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County Commissioners don't qualify for 'ruler status

June 18, 2014
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

Lee County Commissioners: Please do not steal funds from the 20/20 Program. Land is one thing that "they are not making more of each year." Once you destroy it - it is gone forever. Protected, open land for public use is very important to the general quality of life of any community.

I've been re-reading Plato's "Republic," which, I'm sure, that all of you read at one time or another in college. In doing so, I came across Socrates' description of ideal rulers of an ideal community, which I will attempt to summarize below; my comments are in [...]:

"... they [the potential rulers of a community] have to demonstrate love of their community while being tested in both pleasant and painful circumstances, and make it clear that they won't shed this patriotism whatever ordeals or fears they meet with, or whatever changing situations they endure. Anyone who is incapable of retaining it is to be excluded [from consideration as a ruler], whereas anyone who emerges from every test without impurities (like gold tested in fire) is to be made a ruler and given privileges and rewards in life and death."

It appears to many of us who love and respect our land and the 20/20 Program are beginning to think that none of you would qualify for "ruler status" according to Socrates. Remember, ancient Greece was the birthplace of democracy.

Socrates also said: "People who are quick at learning, have good memories and are astute and smart ... tend not to combine both energy and broadness of mental vision with the ability to live an orderly, peaceful and stable life ... One the other hand, a sound and stable character, which makes people more dependable and slow to respond to frightening situations in battle also makes them approach their studies in the same way ... But our claim is that a good and sufficient helping of both sets of qualities is a prerequisite for anyone to be ... awarded political office and power."

As County Commissioners, your actions to attempt to rob the 20/20 Program of funds in order to balance the county budget makes one think that perhaps you do not have the qualifications that Socrates outlined over 2,500 years ago for public service.

Once again, we ask that you do not steal from the 20/20 Program. Slow down, think, plan, look to the future. Do not lay the foundations of destruction for the one thing that gives Florida, and Lee County, its most desirable attribute. If you steal from the 20/20 plan, it makes the voters wonder just where your love of, and commitment to community, lies. This is not an easy thing to say ... but your actions do make one wonder. I, for one, am certain that there must be other ways in which to balance the county budget - but might take some hard work and serious thinking ... and time.

Your justification for taking 20/20 Program funds for other purposes would be appreciated.

Robert P. Skribski

St. James City



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