Letters to the Editor, Jan. 10

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Petition for clean water

What would a clean water amendment accomplish for Marco?

With a Right to Clean and Healthy Waters (RTCHW), Floridians could file suit, and our courts, after reviewing the evidence, could order the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to enforce standards and implement long-overdue Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs).

We could begin restoring Florida’s water quality.

Florida waters are polluted because the state permits it through action or inaction, and its MO is to allow as much pollution as is politically acceptable.

Here on Marco Island, the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is allowed to dump unlimited amounts of pollutants in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus into the waterways in the 'reuse' or 'reclaimed' water. FDEP conveniently lowered the limits for oxygen impairment in 2013 by 50 percent, making it that much harder to declare the Marco waterways impaired for oxygen, thus assisting the WWTP in the pollution of the Marco waters.

In Collier County, 21 of the 22 watersheds have no pollution limits established at all, and all the WWTP that the county manages are allowed unlimited pollution of these water bodies. The state permits the pollution of the county water bodies without restriction. We have a real problem.

In 2023, we need what the state will not provide: bold environmental action to restore and protect our waters. Floridians, therefore, must qualify a 'Right to Clean and Healthy Waters' amendment for the 2024 ballot for approval by voters.

Sign and mail the petition available at floridarighttocleanwater.org.

Eugene Wordehoff, Marco Island

Affordable housing solutions

Guest columnist and Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo writes in Sunday's paper that there is "No single solution to affordable housing." I believe that there is long-standing agreement with that point. However, there are real, politically reasonable and attractive solutions to shortages of affordable housing. Senator Passidomo alludes to her plans to review housing programs now in place as well as a variety of public policy considerations.

This is described as a "multifaceted approach." However, there is not a single specific example or even a hint as to likely legislative action which she may entertain. We are made aware of what will not be supported: "Government simply mandating private businesses simply freeze their rent..." I am not aware that this was recommended by any elected official in the "free state of Florida." Rather, a law was enacted requiring rental landlords to provide notice of 60 days when planning a rent increase.

There are serious public policy approaches to address the issues raised here. These include mixed-use structures, variable density zones, suspension/adjustment of zoning requirements and government incentives to investors, planners, builders and officials which would, over time, add to the housing stock where people work and would like to live. Is the "free state" of Florida, and specifically its legislative body, willing to consider solutions which are initiated, sponsored by and implemented with oversight by State of Florida departments and agencies?

A totally laissez-faire, hands-off, solely market-driven approach has had an abundant amount of time to succeed as the senator states in her opening remarks -- 43 years. But, we have no clear "multifaceted approaches" to date. Please, Senator Passidomo, introduce meaningful legislative solutions along with the necessary funding to help solve this problem.

Joseph Curran, Naples

Post-hurricane 'help' complicated

There is some inaccurate and incomplete information reported in the news regarding post-hurricane help from the state and from FEMA, which increases the difficulty people have in planning how to proceed with their recovery.

We have recently learned that FEMA will not put trailers in flood ways -- exactly where they are most needed now. This is after many applied and built plans on getting a trailer. The same came out about the state, which later approved those types of placements. However, it had not been widely reported that those in need of trailers to be able to fix their homes after the hurricane are required to sign a contract before moving into a state-issued trailer that requires a monthly meeting with a case worker to provide proof of actively looking for another place to live.

It is not clear how one is supposed to have time to work full time, raise a family, fix a hurricane-ravaged house, look actively for a place to live, collect proof of doing so, and also fix the house to move back in. These are some examples of how the "help" actually makes recovery more difficult. If the state and federal agencies were up front about what they can and cannot do, it would help people to make more streamlined progress in building back homes and communities.

Debra Giambo, Bonita Springs

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