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Fair and balanced

As many readers might recall, I’ve publicly criticized Councilor Larry Honig in the past for his boorish, unacceptable conduct as an elected representative of Marco Island. However, I need to applaud Honig’s recent letter to the editor in which he offers some pros and cons regarding the upcoming ambulance service referendum.

It’s not often that fair and equal reasoning is given to both sides of the question by a city official. More often than not, it seems the issue of whether or not Marco should add its own ambulance service and costs to the ambulance service and costs provided by Collier County evokes more emotional, knee-jerk responses than practical, hardheaded ones.

Two major concerns that weren’t mentioned in Honig’s letter would certainly help this Marco voter arrive at an informed opinion on the subject.

First, Fire Chief Mike Murphy has emotionally stated that he’s been fighting to have his fire department assume sole responsibility for ambulance service for eight years. What exactly is the problem that’s gone uncorrected for so long?

Secondly, the ballot language we’ll see next month quotes the initial cost as $100 on property tax valued at $500,000. The word “initial” is worrisome in that, as all taxpayers know, it can be amazingly misleading. What about the millions of dollars Marco pays to the County yearly for emergency services? What would be Marco’s cost limitations, if any, when that initial $100 estimate proves to be insufficient?

I’m sure my fellow Marco Islanders hope more pro and con facts will appear before the Aug. 28 election. I, for one, I thank Councilor Honig for getting that ball rolling in an impartial and informative manner.

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Deal with your own community

I am tired of reading letters and commentaries from Marvin Easton, self-proclaimed expert for our quest to obtain a COPCN.

All of a sudden he cares about Marco Island? He is Dr. Tober's friend and neighbor and lives in a high-end district in Naples. Where was he the last 15 years while we struggled? 

This is not just about a second ambulance. It is about control and when Collier County hands off and consolidates the EMS with the fire/rescue our current .60 mil will go to whatever they feel like. Well over 1.5 mils will be easy. The small amount we will pay on the front end will not only be absorbed by the county but increase. Ask Ochopee or Fiddlers how they like it?  

Let our people decide without your bias Mr. Easton.  

When I call 911, I want someone local who knows me coming and dealing with my issues. We have more aging people on Marco and more high-rises than anywhere else in Collier.  

Please people think this through. We need our own ambulance service without interference!

Tom Laskowski, Marco Island

Balanced development needed

From space, Southwest Florida is seen with very little green space; rather it is a dense concentration of developments, empty shopping centers, roads, tarred-over parking lots and cemented areas. It is no wonder that during hurricanes there is no place for the water to go. Wild animals, that were here first, are having altercations with homeowners because there are no places left for them to go.

Yet in East Naples, unbridled development runs rampant.

State law must work in partnership with communities to provide balanced development. That has not happened as East Naples. It already has the most low-income and workforce housing concentrations and it gets worse. Developers are aware of a future housing plan allowing them a density bonus if they build workforce housing. That is density by right: to build new, 20 to 25 units per acre and, with existing affordable housing, increase units by eight to 12 per acre.

Developers can declare they are building affordable housing and as soon as permitting is done, work starts immediately. There need be no neighborhood meetings with this density bonus program, no compliance with land code or growth management. When the digging starts, only then will we know what is going up.

Without consideration of school impacts, this will necessitate all children being concentrated in East Naples. This part of town already has the lowest test scores. More disadvantaged children, lacking the enrichment wealthier areas enjoy, is not a recipe for success.

There will be a meeting on this issue with the Collier County commissioners sometime this fall. Please be informed and attend.

Pam Cannon, Naples

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