UPDATE: POLLS Voters not likely to get a say whether Marco Island gets a charter high school

UPDATE

The discussion of council's general support for a proposed charter high school was removed from Monday's City Council agenda. Chairman Frank Recker had initially requested it be on the agenda and then requested it be removed.

Council had discussed and expressed approval for the school on two prior occasions, Recker said. That includes when the high school was proposed at Mackle Park and then later when it was planned to be located at the YMCA. Since council expressed, through either general consensus or vote, an approval for the school at either of those last two locations, he saw no reason to discuss the proposal in general on a third occasion, he wrote in an email to a resident that he shared with the Daily News.

If approved by voters statewide on Nov. 2, Amendment 4 _ known as the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment _ will require referendums on many land-use issues. However, the high school location probably won’t be among the decisions left to voters.

Marco Island City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

Do you think Marco Island should have a high school?

See the results »

View previous polls »

Are you going to vote yes or no on Amendment 4?

See the results »

View previous polls »

POSTED EARLIER

A vote on when to vote in Florida is around the corner, but next week Marco Island City Council members will decide two items that potentially could affect the way city residents vote.

Council is to discuss supporting the proposed charter high school and opposing statewide Amendment 4 during a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Many Marco residents have expressed interest in having the opportunity to vote on the proposed charter high school and where it may be located.

“If it is good for the community as a whole, and, if it is really needed, then let the people vote,” Marco Island resident Frances Enman said.

If approved by voters statewide on Nov. 2, Amendment 4 _ known as the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment _ will require referendums on many land-use issues.

However, the high school location probably won’t be among the decisions left to voters.

“I cannot envision a likely scenario that would require it,” city planner Kris Van Lengen said.

If approved, the amendment to the Florida Constitution would require a local referendum, at the expense of taxpayers, for all changes to any local government’s comprehensive land-use plan.

Schools are included in the comprehensive plan, but very specific zoning, which may need to be adjusted depending on where the proposed school is to be built, isn’t in the comprehensive plan. Thus, Amendment 4 doesn’t seem to increase the likelihood that Marco Island voters will have a final say on the proposed high school’s location.

Often called the “comp plan,” the comprehensive plan includes a general map of approximately what is to go where within a city or county. It includes density parameters, levels of service and guidelines on how much park space, road surface, library service and other elements of the community will be provided in the county or municipality.

Rather than such decisions being left to the planning board and then a city council or county commission, as is the current process, voters will have a chance to say “yes” or “no” to any changes or additions to the land-use plan.

Amendment 4, which will require 60 percent of the vote to pass, has its supporters and opponents in Marco.

Backers argue that the amendment is necessary to curb excessive growth and ensure that development comes with community backing.

Fay Biles, president of the Marco Island Taxpayers’ Association, has said “MITA is all for it.”

Enman also supports it.

Fay Biles

Fay Biles

“It is in the best interest of the people who pay the taxes in every county across Florida to have a voice in how they want their communities to be developed,” Enman said.

Opponents, however, have said it can go overboard and call it the “Vote-on-Everything” amendment. They have argued that it could hog-tie local governments and stifle real estate, general business, development and the overall economy.

The Marco Island Area Association of Realtors is among the organizations opposing the amendment.

Van Lengen also expressed concern.

The troublesome aspect for the city, he said, comes down to which items could require voters’ understanding and approval, including state-mandated changes that could deal with issues such as greenhouse gas reductions.

It’s not clear, Van Lengen said, whether amendments could be consolidated or if all would need to be separate ballot items.

“No one knows at this point because the amendment was not carefully thought out,” he said.

Van Lengen said it could be costly, too.

“Mandatory referenda could result in expensive advertising campaigns for and against any number of subjects and an unfunded mandate to spend taxpayer dollars on special elections,” he said. “The title of this ballot initiative sounds great, the details of it less so.”

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Comments » 11

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Kelly,

I think you might be confused as to the agenda of Monday night's meeting.

An e-mail to City Council and other interested parties by Chairman Recker requested that a discussion as to a "resolution of support for the Charter High School" was to be taken off of the agenda, for Monday night, because the previous Council's already voted on the issue twice before when the sites were Mackle Park and then the Y. and that a third vote was unnecessary.
This e-mail was dated Sept. 30, 2010.

RosenE writes:

How does anyone come to the conclusion that minor adjustments will not be voted on? That is not the way the Amendment is written and why it is being referred to as "Vote-for-Everything." It does not clarify what will be voted on and what will not. This means schools, hospitals, and even traffic circulation and utilities will be left up to vote. If everyone takes and not-in-my-backyard mentality, how will these necessities every get built?

In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court found that Amendment 4 covered a broad range of all comprehensive plan amendments and would result in a substantial number of referenda each year.

What also is not shocking to me is all of the retirees that are in support of this Amendment. Perhaps if their jobs were on the line, they might have a different opinion.

Amendment 4 is an economic disaster. Just research the outcome of the similar Amendment in St. Pete Beach.

Lesley Blackner's entire philosophy is based on social status. The foundation of this Amendment was born on her idea to raise taxes to a point where only the "landed" could live in her neighborhood. See the Florida Trend Article from March 1, 2007.

Amendment 4 is no good for Florida, please VOTE NO!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Has anyone wondered why the voters rarely get a say on anything on this island, except for highly orchastrated and/or psycholgically manipulated elections? This process must stop and the decisions must be put back in the hands of people who actually pay taxes and that goes also for city council members.

MarcoJimbo writes:

What's not to like about an amendment opposed by bureaucrats and realtors? Tell me the Chamber of Commerce is also against it and I'll KNOW it's a winner.

Fossil writes:

I'm with you on this one MarcoJimbo.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoJimbo:

What's not to like about an amendment opposed by bureaucrats and realtors? Tell me the Chamber of Commerce is also against it and I'll KNOW it's a winner.

What goes around comes around. It is time for those paying the taxes to have a more significant word in how and where those monies are put to work.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, if it was the other way around, it would be held out like a victory flag, but since it is against the charter high school any and all excuses are being applied. The poll shows almost a 2 to 1 vote against the charter school with over 1200 votes cast and it is being ignored by our City Council, but what else is new they never listen to the tax payers anyway. They just have their hands in our pockets.

ajm3s writes:

in response to RosenE:

How does anyone come to the conclusion that minor adjustments will not be voted on? That is not the way the Amendment is written and why it is being referred to as "Vote-for-Everything." It does not clarify what will be voted on and what will not. This means schools, hospitals, and even traffic circulation and utilities will be left up to vote. If everyone takes and not-in-my-backyard mentality, how will these necessities every get built?

In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court found that Amendment 4 covered a broad range of all comprehensive plan amendments and would result in a substantial number of referenda each year.

What also is not shocking to me is all of the retirees that are in support of this Amendment. Perhaps if their jobs were on the line, they might have a different opinion.

Amendment 4 is an economic disaster. Just research the outcome of the similar Amendment in St. Pete Beach.

Lesley Blackner's entire philosophy is based on social status. The foundation of this Amendment was born on her idea to raise taxes to a point where only the "landed" could live in her neighborhood. See the Florida Trend Article from March 1, 2007.

Amendment 4 is no good for Florida, please VOTE NO!

I say vote YES to referendum 4, just because there are too many examples of items that should come up to a referendum, that do not.

The Jackson Labs issue (though a county issue) is a clear issue that should be brought before the people, but the commissioners say that we do not know what we are complaining about.

http://www.marconews.com/news/2010/se...

That is elitism in its glory.

Vote YES referendum 4 for principle of governance in the hands of the people. I understand the implications but I would rather fall on the side of an electorate than the elected and bureaucrats that fill the ranks.

I say that many good public officials may fall victim but in this climate I am sick of powerful government dynasties even with bureaucrats that are trying to do the "right" thing.

I do not understand why you would want to create a division amongst the classes of retirees vs. workers. But if you wish to go down this path, a vote will bring it to the forefront, rather than in the offices of elected officials that represent us and the bureaucrats that engage in the day-to-day management.

I am with the people, that is voters. And to Fossil, I told you we would be petitioning together in light of our past discussions.

This is a classic example of, we the people, being told by those that administrate and govern what is best for us, because from their perspective, we may be uninformed or lack vision.

It may be a costly proposition, but have WE forgotten all the costly government spending that seems to go unchecked and continues in light of economic conditions under the guise of for the benefit for all.

To conclude let me ask: Who do you have faith in managing costs (or which is more expensive), decisions made directly by, WE THE PEOPLE (as in the form of a referendum vote) vs elected representatives and hired bureaucrats to control and manage spending?

Vote YES AMENDMENT 4.

ajm3s writes:

Sorry, I posted the wrong article in which Fiala enlightens us WE THE PEOPLE as to why a referendum was inappropriate.

"Fiala added that the county commission had voted down the idea of a referendum because the opponents were not clear on which issue should go to a public vote, the $130 million in tax dollars or the lab itself. “It seemed like people didn’t really know what they were against. Was it the money or was it Jackson Labs itself?”

Reference: http://www.marconews.com/news/2010/se...

captnjimbo writes:

I have been in favour of a referendum because I believe the majority would see the wisdom of the school. That said, we do get a voice through our elected officials, re-enforcing the responsibility of careful consideration when it comes to electing them.

I would urge them to be very deliberative and in the sunshine when it comes to the location process.

One more thing, in case you have missed it. A movie has been aired on the internet that will be released in a month to theatres. It exposes the damage done to America's schools primarily because of decentralization and union work rules and tenure. It exposes that the Charter school option has been a great remedy and that every where they open the demand is greater than the supply, with waiting lists, lotteries etc. and that the most talented teachers would rather work (some for less money)in an environment where they get more satisfaction for actually being able to teach in an enlightened environment.

I don't expect that will change much on our local project...I beleive our local deal is destiny...but it could cause a tsunami in the way the politicians and the people look at what they have created...this movie and it's writer's are basically liberals that have come to a conclusion by overwhelming evidence, which they lay out but if you read political books, both Gingrich and Romney have chapters on American public schools and they mince no words on what has to be done. If you are at all interested, even if you disagree with the fundemental underpinng of the conservative agenda, those chapters are a worthwhile read.

With us...from what I hear and read...it is all about location...hope as grown-ups we can get that behind us.

ajm3s writes:

in response to RosenE:

How does anyone come to the conclusion that minor adjustments will not be voted on? That is not the way the Amendment is written and why it is being referred to as "Vote-for-Everything." It does not clarify what will be voted on and what will not. This means schools, hospitals, and even traffic circulation and utilities will be left up to vote. If everyone takes and not-in-my-backyard mentality, how will these necessities every get built?

In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court found that Amendment 4 covered a broad range of all comprehensive plan amendments and would result in a substantial number of referenda each year.

What also is not shocking to me is all of the retirees that are in support of this Amendment. Perhaps if their jobs were on the line, they might have a different opinion.

Amendment 4 is an economic disaster. Just research the outcome of the similar Amendment in St. Pete Beach.

Lesley Blackner's entire philosophy is based on social status. The foundation of this Amendment was born on her idea to raise taxes to a point where only the "landed" could live in her neighborhood. See the Florida Trend Article from March 1, 2007.

Amendment 4 is no good for Florida, please VOTE NO!

Here s what Lesley Blackner's entire philosophy is based on and you can read the article yourself.

http://www.floridatrend.com/law_artic...

If you insist this is based on social status then I insist that all voters have a voice on land use issues.

Did you notice in this dated article that Ms. Blackner was having trouble getting support from large environmental organizations in Florida. Does that not raise an eyebrow, as to why a no growth or voter controlled activist would be unsupported by some environmental organizations. I will submit, it is because these organizations do not want to slap the hand that feeds it. It is all about the government control of money for "special" interests.

So on that basis, I will side with the local electorate to control their destiny even at the expense of governmental efficiency. I will always endorse impediments or raising the bar to governmental spending because the drivers are not typically market driven, even amongst developers.

If a city, wants or does not want something, it needs the support of the community. Even mega stores i.e. Walmart fall victim to this policy, but we are all folks so if we do not want in our backyard, consequences will follow. At least, in a world of voter input we can blame it on ourselves instead of hired bureaucrats or elected officials with powerful contacts that may corrupt the decision making.

Amendment 4 needs 60% voter support to pass and I believe its support is a response to the lack of confidence in elected officials representing the folks, even us dimwitted folks.

I will admit, this is not a perfect Amendment, but if I waited to support a perfect Amendment or candidate until the perfect one appeared, I would never vote.

This will swing the pendulum to more responsive governance.

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