Editorial / Poll: Elections 2010 ... from Bonita to Marco, voters make their picks

Did you vote Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010?

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Tuesday’s municipal elections proved why Southwest Florida politics is so fascinating.

It’s the voters, or at least those who bother to turn out. They are fiercely independent, do their homework and choose carefully. No two groups of them are alike or follow patterns.

In Bonita Springs, voters were scarce yet decisive. The 10.5 percent turnout embraced the civic veteran, Steve McIntosh, as well as a relative newcomer, Steven Slachta, by landslides for council seats.

On Marco, a turnout nearing 50 percent rated all four council candidates within 210 votes of each other, with the winner of the third seat earning only 9 votes more than the fourth-place finisher. That spells recount, and one was under way Tuesday night with challenger Larry Magel leading the pack.

Both cities tackled charter amendments, and the results will be studied for clues beyond both cities’ limits. Both cities approved term limits. Marco turned back ill-defined pay raises for council members as well as the latest effort to amend the city’s iconic budget/spending cap. Voters did, however, give council the power to override a manager’s refusal to conduct internal investigations.

In Bonita, voters went for campaign spending limits, doing away with runoff elections, making council more accountable on routine votes and selecting a vice mayor, and slowing down big decisions. While declaring they want charter reviews at least every 10 years, they went along with an amendment that sounded like government growth — making the city clerk and finance director two separate offices.

The people have spoken.

Next up for debate: Does Marco’s mail ballot system with the bigger turnout make more sense than Bonita’s traditional voting at precincts? Even with two weeks of early voting, the Bonita turnout showed voters were not impressed.

Next up for voting: The city of Naples, next Tuesday.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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