I subscribe to the mantra that if one cannot say something nice, it is best to say nothing at all. It saddens me that this is not the way that political speech is conducted today. Unfortunately, this paper has become a platform for scurrilous lies in the letters to the editor that must be addressed.
One attack is that I led the subversion of the Constitution in implementing Amendment 1 from 2014, the amendment that sets aside money to "Acquire, Restore, Improve, and Manage" conservation land.
Every dime of this money has been spent on those four purposes. What is managing, if not paying park ranger salaries? In fact, that is exactly what the original sponsors of the amendment said managing was.
Those who claim malfeasance by the Legislature are either uninformed or purposely misleading.
Another laughable attack is that I helped subvert the "1996 Polluters Pay" amendment. That would be quite the feat, as I was in 10th grade. I did sponsor renewal of the Everglades Forever Act in 2013, a bill that imposes the only double tax in the Everglades, specifically on the farms in the EAA.
Another claim outlined supposed actions against the League of Women Voters. Setting aside this childish charge, it is laughable to use the League as a sympathetic figure, after they have been shown in open court to have colluded with part of the national Democratic Party in drawing legislative maps.
Overall, these letters have been critical of my support for Everglades Restoration projects that the writers deem unworthy. Let me be very clear: "clean water" advocates who obsess over a single solution that will magically "send water south" can never achieve what they are promising and will condemn our river to decades of disaster.
I am committed to finishing the projects in CERP/CEPP, Mod Waters and Decomp, all of which will actually send water south to the Park and Florida Bay, and I have not wavered from that position despite the ugly attacks on my character.
The latest false attack by my opponent is that my candidacy is bought by corporate and PAC donations, but are we then to believe that he is not being bought by his union and PAC donations? These attacks are lazy and unserious politics for those that cannot win on the merits of the issues.
All of these accusations are worn thin, focus group tested attack lines provided by dark money groups who refuse to make their donors public.
If the readers of this paper do have any questions about the issues "addressed" in these letters, I am more than happy to discuss their details. My direct, personal email remains email@example.com. I look forward to chatting with you about this or any other topic on your mind.
Let us hope that this letter will bring a permanent close to this chapter of liars and political obsessives.
Also, vote "Yes" on the Lee County 20/20 referendum.
State Rep. Matthew Caldwell represents District 79, which includes Lehigh Acres.