Guest Commentary: A civil discourse

We frequently hear claims of incivility attached to the assertions made by the “usual suspects” when attacking those that would disagree with them. A civil discourse requires an honest representation of the facts, presented in a non-personal manner.

We saw a glaring example of this abuse by the two closely linked columns entitled “Getting the facts straight on electric issues” by John Arceri, and “Do we really need another Don Quixote” by Wayne Waldack. The attacks on myself and the disinformation and lack of integrity contained therein add nothing to a civil discourse. Some of the gross misrepresentations contained are:

Waldack claim: I (McMullan) have spent years fighting the city in lawsuit after lawsuit without a win.

Fact: Absolutely false. I have never filed a lawsuit against the city or anyone else. I did not support the CARES, POP or RECALL campaigns. I did speak out at the council meetings against spending $130-150 million dollars on any project without a referendum by the people. (It was a 4-3 vote of council, led by Arceri to go ahead with the STRP project.) I remind residents, it was only two years earlier that council unanimously agreed it was critical to get voter approval to spend $10 million dollars for the Glon property (Veterans Park).

Arceri claim: “He (McMullan) and his supporters resigned (from the electric committee) without attending one meeting.”

Fact: Absolutely false. Of the nine meetings held, I attended the first two and the last three meetings. I also asked for and received, via Public Records Requests, CD audio copies of all the meetings. I resigned on the record, at a City Council meeting, after I reviewed dozens of e-mails Mr. Arceri wrote to councilors and staff urging them to establish an electric study committee to force LCEC to make concessions. The e-mails also verified that he wrote the draft study presentation that was presented to City Council on June 16 which established the committee. Mr. Arceri forgot to tell you that he resigned from the committee on July 25, a week before the first original meeting was scheduled. I was told by city staff that he did not want to be hampered in his efforts by the Sunshine Laws. Mr. Arceri or Mr. Waldack did not attend any of the meetings.

Arceri claim: I (Arceri) believe that, if there are significant savings, the city should try and negotiate rate reductions or other concessions. McMullan calls this “threatening LCEC.” I call it “trying to get the best deal for Marco ratepayers.”

Fact: Absolutely false. Repeated in many of Mr. Arceri’s e-mails and I quote “possibilities that could be achieved by negotiations with LCEC, if and only if, they feel that ownership is always a possibility, a real threat.” These are his words not mine. I have never called it anything but what it is — a poor way to deal or treat a vendor, (LCEC) that has been outstanding, very competitive and a tremendous asset to this Island.

Arceri claim: LCEC knows very well that the city has a legal right to take over the system — it’s no threat. I am disappointed that LCEC has recently informed the city that they would not provide any information on this issue, even at a fee. This, alone, raises concerns.

Fact: If you use Mr. Arceri’s logic, the city has a right to take over the Marriott Hotel in a “hostile takeover,” and the Marriott should open their books on all the revenues and expenses to facilitate the sale — good luck with that! If Mr. Arceri is truly concerned with “donor contributions,” (that’s when we pay more than our fair share) I suggest he expend his efforts to reduce the $40,000 per child\per year Marco Island pays the school district for education while the majority of the district pays $9,100 per child\per year.

Arceri claim: The Florida Municipal Electric Association charts showed municipal rates lower than other utilities and that, built into this rate, was an average of 8 percent of the electric revenue being used to lower property taxes.

Fact: Mr. Arceri actually got this one statement correct, However, what he did not tell you is that many of these cities formed their electric company when they formed their city, say 1905, and as they compiled their budgets over the years they allocated some revenue collection to taxes and some to the electric bill. What a novel idea which shows real transparency, versus adding surcharges, franchise fees, utility paving fees, etc.

Arceri claim: The reason for fact finding was based on the possibility that Marco Island, a highly profitable customer, could be subsidizing the less profitable and more rural areas of LCEC’s massive service territory.

Fact: Guess who carried Marco during our first 30 years of development and guess where the disproportion amount of LCEC resources were\are spent after Hurricane Andrew, Wilma, and ???

Arceri claim: Putting lines underground, favorably viewed by most Islanders, is a separate issue. I am also disappointed that LCEC has not cooperated in the city’s efforts to reduce these costs.

Fact: Islanders never said they wanted underground utilities “at any cost.” Every single knowledgeable person that came before the committee said that it is a very expensive proposition. The latest consultant which the committee did not want to hire for an additional $18,000, said he thought LCEC’s latest estimate of $400,000 was a good deal. Additionally, a study completed by Quanta Technology, in May 2008, at the direction of the Florida Public Service Commission for Florida Electric Utilities, states: “It is well-known that the conversion of overhead electric distribution systems to underground is costly, and these costs almost always exceed quantifiable benefits. This conclusion is reached consistently in many reports that range from state-wide studies to very small projects.”

Arceri claim: The committee disbanded without finding any facts.

Fact: Absolutely false. This is an insult to the 16 members of the committee that put in countless hours of their time over seven months of meetings. The consultants A. Interviewed in Sept.\Oct.; B. The executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association in January 2009 and C. The consultant, Mr. Herrington last week, all indicated that any revenue streams to the city would be marginal at best and would take years (one said 20-plus years) just to pay off the debt service on the bonds needed to purchase the system. I believe the committee was very frustrated with the consultant last week that received $4,700 (for two days) and did not complete the work they understood he was hired to do, in part because he spent much of his time “lost in the Everglades.” The only result was that he now wanted an additional $18,500 to continue. Once this request was soundly defeated by a vote of 10-6, even Gary Elliot, one of the major proponents was forced to admit “I agree with Bill McMullan, this whole thing is a sham.” In all honesty, I don’t think he meant it. By a 14-2 vote the committee members voted to disband. I did not participate in the vote as I was not a member of the committee. It is now apparent that the committee should have filed a final report and put this idea behind us, because it looks like the City Council is going to re-visit the subject next month!

Arceri claim: McMullan’s out to “get me” and we need to understand McMullan’s motivation.

Fact: First, John, you really fancy yourself too much with these conspiracy plots and secondly, make no mistake, I do have a motive! My aim is to be as passionate as I can for all shareholders of our Island Paradise. We are experiencing many of our neighbors, friends and colleagues being forced off the Island due to runaway spending by the “drunken sailors” that seem to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic — in the worst economic times of our lives. Marco is the only government agency in Florida that I could find that has not laid off any employees. However, we did open the $80,000, “second set of clay courts“ at the 300 member Racquet Ball Center last Friday. I’m sure the 400 families\homes in foreclosure are going to get a lot of use out of those courts! Not!

Final observation: You really have to wonder why the establishment fears input from the owners of our Paradise. A wise person once said, “Evil thrives when good people remain silent.” Let’s keep speaking out! Don Q.

You can reach Bill McMullan at bill@themousepad.net.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 12

sailingalong writes:

Great article Bill. Why didn't you run for council? We certainly could use your common sense approach to solving our problems. John Arceri and his puppets seem determined to ruin our lives with misinformation advancing their own personal agendas. What a mistake we made at the last election.

Fossil writes:

How refreshing to read facts presented in a straight forward and civil way. This is the "rest of the story". The responses Issler and King John's servile followers are sure to come up with will likely contain the usual spin and distraction just short of the truth. Thanks for the straight talk Bill. King John must be exposed for the huckster he is.

lauralbi1 writes:

A possible reason he won't run for Council is that he was prosecuted for misuse of Public Funds (check the exact crimes on the internet for yourself) and/or writing bad checks when he was a Public Servant in Central Florida. We are going to have the District Attorney that was involved in his case speak at a Kiwanis or Rotary meeting sometime in the near future, maybe and hopefully. Still trying to determine if it is worth the effort. But, in reality, it would be great if he ran as then we could bring out all the history and truths behind his past problems. And yet you want to trust this man ???
Ed Issler

Fossil writes:

Ed Issler, there you have it. Every time someone says something nice about Mr. McMullan. you bring out this ancient history with your own spin on it. You simply cannot and will not accept the fact that an appeal court cleared former Kissimmee Commissioner Bill McMullan of the charges you refer to. Perhaps your guest speaker will clear that up for you. I'm really surprised Mr. McMullan doesn't take you to court. He is likely too much of a gentlman to do that.

JohninMarco writes:

Why Mr Issler are YOU so afraid of having a discussion of the issues? It seems to me that its your way or leave the island. And I must say you are doing an excellent job!

playballonK writes:

johnni: like i've said many a times, Issler is not playing with a full deck...but keep on responding to him....

hourigan82247 writes:

C'mon, what's one more crook in Marco Island government?

sailingalong writes:

Ed Issler is the most uncivil man on the island. When he can't refute the facts he attempts to destroy the messenger. If you review his posts you will find nothing but hate, insults and misinformation.

Issler claims to be an engineer but has never validated that claim. He was on the LCEC committee until he had to produce a resume of his qualifications. Rather than expose the fact he didn't have any, he resigned. Issler is nothing but a bitter looser that has never done anything with his life.

lauralbi1 writes:

sailingalong: Who are you and what planet are you from. Talk about lack of facts !! I left the committee due to my engineering responsibilities to my job. I happen to design communication systems for the U.S. Military at the current time and travel all over the World to Bases and thus missed too many meetings and had to resign.
Oh and Fossill, I suugest you check the old Marco records about McMullan having plead guilty to his participation in a Marco Island bank fraud with a Condo project back in the early 1980's. He had his Real Estate license taken from him by the State and he plead guilty interestingly enough. Great reading when combined with what he did up in Kissimmee. More to come. He certainly hasn't done anything good for this community in this current time. His discourse is filled with dis-information that can be checked out and proven as false if anyone wnats to make the effort.
Ed Issler

sailingalong writes:

Ed, there you go again. You resigned from the committee before the first meeting, you did not miss too many meetings. The request for qualifications came in August and you resigned shortly thereafter.I suspect the only flights you took were in the fantasies of your own mind.

Bill McMullan is one of the most ethical people on this island. We are all very well served by his exposure of the questionable activities that you and your team continue to attempt to force on us. If you had a fraction of his integrity we would all be lot better off.

Fossil writes:

sailingalong: One need only hit on lauralbi1's handle and read his past entries to expose how many times he has shaded the truth to embellish his position. His claims regarding his educational and professional experiences are so abundent one would expect him to be running the German firm he works for. Today he is a designer of weapons systems, imagine that. His is a sad story.

lauralbi1 writes:

sailingalong: You just don't get it do you. That just is not true. Check the roll call sheets. It is documented. The real sad story is the one about the author of this discourse. In 1983-1984, the State of Florida took away his Real Estate License and he plead guilty to his involvement in the biggest Real Estate Scandal/Fraud this State had seen to date. It happened right here on Marco Island and involved the Southwinds Condominium. The developer could not sell the units so they did the typical Ponsi scheme to find buyers, inflate the appraisals, brought in a Bank (Biscayne Bank) and guess who was the real estate agent/broker that handled all the sales. You got it, your hero Bill McMullan. And more recently (about nine months ago) your buddy Bill was confronted at Marco Office Supply when he put computer cables in his pocket. He ran out the back door and into his car before Katie could call the Police. But, yes, she knows your hero and decided to let it slide. Yes, he has some real moral fiber !! I hear that this is not the first time, although I cannot confirm that. Anyway, you keep hanging out with, what I consider to be moral scum, and maybe it will rub off on you. By the way, your buddy was acquitted on Appeal in Kissimmee on a legal technicality after being convicted in the lower courts of abusing the Public Trust (something to do with money and checks). More moral fiber I guess. Well keep on trucking. I am having a great time. By the way, I have 3 (three) attorneys that will defend me in any action as to anything that I have said. If Billy Boy wants to deny any of it, let's get a Certified Polygrapher to put this to rest. I will pay for it and you can choose the tester. As they say, the truth shall set youi free !!! Oh, and you know there is one more thing. If you want to learn more, check with your hero and ask him if there is anything we need to know about Marco Ace Hardware and a past incident??
Ed Issler

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