Letters to the Editor, Dec. 9

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Right to clean water petition

A petition drive is underway that will add an amendment to the Florida Constitution that creates a fundamental right to clean and healthy waters for the residents of Florida. This will be voted on in the General Election of 2024.

There is currently no political will at the Florida state level to clean up the water pollution that is all around us. Massive amounts of funds are expended on 'downstream' projects but, due to special interests, nothing is done to eliminate the sources of the nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) that are polluting our waterways. Manatee are dying in alarming numbers.

Collier County is responsible for 22 waterbodies. FDEP has not officially set oxygen limits on 21 of these waterbodies. If the higher oxygen standard from prior to 2013 were applied, only ONE of the Collier County waterbodies would NOT be impaired. A constitutional 'Right to Clean and Healthy Waters' would enable the citizens to hold the state accountable. Collier County is almost fully impaired for lack of oxygen in the waterways. Nothing is done about it. FDEP has set no limits.

To do its part in the statewide effort, Collier County needs to get 4,187 petitions signed by March 1, 2023, to help trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the amendment and a total of 16,748 petitions signed by Nov. 30, 2023, to help qualify for the 2024 ballot. Go to this website to learn more and sign the petition: floridarighttocleanwater.org.

Eugene Wordehoff, Marco Island

Not the Credit Card Competition Act

I would like to address a bill that is up for passing at the federal level. It's called the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022. It's supposed to help bring competition to the credit card industry to help lower fees that merchants pay.

Every time that we buy by credit card, the merchant is charged a percentage fee of the purchase. 83 percent of credit card fees are by Visa and Mastercard. Having been in small retail business for 26 years, I can tell you that the merchants have always been able to write off the fees on their taxes and the fees are baked into the price you pay for the goods anyway.

What the bill is supposed to do is create competition BUT the real kicker is that the credit card industry might stop doling out all the perks -- reward points, air flights, hotels, dinners, cash back and so much more. I don't know about you but I like my rewards points. It has been very beneficial over many years.

The reason to drop the perks is due to decreased interchange revenue for the credit card companies so they would take away the perks to keep their profit margin in line. Thus, the bill would take away rewards from customers, since credit card companies would no longer have the ability to fund the programs and the perks, thus taking away from the consumers. If you remember in the early 2000's, the Dodd Frank legislation had similar effect on debit cards, perks were gone.

The credit card industry might decide to raise our annual fee if you want the perks, or they may just drop them. Please google the legislation and read more to understand the ramifications. There is more to the bill.

This bill was originally hidden in the national defense legislation but it was dropped. The Legislature is gearing up to finish for the year and the NDAA (national defense) hasn't passed yet. Perhaps the House will hide this potential act in the NDAA bill. So I am asking you all to call your rep and your senators and tell them NO on the Credit Card Competition Act if you like your perks. As consumers, about the only thing that reps and senators understand is MONEY. And I, for one, would like to continue to get back a little of what I pay every month as a small token for helping along the economy!

Beth Summer, Naples

More on the 50 percent rule

As to the FEMA "50 percent rule" please note the rule states:

"The pre-improvement or pre-damaged market value of a structure is determined using appraisals, values used for property tax assessments, estimates of a structure’s actual cash value including depreciation, and qualified estimates based on the professional judgment of a local official. This does not include accessory structures (pools, garages, sheds, fences) or land."

So there are four ways to get a building's value for this rule. Folks should check each one and ask the authorities to pick the most appropriate (and most advantageous) value for calculating the 50 percent.

Jeffrey Hesley, Bonita Springs

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 29