Letters to the Editor, April 9

Marco Eagle

Putting the brakes on tourist season

Marco Island central beach regrading project has put the brakes on tourist season; as many of you may not know Collier County in partnership with the Marco Island City Government has declared the end of this year’s tourist season.
A major section of Marco Islands beaches have been closed to accommodate a Collier County construction project.

Editorial cartoon

It is unimaginable that our city leaders would agree to this scale of beach closure while tourist season is still in full swing.
There is no excuse for this low level of concern by our city government. The whole idea behind becoming a city was to give the citizens of Marco a voice and protection from an uncaring county.
I guess our city leaders can use the excuse that they didn't realize that tourist season has not ended yet.        

Tony Costantino, Marco Island

Need more benches on Marco

There are many walkers on Collier Boulevard who enjoy resting awhile on one of the many benches along the sidewalk. However, there are no benches south of the Marriott Crystal Shores south to the Somerset condominiums.

There are three concrete pads for benches — one on the north end of the Charter Club property and one on the north end and one on the south end of the Sandcastle property. These pads are on public property and would be a very welcomed spots for benches. I understand benches have been purchased. Let's have them installed on the existing pads. They would be greatly appreciated.

Margaret Aylward, Marco Island and St Louis

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 sixmonth 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.

Michael Seef, Naples 

Golden Gate golf course

Let's step up and recognize an obvious and timely opportunity for residents and visitors wanting to play affordable golf in our sports-minded community: Purchase and development of an 18-hole municipal course can and will make it a reality. The basic course and supporting facilities are in place.

An editorial item in the NDN on March 25 stated: 'Collier County is trying to position itself as a sports tourism destination.' If this is true, why doesn't Collier County and the Tourist Development Council consider supporting the purchase and subsequent conversion of the existing 18-hole golf course in Golden Gate.

Such a move, while attracting tourist dollars also will provide a learning venue for many of our younger school athletes while assuring many of us older 'duffs' also will have a chance to play at an affordable venue.

Brett Batten reported March 19 in one of his columns that the Golden Gate golf issue has brought community residents living in areas surrounding the existing course together for a common cause.

I believe the issue has stepped beyond the immediate footprint of Golden Gate, that Collier has numerous pool/park areas, etc., and now a million-dollar sports complex. It's time to commit to a municipal course.

Ronald Cummings, East Naples

Pence’s views on Christianity

Vice President Mike Pence visited Ave Maria University on March 28. His theme was that Christianity and Christian education are under attack.

Pence has it backwards. Christianity in the U.S. is not under attack, but some adherents to Christianity attack those who think, act or worship differently from them. Hiding behind religion, Pence and likeminded bigots are trying to deprive others of their rights, including access to commercial services, medical procedures and being able to adopt a child in need of a loving home. Of course, they would restrict a woman’s control of her own body.

Religious freedom is the right to practice your beliefs unhindered, not to impose your beliefs or values on others. That freedom is under attack on many fronts, and our laws are being perverted to support some beliefs based on religion.

Contrary to Mr. Pence’s words, religious education is not under attack, but taxpayer funding of religious instruction should be.

The Florida Constitution specifically prohibits governmental aid to religion, yet the school voucher program blithely transfers money to private schools. Mr. Pence strongly favors that. Over 80 percent of the schools receiving these vouchers are religious. The Florida Legislature is considering increasing that support to just short of $2 billion. Wouldn’t that be better spent improving our public schools?

The right to practice any religion, or no religion, is best defended by strengthening the wall of separation between religion and the state. That is the wall we should be building.

Bruce A. Beardsley, East Naples 

Trump and Russia

Attorney General Barr’s press release said it was not “proven” that Trump colluded with the Russia, but he doesn’t want to release the hundreds of pages of mountainous evidence. Oh, and Mueller said Trump “was not exonerated” from obstruction of justice. Mueller made no recommendation, leaving it to Congress to determine if the evidence was impeachable.

Obviously, the Republicans are lying when they say the report “exonerates” President Trump and want to bury the report.

Trump lied that there were no contacts with Russians. There were over 100 contacts by 14 administration officials, including by Trump. Why?

Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner secretly met with Russian intelligence agents at the Trump Tower to obtain stolen “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, never notified the FBI, then lied about it .Trump then concocted a fraudulent letter misrepresenting the meeting. Why?

Trump fired James Comey, then confessed to Lester Holt that he fired him because of the “Russia thing” and told his Russian friends in the Oval Office the day after firing Comey that “the pressure is off.” Call me crazy but obstructing justice and confessing to it seems a mite criminal.

This president has invited an enemy to attack the U.S., sided with that enemy for 2 1 / 2 years against U.S. intelligence agencies, lied about Russia attacking us to elect Donald Trump, has never delivered a single speech denouncing the attack and has never given a single order to combat the attack, which continues today according to his own intelligence officials.

Never in history has a president openly sided with an enemy and refused to defend his country. Never has such an un-American and treasonous act been supported by 42 percent of the American people. America is under attack daily from Russian hackers, and Trump cult members are complicit.

Bill Linehan, East Naples

More Trump investigations?

Are tears of joy or tears of sadness appropriate? If you’re on the right side of the political spectrum, they will be of joy; if on the left, of sadness. I’m referring, of course, to the completion of the Mueller report.

As a country, we should all be glad to be shown that our president is not a stooge of the Russians.

Very few on the left seem to have that view. The Democrats have vowed to press on to prove, what exactly? Oh, yes, the obstruction of justice. As many commentators have pointed out, how can you have obstruction if there is no underlying crime?

The left hates Donald Trump so much since he beat their precious Hillary that they will do anything they can to destroy the man. All kinds of subpoenas and investigations are promised. After all, Mueller didn’t find the evidence to put Trump away, so the duty falls to Congress to finish the job that he started. They’ll put that final nail in Trump’s coffin.

I have some advice for the Republicans. Let the Democrats have at it. Just go along with whatever wacky plans they have. The Dems just can’t help themselves; they always overreach. Let the American people see how pathetic and mean-spirited the left is. If their campaign continues down this road, Trump will not only be re-elected, the Republicans will take back the House.

Chuck Bainbridge, East Naples