In democracies, elections of, by and for the people have significant consequences. This should be especially true today for our beloved Marco Island where, according to our ever-informative Taxpayers Association, a record 87 percent of registered voters (12,519) cast ballots in our City Council election last month. The good news for Marco Islanders: Three incumbent seats and a term-limited seat were won decisively by new councilors!
Thus, I anticipated a significant operational transformation compared to past conclaves as I attended the Dec. 20 City Council special meeting. I was disappointed and, to some extent, depressed with the continuing nonchalance, the opaque conversational tone and the unfathomable chatter of the new City Council members among and between themselves and our hired bureaucrats and participants. Just as in the past decade or so, attendees at City Council meetings and workshops continue to be treated as interlopers, well-disciplined listeners and, above all, docile witnesses to conclusions and decisions that, in political reality, appear to have no significant inputs of, by or for we the people. Council members continue to “talk down” to our city manager, municipal clerk and other participants sitting far beneath and out of sight of most attendees and councilors. Elected as well as employed participants, moreover, continue to appear suffering from a persisting nasal reflux that certainly benumbs the hearing power of our most alert spectators at many if not all City Council gatherings.
On the positive side, our new City Council should be congratulated for expanding its use of the “Requests for City Council Consideration” distributed with official council agendas. These added sheets are comprehensive and serve as vital citizen guides in understanding the history and perspective of each presentation/discussion/action item being heard and what is necessary to lead to final decisions by our City Council. We the people deserve ridding our public agendas of inconclusive, vague, preconceived and connived items which have dominated our council agendas for the past decade or so, and especially when public referendums have been dolefully denied the electorate. Conjecture, paralyses, irrationality and bombastic “huff and puff” demeanors serve only liars and charlatans purporting to represent We the People as we have so well-learned since cityhood, 1997.
Also needed to improve our City Council’s behavior to better represent and serve we the people of Marco Island: (1) Distinct public speaking voices by councilors and meeting participants primarily aimed at the attending audience not just at each other; (2) Monthly public oral reports by the chairs of our seven council-appointed public boards and committees with special emphasis on pending matters and future issues; (3) Constant updates by the city manager and others covering revenue flows, debts and updated reports on credit ratings and costs of public indebtedness (i.e., our own fiscal cliff?); (4) Brief monthly reports by representatives of our Chamber of Commerce; the Area Real Estate Board; the Taxpayers Association, the Civic Association; the newly formed Property Association; and any other representative group aimed at improving the quality of life and public services on Marco Island.
In brief and long overdue is our dominant City Council expectation: “Oh please not just more conversations and tweetings at our City Council meetings and workshops, as our Marco Island is transformed beyond recognition and hope for the way things ought to be on this our beloved and uniquely exceptional residential platinum coast barrier island!”