Letters to editor for Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Readers write about COVID mask mandates, occupancy limits, vaccine access and other topics…

Letters to editor for Tuesday, March 16, 2021 1
Letters to editor for Tuesday, March 16, 2021 2

Mask, occupancy leadership lacking

A recent News-Press article described visitors’ reactions when exposed to Florida’s appalling lack of adherence to CDC recommendations. Many visitors from other states have been conditioned to wear masks and have accepted occupancy limits at bars, restaurants and other businesses. When seeing no limits on occupancy and no mask-wearing recommendations from our state, i.e. Gov. DeSantis, they are shocked.

Florida residents were subjected initially to a brief state-mandated shutdown similar to most states’, but they have become acclimated to a slow process that has resulted in a complete denial of scientific recommendations. Thus, Florida residents are like frogs unaware the water they are in is slowly approaching a boil.

A complete lack of public education or guidance based on scientific facts from the state’s leader, DeSantis, has placed Florida residents in warm water that very likely is going to boil. His inaction has created a complacency that is going to cause many deaths that could have been prevented.

Many residents choose to wear masks and refuse to attend crowded bars, restaurants, beaches, etc. Unfortunately, there also are many residents who need to receive responsible and intelligent guidance to understand how to protect themselves and fellow residents. Some of them will suffer consequences that could and should have been prevented by responsible leadership by DeSantis.

Pamela Maza, Cape Coral

Dose numbers hidden to favor donors?

Why is Gov. Ron DeSantis hiding the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses he is sending to each county?

If he were to make the numbers of vaccine doses distributed to each county known to the public, we would see his corrupt plan, which is to send the vaccine to places where his richest donors live, where most donations to his re-election PAC come from. Recently, various publications have uncovered his scheme, and my suspicions were confirmed.

I have sat in front of my computer three days a week for weeks waiting for the Publix vaccine site to show the start for the race to register for an appointment. Wednesday was my 17th day in front of my computer, waiting; a new preferential category had been added. Consequently, I got nowhere, again.

I noticed how just after 20 minutes, Collier had just 27% of the unknown quantity available, while some counties still had 93% or 87% availability.

On the previous Monday, the anticipated button finally turned green, and I clicked “book now.” I immediately selected the county and city and was shown locations where vaccine was available. It took me less than 30 seconds. However, all six location showed appointments already fully booked, no more appointments available.

DeSantis’ vaccine distribution “plan” has been a failure; a complete disgrace. He has treated seniors looking for this lifesaving vaccine as beggars. This is shameful. So, remember come 2022 re-election time.

Erika Ferrari-Chumbley, North Naples

‘Almost all elders have health concerns’

The inability to schedule a vaccination speaks to the fact that others are indeed doing so. If one is unable to schedule due to hundreds of others taking time slots for a day or location, it’s frustrating, to be sure. That being said, many who want a vaccine will have to patiently wait their turn. Almost all elders have health concerns that increase the urgency. As for folks believing “it’s not fair,” people are being vaccinated, just not you this time.

S. Lynne Sherwood, Marco Island area

Legislature fails to protect water quality

A commentary in Sundays News-Press asked: “Are our water safe?“ The answer is: Heck no.

John Cassani (a founding member of Calusa Waterkeeper Inc.) tells us just how much fecal matter is in the waters. Swimming is unsafe without a doubt.

Melo and Hudson never once mentioned water in their editorial. All they did was defend states’ rights over federal regulation.  

The Caloosahatchee River, which dumps pollution into the Gulf is root beer brown. I have been coming to Florida for the last 20 years. I have seen the waters around Sanibel turn from an azure blue like Caribbean waters to a slightly opaque brownish color. Ponds in my village are a bright green from algae caused by fertilizer. And we have all seen what red tide has done to wildlife above and below the waters.

For 20 years, state legislators have been denying this is happening. Some of them support the pollution by supporting sugar cane companies and farmers who have animals that pollute. Yes, legislative accountability is the answer, but so far the Legislature has done nothing to protect the waters in Florida. All I see is one study after another.

(Editor’s note: Calusa Waterkeeper Inc. states it’s a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, Lake Okeechobee, other waters in South Florida and their watersheds through education and promotion of responsible use.)

Linda Peterson, Fort Myers area

Florida bill is meant to confuse voters

Are you one of the millions of registered Florida voters who requested a ballot to vote by mail in 2020? Perhaps you also are one of 1.5 million Floridians who deposited that ballot in a drop box because of your concern about late delivery by the U.S. Postal Service. Did you request a ballot to vote by mail because you didn’t want to risk COVID-19?

Perhaps you are elderly, disabled, serving overseas in the military, lack transportation, have child care or job responsibilities that make standing in line impossible or impractical.

Over the past few decades, Florida has implemented a seamless, secure vote-by-mail system that enables wide voter participation, like we saw in the 2020 general election.

However, under state Senate Bill 90, if passed, vote-by- mail drop boxes would be eliminated, voters would have to register annually for a ballot to vote by mail, and it would be a crime for anyone other than an immediate family member to deposit one’s completed, sealed vote-by-mail ballot.

This bill targets poor, elderly and disabled people, many of whom are people of color. Supervisors of elections in 66 of Florida’s 67 counties strongly oppose the bill, stating it would create widespread confusion among voters — exactly what those who created this bill desire. This bill must be defeated.

Jeanne Goldberg, Bonita Springs

‘Hoodwinked’ by plans for beach hotel 

After reading (Monday’s) article regarding the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, it seems we all have been hoodwinked by The Athens Group, whose vision for Naples is certainly not in the best interest of our town.

I have lived here for 25 years, have seen many changes, but now to see this company want to alter it into a Miami Beach is truly a disgrace. Slowly, the veil of deceit is being lifted to expose their outrageous ideas. What other insidious ideas are they planning?

If not stopped now, more developers will seize the opportunity to invade our town, which would lose its distinctive character. Time to tell Athens to move on, preferably across the state.

Emily Walz, East Naples


Stop sale of beach hotel, golf course

We know this much: The Athens Group cannot be trusted. Sale of the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club property to that company must be stopped now.

Is it feasible for the city to buy the property? If the golf course cannot be operated at break-even expense, it would be a beautiful city park.

Joseph Sullivan, Naples

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