Election 2012: Immokalee Master Plan
Riddle: How is the Immokalee Master Plan different from the Collier County Commission?
Easy. The master plan can rise above insider politics.
Commissioners' squabbling has gotten so bad it stands in the way of a transparent, civic process that has been in the works for a decade with $500,000 of the community's own money.
The object is and has been revisions in the development codes to encourage progress and prosperity.
The process stalled at the County Commission level when Tom Henning of Golden Gate declared a conflict of interest on voting due to owning a small piece of land there. He brought this up at the last minute — after owning the property for four years and only days before accepting campaign donations from plan opponents. With board approval requiring a supermajority vote, and with Georgia Hiller dug in against progress, the plan remains idled.
Commissioner Jim Coletta, who represents Immokalee, says opponents' opposition is based on money they would lose from restrictions on renting old, sub-par mobile homes. Our editorial board would like to hear the other side of that story, but opponents decline to meet with us.
We believe Henning's re-election challenger, Bill McDaniel, sums it up nicely:
Is the plan amendment perfect? No. But would the community be better off by approving what so many stakeholders have helped draft over the years? Yes.
A "yes'' vote is in order for the Aug. 14 straw poll, for which early voting starts Monday.
Who can vote? All 3,335 voters in the affected area of Immokalee.Coming:Sunday: Our positions on Collier County Commission races.
Monday: Our positions on Collier County legislative delegation races.
Tuesday-Friday: Our positions on Lee County commission, constitutional officers and legislative delegation races.