5 days ago, 05/16/2013 at 3:45pm
Money, Money, Money
We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about money, government money, which is to say your and my money, lately.
The Commissioners of Lee County voted to pledge $4.6 million in county funds to a mystery corporation, now known as Hertz.
The state of Florida offered $12 million, plus $68 million in tax credits.
Add that all up and we’re talking about some real money. Whether it’s tax credits or money paid outright, that's over $84 million that otherwise would have been available for state or county spending needs.
This is the state that refused to expand Medicare, walking away from $500 million in federal dollars (again, yours and mine) to expand Medicaid funding for the poor, choosing to dump the costs of uninsured Floridians on hospitals who then pass it along to all of us. But what do our legislators know about the reality of health care insurance. Members of the Florida House pay less than $9 per month for single coverage; $30/month for family. Senators pay $50/month. If you write the check for your family’s health care insurance, you know how laughable that is. Wouldn’t we all love to have family coverage for $30/month? Where do we sign up?
While our legislators were wrestling with health insurance and end of session challenges, Governor Scott was readying the multi-million dollar package to attract Hertz to Florida and Lee County.
Will it be good to have a major corporate headquarters in Lee County? Sure. It shows that our area has the amenities that executives look for in both their business and personal lives. This is a great place to live and work. So, why does it require an $84 million carrot to bring them here? Short answer – because if we didn’t offer it, someplace else would.
Does our county have the funds to pay Hertz to move here? That’s up for debate. In recent years, our county has been spending more than it takes in, using reserves that are just about depleted.
2 weeks ago, 05/09/2013 at 4:34pm
The Coconut Telegraph*
Did you hear about the parking garage they're going to build at Seafarer's?
No? Well, then you might want to check your connection to the grapevine or coconut telegraph here on the island. True or not, this "news” spread like wildfire this week.
What’s the truth?
On Monday afternoon, Vice Mayor Joe Kosinski presented one idea on how traffic and parking congestion might be relieved. He presented a description and drawings of two multi-level parking ramps to be located northwest of the bridge along Old San Carlos Boulevard. He said he'd spoken to some of the businesses in the area and emphasized that this was only one possible idea.
Was that enough to stifle the telegraph? Of course not! By Tuesday morning, the wires were humming with how the Town was going to tear down everything on Old San Carlos Blvd. or there was going to be a big parking garage on the Seafarer's site or somesuch.
Turns out the coconut telegraph was wrong, as it usually is. If you’re interested, it's very easy to find the truth in this. The topic was part of the Town Council Workshop on Monday. Every Town Council meeting and workshop, for that matter, every Town committee, has a published agenda available. The agenda posted on the Town's website provides a link to the background information that Council members are provided prior to the meeting. It's available to anyone, both before and after a meeting. For instance, if you want to know what information was provided to the Local Planning Agency/Historic Preservation Board in the matter of the request for Historic status for the Big "M" sign at Moss Marine--it's on the website as part of their February and March meeting agendas. For that matter, just about any topic discussed has background information attached to the agenda. Check it out for yourself.
So you'll find the whole presentation of the proposed parking structure, with drawings and sketches, linked to the Monday Workshop agenda under "Parking Alternatives."
3 weeks ago, 05/02/2013 at 3:55pm
While the calendar says we have several more weeks of spring, Islanders know that summer has arrived.The turtles and stingrays know it’s summer. We’re hearing cautions about how to peacefully co-exist with these sea creatures. The beach on the south end has been marked to protect nesting shorebirds. It must be summer.
While some Islanders grow weary of the warnings and reminders, it’s the cost of living on a barrier island. These creatures were here long before any of us trod these sands.It may not seem all that horrible for just one home or condo to ignore the turtle lighting and beach rules, but there’s evidence that turtle nesting in populated areas has decreased over time and all those homes and condos with lights left on do add up. It matters if even one light is left on or even one nest is disturbed.
There’s less reason to worry about the stingrays. They have their own defensive behavior that serves to protect them pretty well. If disturbing a turtle or shorebird nest resulted in a painful welt, we wouldn’t be talking nearly as much about how important it is to protect the nests.
One of the unique charms of our Island is our intimate connection with the natural world that surrounds us. The rules to protect that environment are the price we pay to live in such close proximity to it. Those who don’t want to bother with the rules or who think that turtles are given undue deference would probably be happier living in a sterile suburban or concrete jungle environment far removed from the natural wonders that surround us here.
We are long past the days when we thought that we could do anything to the planet and it would bounce back as good as new. We know better now. There are consequences to human activity.Leaving the global climate change question out of the equation, there are abundant examples of negative lasting effects of human activity that we once thought nothing of. Ever been to Los Angeles during an air quality alert? And how about those Superfund clean-up sites?
4 weeks ago, 04/25/2013 at 4:28pm
As we’ve watched Boston funerals, memorial runs and the excruciatingly slow revelation of possible motives and background of the alleged bombers this week, there have been not so faint echoes of 9-11 in the emotions evoked if not the actual events. As the media focuses on the why question, devoting most of each newscast to the inane questioning of the accused’s family members, (How do you think they feel?), the rest of us are left awash in vulnerability.
You recall what vulnerability felt like on 9-11 and the days, weeks and months afterward? When we all felt like we’d never feel safe again. Seems we did eventually move through that vulnerability and back to our sense of safety. We went back into tall buildings; we even got on planes again. We felt safe. And that was what shattered last week. We watched in horror as people just like us, going about their lives fell victim to some crazy plot to kill as many innocents as possible.
We are not alone in our lack of interest in the bomber’s childhood, background and religious beliefs. That just seems like we’re giving the bomber exactly what he wants-notoriety and attention. And it feeds the next crazy loner’s desire to become infamous by killing innocent people.We can’t control what the rest of the media does. In spite of whatever conspiracy theory might be floating out there, there is no mass media conspiracy or if there is, we haven’t been invited to the secret meetings.
No, for us, the story is not the bomber’s life, struggles, beliefs or motives. Don’t know. Don’t care.
For us, the story is how Americans responded. They helped. They cared about those that were injured. They stepped into the unknown to help because someone needed them.
I spent two decades providing medical care at athletic events much like the Boston Marathon.The people in those medical tents at the finish line were well prepared for dehydration, blisters, heat injuries and maybe a heart attack.