Letters to the Editor, March 29

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Guns for teachers?

I agree with Randi Weingarten,

American Federation of Teachers president, in her criticism of Betsey DeVos’ plan to appropriate federal funds for purchasing weaponry and training educators to shoot.

We need comprehensive gun reform, including programs we know will work: banning assault weapons, as was done in other countries; universal background checks to keep dangerous people from accessing guns; giving troubled individuals help before they terrorize schools, movie theaters, streets or places of worship (where the president recommended armed guards instead of tightening gun access laws).

As a Collier County Public Schools teacher, I’m not willing to be trained in weaponry for my classroom. Even if I were, considering that shooters’ firearms of choice are organ-exploding AKs, my handgun simply couldn’t compete.

Spooked by shadows, I’d hate to be the one to have the jitters and call the SWAT team for a false alarm. Worse still would be inaction, mistaking a plastic homemade gun from a 3-D printer for a toy.

What good is fortifying schools when, without metal detectors, we have no idea what kids bring to our schools in their non-transparent backpacks? We might barricade ourselves in classrooms with a perpetrator of violence.

Dare we ponder that mass shooting might happen here in paradise? As a teacher, I now see the risk of exposure to gun violence as an occupational hazard.

Legislation addressing root causes of violence and keeping weapons of war out of our neighborhoods is the answer. Arming teachers just enriches weapons dealers. The White House and Department of Education should make learning environments and workplaces free from gun violence through humanitarian initiatives, not by turning schools into the “Wild West.”

Cynthia Odierna, East Naples

In defense of Bill Moss

The stunning rebuke of former Naples City Manager Bill Moss’ candidacy for the City Council reeks of naivete — not typical for the tough-minded Doug Finlay, Jessica Heitmann and Linda Penniman.

The three argue that Moss’ candidacy is “unprofessional, thoughtless and onerous.” The three fail to disclose their own run-ins with Moss when they served on the council and he was the city manager. Hypocritically, they argue that entrenched staff practices demand an outside advocate somehow superior to a council member who actually knows what is going on.

Bill Moss may or may not be the right candidate. That is up to the voters. My objection is that the opposition is disingenuously disguising its real motive, which is to rebuke a strong former city manager who gave the City Council exactly what they are now asking for.

Moss was city manager of Marco Island for a decade before he was recruited to Naples for another decade of exemplary service to the community. In his years in Marco, he was often on the “wrong” side of a matter, and without fail he explained his thinking to the City Council. And kept his job. There is every reason to expect that if he is on the other side of the dais, he will also study the issues and state his opinion.

Larry Honig, Marco Island City Council member

Against road extension

As a resident of the Naples area since 2010, I am completely shocked and dismayed at the approach taken by the commissioners to push forward a costly and unnecessary Whippoorwill Road Extension without regard to the valid concerns of the affected residents.

I have reviewed the many letters provided by other residents and fully support and agree with all of their comments.

I recently attended a presentation of the project that dealt at length with construction details (road

width, roundabouts, road enhancements, etc.) but completely failed to address the basic issue of why the project is even under consideration!

It appears that the sole reason for the project would be to benefit a developer by unlocking a small parcel of land to enable the construction of 60 residential units. There was absolutely no discussion of the significant negative impacts of the project, which include harm to the environment, increased traffic volume through residential communities and serious issues for the adjacent communities.

The proposed extension would result in vehicular traffic taking an alternate route through residential areas. Consequently, the new road would become an extremely heavily traveled route that would cause considerable safety concerns.

The significant adverse impacts of the project clearly would outweigh any perceived benefits, and the project should therefore be wholly rejected. Surely the commissioners should be devoting their time and resources to more important issues.

Peter Whiteley, East Naples