Trotter ninth to announce Marco City Council candidacy

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of interviews with candidates who are announcing they will run for election to the Marco Island City Council in 2008.

City Councilor Bill Trotter announced Wednesday his intent to run for re-election to Marco Island’s City Council, making him the only incumbent seeking one of four spots on the council.

That makes him the ninth candidate to enter the race, joining Joe Batte, Roger Hall, Butch Neylon, Ken Allen, Frank Recker, Wayne Waldack, Andrew Guidry and Jerry Gibson.

The nine will compete for two spots vacated by Chair Mike Minozzi and Councilor Glenn Tucker when their terms expire, as well as seats held by Trotter and Councilor Terri DiSciullo. DiSciullo announced at Monday night’s council meeting that she will not seek re-election in January.

Trotter, 64, has served on the council for nearly four years. When he was elected, he was one of eight candidates competing for four seats, all of which were held by incumbent candidates.

Trotter was the only newcomer elected to the council, joining re-elected councilors Terri DiSciullo, Mike Minozzi and Glenn Tucker.

File photo:
Bill Trotter, was the only incumbent councilor running in 2007. He said he wants to continue the progress accomplished during his previous four years on the council, particularly in better defining the goals of the city’s departments. Trotter is current Chairman and may be re-elected Chair Monday, March 16, 2009.

Photo by LESLIE WILLIAMS HALE, Eagle staff

File photo: Bill Trotter, was the only incumbent councilor running in 2007. He said he wants to continue the progress accomplished during his previous four years on the council, particularly in better defining the goals of the city’s departments. Trotter is current Chairman and may be re-elected Chair Monday, March 16, 2009.

Trotter and his wife, Beverly, have lived on the island six-and-a-half years. They hailed from New Jersey, where their two grown daughters and two grandchildren still live. He is active with the Marco Island Civic Association.

With a resume that includes management and consulting work for large companies such as AT&T, Trotter comes from a business background he says makes him well-suited to deal with the new financial challenges posed to the city by property tax rollbacks.

He says he joined the council four years ago to help guide the young city through some of the complexities of building up the island, particularly after the purchase of the water treatment utility.

“I wanted to help preserve the island and help it progress forward, particularly in terms of infrastructure,” he said. “My business background, particularly in high-level planning, made me want to bring a business perspective to the government. I thought I could bring a lot of experience to the city.”

That desire has not lessened over the last for years. Far from it, he says — he is running again to finish the job he started.

“It takes time to institute change when you’re only one of seven councilors,” he said. “You have to work over time to influence the council to make them aware of certain improvements that could be made, and that’s what I hope to continue in the second term.”

Trotter spent a while on the fence about whether to run again. His announcement came just two days after DiSciullo said she would not seek re-election.

“The reason I ran the first time largely was because it’s such a wonderful place, I wanted to contribute to making it better,” said Trotter. “This time I wanted to sit back and see what the range of candidates would be. I didn’t think there were enough candidates for the four seats who really had a positive change approach and a positive progress approach.”

With Trotter’s announcement, the field is now split between five candidates who have expressed a desire to halt the city’s Septic Tank Replacement Program and four candidates who have said it should continue forward. Trotter falls into the latter category. During his tenure, he has consistently voted in support of the program.

That issue is contentious, without question, he agrees. However, he says, many people in the community are too focused on that one issue, contributing to tunnel vision that edges out the many other important things facing the community.

“My concern is that people get focused on this one issue,” he added. “We’re not making it as palatable to the population as we can. But, the worst thing we can do is overlook the progress we’ve made in our short time as a city.”

He points to Collier Boulevard, the city’s soon-to-be-finished refurbished thoroughfare. He also mentions the city’s consistently reduced property taxes. But, he says, there is more to be done.

“We still don’t have a master park plan for the island, and I’ve been asking for that for years,” he said.

He expands upon his example, stating that the city needs to form a clear picture for its undeveloped park lands, particularly the Glon property, the site designated as Veterans’ Memorial Park.

Part of Trotter’s platform in 2004 involved advocating for more specific goals within city departments. While he says City Hall has come a long way since then, parks are just one area that could use some more diligent planning for the future.

This also leads him back to the issue of planning the city’s finances. He says he worries that during this year’s budget workshop, too many unnecessary expenditures took the place of more urgent projects, such as bridge repair.

“Part of the problem is I think we have to spend more time on prioritizing programs from the ‘need to have’ to the ‘nice to have,’” he said. “We need to make the hard decisions in a more informed way. This is going to be much more critical going forward.”

Becoming more informed, he says, has a lot to do with citizen input. He says that drawing out the city’s budgeting process could go a long way toward gaining better input from residents, thus helping the city develop a clearer picture of what programs have widespread support and deserve funding.

He suggests hosting more workshops throughout the year so the city can dialogue with residents and build a more complete picture of what the public wants.

“We have to have a process where we can get more review — get citizen input,” he said. “One of the difficulties in the last couple of years that I think we need to address in the next couple of years is we need to create a more constructive atmosphere.”

He mentions lack of respect between residents at council meetings as a major roadblock to gaining the citizen input he believes is integral to the planning process.

“I think it’s just important for us to not only address the issues, but for the new council to address the community and get a broader base of the community involved,” he commented. “The rudeness of many people that attend the council meetings makes it so that many people just don’t feel comfortable in that adversarial of an environment.”

With better citizen input, Trotter says, residents will also be able to develop a better understanding of how their government works. And, according to him, once residents become more active, the whole process can be more efficient, with councilors operating under a better understanding of what the people want.

“If there’s good news here in the budgetary tax reform, it’s that we’ll do more rigorous planning,” he said. “We’ll have to focus on better budgeting, better dialogue with our citizens.”

Another concern of Trotter’s is density reduction. City Council scaled back density reduction plans several months ago, but Trotter says the city should continue forward with the effort to cut down on the number of residential units allowed when a developer is granted a variance for mixed-use construction.

He called council’s move to instead designate city lands and parks as zero density areas “voodoo density reduction,” and stated that the city could and should do more.

“A lot of my concern about the mixed-use area is it’s not an entitled or permitted use,” Trotter said. “It’s intended to be commercial, and through a variance you can get some residential use out of it. To me a ‘conditional use’ or ‘non-committed use’ is the only area where we can affect controlling growth. My frustration is we haven’t been addressing it, and that was the only real density issue we could address.”

Market studies, designed around determining the necessity of new commercial space, would be beneficial to deciding where the city should grant conditional permits for mixed-use space. It would not only cut down on vacant commercial units, but also help the city make more informed decision son when to grant the permits.

Just another facet, he says, of moving the city in a positive direction. And after all, that’s why he says he felt compelled to run again.

“I think it’s important for us to focus on all of the important issues the city has to address,” he said. “Including the financial challenges we are going to have in the future and to create an environment that looks positively at the need for progress and building on our accomplishments as a city, and to have the council and the citizens pull together to make that a reality in going forward.”

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Comments » 11

tptcolumbusway writes:

He must have the read the blog on the announcement from yesterday. Is he kidding, "citizen input" have his ears been painted on for the past 2 years with thousands signing petitions of protest requesting that the people be allowed to decide the sewer issue? He cannot be serious. Maybe it is the hydrogen sulfide gas affecting his ability to recall. If I am reading the quotes in this article correctly, (I am doubting myself because I cannot believe what I am reading), is he saying I did not listen to the citizens in the past because they were mean to me and my friends and if you are nice to me if I am reelected I may consider your input? If this were not so serious it would be comedy. Some times I think Larry David is behind all of this.

1Paradiselost writes:

I think Trotter and Issler must be taking the same meds. How could somebody be so arrogant? You have accomplished nothing to be proud of. His comments are insulting to the intelligence of anyone that has followed this mans record since his election. Mr. Trotter you mention respect. How can one respect you when you have turned a blind eye toward to the needs and health of the people you represent. How can you smile at seniors that are on fixed income, while stealing the last dollar they have without giving them a voice at the polls? More than half of this community is discussed with you and your pompous attitude. You should have turned up your hearing aid and listened to all the people you represent. And now you want our vote? You should have left the job with remaining dignity that you had. Shortly you will able to add to your resume, loser!

JoeFubietze writes:

Mr. Trotter obviously thinks that his election will be decided behind closed doors at a special meeting of the council with Bill Moss present. At that immaginary meeting those councilors that do not agree with re-electing Mr. Trotter will be verbally assaulted by the pro STRP council members. One particular councilman/lawyer will go on to say that he has proof (pictures no less) that those dissenting council members have planted Hydrogen Sulfide in our ground water. Terri DiSciullo will both vote for and against his re-election. His candidacy will eventually be struck down by the courts only to have the council appeal the decision. LOL, its funny because its so possible with this city government.

Mr. Trotter the voters actually get to have a say in your re-election! What are you trying to do? Guage exactly how much the current council is hated?

Mr. Trotter Quality Enterprises does not have a vote in your re-election! Sorry. And even though Bill Moss still gets to vote because he is a resident/voter, his vote only counts as one vote now.

Mr. Trotter you most definately are not the worst member of the current council. As good of a person as you are you will be voted out. Because you signify everything that is wrong with the current council. You represent all the disillusion that the current council works from. And the contempt the current council has towards its constituents.

Flowerpower writes:

Congratulations Dr. Trotter! Best of luck; we need you.

happy6 writes:

Dr./Mr./Father/Your Holiness....TROTTER....please don't do this to us again....we don't need you.

EdFoster writes:

Fool me once, shame on you!

Fool me twice, shame on me!

Mr. Trotter, you fooled many good people with your seemingly impressive resume the first time around. We won't make the same mistake again.

We will not vote for a self-proclaimed management guru who fails to investigate government-approved alternatives to the most expensive, destructive and divisive program ever to befall our island.

We won't vote for a self-proclaimed guru who votes to continue dewatering while nearly a thousand people register their illnesses with a compassionate doctor.

You have offered nothing positive in your four years on the council that was not MICA-related, i.e., of interest to your wife. I support MICA on most issues, but MICA is not Marco Island. A councilor must represent us all.

You have closed your mind to reason, scientific research and the people, and have voted with the establishment on every important issue. If I were you, I'd save myself and my family a great deal of embarrassment and withdraw from the race. But then, I'm not you, a fact for which I thank God!

Ed Foster

EdFoster writes:

Mr. Trotter:

Since you've had more to say in this longer article, I will make a few more comments.

You say: “My business background, particularly in high-level planning, made me want to bring a business perspective to the government. I thought I could bring a lot of experience to the city.” Question: why is it we've seen no evidence of your experience in your 4 years on the council? What have you done besides sleep?

You say: "many people in the community are too focused on that one issue [the STRP], contributing to tunnel vision that edges out the many other important things facing the community." What do you think is comparable in importance, cost, devastation and environmental damage to the STRP? A spray park?

You point to the soon-to-be-completed refurbishing of Collier Boulevard as a great achievement. It also brought thousands of tons of asbestos-laden debris whose long-term effects have yet to be experienced. You sat sleeping while this happened.

You say: “We still don’t have a master park plan for the island." You sat sleeping while the administration used our park as a construction dump. That's a "plan" isn't it? And you approved it, tacitly if not actively.

You say we need to prioritize our expenditures. I agree. Why haven't you done so in your 4-year tenure to date?

You say you want "more workshops." If so, why did you support the city's trumped-up biased workshop on the pros and cons of sewers and onsite treatment and force MICA to withdraw its commitment to hold a truly independent and unbiased debate between experts? You know as well as I that it was you and your wife's influence in MICA that caused them to withdraw their agreement to host a debate between experts.

You say: “The rudeness of many people that attend the council meetings makes it so that many people just don’t feel comfortable in that adversarial of an environment.” Why did you not object to the rudeness of Councilors Tucker and Minozzi to their constituents. They have been the rudest people in the chamber while you sat there sleeping.

Mr. Trotter, we don't appreciate your lecturing us with statements such as "With better citizen input, ... residents will also be able to develop a better understanding of how their government works." Who are you? God almighty? We are not children; we know how our government works ... poorly precisely because our government will not listen to the will of the people.

You say: "once residents become more active, the whole process can be more efficient, with councilors operating under a better understanding of what the people want." Pardon me, sir, but that is utter B--lsh--t. Residents have been active; you don't like what they want so you ignore them. Wake up!

Ed Foster

Lolala writes:

Mr. Trotter, you say citizens that attend Council meetings are rude? Do you mean they are rude because they attend or because while there they cannot help themselves from clapping when pleased or booing when disappointed? I suspect the latter. Human beings have a low tolerance level for abuse and pain. If you and your fellow majority councilors had not inflicted so much discomfort upon those who attend the meetings, they wouldn't be so rude. Everything has a cause and effect. Even relationships between elected officials and those they are sworn to serve. Your rrogant convictions have served us poorly. False accusations, large assessments for unnessary projects, rude interactions between councilmembers, promoting false justifications for the STRP, closed meetings to discuss lawsuits against our citizens, disregard for the health of our citizens, sleeping during meetings, not responding to citizen inquiries, unrealistic budget priorities, excessive spending, deliberate telling of untruths to promote personal agendas and irresponsible governance are just a few things that come to mind. I don't want you to serve anymore. I believe you deserve a quick boot to your rear end and I intend to vote for Allen, Batte, Guidry, Hall or Neylon. All accomplished leaders in their careers. Citizens who are curious and are not afraid to challenge City Staff. Candidates who will give the people their city back. I will not vote for someone who promotes the status quo or an unaccomplished charming real estate agent, tooth lawyer, failed financier or a Council Member that does the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce. I will not vote for people who advocate spending my tax money for special interests and call it progress. Marco Island deserves so much better.

exposed writes:

'Gee Ollie'

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

Mr. Trotter:

We need experienced executives like you to help guide us over the next 4 years - especially in keeping taxes under control.

Not just the Marco taxes, but the taxes imposed by the county and the school district.

Best of luck.

JohninMarco writes:

Mr. Trotter, We had a 30 million dollar surplus at the beginning of the year. Now we are without funds for the Fire Dept and bridges. You ran this ship on to the rocks!

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