August 26, 2016
Put money toward storm water
I was troubled by the quote attributed to Commissioner Brian Hamman in a recent news story about the tax rate for Lee County going down. The county has so many unmet needs that cutting the millage seems foolish to me. For example, I live in San Carlos Park. The drainage district is overgrown and full of trash. This could be remediated if Lee County was to at least partially fund the storm-water rule that has been on the books for years, but never funded. I’d rather pay what I would spend at a dinner out in order for our collective funds to go to making our community better.
The taxes earned from San Carlos Park would likely increase due to increased property values brought about by cleaning up the canal system, let alone helping improve the water quality in the Estero Bay. Perhaps if enough others feel like I do and voice their ideas, our commissioners will make the decision to fund the stormwater rule and help clean up our waterways instead of passing the buck to the state, or the feds.
Nora Demers, San Carlos Park
Clean water of the north
Here’s a different perspective of the Lake O water crisis, instead of the debate on what’s at fault. I just returned to my Fort Myers home from a brief vacation in Sarasota and Venice, only about 70 miles to the north. The Gulf was that pristine aquamarine you think of at a Caribbean island. You could see your toes when in waist deep water. The air was fresh and clean with that dreamy salt water scent. And all of the parking was free.
Now, I love the many amenities I enjoy in the Fort Myers area that I relocated to in 2006, but I have to wonder, did I make a bad decision in hindsight? If the politicians don’t make the right moves now, I just may have to myself.
Michael Kintzel, Fort Myers
Who is watching Brock?
Who’s watching the "Watchdog”? The last time the Collier Clerk of the Circuit Court Dwight Brock had an unbiased review of his operations, the results were less than stellar. In fact, it begs the question: Who’s watching the “watchdog"? In January 2012, the Florida Auditor General conducted an operational audit of selected Clerks of the Circuit Court, including Brock (State of Florida Auditor General Report 2012-08). The findings: Significant deficiencies in his court operations pertaining to risk assessment, written policies, a fraud policy, and relying on personnel time estimates for state funding purposes; and, there were no comprehensive fraud policies despite apparent risks within his operations. His responses to the Auditor General regarding these findings were inadequate and embarrassing.
Is Brock too distracted, not sufficiently engaged, or too involved in litigating the County Commissioners and staff to pay attention to his own operations? The residents of Collier County deserve better. It is time to give GEORGIA HILLER an opportunity to revamp all Clerk of Courts.
Karen Oberrath, Bonita Springs
Fix higher education first
Free college tuition would make us competitive with many countries around the world. First, fix the problems with our higher education. Schools must economize. Fully utilize all buildings instead of having them dedicated to one area of study. Have a minimum -- cost effective -- number of students for each course or major offered. Free education should go to students who maintain a "B" average and can find jobs after graduation.
For each major, schools should publish the job potential both locally and nationally. They should coordinate with business and industry to develop needed programs. Good teachers and worthwhile courses are needed. The instructors should have up-to-date skills and not just be protected by tenure. Course requirements should not just be make-work programs for professors. Classrooms should be monitored to ensure that a syllabus is provided and followed in a timely manner. Tests -- often bought from publishers -- should actually reflect the material covered. Standardize community college programs so that all the course work is accepted at 4-year schools. Otherwise, time and money is being wasted.
The welfare journey
This is in response to the article in The News-Press recently, entitled “Housing Vouchers Don’t Pay The Rent.” This is not true – the vouchers only fail to pay all the rent. This article tells the story of Jacqueline Reyes and her daughter, a recent college graduate, who this article refers to as victims of the government, because the rent subsidy hasn’t kept up with the rent charged by greedy landlords. As a result, Reyes and her daughter are homeless. The daughter evidently also got a free college education since the family had no way of paying for it. Reyes has been on the public dole for more than 10 years and it appears she and her daughter will continue to be victims as long as taxpayers keep picking up the tab.
Isn’t it time for people on welfare to start taking some responsibility for themselves? After 10 years of welfare, shouldn’t they be able to overcome their bad luck? It appears that many are gaming the system and have no intention of becoming self sufficient. It is one thing to give a temporary leg up, but we shouldn’t provide them with welfare forever.
Bob Russell, Fort Myers