The Farmer File: A no-brainer in Marco Island politics

DON FARMER

There are few no-brainers in city politics. Nuance is king even when stiff-necked attitudes reign.

Here’s one sure bet: Keep Jim Riviere as Marco Island’s permanent city manager, or at least as permanent as our roller coaster politics allow.

Riviere has shown his mettle, merits, guts and lack of guile. I’ve never met him. We’ve never crossed swords, paths or words. He just does good things for Marco Island without hubris.

He shaves the budget, realizing fiscal responsibility is crucial, unlike some in City Hall who have treated penny pinching as a nuisance. He suffers fools and friendlies equally, a political skill seldom seen these days. Councilman Chuck Kiester is quoted as saying the title of interim or permanent didn’t concern him. “It’s meaningless anyway. He’s there until he quits or we fire him,” Kiester said.

Just for the record, so is everybody else at City Hall. Maybe there should be a reminder of that on a plaque hanging from the Blue Man statue.

There’s risk in praising a government official. Some of them see that as political currency to squander on pet projects. Riviere, being human and all, could succumb to that. All we have to go on is his performance to date. So far, he’s been a combination of dogged realist and homecoming king. His job-cutting, money-saving efforts alone have earned him the right to keep the job.

Council Chairman Frank Recker, a supporter of Riviere, is tough if not taciturn, incisive if not always sensitive and hell bent on reigning in the profligate spending of some previous councilors and administrators who were stuck in 2005.

Together the chairman and the city manager could be our new action figures — the R&R Team!, Marco’s own Starsky & Hutch, collaring bad laws and high taxes with a ’75 Gran Torino but no super powers. Add fiscally tight-fisted Councilor Larry Magel and the trifecta talent pool gets even better.

“In the past three months, Jim (Riviere) has accomplished a lot,” Recker said. “That includes a leaner managerial staff by eliminating five top positions. He (Riviere) has demonstrated managerial skills with the ability to work well with staff while making tough decisions.”

Riviere seems the man for the times. It’s urgent that he embrace the following concept: As the federal government hemorrhages money and sucks up power like a Hoover — the vacuum cleaner, not Herbert — our local leaders must push back. That means protecting local prerogatives, fighting federal forces’ creeping trespasses into our daily lives.

It also means pushing back at some local efforts to “fix” everything with more government.

Do we really need all our code enforcement regulations? Do we really need a massive urban renewal project on Marco? Should we look for ways to help local businesses, not smother them with slow motion permit procedures and grand schemes that have had mixed results elsewhere?

Isn’t there some way to simplify how residents pay for their water, rather than the convoluted tangle of today that requires Stephen Hawking and an array of archangels to untangle?

Civic progress need not be a trail of tears, but it’s not free parking either. Leaders must have the guts to know when less government action is required, not more. Riviere seems the man.

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Don Farmer is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and CNN news anchor. He can be reached at don@donfarmer.com.

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Comments » 11

blogsmog writes:

Wow, Mr.STRP propagandist himself, Don Farmer jumping back in the political fray on Marco.
Last we heard of Don he was calling CARES members and those who fought the city on the STRP; 'Blowhards', 'Mouthbreathers' 'CAVE dwellers - did I miss any names Don?
Don, you wouldn't be trying to distance yourself from your Celebrate Marco buddies would you?

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

"Marco Island looks to increase taxes by 20 percent, beef up reserves; Published August 2, 2010 at 9:01 p.m. 40 comments"

Don - any comment?

EdFoster writes:

Don,

Don't tell me that there's a modicum of intelligence within your feeble brain! Where was it when the island needed it?

Ed Foster

happy34145 writes:

Blog; last we heard of Farmer he was writing columns with phrases that rhymed with shoo-bop and doo-wop, he has made progress.
Us Marco homeowners should never forget the things he wrote about us back during the STRP battle. He makes me sick.

marco97 writes:

So Don you were for the STRP before you were against it? Looks like you have done a 180 on how this city operates. To little to late.

blogsmog writes:

"Together the chairman and the city manager could be our new action figures — the R&R Team!, Marco’s own Starsky & Hutch, collaring bad laws and high taxes with a ’75 Gran Torino but no super powers. Add fiscally tight-fisted Councilor Larry Magel and the trifecta talent pool gets even better."

I don't know who to blame, Farmer or his editor?

happy6 writes:

farmer is swingin' with the breeze....and right now the breeze is swinging against all this s----- spending by the council...water rates going up...property taxes going up...new smokehouse bridge....new "consultants" study on smokehouse bridge....
come on Don...call it what it is...an out of control council that is spending money like no other city in florida...or the rest of the country for that matter....yes jim r. is a breath of fresh air...BUT he still reports to the council...and they can't decide to fire rony joel...and this is a complete no brainer...fire them man! and lisa/liza/laura or whatever the name is...just stop taxing us>

liberator100 writes:

What a bunch of fools! I thought Foster was in a retirement home for fools and imbeciles in NC. I guess I was wrong.

lauralbi1 writes:

Somebody see a pendulum swinging?? Last I saw, four members, representing the views of the majority, including STRP implementation, were elected to Council by a landslide. Then Larry Magel was elected who sounded like he was a good, financially responsible candidate. So if that is the "pendulum", keep going.
Ed Issler

Brillo writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

Somebody see a pendulum swinging?? Last I saw, four members, representing the views of the majority, including STRP implementation, were elected to Council by a landslide. Then Larry Magel was elected who sounded like he was a good, financially responsible candidate. So if that is the "pendulum", keep going.
Ed Issler

Ed,
Keep repeating skewed facts. Popoff said one thing to get elected and no sooner elected changed his tune. Tucker made a mockery out of his 6 vote majority (landslide) and lied, yes lied about having photos. Magel got in with more "divide and conquer" with the legal but not too moral "bullet voting" without which he would not have been elected. Come on, anyone without brain infected asbestos contamination sees better than this.

Have you had your x-rays lately?

marcoredeagle writes:

Don, what planet do you live on when you say ...
"He shaves the budget, realizing fiscal responsibility".

He cut $300K so he is deserves a job in Marco?

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