| Naples Daily News
‘We feel less welcome now’ in Florida
My wife and I spend winters in Florida and in wonderful Fort Myers; and like others, we shell out gobs of money.
Tourism is the largest industry in Florida. With this in mind, we are puzzled by Florida’s handling of the COVID vaccine. Although we are in the high-risk category, we lack certain “documents” and thus find ourselves declared to be of a lower class, ineligible to receive the vaccine. Florida categorizes us as people not as deserving of health or life as Florida people. Thus we are left with the possibilities of contracting and spreading COVID to others, who might be Florida residents.
Precluding certain Florida visitors from receiving the vaccine was a huge mistake. Gov. DeSantis must have caved to political pressure from a few hard-headed and prejudiced supporters, bitter about tourists and traffic, etc. and uncaring about tourists’ contribution to jobs and the economy in Florida.
The governor’s excuse for this policy, focusing on a few cases of vaccine tourism and visitors flying in and out on the same day to get a shot, is shallow and seemingly cooked up after the fact. Sure, it probably happened, with an insignificant number of people — in contrast to the national program sending millions of doses to Florida.
All in all, we feel less welcome now.
Richard Morton, Fort Myers area
Have your say on golf, green space
Greater Naples area residents have a chance to influence the revitalization of the Golden Gate Golf Course. Much to the credit of the Collier County commissioners, this neglected golf course is back in play.
Based on county-sponsored studies, it has been determined that approximately similar financial resources would be required to convert and maintain this property to either a “passive park” or some combination of golf course and passive park. Any combination would include a VA nursing home, workforce housing and a mix of office and commercial spaces.
In short, the options consist of a 110-acre redesigned golf course, a 91-acre combination golf course and passive park, and a 78 acre passive park.
Commissioners request your feedback at outreach meetings Monday, Feb. 22, at 5:30 p.m. and Monday, March 22, at 5:30 p.m. Attend in person — seating will be limited — or virtually to express your opinion. Review the three suggested options and sign up for virtual meeting attendance at www.colliergggcproject.com.
Gary Hodgson, Golden Gate
‘Is there no discretion’ for vaccine?
My mother is 91. She has a lung condition. She lives alone in Fort Myers and has been a true yearlong resident of Fort Myers for 50 years. I live in Michigan and have been trying to get her a COVID vaccine since it came out.
First the Health Department, then her doctor, who had it briefly but didn’t take the time to review his patient charts, then Publix, Walgreens, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Sam’s Club. She is on a list with the Health Department, but my question is: Is there no discretion?
She is 91. She is not a Northerner with a Florida residency to avoid taxes. She doesn’t live in an expensive independent-living place or a gated community, or on a golf course. She lives on her own independently. I have contacted her representative, which was worthless. I have contacted vaccine facilities faithfully, spent hours online and on the phone signing her up, checking for availability.
This life-and-death situation can’t just be treated like the lottery, can it?
Christine Kanagy, Rothbury, Mich.
Voter ‘harassment’ bill in Legislature
Republicans are pushing Florida Senate Bill 90, which would force voters to request a vote-by-mail ballot each year (if they want one). Right now, vote-by-mail requests are valid for two general election cycles.
The bill is a solution in search of a problem. Our vote-by-mail system doesn’t need a fix. Even Republicans say it works well (Orlando Sentinel), and the conservative Heritage Foundation found zero fraud cases in Florida in 2020 (heritage.org/voterfraud).
I strongly oppose this bill. The bureaucratic burden would fall on the supervisors of elections. They’d have to spend precious time and taxpayers’ money to alert millions of voters that our standing requests for vote-by-mail ballots for 2022 were being tossed out, and then to process our annual requests.
The change would make it more cumbersome and time-consuming for citizens to vote. Not every Floridian has loads of free time (for tasks such as) requesting vote-by-mail ballots. Many are holding down two or even three jobs, taking care of children or elderly parents, etc.
This Republican initiative would not add “integrity.” It just would add inconvenience and discourage voting. Call it by its name: voter harassment.
(Editor’s note: SB 90 was sent Thursday, Feb. 18, to the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.)
Suzanne Cherney, East Naples