Kiester forum explores amendments, garners petition signatures

Article Highlights

  • Three of four council candidates attend Kiester's forum
  • Spending cap amendment confuse many

— Councilman Chuck Kiester hosted at least his second public forum of the year Thursday evening in the council chamber, to familiarize his constituents with the proposed amendments to the city charter. These changes will be presented to Marco voters in a referendum in January, and one conclusion was clear – the details of Charter Amendment F, the spending cap, are not easy to follow.

The 40 or so attendees at the forum were the usual suspects, the political junkies, who follow the issues, populate the city’s advisory boards and come to all the meetings. Even in this group, confusion over Amendment F, the Operating Expenditure Limitation [Modified Spending Cap] was rampant.

Kiester deferred explaining the specifics to civic activist Amadeo Petricca, who tried to defer to Councilman Frank Recker, who gave it back to Petricca.

Essentially, the measure allows future councils to base annual expenditures on spending from 2008, plus three percent annual increase and cost of living allowance.

While attendees were fuzzy on the details, they were clear on their verdict on the amendment.

“The spending cap? They ought to lower it down, keep it in place, whatever the technicalities,” said Mary Helen Masters.

“I want to leave it alone. We’re spending too much money, working on too many projects,” said Richard McInnis.

“They need to cut, cut, cut – just like the real world,” proclaimed Pat Santiago.

“Essentially, what this thing does is, whatever happens, they have the ability to spend what they spent in 2008,” said Russ Colombo. “I have one word for that, and I can’t use it here.”

City Manager Steve Thompson has clarified that financially, it wouldn’t matter if fiscal 2007, 2008 or 2009 was used as the base year. The amendment will allow council to go back to 2008 spending, which was about $18.5 million, and add 3 percent plus COLA to that figure for each year up to the year they are currently budgeting.

Though some have avoided the language, it is, in a sense, a recapture clause in case that city were to ever spend less than the spending cap allowed even after budget changes.

“They took 2008, a very unrealistic revenue generator” for a base period, said Robert Wenz. “With all the construction, we’re getting to be a cement jungle.”

Ray Paret urged cutting the city staff and their compensation. “Unless you attack wages or get rid of people who are superfluous, you can’t balance the budget,” he said.

The meeting also explored the other amendments, including term limits and compensation for council members, direct investigations by council into city staff, and requirements for large expenditures and budget deviations.

Kiester stressed the importance of reviewing a municipality’s governing documents.

“Every 10 years or so, a city should go back and look at all its ordinances, and throw out those that no longer apply,” he told the group.

Council incumbent and candidate Ted Forcht said that while Kiester reviewed the charter amendments he was “careful just to inform and not state an opinion on if he agreed with them or not.”

The issue of getting ticketed for parking in swales was discussed, with Kiester saying it seemed the police department had backed off a little bit on issuing citations.

Sayre Uhler expressed his dissatisfaction with disparities in water and sewer rates. “Every time I flush a toilet, it costs me five times more than my condo neighbor,” he said.

One couple harangued the meeting on their trouble getting a certificate of occupancy for their home, because of having a shell drive.

In addition to the proposed charter amendments, three open council seats, including those currently held by Chairman Rob Popoff, Kiester and Forcht, will be on the mail ballot in January.

On a table at the rear of the room, candidate petitions for Kiester, Forcht and newly-declared candidate Joe Batte were available for those who wished to sign them. Larry Magel, the only declared council candidate whose petitions were not on-hand at the forum, had been given the opportunity to have them displayed, said Kiester. Magel had questioned the propriety of using city resources for political campaigning.

“I was concerned initially, but once Alan Gabriel (an attorney from Weiss-Serota, which represents the city) said he wasn’t concerned, then I was no longer concerned. I was not there because I had another engagement. I had a conflict,” Magel said Friday afternoon.

Forcht did attend the forum.

“I wasn’t campaigning. I was listening to an informative presentation by my city councilman,” he said.

Forcht will campaign for additional petitions at an event held 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday at Chef’s Express.

Popoff dropped in early on Kiester’s forum, and Recker came by after Popoff left, causing Kiester to joke, “We almost had a quorum. We could pass anything we want.”

Check back to marconews.com and naplesnews.com, as well as the Friday edition of the Marco Eagle for more on newest announced City Council candidate Joe Batte as he vies for a seat for a third time.

Staff reporter Kelly Farrell contributed to this report

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

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Comments » 25

playballonK writes:

Magel = same ole same ole syndicate rules.
Batte = clean up the crap at city hall and give the city back to its citizens

magel4marco writes:

in response to playballonK:

Magel = same ole same ole syndicate rules.
Batte = clean up the crap at city hall and give the city back to its citizens

First, the story above is not entirely accurate as it relates to why I did not attend. I had a campaign function of my own with over 40 participants that conflicted with the Forum.
Second to Mr. playballonK, I'll make the same offer I've made to others. Why don't we sit down and talk about the issues and then if you don't like what my positions are, criticize away. You can email me at: magel4marco@gmail.com.

kosherdeli writes:

The issue of getting ticketed for parking in swales was discussed, with Kiester saying it seemed the police department had backed off a little bit on issuing citations.

Mr.Kiester I would like to know exactly what you definition of Backed Off is and why the Police have Backed Off? Did City Council tell them to Back Off? Mr.Kiester I’m not sure what Cloud you drive around on but driving around on this Island, both Day and Night it doesn’t even look like the Police ever started issuing Parking Citations. During there routine drive by every night on my street the Police never even stop too issue Parking Citations and YES Every Night There Are Vehicles Parked Illegally As Well As Many Days! If the City allows a Back Off on this Parking Issue, what’s next will Smoking be allowed during City Council Meetings? Mr.Kiester this is your opportunity to step up to the plate and make a difference, not just slap the Americans with Disabilities in the face again. I think it's about time the some members of the City Council take a good look in the mirror your not getting any younger therefore the day will come when you might not be able to walk around the Illegally Parked Vehicles on our Island.

ChuckKiester writes:

kosherdeli: You ask a good question re police enforcement or lack thereof. I based my comment Thursday evening on the simple fact that I have not received any emails or phone calls regarding the issuing of warnings and tickets which may not necessarily be the result of the enforcement agencies backing off. I do know that the police department reported at a recent city council meeting that people have apparently gotten the message and they are finding much fewer violations. I can't agree with you more about cars blocking the sidewalk. We live near the Island's school complex so I am particularly sensitive to this issue. Part of the problem is the number of vacant lots which force all of us to step out onto the street so one of my goals is to somehow find money to have the city to construct sidewalks on vacant lots with placing a lien on the properties for the cost of doing so. Chuck Kiester

playballonK writes:

Magel4 see: Popoff '06 election - 'NOUGH SAID!

Dan_OHagen writes:

playballonk, I watched the video; if Roger Hall had any credibility or integrity that video might mean something! Rob's stance was ALWAYS to countinue with the sewers. I was at the debates when candidates were asked to stand if they would cancel the sewer project, bottom line, Popoff never stood up. And now, four years later, sore losers like you still bring it up like it has any significance at all. Guys like you (whoever you are) Hall and Davies tried to make a liar out of him. He's still here, still respected and they're not, end of story!

OldMarcoMan writes:

Gosh Larry, why didn't you invite me (or any of my friends) to your Party?
I've been asking around,,NO one knows anything about it.
Chuck has his forums
Forcht has his Mailing List and Chiefs Express
Joe got folks coming to his house
Larry you have a secret party?
I don't know who your advisors are but they need to get you out in public more, Hideaway and Condos wont win it this time.

lauralbi1 writes:

Boy, this is better than we could have hoped for. OldMarcoMan has alreeady declared the winners of the election, which is a long way off. I hope that all 1500-2000 of his same believers are of the same attitude because it will take more than that to elect anyone.
Ed Issler

magel4marco writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Gosh Larry, why didn't you invite me (or any of my friends) to your Party?
I've been asking around,,NO one knows anything about it.
Chuck has his forums
Forcht has his Mailing List and Chiefs Express
Joe got folks coming to his house
Larry you have a secret party?
I don't know who your advisors are but they need to get you out in public more, Hideaway and Condos wont win it this time.

I guess you didn't see the open house we held at St Mark's on Friday October 30th. We had 70 people attend. Why don't you meet me at Starbuck's next Wed 11/25 at 9 AM?

playballonK writes:

Ya Oldman, go meet Larry @ Starbucks and maybe just maybe ya might accidently bump into John Aceri while you're there...wink...wink...

MarcoJimbo writes:

So Larry gets his coffee at Starbucks. With big spenders like him at City Hall it's no wonder we're so deep in debt. Try a cup of 8 O'Clock brewed in a Mr. Coffee sometime if you really want to get in touch with the people you wish to represent.

ejburger writes:

Still sure you want to be in politics Larry? Are you really up for the abuse? There are a lot of people like playballonk and MarcoJimbo that have absolutely nothing better to do than bravely throw stones from behind their computers from the safety of their homes.

MarcoJimbo writes:

Nothing better to do than throw stones from behind my computer? I'll have you know that during the "cold war" I served aboard a ballistic missile submarine that was ready to throw nuclear-tipped warheads at anyone who dared threaten your right to spout the crap you do. I'll even support your right to burn the flag if you choose to. Just don't count on me to urinate on you to put you out if something goes wrong.

ejburger writes:

MarcoJimbo, thank you for your service to our country, sincerely.

I really do appreciate your service but I don't care who or what you used to be. Based on your blogs, you seem to have all the answers to all of Marco Islands problems. Instead of being sarcastic and abusive to the individuals who have the guts to step up why don't you get invovled. If you really do have all the answers, as I'm sure you believe you do, why don't you run for office. There is still time to put your name on the ballot.

MarcoJimbo writes:

I am involved. Not as a candidate, because I still have to work to support my family and pay the mortgage. Just this morning, I was out canvassing my neighborhood to garner candidate nomination petition signatures (sorry Larry, I didn't have any of your petitions). Until you have a better understanding and appreciation for those of us who work behind the scenes, I would advise you to refrain from public comment. When you keep your mouth shut, people may think you're s-----. When you open your mouth, they know.

Semper_Fidelis writes:

Wow, getting petitions signed, that's really contributing (sarcasm). Burger, don't pay attention to this narcisst! You are the ignorant one MarcoJimbo; you litter these blogs with your opinions and tell all the coucilors and candidates how s----- they are. You have an opinion about everything and you're certainly not afraid to share them. Step up and be a man! Try putting yourself on the front lines for once. You hid in a sub while some of us were on the front lines.

MarcoJimbo writes:

And where did the Marines ever go that they didn't need a ride aboard a Navy ship to get there?

magel4marco writes:

What I find fascinating reading these blogs is that none of the people writing critical comments will take the time to sit down with me and discuss the issues. While we may not agree, you'll then understand all the time I've spent working in both County and City Committees and how I would approach the critical issues facing Marco Island as the economy continues to decline.
As I said in an earlier post on this topic, I'll be at Starbucks this Wed 11/25 at 9 AM to meet and talk about the issues. If that time does not work email me at
magel4marco@gmail.com and we'll arrange a time and place to meet.
Larry Magel

lauralbi1 writes:

Larry: I will be there. But as you are new to the "blogs" I will let you know that by definition, most of the bloggers are cowards to start with as they do not sign or identify who they are. So don't expect much from them including a winning candidate. We have never spoken nor met, but I look forward to Wednesday morning.
If you are going to be on Council, then realize that these blogs require a thick skin and a real objective outlook on life. Most of these bloggers will never be satisfied, no matter who does what.
Ed Issler

EdFoster writes:

Larry,

The problem seems to be that many people believe that you will not do what you say you will do because of your association with past miscreants that put Marco Island in the situation it is in. So they really don't care what you say because they won't believe you in any event. Larry, you have a real problem!

People learned from Rob Popoff. True, he did not stand up and say he would stop the STRP if he was elected but he DID promise me (among others) that he had an open mind on the subject and, if elected, would push for an open dialog before proceeding. At his very first council meeting he was the swing vote to put down Kiester's motion to discuss the STRP before proceeding. People seem to be afraid that you will do the same thing ... promise one thing and do another because of the people you hang around with.

Most people know that our federal government is not going to cut doctor's Medicare payments by 20+% so Obamacare will raise the deficit far more than the CBO numbers state. That's why so many support healthcare reform but not Obamacare. It's built on a deception. Sorry to say, Larry, you seem to be in a similar bind.

Ed Foster
Former Marco Resident with many friends on the island.

P.S. Mr. Issler, try to stifle yourself and not comment that I have no business on this blog.

lauralbi1 writes:

Larry: As a further note to educate you on these blogs, it is not Mr. Foster, or his "friends" that will elect or not elect you to office. It is the majority of voters that will elect you. And as long as you represent honesty in Politics and the direction that the majority of voters desire for Marco Island you should have no problem. It has become crystal clear over the last couple of elections, that Mr. Foster and his friends do not represent the direction and desire of the majority of the voting citizens.
Once again, I look forward to meeting you and speaking with you.
Oh, by the way, the fact that Terry does know you and endorses you is a major step in educating me on your character.
Ed Issler

EdFoster writes:

Larry,

Apparently Mr. Issler believes he needs "to educate you" that "it is the majority of voters that will elect you." I would hope you would have known that without benefit of Mr. Issler's intensive research into the subject.

Mr. Issler is fond of reminding everyone of the results of the last election and claiming that that establishes the way the majority of the voters think now and forever more. Mr. Obama won the last national election and took control of the House and Senate. Do you believe he will retain those majorities in the 2010 election? Nothing is forever; the worm turns.

Ed Foster

dc5799 writes:

Larry,
You better cancel coffee with Ed.You will never get elected if you are seen in public with him.

magel4marco writes:

To those who have commented on this blog:
I stand for a "INDEPENDENT" voice for a change and am not aligned with any faction. I have talked with people from all sides of the political spectrum. I only care for what is best for the people of Marco Island and believe with my background managing over 1100 people in an intense 24/7 operation I have the operational and financial management experience to make a difference on the City Council.
If any of you have attended the meetings of the committees I have served on you know the kinds of tough questions I ask and the fiscal constraint I believe in. For those of you that haven't, let's meet and I can take you through some of the recommendations I have made to save money and reduce todays' expenditures to build a reserve to reduce our taxes in future years.
The offer is open, let's meet at a time and place of your choosing.
Larry Magel

playballonK writes:

Its over Larry...Issler likes you, how 'bout that opening on the Charter school board?

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