Marco Island City Council candidate debates – Realtors and Chamber of Commerce host round two

The candidates listen as moderator Craig Woodward closes the event. The second of four city council candidate forums was held Tuesday evening at the Rose History Auditorium. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

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The candidates listen as moderator Craig Woodward closes the event. The second of four city council candidate forums was held Tuesday evening at the Rose History Auditorium. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— Craig Woodward made one thing clear right from the start.

"I'm not a replacement ref," he told the crowd at the City Council candidates' forum on Tuesday evening.

He was, however, a last-minute, or at least same-day, stand-in for the scheduled moderator, Dick Shanahan, who had to bow out due to an issue with hearing, but watched from the front row. Woodward pointed out he had experience in his role, having moderated the very first City Council candidate forum 15 years ago, when there were no incumbents and approximately 30 hopefuls sought seats.

The event was sponsored by the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors and the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, and held, like last week's MICA-sponsored forum, in the Rose History Auditorium.

Also like last week's forum, one candidate was missing, in this case Ken Honecker, away on a cruise. Unlike last week's session, the absent candidate did not have an opening statement read by a surrogate. And with a different set of sponsors, the questions for the candidates reflected more of the business mindset to be expected from the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce and the real estate industry.

The candidates on hand, Jerry Gibson, Larry Honig, Paul Meyer, Amadeo Petricca, Frank Recker, Larry Sacher, Duane Thomas, and Wayne Waldack, each led off with an opening statement. From these, and their responses to questions over the two-hour forum, patterns emerged, with various candidates identifiable by their focus and signature issues.

Paul Meyer, chairman of the city's Parks Advisory Board and with elementary-aged school children, is the parks candidate, and as he said, "I'm representing the youth of the island."

Marine contractor Duane Thomas is closely connected with seawall replacement, and said in his closing statement, "I'm amazed we didn't have more seawall questions. We're going to spend over $100 million in the next five years on seawalls."

Marco Island Property Owners' President Larry Sacher spoke out for lower government spending. He mentioned over and over the dire economic condition of the country, until even he said, "I'm starting to sound like a broken record."

Larry Honig stressed his business experience and ability to work with anyone, and repeated more than once, 'I am a fiscally frugal conservative."

Amadeo Petricca spoke of his participation in numerous city panels, and his intimate familiarity with the details of the city budget. "I've submitted the most public record requests of anyone on the island, and often, I don't get an answer," he said.

The incumbent councilors have their records to run on. Jerry Gibson spoke of representing the whole community. "I'm not a boater, but this is an island community," and needs the safety a proposed fire/rescue boat, with the emphasis on rescue, would provide, he said.

Incumbent (and attorney) Frank Recker said that, when he served as council chairman, "I requested to go forward with a consultant" to help determine utility rates, and not having done so would have left the city vulnerable to lawsuits.

Incumbent Wayne Waldack emphasized the need for "out of the box" solutions, noting his participation in organizations including the Florida League of Cities, and the ideas that he brings back from them.

The absent Honecker is an expert on utility rates, and has been a voice for greater transparency in city government.

The discussion remained almost uniformly collegial, with moderator Woodward holding the candidates to the time limits for their remarks, and cautioning the audience against outbursts of applause during the forum.

With the forum held on the cutoff day for registration in time to vote in the election, Nov. 6, the supervisor of elections office had a booth out front before the event began, offering citizens the chance to register. So during the "meet and greet" session prior to the formal discussion, attendees could get cookies, water, and voter registration forms. Melody Vertefeuille, manning the booth, said she had not yet encountered any unregistered residents, no surprise considering the purpose of the meeting.

The MIAAOR/MIACC forum filled virtually every seat in the Rose auditorium, but didn't quite bust out at the seams like last week's MICA event. The forum was carried live on 98.1-FM, "The Island." Two more council candidate faceoffs are scheduled, an Oct. 12 event sponsored by MITA, the Marco Island Taxpayers Association, and an Oct. 16 gathering at Hideaway Beach.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 5

JohninMarco writes:

Note to Gibson about the fireboat. First and most important, how did the price for this start at 250K and then go to 400K, and now the fire chief states over 400K? Is this your leadership skill?

lauralbi1 writes:

Klaus: You know, reading Mr Sacher's comments in this article and his campaign mis-statements, one wonders why he, along wiht you, is voting for Obama ??

His ideals certainly are not consistent besides being way off base as they apply to reality. I refer specifically to his comments about our Master Plan from Deltona, his past comments about a major portion of our citizenry, etc

Maybe, if he feels the way he states, he should consider voting for Romney !!!
Ed Issler

20_Days writes:

Ed,

Maybe you should not be talking about mis-statements by anybody. If I remember correctly you were one of the first to jump on the bandwagon with Glenn Tucker denying the existance of asbestos in Veteran's Park.

You also have no idea, politically where Mr. Sacher stands and to which party he affiliates himself with.

Obviously Klaus is a mindless supporter of Obama but to say anyone else plans to vote that way is nothing but a bit of mis-information on your part.

Maybe, we should just vote the slate that Larry Magel picks for us, you know which ones, the ones that have been foreclosed upon, may or may not presently live on Marco or have failed to pay their taxes due to this city.

Mainly the ones that come with all strings attached.

sachcpi writes:

Just for the record to Mr. Issler: I have only met you once when you were trying to muster opposition to the Charter High School, we have never discussed national politics and you therefore have absolutely no idea who I support or don't support. Since I have completed a questionnaire from the NAPLES DAILY NEWS that will be published the record will show that I am a registered Republican, although I added the comment that I base my vote on the person and their platform, not their political affiliation.

Larry Sacher

2themoon writes:

in response to sachcpi:

Just for the record to Mr. Issler: I have only met you once when you were trying to muster opposition to the Charter High School, we have never discussed national politics and you therefore have absolutely no idea who I support or don't support. Since I have completed a questionnaire from the NAPLES DAILY NEWS that will be published the record will show that I am a registered Republican, although I added the comment that I base my vote on the person and their platform, not their political affiliation.

Larry Sacher

Mrs. Watt are u listening? Ed issler is the mouthpiece for Gibson, Waldack and Recker...you know, the guys who were against your school..you know the guys you endorsed for council...par for course on Marco..dont want to offend the syndicate they may snicker at us at the next Chamber mixer....wtf...

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