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Joe “Vote No” Rola

To whom it may concern and the people of Marco Island: Planning Board member Joe “Vote No” Rola is at it again.

Rola has a reputation on the island as the worst Planning Board member in our history (or at least the most ineffective member in our history), routinely making significant errors in judgment, law, and fact, and wasting time taking other board members down rabbit trails. He votes “no” on virtually every single item under consideration. Rather than look at issues from an unbiased perspective, Rola brings his wannabe condo commando/not-in-my-backyard attitude to everything.  Of course, all of Marco Island’s development prior to Rola moving here was fine but now that he’s here, he doesn’t want anyone else here and doesn’t want any improvements. We call that “hypocrisy,” folks. 

Rola has grown extremely frustrated because he either votes no on everything and loses at the Planning Board level or votes no on everything and his vote is overturned by our City Council. Most recently, Rola tried to ban medical cannabis treatment centers on Marco Island but luckily our council tuned out his out-of-date and out-of-touch message. Instead of accepting and moving on, Rola is now also the treasurer of the running gag PAC with fellow Planning Board member Ed Issler, that’s trying to back-door ban medical marijuana and adult use marijuana (even though it’s already illegal, real effective use of time, Joe!).

Let me say that again, he is treasurer of a political action committee dedicated to stop recreational marijuana from coming to Marco Island. Recreational marijuana is already illegal and if it does become legal, it will be because the majority of the American and Florida voters want it that way. This is a group of closed-minded people that were on the losing side of the medical marijuana debate and are now gearing up for a useless crusade to possibly fight against the will of the people – again.

Rola is anti-development, anti-growth, anti-business, anti-change, anti-future and anti-common sense.

TJ Ferguson, Marco Island

Howling wolves?

Marco’s City Council recently approved dispensing medical marijuana within city limits. This is a happy convenience for medical marijuana patients.

Currently, Florida doesn’t allow the use of marijuana recreationally, that is, for its mind-altering abilities. However, profit-motivated interests consistently lobby Florida legislators to legalize recreational marijuana. Someday, these lobbyists might succeed. It’s easy to realize how legalizing recreational marijuana someday could affect our small island’s safety of roadways, waterways and community.

Marco could protect itself against future, state-legalized recreational marijuana by simply having a city ordinance making recreational marijuana unlawful within city limits. Most importantly, if someday Florida legalizes recreational marijuana, a predated Marco prohibition ordinance could legally survive. That is why a Marco citizens committee, Ban Recreational Marijuana, (BRM), was formed, proposing such an ordinance Now. I proudly join and endorse that effort. 

Predictably, advocates of using non-medical, mind-altering recreational marijuana are surfacing. Some of them shamefully ignore the difference between medical and recreational marijuana by suggesting that opponents of recreational marijuana are cruel, heartless, uncaring monsters. Such strategy works for folks that think medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are one and the same thing. They, of course, are not. Other protesters try to ridicule, denigrate or insult Marco citizens concerned with possible legalization of recreational marijuana. BRM committee citizens have laughingly been criticized and accused of “Barking at the Moon.” Now, I’ll agree with that last accusation. Studies show that wolves “bark at the moon” for three reasons: 1. To rally; 2. To signal and 3. To warn. Those are exactly the aims of Marco’s “Ban Recreational Marijuana” committee. Please study the petition when it arrives.  Most of you will agree with its purpose.  

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Correcting a misconception

Because I'm a member of the PAC Ban Recreational Marijuana, I'm submitting this letter first to correct a misconception and second to issue a plea for decency and honesty in our discourse. I hope I'm not barking at the moon in doing so.

Florida law allows Medical Treatment Centers to dispense medical cannabis. I like many want to afford Marco Islanders in our backyard every opportunity to alleviate suffering. Our proposed ordinance is only to ban recreational marijuana.

I and the others do not view this commitment as a hobby to incite conflict or seek relevance. Our time is expended for what we believe is right.

In Devan Patel's April 18 article Alex was quoted as stating, "I am contacting lawyers in an effort to sue the City of Marco Island" as "we have the right to voice our opinions without the fear of being targeted." It would seem Alex does not remember these remarks when he chastises our PAC. It would seem Alex trusts that his potential lawsuit is not frivolous.

Now as a retired LCDR, USNR I will implore my fellow veteran to realize that there is no need for further derogatory terms like has-been and obstructionist nor personal exposure. Should our City Council not adopt this ordinance the will of the people will be made known by the ballots cast; therefore, I respectfully suggest that all who feel so passionately ensure that they are registered voters in Marco Island.

Regina L. Dayton, Marco Island

McConnell vs. election security?

Everyone has agreed the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election. To have a foreign government trying to affect an election is wrong. It’s also against the law.

Legislation to prevent interference has been passed in the U.S. House and is awaiting approval by the Senate. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow a vote. He contends the legislation is partisan, that it would only benefit the Democratic Party.

I guess he thinks further Russian interference would help with the re-election of President Trump, even though there is no evidence to show the Russians made a difference in 2016.

Countries like Iran, North Korea and Venezuela and possibly China would prefer that someone other than President Trump is elected. Who knows? They might be able to do a better job than the Russians.

How about that, Sen. McConnell? You could help put a Democrat in the White House.

Harlan Boise, East Naples

Flood insurance

Regarding 'outdated flood maps' Tuesday: Hurricanes can strike anywhere from Brownsville, Texas, to New York. Everyone has the ability to purchase flood Insurance. Many choose not to.

We live in East Naples about 5 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. We had a Zone X for years and we had flood insurance. I read an article that stated a Class 5 Hurricane hitting the Bonita area at high tide would have 10' of water in the intersection of Pine Ridge and Airport Road.

In Zone X, you are not required to have flood insurance. All of the people are taking a chance 'itwon't happen to us.' What if it does?

Flooding can happen all over the U.S., not just coastal. Flood insurance is cheaper if you are not in a flood zone.

Michael Lentovich, East Naples

‘Our mobocracy today’

I forced myself to watch the idiot on TV during a rally when he called for certain members of Congress to “Get out,” with his followers ranting behind him the same sentiments.

Comes to mind another truculent-type blowhard in the late ’20s and ’30s in Germany, with his followers chanting in front of him.

The followers are the problem in their obsequiousness of these blowhards. This is the real dilemma in our mobocracy today. With Herr Trump spewing his hate, these misguided followers, having swallowed a glass of it, are ready to swallow anything else.

Dick Murphy, Golden Gate Estates

‘Prosecutors don’t exonerate’

Just when you think Trump Derangement Syndrome can’t get any worse, you see this headline on the front page of the Naples Daily News the day after Mueller testified before Congress: “Mueller rejects Trump claim of exoneration.”

What a biased way to interpret the events of Wednesday. From comments I’ve seen from both sides, words like dud, disaster, embarrassment seem more appropriate. Why didn’t the headline reflect that?

Not being a lawyer, I can only rely on what others say about exoneration and our criminal justice system, and here the relevant information is that prosecutors don’t exonerate anybody — that’s not their job. (President Trump is not a lawyer, either, so it’s improper for him to talk about exoneration as well.) But beyond exoneration, Democrats, especially Adam Schiff, are still talking about more investigations. Into what, Mr. Schiff? Please, let it go.

The Trump Derangement Syndrome extends to non-legislators as well. A letter to the editor Thursday was full of exaggerations, untruths and hysteria — calling Trump treasonous because he told a joke; fixing elections with his stacked Senate, Supreme Court and Justice Department (I’d like to know how you do that); hiding his tax returns to avoid prosecution (for what?); etc., etc.

Chuck Bainbridge, East Naples

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