Letters to the Editor, March 23
Idea to prevent algae in rivers, canals
Algae is a recurring problem on both Florida coasts. On Marco Island, a canal where we used to observe manatee gatherings had only two. Both were hardly moving. The water was so full of green algae that visibility was but a few inches. No light could penetrate to the canal bottom, where manatees once grazed on sea grass. They are starving.
Algae nourishment comes (partly) from farm runoff water into Lake Okeechobee,
the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf.
A similar problem exists in Ohio with farm runoff into the Maumee River and hence to Lake Erie. Farmers are asked to not farm closer than 20 feet to a runoff stream.
The same thing could be done on farms north of Lake Okeechobee, but that would cost the farmers money. What can be done?
Florida businesses hurt when tourists hear there are dead fish on the beaches.* How much money do they lose? Would they pay farmers to farm more carefully even if it would lower their harvest?
George Sharp, Marco Island
[*Editor’s note: Red tide, which sometimes kills fish, is caused by algae that originates naturally offshore. Some research indicates runoff increases it.]
‘Faith in American democracy’ at risk
Mr. Groome was my first favorite teacher. He was 6-foot-5, absent-minded and always in a hurry to get settled in our seventh-grade history class. A couple of times, he actually got his head tangled in our classroom flag on the way in. There was no tangle, though, about the meaning of that flag for him.
He told us over and over, in many different ways, what distinguished us as Americans from citizens of authoritarian regimes around the world, most notably the Soviet Union in those days: We got to choose our leaders. We all got to vote.
I don’t know if Mr. Groome is still with us; but if he is, I know he’s not happy in 2021. Significant numbers of us today are all for democracy as long as the franchise is limited to the “right kind” of people, the ones who look and think the “right way.” Mr. Groome would think that they were missing the point, and he would be very sad.
I never thought I’d live long enough to see Mr. Groome’s simple faith in American democracy challenged out loud by nominal “patriots,” but here we are, in effect choosing sides.
We are defining what it means to be American in the 21st Century, and the outcome is far from assured. Mr. Groome would not be pleased.
Geremy Spampinato, East Naples
What to make of today’s GOP?
All Republicans (in Congress) voted against the recent $1.9 trillion (COVID) relief act, after passing a $1.9 trillion tax cut bill primarily for the rich (in 2017).
Conservative members of Congress denied (the validity of) the presidential election; and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., called the thousands who attempted to overturn the election real Americans,* even though (some of them) killed a policeman and hurt 140 officers (during the Capitol riot Jan. 6).
What ever happened to the party for safety and protecting the police?
We had never had a president who led an insurrection by words or actions.
But on Jan. 6, our Capitol was attacked for the first time by America’s own citizens, promoted by a president and his big lie that he won the election (except for) voter fraud.
Trump had a background of extra-marital affairs, financial bankruptcies, and racial bias from the Central Park Five to Charlottesville. He didn’t attend church, denied the effects of COVID-19 and left the country with record debt.
Conservatives, especially the evangelicals who supported him, went against almost all of their own principles. Trump and his cultish followers left the conservative values of the Republican Party. The GOP now is going to the elephant graveyard.
Glenn Mueller, East Naples
(*Editor’s note: In a syndicated radio interview Thursday with host Joe Pagliarulo, Sen. Johnson said of the Jan. 6 protesters at the Capitol: “I knew those were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.”)