Letters to the Editor, Jan. 15
Keep careful watch
At the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, Chair Jared Grifoni recused himself while all others approved reimbursing him $3,900 for legal fees defending the Florida Bar Complaint I filed.
Attorney Gabriel theorized he fulfilled official duties that would serve the public good. I cited possible violations of professional attorney conduct not political disagreements. I feel the closing letters (Feb. 6, 2019 and August 2, 2020) do not exonerate him. I found Councilor Brechnitz’s term “outrageous” describing my efforts shocking; this process is legitimate so why discourage?
I will ignore this not out of respect, but because the First Amendment lawsuit filed by myself and Ray Seward is ongoing. It seems the city's insurance policy is paying for his defense hence he possibly felt he had no other option.
It is worth noting the duties performed for payment reference the Niblock debacle that resulted in Chair Grifoni receiving a vote of no confidence. Our city charter states that legislative authority is vested in all seven councilors; the chair is to preside at meetings and represent council at official functions not arrange secret resolutions.
Personally, I find it inconceivable that he would remind us of this. Quite honestly why did Attorney Grifoni need to hire counsel when City Attorney Gabriel defended his. This request for reimbursement, which was not submitted in a timely fashion, was presented only to this new council.
Florida law fundamentally dictates that public funds must be expended for public purpose. How does paying Chair Grifoni’s personal legal bills serve the public good? I find it shameful that our councilors enriched a personal friend or political ally.
Our chair has remarked that, “The new Council needs your support and vigilance.” Personally, with this harmful precedent being set, I agree with him that we must keep careful watch for possible danger.
Regina L. Dayton, Marco Island
Trump and ‘toward authoritarianism’
Americans who feel completely alienated from our political system support the attack on the U.S. Capitol, on democracy, and a further Trumpian move toward authoritarianism.
Trump weakened democracy by labeling press criticism as “fake news,” congressional oversight as corrupt, investigations into Russian interference as a Democratic scam.
He thereby weakened constitutional principles of the rule of law, balance of power, and the First Amendment, critical to our democracy.
Trump now weakens our most important democratic institution, free and fair elections, by exhorting neo-Nazi and white nationalists to attack the U.S. Capitol, state capitols, governors, legislators, anyone overseeing or implementing his electoral defeat.
Republican officeholders went along with the “election is rigged” falsehood until they became his target (Jan. 6). They vacillate between fear of his ability to mobilize the extreme right wing and fear of alienating Trump’s base, who compose the bulk of their own voters.
Granted, our democratic institutions are compromised by big money and corporate influence requiring constant reformation; but the alternative, authoritarianism, is not the answer.
Prosecute anyone who encouraged, funded or participated in illegal acts against state and local governments. Exclude white nationalists and neo-Nazis from serving in law enforcement. We need to save our constitutional democracy from the dangerous authoritarian element Trump has emboldened.
Judy Freiberg, East Naples
‘Remove Trump immediately’
Totally outrageous: storming the U.S. Capitol with the president’s urging! The Cabinet must remove Trump immediately. The participants (Wednesday) need to be arrested and jailed.
The owner of Oakes Farms led a bus there. Because of his actions, no one should patronize his businesses.
Leonard Solo, East Naples
‘Appalled’ at Capitol chaos
I am a lifelong Republican, but I am appalled at what I witnessed (Wednesday) at our nation’s Capitol. I am embarrassed for our country and ashamed of those protesters who claim to represent the Republican Party. They do not represent me. This is not the American way.
Jean Hartman, East Naples
Angry? Tell Republicans in Congress
Letters from your readers are condemning Trump and his acolytes, and some of this wrath is coming from disgruntled “lifelong Republicans,” many of whom want Trump out immediately.
I encourage these writers to pick up their pens (laptops or phones) and express their concerns to members of Congress, namely Scott, Rubio and Donalds. Until they and their GOP conspirators get your messages loud and clear and actually do something about it, the scourge that is our 45th president can continue to do damage to this country.
What can he do with the short time he has left? How about pardoning himself and all the deplorables who desecrated our nation’s Capitol and are being rounded up?
It is time for the Republican Party to speak up and do its part to save our republic.
Larry Caldwell, Naples