‘Tis the season for public elections, Marco Island-style. Now’s the time for all voters to lift their collective heads from the sands and slumbers of the self-serving rhetoric, platitudes and hyperbole provided by incumbent office holders and their devoted advocates, devout opponents and severest critics.
From today to Election Day, political affiliations and partisan loyalties along with civic ideologies will be exposed by answers we voters receive, information we voters request, data we voters deserve, and promises we voters extract from each office seeker, be they incumbents or newcomers in the center ring of Marco Island politics.
To help rekindle the 1997 independence spirit and verve of free elections in our micro democracy called Marco Island, here’s a baker’s dozen of reminders to today’s voters and candidates culled from the published annals of our exceptional history based on the guarantees of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and, above all, the free exercise of the public ballot by all citizens.
In a democracy called Marco Island:
1. Civic problem solving should be a group process.
2. All citizens’ rights are at risk when elected officials and their sycophants declare war on dissent.
3. There are at least two sides (and usually more) of any community question or problem.
4. There’s no place nor purpose served for personal destruction assaults and ad hominem attacks.
5. People running for public office and who win must remember throughout their tenure that they represent the composite views of all the people.
6. Too many community views and opinions do not lead to chaos but, rather, signify a healthy community proud of its diversity, intelligence and free speech.
7. In politics, adversaries should not be considered enemies; friends should not be treated as chosen elites and insiders; and, particularly, special interest lobbyists deserve no special attention or unique accords.
8. Inclinations to either accept or reject any civic ideas should be based solely on merit and relevance, not on who or what group is offering the ideas for public understanding and consideration.
9. By resisting and even ignoring our community’s legacy and heritage, candidates and incumbents, alike, need to fully disclose and acknowledge why such resistance and ignorance benefits the welfare of the total community and its diverse citizenry comprised of disparate full- and part-time residents, property owners and taxpayers.
10. The 2009-10 election season provides Marco Islanders a valuable opportunity to assess publicly the recurring lessons and experiences provided by government and now considered by serious office-seekers and many voters to be past mistakes and historic misdirections.
11. Public officials, and those aspiring to be, must recognize and tap the vast, diverse strengths of our population in terms of education attainments, career achievements and vocational expertise which are frequently under utilized and often pompously ignored by our political leaders drowning in their own self-serving, arrogant egomania.
12. This election race should be the start of a citizens’ campaign to put to rest finally the apparent insatiable need of candidates, once elected, to turn themselves into oppressed, weak, sniveling victims and whiners serving the needs and whims of our chief executive and his staff, aka the city manager and selected bureaucrats.
13. Elected officials and current wannabes desiring to serve Marco Island’s best interests should promise vigorously to lead us in challenging and reducing Collier County’s excessive taxes, exorbitant school charges and unexplained, unilateral police and public safety expenditures defining us as “cash cows” to be “milked” by Florida’s uniquely oppressive County Commissioner government dedicated to the dictatorial control and fiscal fleecing of independent, overly assessed residential centers and their duly-elected municipal governments.
Ladies and gentlemen – May the best candidates win!