December 2017 Month in Review – Local News

December was a busy month for Collier County government. The Board of County Commissioners had what a Naples Daily News editorial called “one of its most notable decision-making days of 2017,” taking a number of important actions. The Sheriff met with a group of community activists about his immigration policy, there were some significant developments in Collier’s three city councils, and there was news about Collier schools and school board members as well.

Top stories – County government

Top stories: the Collier Sheriff’s Office

Top stories: City of Naples

Top stories – City of Marco Island

Top stories – City of Everglades City

Top stories – Collier County Public Schools

Naples Daily News year-end editorial series

Finally, Naples Daily News editorial writer Allen Bartlett gave us a great overview of the year just ending and the challenges ahead in a seven-part editorial series. Bartlett’s editorials are an important supplement to the paper’s coverage, frequently reporting news not provided by the paper elsewhere. I encourage you to read each piece; the titles and brief recaps don’t come close to telling the full stories.

Some final thoughts

Have you noticed the significant reductions in original coverage of state and local government and education stories by the Naples Daily News over the past several years? I believe the most recent reductions are due to a pruning of staff since the paper became part of the USA Today Network in 2016.

As we enter 2018, I fear the loss of the meager local coverage we still have, and what that would mean for our ability to be informed citizen-voters.

Our direct participation in the governing process — attending open meetings and Town Halls or watching them on-demand, participating in local civic associations, attending League of Women Voters meetings and candidate forums — is now more important than ever.

So I end my last post of the year with a request: today and every day, find out what’s happening in our community’s civic life. Let the people you’ve elected — to the county commission, city councils, school board, fire/EMS and mosquito control commissions, the tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, sheriff, Clerk of Courts — hear your concerns. Are they focusing on the right things? Showing a proper sense of urgency? Spending your money wisely?

This is OUR community. We have the responsibility to shape what it is, what it does, how it operates. We must participate and hold our elected representatives accountable. We can no longer count on the sunshine of the free press to do it for us.


Correction: In my December 2017 Month in Review of state news, I referred to “A shocking discovery by Naples Sen. Kathleen Passidomo” and included a link to an NBC-2 post titled “Resigned state senator kept list ranking female colleagues’ looks.” Subsequently, a reader made me aware of a series of tweets by POLITICO Florida reporter Marc Captuo that showed that the NBC-2 story and Passidomo’s part in it were untrue. I have removed reference to that story from the post in the Sparker’s Soapbox blog archive, and apologize for having unwittingly shared “fake news.”

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