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Invitation to the August dance

To this Marco resident, City Council meeting of [March 19], deciding which words should appear on the ambulance ballot was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.  That ballot will appear this August in a referendum asking whether or not you thought adding a city owned and operated ambulance service to the ambulance service Marco already receives from the county was a good idea.

 

I’ve yet to form an opinion on the subject because some questions haven’t been addressed and some maneuverings leave me uncomfortable. For example, four or five different drafts of ballot language were submitted by different councilors for the council meeting, but only one of them, (Councilor Honig’s) was discussed, and approved. Yes, there was some waltzing around certain contained words, but in the end, his ballot language remained oddly unchanged. In my opinion, that language contains misleading or inaccurate data that could certainly qualify as “lobbying.”

One example: “The County EMS organization is undergoing change. Marco Island has no ability to improve service to the community.” That charge is Scare Tactics 101 and, without evidence, shouldn’t be on a ballot.  Another example: “Marco Island could take full control of EMS, etc.”  My understanding is that, by law, city emergency services will still fall under county and state dominant jurisdiction. 

Another flaw in the approved ballot language is its failure to mention that all the costs of a city ambulance service would not replace the $3M or so the city pays annually to the county for emergency services but would be added on to those continuing costs. That grand annual total for the city isn’t known yet.

Amusingly, when that initial dollar number is finally determined, some city officers felt that the total cost shouldn’t be stated in the millions of dollars because that number would be “too complicated” for the public to understand.  They thought it wiser to use ad valorum millage rates, percentages, taxable values, etc.  They also felt that being “locked” into any start-up dollar figure should certainly be avoided.

Well, the foregoing describes only a few of my concerns.  The creative “dance” that masqueraded as “objective” Council discussion on Monday should understandably be named “The Spin”.  I wonder how many Marco voters will blindly applaud such verbal dancing without question.  I prefer being told all pros and cons first, don’t you?

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Law being ignored?

At the March 6 meeting, Collier’s School Board members apparently chose to ignore new Florida Statutes, based on 2017’s instructional materials bill signed into law July 1, 2017, when they passed the first reading of Policy 2520. Among other aspects of the new law, the school district is ignoring statute1006.34, which unequivocally states, “Any instructional material containing pornography or otherwise prohibited by s. 847.012 may not be used or made available within any public school.”

Collier parents and residents, working with Florida Citizens’ Alliance, have documented many examples of seemingly ageinappropriate sexually explicit material being used in our classrooms, student media centers and available to elementary/middle school students without age-appropriate controls. In fact, these materials are so explicit that I cannot quote them in this letter or read them on a radio or television show. You can read examples for yourself at // floridacitizensalliance.com/liberty/initres/scc-public-res/curriculum/oct-2017-objectionable- materials-report.pdf.

This statute requires a proactive, thoroughassessment by the school district of all materials used in the classroom,

media centers and recommended reading lists to remove or put age-appropriate controls in place. Instead, the School Board has chosen to continue to allow these potentially pornographic materials unless a parent objects. And residents have no means of access to review the materials that are undermining family values!

The Parkland shooting was horrific, but when are we going to connect the dots?

It’s not about gun control and not even really about mental illness (a result of moral decay). Tragically, the root cause of the Parkland shooting (and others) is each of us has allowed the erosion of our American values at every level. As a society and in our schools, we no longer teach our children virtue, respect for human life and personal responsibility.

Keith Flaugh, Marco Island

Oppose Armenian aggression

On March 14, Armenian lobbying organizations held an event welcoming Bako Sahakyan, the head of Armenian separatist regime in the occupied Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

In the last five years, Russia has tried to undermine the U.S. by interfering in our elections, invading Ukraine, meddling in Syria and expanding in the Caucasus with the help of its proxy state of Armenia. Since 1991, Armenia has been Moscow’s staunch ally by hosting Russia’s 102nd military base. With Russia’s military support, Armenia also sustains its occupation of Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

In 2015-2017, with a $300 million arms loan from Russia, Armenia bought Iskander-M missiles which have a range of up to 310 miles and can hit NATO facilities in Turkey and energy infrastructure in Azerbaijan where Western companies operate. Sahakyan has stated in his interview to the newspaper Clarin: “Russia is actually helping our forces, and our officers will be tr ained permanently with their R ussian colleagues.” (https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/ cL8HCxkzRvCEKA1DfwLg84?domain=clarin.com) We must turn our backs on stooges of Russian imperialism and war criminals perpetrating crimes against our allies in the Caucasus. I urge my elected officials to decry Sahakyan’s visit to Capitol Hill and speak out against Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, highlighted in U.N. Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884!

Sumer Aygen, Marco Island

 

 

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