Several citizens commented [Monday] night about my authoring a memo criticizing some candidates for City Council while endorsing others. They requested that the memo receive wide distribution, and I indicated I would make it available to the press.
[Editor’s note: See attached documents.]
Some history is in order to understand the rationale I used to make my comments.
Appended below is the organizing memo of the “Marco Island Homeowners” authored by Larry Sacher as Chairman and Ray Seward as Treasurer.
It clearly states that the purpose of the organization is to represent one group of citizens who need to band together to counter what they believe is the undue influence of other groups. They also state that although they are “non-political.” In a direct quote – “However our members could individually choose to support candidates who might be more inclined to wish to protect the interests of single-family homeowners rather than some of the existing Council who demonstrate greater emphasis on behalf of Condos, Hotels, and other Commercial interests.”
It’s this “us vs. them” attitude that first manifested itself in the STRP (Septic Tank Replacement Program) that continues today. It is extremely divisive to our community, but if one group is going to make any issue a “us vs. them” issue, I believe those of us who are the “thems” should know their intent and motivation prior to making any voting decision this election.
On the water/sewer issue addressed in the second part of my memo, the City spent over $100,000 to hire an independent consultant to make sure our water/sewer rates were equitable to all classes of users. The report, the credentials of the consultant, it’s methodology, and it’s conclusions were attacked immediately when it became apparent that the results would not support the recommendations of the Utility Advisory Board in their recommendations to Council.
We’ve gone through 18 months of additional divisiveness and expense because one group does not want to believe what an unbiased consultant has recommended.
For the good of Marco Island, this “us vs. them” must stop. It stops when a group does not make every issue “us vs. them” for whatever gain, personal or political they believe they can enjoy.
Every citizen, even a sitting member of the City Council has the right to express their beliefs. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to address many organizations and groups discussing the real facts of Marco Island finances. The City is in good financial shape. We have worked to keep your tax rates stable and over the past two fiscal years have produced a surplus.
You, our citizens will be voting to elect your next group of Councilors who will shape the future of Marco Island. You deserve the facts. Take the time to read the documents and decide for yourself.
Larry Magel | Marco Island