Half of Marco council candidates show for a ho-hum debate

Challenging format, but no tension characterizes iDebate

Turnout was a little lower than usual Thursday night at the fifth City Council candidate forum of the election season.

And that doesn’t just apply to the attending residents.

The “iDebate,” co-sponsored by Joey’s Pizza and Pasta and by the Marco Island Blog, was attended by just one half of the candidates seeking election to Marco Island City Council, and a smaller than usual crowd turned out to listen to the four hopefuls.

Joe Batte, Andrew Guidry, Roger Hall and Butch Neylon have all endorsed one another in the hotly contested race over four open seats. Notably absent were Jerry Gibson, Frank Recker, Bill Trotter and Wayne Waldack, who have also endorsed one another and run ads jointly in the local newspapers.

Recker cited a conflict — he is in Ohio on a long-standing engagement. Bill Trotter, Jerry Gibson and Wayne Waldack have said the lack of formality in the debate’s organization turned them off from attending.

The four in attendance dealt with a range of issues that have received a fair amount of coverage and consideration so far — and the opportunity for rebuttals yielded little conflict, as the four present candidates are supporting one another on remarkably similar platforms.

All opposed completion of the island-wide sewering program, one of the major tenets of their campaigns.

They each professed a desire to see existing infrastructure improved and repaired, discussed the need for the council to act with a strong voice that leads the city manager and outlined the need for the city to stick to a strong density reduction plan that does not grant special rights to developers.

Rebuttals typically contained the phrase “I agree” as the candidates spoke, largely, with one voice.

Questions were submitted online by residents via the Marco Island Blog, administered by Mario Sanchez, one of the debate’s organizers.

Many of the 220 questions submitted were pointed and thoughtful, but without a full slate of candidates to create some tension and a juxtaposition of views, the forum instead felt like a straight information session on the four present candidates.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 25

ChuckKiester writes:

It is a shame that editors have the right to entitle an article without having attended the event the reporter was covering. Perhaps the editor believes that questions originating from residents to the candidates are not considered important---apparently, four of the candidates for city council believed similarly. Well, they missed a great opportunity to respond to grass root concerns. Personally, except for not having all the candidates in attendance, I felt that it was the best candidate forum yet. The questions were, for the most part, to the point---some quite hilarious. I truly believe that those candidates who 'chickened out' would also have enjoyed the exchanges with 'real' people.

happy6 writes:

we don't need anymore debates....NONE....we need to vote and stop the runaway spending....that's the name of the game....eliminate trotter...pick one from the other three pro candidates..which 1-2 would you pick...the anti sewer card will get at least 2 candidates in office....goodbye good ol boys. any one with a brain can do the process of elimination for the brain trust here.

SmokeyJoe writes:

How can you say this was a Ho Hum Debate? The sponsors of this debate did a really great job. I feel that this was one of the best debates because all questions came from the public and covered more areas of government than any other debate. It provided a series of strictly Yes or No answers as well as a part for longer responses.the questions fell into different subject areas such as Bridges,City Manager,Density and Development,Environment,Fiscal,Inclusion,Integrity in Government,Police and Fire,School,Sewer,Special Interest Groups,STRP and other Miscellaneous Questions. The Pro STRP candidates should be ashamed for not showing up. BATTE,HALL,NEYLON and GUIDRY did a great job in answering all questions posed.

rcbauburn writes:

The only thing that is ho-hum is the Marco Eagle. It is no longer a viable communique for the people. Mr Kiester said it best. This by far was the best forum to date. Mr Oliverio and Mr Sanchez are to be commended for a great forum. The questions were from the community and extremelyThe only thing that is ho-hum is the Marco varied. This wasn't about just the STRP. Other than Mr Recker who had the only legitimate reason for not being able to attend, the other candidates lost a great opportunity to show the community how much they really care. On the other hand it reinforces why Joe Batte, Butch Neylon, Roger Hall, and Andrew Guidry are the right choices for our Marco Island Council! THEY CARE!
Bob Brown

rcbauburn writes:

I am reposting as I obviously did not proof read and fix my copy/paste issue......I do apologize.

The only thing that is ho-hum is the Marco Eagle. It is no longer a viable communique for the people. Mr Kiester said it best. This by far was the best forum to date. Mr Oliverio and Mr Sanchez are to be commended for a great forum. The questions were from the community and extremely varied. This wasn't about just the STRP. Other than Mr Recker who had the only legitimate reason for not being able to attend, the other candidates lost a great opportunity to show the community how much they really care. On the other hand it reinforces why Joe Batte, Butch Neylon, Roger Hall, and Andrew Guidry are the right choices for our Marco Island Council! THEY CARE!
Bob Brown

Leroy writes:

Keep on dreaming. Your candidates are tarnished. They have been endorsed by Kiester who will shortly be in front of a judge for deleting emails, which by the way, will be released today...should make for very interesting reading.

Are they still claiming they will stop the STRP, that is a laugh in and of itself!

dc5799 writes:

Your candidates with the exception of Recker are CHICKEN. These were question's the citizen's wanted answers to.

Lolala writes:

How unfortunate. I was unable to attend the debate as I was out of town. So upon my return I grabbed my paper and looked through it to find the report on the I debate. You see, I took the time to submit several questions to this debate. This newspaper did not consider this event worthy of writing a report on? Are there only four candidates that this paper cares about? I understand the questions were asked. What were the responses? Just be cause four candidates do not think enough of our citizens to attend an event such as this, doesn't mean the newspaper doen't have an oblightaiton to report on it. Is the paper so bias that it is now only going to write stories favorable to those it has endorsed? Candidates that apparently arrogantly believe they have won the election.

MarcoAvenger writes:

You guys think everyone is out to get you. Lolala are you going to file a lawsuit against the Eagle now. Or are you going to perhaps try to recall the paper. Get a Life. Stop complaining so much.

lovemarco writes:

I think it is incredibly inappropriate for Councilor Kiester to get involved in this, but then he is the master of inappropriate. Public records laws - those are for the other people. Listening to both sides - not Chuck. He only listens to those he agrees with. This alleged debate was a put up job by the most negative and divisive person on the Island, Mario Sanchez. It deserved to get precisely the attention and turnout it got.

jwputnam writes:

You know, from the beginning the whole issue has been that the council does not listen to the people. How appropriate it was for the fab four to decline to attend and therefore not answer the people's questions.

If you want more of the same, vote for those four and you deserve what you get.

Russ writes:

It should be obvious to Marco voters that incumbent Bill Trotter, seeking re-election, has now thumbed his nose at the residents by not attending THREE OUT OF FIVE public forums. Apparently, he feels so comfortable having the support of the business community that he can ignore the residential community. Well folks, if you:
1) consider an uncaring attitude towards residents,
2) add a voting record that includes blocking the people from voting legitimate issues twice in as many years and,
3) witness voting an irrational rush into signing millions of dollars of contracts,
4) mix in an apalling lack of effective leadership during four years as councilor and
5) realize that despite a boast of having incredibly high financial credentials and expertise, his tenure has led the city unto the brink of bankruptcy (note the rescuing Bank of America $20M line of credit loan).

Well, add this up, friends, and you come up with a person that does not, repeat does NOT deserve any resident's vote. It doesn't matter at all whether you love the STRP or you hate the STRP, this sort of elitist mentality tramples on the voters' trust instead of honoring it.

In running for re-election, Bill Trotter has said he wants to "finish what he started." Fellow Marco Islanders, if you've never heard a frightening threat before, you certainly have now! Please do not give "financial expert" Bill Trotter another four years to finish us off!

Russ Colombo

marcoobserver writes:

I think that we can interpet "the lack of formality in the debate's organization turned them off from attending." to mean they weren't given the questions in advance as they obviously were in other debates. What a sorry bunch that would presume to lead our city.

Lolala writes:

Trotter missed three debates. Trotter doesn't want to face the citizens unless they are the elite of Marco Island. Those 170 or so Celebrate Marco members who take their orders from John Arceri. They want Marco Island to grow and grow and grow some more. They care not about the health, quality of life or the welfare of our residents. They care only how much money they can make and how many more condos they can get built. Ask Jerry Gibson, the bartender and wannabee golfer, he has stated this purpose for the STRP on two occassions now. Trotter has also admitted to "assisting" the City Manager in shaping HIS proposals so that fellow council members would fall into line. This is sunshine law? Time for change, help get rid of Trotter and keep Gibson out. Vote for Batte, Guidry, Hall and Neylon. Vote for honest representitive government. Close the backroom door and shut down the deals made in it.

happy6 writes:

forget trottless...he has no balls to do anything except follow the leader.

lowus writes:

People of Marco wake up!
If these four jokers don't want to answer your questions now, what do you think they'll be like if they're elected?

patton1 writes:

Mario Negative Sanchez team is falling apart.
They are losing it!
I guess they finally realized that they have been preaching to a small choir. All 10 of them.

bbyrone46 writes:

Anyone that wants to run for public office should have the common curtesy to respond to the electorate's questions. All of the candidates were invited and all except Recker accepted more then a month before the event. The event was advertised in the newspaper and the format was given to each of them. The newspaper even outlined the format. I think that Trotter, who has missed three of these events has a lot to hide and cannot defend his first term as Councilman. The other two appear to be as arrogant as their sponsors. The people representing those who failed to attend want only to protect their investments on our island. They want growth as Jerry Gibson admitted twice. They need to expand our infrastructure to support more hotels, timeshares and condos. Vote for Batte, Hall, Guidry and Neylon if you want to stop all this spending and building on the island.

jwputnam writes:

Ask yourself what John Arceri's interest is in all of this. How about Craig Woodward? Monte? Tucker? Think about this very carefully. Why are these people so intense?

How much more public money has to be spent before the citizens see through the fog? Could they be afraid of a forensic audit? I wonder.

dougenman writes:

I am writing this as a private citizen.

All 8 candidates had ample opportunity to participate in the iDebate last night. However, 4 of them did not to show up. I was there and the questions were all from folks like you and me not biased or skewed towards some special interest.

More than 100 questions, that were submitted via the Internet, were asked. Few were about the STRP. Most were about spending, infrastructure, the charter and the city managers powers.

For four candidates, all of whom are for sewers, to boycott questions from taxpayers just because they don't like the debate sponsors is a kick in our collective teeth. This sort of behavior shows their elitist attitude, disregard for all constituents, utter disdain for the venue, fear and more of the same if they are elected. I hope we all remember this on January 29Th.

Please vote for:

Joe Batte
Butch Neylon
Roger Hall
Andrew Guidry

lauralbi1 writes:

There seems to be a skewed definition of the word "people" as so many of you desire to use it as it applies to our Democracy. The Joey's debate, irrespective of how many candidates were there, had 60 "people" in audience attendance. Hardly an outpouring that represents the the 14,ooo registered voters on the Island and from the demographics of the auduience, it would seem that the audience itself was one sided and not representative. That would make it "ho-hum" as the other debates have gone. Too many of you use the term people too loosely. Just like MITA does not represent the majority of Taxpayers on the Island, people, as you use it, does not represent the majority. Mr. Kiester, being a member of a Democratically elected body is aware that the votes of that body represent the voice of the people, as defined in our wonderful Democracy. He should act like it, as should most of you above.
By the way, someone above talked about the end of Mr. Kiester's membership on the Council due to the content of deleted e-mails. They were not wrong. In fact, it will be interesting to see Mr. Neylon's involvement in this potential crime causes him to be stopped before he even has a chance to get started.
Ed Issler

lauralbi1 writes:

Mr. Putnam: You are the most intense of all (except maybe for Byrone). This is about the people and their desire and vote, not individuals. We will all see what the "people" want for our City in the upcoming election. Hopefully we get all 14,000 people to vote, but if not, as many as possible. That is the only way we can all say that the people have spoken and move on. We all have our personal desires as to whom we want to get elected, but in the end, we all will support the Council, whoever is on it, for Marco Island's future. This election will reflect the vote of the "people", not just the "recall signators".
Ed Issler

bbyrone46 writes:

Issler, still telling your fibs I see. I will hold you to your promise to support the Council "whoever is on it". You should consider voting for a new type of government. One that represents the "people" and doesn't deliberately shut them out. A government that is transparent and does not hold meetings in back rooms without the press present. A government that respects the will of the "people" and seeks out their consent. If you want that sort of government vote for Batte, Hall, Guidry and Neylon. If you want the kind of government that Mr. Trotter represents, one that rules and decides what is good for the "people" without accepting their input then move to Cuba.

lutherdog writes:

The four candidates who chickened out of the debate have shown their true character, and it is not good. They are afraid to face the citizens of this island and have now shown their true colors. Backed by the board of realtors and other special interest groups, these four do NOT represent the citizens and will NOT represent us if elected. Shame on you four!

dc5799 writes:

Batte,Neylon,Hall and Guidry can and will answer any questions those BUMS put to them. They are not afraid like Gibson Waldack and Trotter are those poor chicken puppets.

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