Letters to the Editor, Dec. 26

Marco Eagle

Prudence pacing passion

As expected, the City Council voted unanimously last week to apply to Collier County for Florida’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN). This is the first step in trying to replace Collier County’s ambulance service with a city-owned and operated service.  If all goes well, we the people will vote on the issue this summer.     

What I found wonderfully reassuring was that, at this particular council meeting and led off by Vice Chair Charlette Roman, our elected councilors showed political honesty by voicing questions that usually are ignored or brushed off by the “emotion lobby.”

Some of Roman’s “strong reservations” included identifying the existing problem that needs fixing; describing the service improvement to be expected; examining and announcing the liabilities and disadvantages of operating our own ambulance service and vetting the information proffered in the consultant’s report. This last concern is particularly significant because the consultant seemed to mistakenly think Marco Island’s purpose was to improve Collier County’s ambulance service at our own expense. This, of course would naturally happen because the county could and would reassign their equipment and personnel elsewhere in Collier County. However, that’s certainly not Marco’s purpose in seeking a COPCN and doubling the cost of ambulance service for Marco Island, is it?  

The City Council agreed with and even augmented Vice Chair Roman’s reservations. Of particular interest was Councilor Reed’s suggestion to explore the possibility of subsidizing a fully equipped and staffed emergency room right here on Marco Island. Such a proposal was made some years ago by the medical community but was rejected for lack of foresight. It’s certainly worth exploring today, because, according to Councilor Reed, having a local ER on Marco would reduce the patient’s maximum ambulance travel time from the current 35 minutes to a mere five minutes or so. Obviously that could be a realistic, measurable emergency life-saving improvement worthy of increasing our costs, as opposed to basically expanding Marco’s expenses and responsibilities in order to just change the name on the ambulance from “Collier County” to “Marco Island.” 

But, I digress and apologize.  My point in writing this letter is simply to express appreciation for the political morality and rationality our City Council displayed, despite the predictable emotional appeal to “control our own emergency services”.  Thank you, Councilors, for being so deserving of our confidence. 

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Editorial cartoon


For fair share tax

The left and the right are always arguing over taxes and I, along with about everyone else, am sick of hearing about how much each pays.

There is a very simple way to make sure everyone has skin in the game: a federal sales tax on everything you buy, except for food. This way everyone pays their fair share.

So, if I buy a used a car for $3,000 and someone can afford a new Lexus for $60,000, we both pay a tax of, say 6 percent. The same would go for clothes, homes, etc. For those who work under the table to avoid taxes, this would bring them into the game.

It would not matter how much you make, everyone would have the same amount of skin in the game. It would not matter if it was someone living on a strict budget or a multi-millionaire, each would pay equal tax for what they buy.

The person on a budget will buy a shirt at Penney’s or Walmart for $20 and the millionaire would get a shirt at Brooks Brothers for $300. So it would come out equal as each one pays their fair share. One would pay $1.20, the other $18 in taxes. No more forms, no more IRS, but everyone pays their fair share.

It could be done and we would be able to start paying down our debt. Think about it.

Charles “Chip” Stayton, Naples

Leave sharks in peace

Kudos to Florida officials for charging three men in connection to a stomach-turning video showing a shark being dragged by a rope behind a speedboat, while the people on board laugh.

Sadly, while there seems to be no limit to the number and species of animals manhandled by ignorant gawkers for photo and video ops — from a baby dolphin yanked out of the water and passed around by tourists to peacocks grabbed out of a zoo exhibit for selfies — sharks seem to bear the brunt of the abuse.

Like us, sharks have unique personalities and they socialize and form friendships. Sharks have long-term memories, they teach each other how to find food, they can perceive optical illusions and they feel pain. And tellingly — unless some drunken bullies are dragging them from their ocean home — sharks naturally shun human contact.

If any good can come of the outcry over the sickening shark-dragging video, perhaps it’s that more people will understand that animals aren’t playthings for us to use and abuse and leave them in peace.

Paula Moore, The PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.