One reason pro-sewer candidates won the city council elections was that all four men were positive in their approach to the issues.
Jerry Gibson’s yard signs read “Be Positive.” The winners were pro-sewer but also pro-Marco and it showed.
Still, they should extend the hand of friendship to the losers gingerly. Comments from some losing candidates suggest the councilors-elect might get unwanted machete manicures if they’re not careful.
One loser, asked by reporter Liam Dillon whether he planned to stay active politically, said, “I’ll get louder.” Another, the candidate with the fewest votes of the eight, said, “They want a resort community and they will get it. The developers have won.” That nonsense was repeated essentially by another loser: “We wanted to protect and preserve the retirement resident community ambiance that the Mackle brothers envisioned,” he said. “We feel we offered that option to the voters. They made their choice. This will become now a destination resort.”
That’s a huge distortion of what the Mackles and Deltona Corporation had in mind for this island. They did not see Marco as only a “retirement resident community.”
As Deltona’s 1964 annual report put it: “Rather than being aimed primarily at retirees, it is designed for a complete range of resort and leisure living — hotels, motels, apartments and extensive areas for homes. The company expects that as the community grows, its business and commercial life will expand too and younger working families will comprise a sizable part of the population.”
The report goes on to state, “However, it is expected that most of Marco Island’s growth will derive from tourist activities and from the demand for second homes for vacation, weekend and other leisure use.”
That’s the way Marco has been maturing for decades, just as the founders wanted it. It’s sad that men running for city council could get it so wrong.
I’m sorry that candidates apparently wanted a U-turn to their imaginary Marco of yesteryear. We’re no Sun City, no Seinfeldian “Del Boca Vista.”
Enough about that. The election is over and the new city councilors will be sworn in and take their seats in March.
They are smart enough to know the island must do its business in a civil way. I hope they’ll insist on that and believe they will.
They need to recognize opposing views on important issues. They need to guard the city’s money, which really is the taxpayers’ money, with serious adult supervision.
They need to remember that, while they won a lopsided victory, several thousand islanders voted for the other four candidates. Those people, minus a few too disagreeable to ever sing Kum Ba Ya, must be considered. Many of them too want Marco to be a wonderful place, civil, tranquil, open to all well-meaning, reasonable ideas.
All this is nothing but cliché-ridden treacle if not taken seriously. We need to trade short-sighted and long-winded discourse for a better way.
Disagreement? Sure, why not? Strongly-held opinions among councilors? Of course. If they don’t care enough about pressing issues, why would they be there?
Through Marco’s more than 10 years of incorporation, some screwy ideas have come, and gone, through council meetings.
I remember two that failed — the suggestion that we have, in effect, cleavage cops to check appropriate female dress in our nightlife venues, and the proposal to make it illegal for men to go topless in town.
So our new councilors must above all keep a sense of humor. They will need it.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC TV stations in Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.