‘All should be alarmed’ at voting bills
In a democracy, the right to vote is sacred. All politicians should consider it their top priority to make voting easy and efficient for every citizen.
Yet how have Republicans responded to their defeat in the presidential election and the subsequent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, incited by their losing candidate’s lies? You might think they would want to help shore up our democratic institutions and make their agenda more palatable to more voters.
No, they have doubled down on loyalty to their disgraced demagogue. Not one Republican voted in favor of the stimulus bill that will get needed relief to Americans suffering under the ravages of the pandemic, a bill that will get kids back in school and cut childhood poverty in half.
And all over the country, in shameful attempts at voter suppression, bills have been introduced in Republican-led state legislatures to make it harder, not easier, for Americans to cast their ballots. Some bills are aimed at giving politicians, not election officials, responsibility for certifying the integrity of elections. It’s easy to see where this effort is headed, and we all should be alarmed.
Ray Clasen, North Fort Myers
Vaccinator describes joy in process
I want to share the pleasure I have had being a vaccinator at the Lee County Health Department’s Skyplex site.
It may be hard to imagine this, but we are literally surrounded by people who are amiable, gracious, thankful and generous. The news reports of shootings and violent protests are in stark contrast to the hundreds of people I have had the pleasure of meeting while volunteering.
The people being vaccinated are excited. They thank me and often commend the smoothly run process. Despite their wearing masks, I sense their smiles and relief at finally getting an appointment. In January, one even brought champagne for the workers.
The volunteer coordinator, Rachel Laucevicius, deserves particular mention. She assists in the process of signing up for the medical reserve corps, which includes online training, fingerprinting and background checks. She frequently stays in touch to use the volunteers to augment the contract workers and others who man the sites in Lee County and some surrounding counties as well.
When your turn comes, don’t hesitate to be vaccinated. You are surrounded by very knowledgeable, caring people who are very good at what they do.
Dr. Barbara Seizert, M.D., Fort Myers area
More testing of area waters needed
Did Florida Rep. Lauren Melo and Chris Hudson of Americans For Prosperity even read the question “Are our waterways safe?” (Their recent guest column) seemed to be one long propaganda piece, ending with: “State-led efforts and legislative accountability will result in better environmental outcomes.”
Where were these people for eight years when then-Gov. Rick Scott was reducing environmental spending, resulting in historic red tide blooms and neuro-toxic blue-green algae in 2017 and 2018, costing millions of dollars?
John Cassani (of the Calusa Waterkeeper Program) at least answered the question honestly: “How can we possibly know?” Coastal waterways are checked, but other waterways, where children wade and swim, are not.
For example, he referred to Matlacha Pass in Lee County, where schoolchildren are taken for nature classes. Fecal levels often are higher there than recommended by the Florida Department of Health.
Why does this matter? Children can get much more than a rash. Diseases such as viral hepatitis B and E attack the liver, and E can be a killer.
Cassani wants more testing of our waterways and more warning signs; they are needed.
Maureen Trerice, North Naples
‘Outstanding live performances’
Theater is alive in Collier County. Friends and I have seen two outstanding live performances this month. The Marco Players have a hit with “The Bare Truth” and The Studio Players will amaze you with “On Golden Pond.”
The casts are outstanding, the sets are excellent, and seating is safe. We are so lucky to have so many talented people willing to memorize all those lines and make their characters so believable. Performances of both plays end in the first week of April.
Marcia Reff, Naples