Letters to the Editor, April 5
Marco's police problems
We see what is going on politically in Washington, D.C., and Chicago and say how sad that the elected or appointed officials act in a manner that is unacceptable to the will of the citizens. It was said of Chicago, 'Big city with small-town politics.'
Well, we here on Marco Island are an example of the 'small-town politics' the Chicago commentator spoke of. On Jan. 8, the Marco Island City Council's newly appointed Interim city manager, Mr. David Harden, assumed his duties. In a matter of days, Mr. Harden requested Marco's police chief, Al Schettino, to resign. Either Mr. Harden has an amazing ability to evaluate employee performance or he was given a predetermined agenda by members of the City Council on the Q.T. The chief, it is said, has initiated actions that would lead to his retirement, given the alternative.
The chief assumed the position with issues that had been lingering over several of his predecessors' terms. All of these issues have been addressed and corrected or are in the procedural process.
Because of Chief Schettino's leadership, he has the support of many in his own department, as well as members within the Police Foundation.
I, along with many other Marco residents, want to keep the chief on the job. Marco Island needs a continuation of the progress Chief Schettino has brought to our police department and our community. It is time all Marco Island residents become informed and involved with their City Council government and stop the 'small-town politics.'
Charles Callahan, Marco Island
Felons' right to vote
I am appalled that our state legislators are in the process of trying to subvert the will of the people.
Amendment 4 passed with broad support from people all over the state and from all walks of life. Any legislation proposed should neither limit the rights created by Amendment 4 nor infringe upon the will of Florida voters.
Under Florida's previous clemency process for restoring voting rights to felons, individuals were not required to finish paying off their financial obligations to get those rights restored. So why now?
Once people have served their time, they, like any other citizen, should have a say in how they are governed. Our elected officials should not seek to thwart both justice and the will of the people.
Karen Tessel-Blum, Marco Island
Tragic events marked
March 31 is known as the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, referring to the tragic events that took place on March 31-April 1, 1918, as well as other tragic events in the 19th and 20th centuries that have brought enormous suffering to the Azerbaijani people. It is estimated that well over 500,000 Azerbaijanis have perished as a result of the Azerbaijani Genocide.
After the proclamation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) on May 28, 1918, the "March Events" were investigated by the ADR Government. In 1919-1920, and the ADR observed March 31 as a National Day of Mourning.
Azerbaijani people were unable to commemorate the Azerbaijani Genocide during the Soviet years (much like Ukrainians were not able to observe Holodomor, and the Circassians were not able to observe Circassian Genocide). Observation of March 31 was re-established only after Azerbaijan regained its independence in the 1990's, to commemorate not just one particular massacre, but the policy of genocide against Azerbaijani people carried out since the 19th century and throughout the entire 20th century, with the final act being the Khojaly Massacre of 1992.
The Azerbaijani-American community and the US Azeris Network (USAN) are commemorating the Azerbaijani Genocide and encourage all to make a statement for the record, such as via a proclamation or resolution.
Sumer Aygen, Marco Island
'Attacks on Amendment 4'
Gov. DeSantis, Rep. Donalds and Sen. Passidomo:
As a resident of Florida and citizen of the United States, I have been brought up to believe in the goodness of people and that my voice matters when it comes to my elected representatives. However, the recent attacks on Amendment 4 have strained that belief.
I urge you to cease the attempts to limit the effects of Amendment 4 and allow the people's voices to shine through in these politically dark times. As representatives working for the people of Florida, it is your duty to ensure our choices are upheld to the fullest extent. Please, do the right thing for yourselves and the citizens you represent.
Elyse Blank, Golden Gate Estates
Health care costs
If the president is to believed, the United States has the best health care facilities in the world. Unfortunately, in terms of accessibility, we are dead last.
The wealthy and those of us who have a decent health care plan reap the benefits of a system in which there is an abundance of support for almost any illness.
It is astounding that the richest country in the world ignores the plight of the poor, the elderly and many middle-class families who simply cant afford to pay.
'Obamacare' is certainly not perfect, but there was hope that it would be improved over time, and those citizens who enrolled were relieved to have some basic health care.
Mr. Trump's goal, of course, is to destroy anything Obama created, to which end he tirelessly pursues abolishing 'Obamacare.'
His idea of making America great again is to give tax cuts to the rich. Those who support his policies that put the poor and elderly sick at risk ought to reexamine their priorities.
Frank Fraser, East Naples
Against road extension
We are proud to support and contribute our time and effort assisting an exemplary group of local residents who decided to take a stance against Collier County’s Whippoorwill Lane and Marbella Lakes Drive connection project, which is coming up for a vote Tuesday.
The group’s grassroots accomplishments include the
NoRoadExtension.com website that highlights the viewpoints of residents opposed to the project and contains images of the nature it will destroy. To date, that website has over 1,500 visitors, supplemented by a petition with over 525 signatures opposing the project.
The group’s opposition, including retorts to nonsensical claims that have been made in favor of this project, will be presented at Tuesday's meeting of commissioners. Residents are encouraged to attend to hear this group’s side of the story, a story that all too often unfolds in other Collier County neighborhoods due to continued, unwanted over-development. We’re told it’s in the name of progress. It is not, it is against conservation, and often destructive to our neighborhoods.
The group's emergence, organization and passionate stance in opposition to the road connection projectwas accomplished in a mere few weeks. Political campaigns are run over an extended period of time. Citizens will not forget how our representatives vote for this project.
Rest assured that with more time to prepare, the group will resurface even stronger community-wide, in favor of representatives who stand with the overwhelming majority of their constituents on the issues, over any other extenuating factors. For those representatives who don’t, rest assured that the group’s growing ranks in opposition will be heard loud and clear.
Joseph and Lisa Rodriguez, East Naples
Also against road extension
I am writing in opposition to the Whippoorwill Road extension.
The city and county want this road, not the residents of Marbella Lakes, not the residents of the surrounding communities on Whippoorwill or Livingston Road.
Not to alleviate traffic on Pine Ridge, it is to accommodate a builder who wants toconstruct new homes. Without
the extension, he cannot build. It is that simple.
This road extension is not in the best interest of any communities, especially Marbella Lakes. Shame on our elected officials. Our safety, our children and our wildlife are all at stake.
This road will change the logistics of our entrance at our expense, not to mention the noise it will create in our community, added to the noise of Interstate 75.
It will put our children in harm’s way when entering and exiting school buses with the proposed roundabout.
We are told by our elected officials that this is in our best interest. It is not. It is in the best interest of a builder and our elected officials.
Linda Scura, Marbella Lakes, East Naples
Kids prosecuted as adults
The adult criminal justice system is no place for a child. I urge lawmakers to pass HB 575 and SB 876 this year to stop sending Florida kids to adult prisons.
Prosecutors around our state send hundreds of kids to the adult criminal justice system every year. In fact, Florida prosecutes more children for felonies than any other state.
Kids are housed in adult jails and prisons where they receive little to no education and are often held in solitary confinement. Compared to kids remaining in the juvenile system, children tried as adults are more likely to attempt suicide and are more likely to re-offend when they are released from prison. Prosecuting children as adults has long-term, harmful effects on our youth and our communities.
It’s time for the Florida Legislature to limit adult prosecutions of children. If children are charged as adults, they should be housed in juvenile facilities while they await trial, so they have access to education and other rehabilitative services tailored to kids.
The Legislature also should create a due process hearing, to bring transparency and accountability to this practice. Most children charged as adults in Florida are transferred out of the juvenile system at the sole discretion of prosecutors, through a process known as “direct file.”
Children have no way to contest that decision, and judges have no way to review it. A due process hearing would allow a judge to look at circumstances surrounding each case to determine whether the child should return to the juvenile system.
Charlotte Nycklemoe, Florida League of Women Voters, Juvenile Justice Committee chair, and 244 Melrose Place, East Naples resident
Short-term home rentals
A possible solution to the short-term residential rental issue is to allow all homesteaded property to rent out rooms, B&B, weekly, or seasonal rental at their discretion and apply the tourist tax to those rentals.
For all non-homesteaded properties, keep the six-month minimum rental agreement in place. The fact is residential-zoned areas of the county are not supposed to support commercial enterprises. The investors who own houses just to rent them are a commercial enterprise. They should not be allowed to rent property on a daily or weekly basis. This changes the nature of a residential zoned area.
Homesteaded property has the owner living there for at least six months a year. He or she is a vested member of the community and would be more responsible in maintaining the character of the neighborhood.
I can't understand why the commissioners close off discussion and not even consider anything unless it's supported by the bureaucrats who run this county. We need new leaders open to ideas other than what is proposed by "staff." I think I will run for the fourth district in 2020. We need some fresh faces who will stand up for individual property rights in Collier County.
Clark Reid, East Naples
Rural Lands in Collier
A 12-month review of the Rural Lands Stewardship program culminated March 28 when a consensus was the main agenda item. A last-minute change allowed a landowner to monopolize the meeting with a sales pitch for his recommendations.
Not surprisingly, the citizens attending were miffed. A review of 12 months of comments was overshadowed by “big guns” in the back room who all lined up like a Greek chorus. They weren’t interested in any new recommendations and they voiced it loudly.
Too bad they hadn’t attended some of the other meetings to hear about some well-researched recommendations for the Rural Lands build-out. Why wouldn’t they want to hear about new panther research or Smart Growth ideas? I don’t know the answer.
Now the future of our growth in the Rural Lands will be in the hands of the Planning Commission and the County Commission. We are hopeful they will be open to new ideas to keep Collier looking like paradise.