Rebuttal to a rebuttal?

Mr. Schuman’s letter (Feb. 20) was obviously inspired by my own newspaper letter submissions appearing on Feb. 12 and14. Excellent! It’s always great to know that my respectful wonderings can move a few folks “off the couch,” so to speak. 

Now, let’s look over Mr. Schuman’s letter:

Mr. Schuman immediately identifies himself, as both a new full-time resident of Marco Island and also as a member of the Fire Rescue Foundation. Well, the former, (his being a Marco newbie), forgives Mr. Schuman for not knowing about the disgruntlement felt years ago when Marco voters discovered that we had to continue paying Collier County for law enforcement services even though we had voted for a Marco Island Police Department. (This hadn’t been explained before the vote.)

The latter, (that he’s a member of the Fire Rescue Foundation), explains his pro-Marco-ambulance position when you note that organization’s worthy mission that states:

“The Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation is dedicated to providing financial relief and establishing a scholarship fund for Fire Rescue personnel and their families in time of injury and illness.”

That requires money. If our Island’s wonderful Fire Department is expanded to include Advanced Life Support & Transport Service, (ambulance service), does that not provide added “financial” or “compensation” opportunity for our good Fire/Rescue employees? Of course the Fire Rescue Foundation and its members must endorse getting our own ambulance service.  That’s a “no brainer,” similar to the coal miners’ union endorsing the mining of coal.

Mr. Schuman mistakenly thinks that a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, (COPCN, will grant Marco Island a “locally controlled” ambulance service. I’m afraid that’s simply not so. Marco-owned and operated ambulance service will, by law, still fall under state and county jurisdiction and direction. Unlike the police issue referenced above, this ought to be made clear to the Marco voters before voting day.

Mr. Schuman refers proudly to the benefits of adding our own ambulance service to the county’s. These benefits were described by Marco’s hired consultant and Marco’s Fire Rescue Services. Most Marco Islanders are mature enough to know that hired consultants usually find results that sympathize generally with the desires of their employers, (five city councilors want our own ambulance service).  It’s also a no-brainer as to why our Fire Rescue Department also welcomes its expansion and its accompanying expanded budget.


Mr. Schuman states that these proposals would cost Marco Islanders about $3 million annually. However, he does not mention that these $3 million annual dollars are in addition, repeat, addition, to the approximately $3 million dollars we will continue to pay Collier County annually for their ambulance services. It does not replace that county cost. 

Mr. Schuman states that Marco ambulance facilities will not act as “independent” entities but will coordinate with Collier County emergency services. This comment really got to me, because it’s just a fancy way of confessing that Collier County will maintain dominant jurisdiction over Marco’s ambulances. Are we not supposed to understand what you’re saying, Mr. Schuman?

Finally, I am in full, 100 percent agreement with Mr. Schuman when he encourages all eligible voters to do their homework regarding this topic. Please do! I am certainly not opposed to an intelligent, informed approach to the question of whether or not Marco ought own and operate our ambulances. However, I am always opposed to misleading “spin,” or deliberate omissions that might misdirect voters on any issue. Aren’t you?

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Leave left lane for passing only

This letter is in response to Don Stoecklein’s comments on Feb. 15. He states that “there is no such traffic code in any state” designating the left lane as a passing lane. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Eleven states only allow the left lane for turning or passing. In 29 states, the law is that any car being driven slower than the “normal speed of traffic” should be in the right lane, even if it’s going at the speed limit. Florida law statute 316.081 states “on a road, street, or highway having two or more lanes allowing movement in the same direction, a driver may not continue to operate a mot or vehicle in the furthermost left-hand lane if the driver knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.”

Blocking the left lane contributes to traffic congestion and road rage. Keeping the left lane open for passing causes fewer accidents than speeding because traffic flows more smoothly and there’s less tailgating and less weaving in and out of traffic.

Leave speed enforcement to the troopers and get in the right lane, Mr. Stoecklein. It is people like you who are actually responsible for increased accidents.

Jorge Mujica, M.D., Marco Island



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