Our editorial board interviews are well under way for the Aug. 14 primaries.
With so many offices in play in Collier and Lee counties, and with vacations, and with early voting starting — this is not a typo — on July 30, we had to get moving.
The 30-minute interviews are videotaped and posted at naplesnews.com/newsmakers as quickly as we can get them up there.
The interviews, as you can see and hear for yourself, are full of information that you cannot get in a sound bite.
The interviews also produce some delightfully quotable quotes for what has become a Sunday column tradition.
Here is the first batch:
Incumbent Collier County Judge Mike Carr said he has always resisted pressure from the powerful. "No sweetheart arrangements," he said. "It reeks."
He recalled a parade of elected officials coming before him in a previous post, on the Florida Ethics Commission, for "taking things because they were so wonderful."
U.S. House District 19 GOP candidate Joe Davidow spoke of meeting his wife on the first day of law school, calling Christina: "Truly my better half — more attractive, brighter. Truly."
A fellow Republican in the same contest, Byron Donalds, said: "Societies that are run by a few will always implode."
He teaches his children a simple lesson: Don't give out too much of the water and juice from the garage refrigerator "so there will be enough for you."
Yet another GOP House hopeful, Chauncey Goss: "I can make a difference quickly in Washington, and quickly matters."
Goss said Congress has a split personality on budget cuts: "We want to go on a diet but we don't want to reduce our intake of Big Macs."
Republican House candidate Gary Aubuchon of Cape Coral calls for less red tape for projects destined for approval: "We need to take less time to say 'yes.'"
He said he will reach out to voters in south Lee and Collier counties as "a person of Southwest Florida."
Incumbent Collier County Tax Collector Larry Ray corrected us when we asked about his accomplishments: "It's all about what the people who work for you accomplish."
A goal for staff, he said, is to make customers feel as if "you're in a small town."
Steven Wagner, who is challenging Ray, said he is focused on consumer service: "I'll tell you how to fix problems, not that you have a problem."
To get on the ballot, he said he circulated petitions among Black Friday shoppers: "People were lined up; they had nothing else do to."
Incumbent Eugene Turner said the six-member Collier County Court bench works together so well "we view ourselves as a law firm."
He said he personally checks all the counseling services used by the court, going incognito to DUI and domestic violence classes, for example.
A Turner challenger, Jim McGarrity, told us about being an Army brat: "I was made in Japan and born in the USA."
He adds: "Civil discord will not happen when the law is fairly enforced."
Samuel Lopez, from Pembroke Pines on Florida's east coast, also is running against Turner. He said he is doing so at the behest of some local lawyers: "If they did not win, they might get some sort of backlash."
So there you have it.
Quotable gems from the early interviews.
Stay tuned. There are many more to come.n n nOf all the photos that readers have shared with me over the years, this one takes the cake.
Terry Pardue of Naples said his daughter and her husband, Teresa and Bob Phillips, were on vacation from North Carolina. "They had never taken the Naples Bay sunset cruise, so we went out on the Double Sunshine from Tin City," Pardue writes. "We were almost at Gordon Pass and she saw the deer and made the pictures."
A spokesman for Double Sunshine said key deer and white-tailed deer, which live on Keewaydin Island, are occasionally seen walking or even swimming at various times of the day.
A member of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida science team, Jeff Schmid, said the sighting "is probably fairly rare these days given the urbanization of Naples and the armoring (seawalls, riprap, etc.) of the Naples Bay shoreline.
"However, it would not have been so rare back in the old days prior to development."
Conservancy biologist David Shindle adds, "Deer are very good swimmers and would easily take to water as an evasive tactic or as a means to traverse between islands that contain suitable habitat."
I am not a biologist. I say I have lived here a long time and never saw anything like that. I say, "Wow."
Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His email address is email@example.com. Call him at 239-263-4773.