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Not respected

As the daughter of a disabled war veteran, I have a great respect for the values and country for which my father and others sacrificed so much. I consider myself a patriot and participant in our government. It is with great dismay that I feel Rep. Francis Rooney has disrespected his constituents.

I have phoned and emailed the congressman’s office with a concern and question; I have received no reply.

The congressman set up a teleconference town hall for Feb. 28. I signed up and received confirmation. I rearranged my schedule so that I could participate. I waited three hours; his office never contacted me to link to the conference.

Then the congressman scheduled a town hall meeting in Naples for March 3 at noon. It may come as a surprise to the very wealthy, Rep. Rooney, that a lot of people work and were not able to attend this meeting. A second one was scheduled at 6 p.m. that day in Cape Coral. Unfortunately, with the seasonal traffic, this also wasn’t feasible for most Collier County residents who work.

I will be sure to remember this disrespect during primary season.

Vickie Kelber, Marco Island

Great community spirit

A huge Thank you to the employees at the Hair Salon of Skin Renewal  Systems of Marco for donating the salon’ magazines each month for the past four years.

The magazines are delivered to six local oncology treatment centers, always needed, and always enthusiastically received.

Great community spirit!

Nancy Rhodes, Marco Island

Keep sunshine in law

State Rep. Byron Donalds has introduced House Bill 843 to limit the sunshine in the Florida Sunshine Law.

He says the media is wrong to think the Sunshine Law prevents backroom deals. He thinks legislators just can’t make good policy unless they meet one on one at lunch or over coffee without the public knowing. He especially wants to hear from local officials because he has found that many elected officials agree with his position.

As a constituent, I read Donalds’ commentary with dismay. Nowhere does he wonder what his constituents think of his proposed bill. It seems he has quickly forgotten that he works for the people of his district. Let me remind him here: Rep. Donalds, you work for the people in your district and you are accountable to us. I, for one, think HB 843 is a bad idea. Sunshine works to keep corruption out of government. Especially in a highly partisan environment, all legislators' actions should be in the open for all — especially the media — to see.

If readers agree with my views, I urge them to tell Donalds they support keeping sunshine in the Sunshine Law. Contact him directly; it seems unlikely that he will bother to contact us for our opinions.

Susan Sissman, Naples

Sugar will survive

Instead of traveling all the way to Tallahassee to protest Senate Bill 10 (the proposal to buy land for the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir), Ardis Hammock could have saved the effort by simply reading the bill (Commentary: “Senate Bill 10 a threat to American farmers,” Naples Daily News, Feb. 28).

Not one inch of the sugar cane her family has cultivated will be taken against her will. The bill specifically requires that all 60,000 acres for the reservoir will be acquired only from willing sellers at a negotiated price.

Hammock’s concerns about job losses and survival of the communities in the ‘Glades might better be addressed to the out-of-state owners of U.S. Sugar Corp. That’s because, in 2008, the company agreed to sell all of its 187,000 acres to the state of Florida for Everglades restoration — everything, down to and including (as U.S. Sugar’s president Bob Buker put it at the time) “the half-eaten pastrami sandwich in the refrigerator.”

Once the bill passes, there will be $800 million on the table to test the resolve of farmers like Hammock, but her refusal to sell (like those of the real sugar barons

standing behind her) sounds more like a negotiating ploy.

In any event, rest assured: sugar — a highly addictive, heavily subsidized commodity with more trade preferences than nutritional value — will survive the sale of 60,000 acres.

Mac Willett, Naples

Music scholarships available

Voices of Naples, a 75-member community chorus, is once again interviewing and auditioning students who are interested in obtaining a scholarship for the 2017-18 school year.

Young men and women need to be graduating from a Collier County or Lee County high school and pursuing an education in vocal music at the college of their choice.

The scholarship awarded is up to $3,000 to a student meeting the criteria. Voices of Naples has awarded 21 scholarships in the amount of $35,500.

The application deadline is March 20; if interested, please call scholarship chairwoman June Ricks at 239-948-2865.

Mariellen Lemasters, president, Voices of Naples

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