
Michaelon Wright, Marco Island
Oppose state bill
I’m opposed to state Senate Bill 444 that proposes to fund “crisis pregnancy centers” with millions of tax dollars. These centers are not run by medical professionals and employees have been known to give medically false information to their clients. Our tax dollars should not be spent on these organizations.
I support tax dollars going to hospitals and medical centers run by doctors, with medical licenses and the proper knowledge for caring for patients, but this bill is not designed for funding health care. It is designed to endorse religious beliefs about contraception and abortion, through providing dangerously misleading medical advice, which should not be taxpayer-funded.
Emma Ward, Marco Island