Letters to the Editor, August 21

Marco Eagle

Don’t sign a blank check

Ever give someone a blank check? If you vote yes on Marco’s Ambulance issue it is the same.

You vote for a tax increase without a defined plan. Voting for a bureaucracy of unknown size to administer an as-of-yet defined ambulance service.

Hmmm. Me, I vote no. You?

Michael Gaynor, Marco Island

COPCN: ‘Let it be’

As a full-time resident of Marco, I’d like to again take a pragmatic view for considering a “yes” vote on Aug. 28.

Significant investment by both JW Marriott and Hilton Hotels will now bring “major” conferences and exhibitions to Marco Island. Logically, 1.2 Ambulances (one full/one part-time “in-season”) can’t possibly provide for all potential emergency needs. 

Editorial cartoon

The “straw” vote taken in 2016 by “unincorporated” Collier County (excludes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City), showed about 61 percent want to combine all county fire/rescue/EMS services into an independent taxing district. If “officially” repeated in 2020, the “sucking sound” you’ll hear is tax money leaving Marco to pay for these services within expanding population regions of Collier County. 

Without the COPCN (direct transport license), Marco will again be subject to the county pulling its ambulances off the Island during any potential emergency. This occurred during Hurricane Irma requiring Marco Fire/Rescue to transport a seizure victim “directly” to the hospital; helping to save the individual’s life. This resulted in a “reprimand” by the county for not waiting for a county ambulance to provide direct transport, although the county ambulance could be 30 minutes or more away. In any emergency, good judgment beats protocol!

The “economic proposition” indicates that a reasonable cost of $100 a year per $500,000 “assessed” property value will cover two additional green ambulances, plus the appropriate number of EMS personnel and a full-line of drugs to support their emergency activities.   

A yes vote will provide the Marco City Council the leverage required to negotiate a cooperative and longterm arrangement for our Residents and growing community.

Len Schuman, Marco Island

Initiative should be rejected

I served as vice chair and chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) tasked by the Collier County Commission (CCC) with evaluating pre-hospital services in Collier County. At the conclusion of our review process, the BRC submitted a report to the CCC detailing our conclusions as well our recommendations. The report is a matter of public record.
The initiative to pursue an independent ambulance system for Marco Island is in conflict with the recommendations of the BRC. The initiative includes the retention of a medical director independent of the Medical Director of Collier County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS). This independent medical director would be free to set independent medical, drug and training protocols, which is in conflict with one of the fundamental tenants of "best pre-hospital practices" … standardization.
The BRC analyzed King County Washington's pre-hospital services. King County is referred to as the gold standard of pre-hospital services. We noted that there were numerous providers of pre-hospital services in King County, however, they were all bound together by standardized medical, drug and training protocols.
Standardization of training, especially as respects Advanced Life Support (ALS) is critical. I ask the voters to reflect on the following ... if you or one of your loved ones requires ALS, would you want someone whose training is based on simulation to delivery ALS services or rather, someone whose training includes hundreds of hands-on delivery of ALS to live patients? It is critical that the "drug box" is standardized. Mixing disparate drugs and drug protocols amongst independent pre-hospital providers results in a toxic brew and invites disaster.
This initiative is ill advised and should be soundly rejected by the voters of Marco Island.

Edward Morton, Naples

Home rule is a principle to embrace

The Naples Editorial Board again takes the county position despite the facts.

Home rule is a principle to embrace, Collier County’s control of Marco Island ambulance service is not. 

It is not responsive government when the county medical director removes vital life-saving medications from Marco units and ignores our complaints.

The Editorial Board neglected to mention the Blue Ribbon Committee recommended transitioning County EMS personnel into the Fire Districts, and the majority of unincorporated Collier County residents voted to support turning Collier County EMS over to an independent taxing district.

Asserting that a city tax of $2 a week leads to big government is ridiculous. An independent “enterprise fund” will be separate from the city budget. Citizens can monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of their ambulance service. There is no accountability for Marco tax dollars in Collier County as it is lumped into general funds.

The county reluctantly agreed to give Marco a second full-time ambulance to be paid by the city. Does the county fear losing revenue when transport fees are paid to Marco Island if it receives its own COPCN? Should Marco citizens pay for ambulance services not rendered by the county?

Closest unit response protocol has been established by an Inter-local agreement in which Collier County and Marco Island will work together to provide the best emergency medical service for everyone.

Be advised, the selection of a medical director and management of the fire/rescue service will be by professionals, not politicians.

Vote “yes” Marco Island. This is Marco’s opportunity to guide and control its own destiny.

Michael Levine, Marco Island

Get out the vote for Terry

Roy Terry is running for re-election to the Collier County School Board.

He has been an excellent board member since 2010, and highly effective as the board chairman since 2016. He deserves our appreciation and continued support. Without Terry’s presence, the “senior” board members would have only two years of experience (elected in 2016).

Terry is in a three-way race. In order to win and avoid a runoff in November, he must receive 50 percent plus one of the votes cast. This is no time for complacency orassumptions about the likelihood he will win. This is no time to stay home.

I’m reminding everyone who supports Collier County Public Schools and knows why we need to re-elect Terry to vote and to tell their friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues to vote too. Let’s aim for a record turnout, and a record win for Terry.

Carol Polinsky, Marco Island