Letter to the Editor: Positive outlook for all citizens

Recently three persons running for City Council banded together and issued a salvo of negativism to proclaim their alliance and to disparage the other candidates, including me. I am very sorry to see this. They said that none of their opponents is “worthy of representing the people of Marco Island.” Let me summarize why I think I’m worthy – an MBA from Harvard, CEO of two public companies, a company commander as a captain in the Army (with Airborne and Ranger designations). These all require that you know how to cooperate to get things done, how to analyze budgets, and how to make difficult decisions, how to listen, and how to lead. I’m a tough, frugal, accomplished executive with a solid 40-year track record of accomplishments and cooperation. And as a full-time homeowner here for over 5 years, I am fully qualified to represent the citizens of Marco Island.

The three candidates talk about a “lack of financial discipline” on the part of City Council. One of the candidate’s slogans is “stop the insanity,” and the three candidates talk about “spending out of control.” I may be the new guy, but I fail to understand these themes. They’re just not supported by the facts: The tax rate is flat, not up. Property values are falling, resulting in less tax revenue. In spite of that, the city has produced a surplus for two years. The city has come in under budget for two years. The city is more than $2 million under the spending cap. The city’s gross expenditures are below last year. The number of employees is the same as it was 3 years ago. The city’s debt rating has been upgraded. Can we do better? Certainly we can, and if elected I will rigorously apply my strong financial and analytic background to look for more opportunities to save money.

The three candidates talk about a “citizen disconnect” because they say ordinances are passed with short lead times and poor input, citing seawalls as an example. The lead times are published in accordance with Florida law, they are known to all the community, and they allow for as much citizen input as citizens request. No citizen is ever denied input – and the three candidates should know that, having provided hours and hours of input themselves. Back to the seawalls, I expect this to be a major topic for the new City Council. We need to know what’s done in other communities, and what alternatives exist. I will use my analytic skills, listening skills and study skills to help reach a decision.

The three candidates refer to a “consistent lack of transparency” and cite the 24/7 clinic referendum vote. I’m the only candidate on record as having opposed it before the vote – and on the night City Council approved it for the ballot, I urged them not to. But it was totally transparent! In the time I’ve been attending meetings, I’ve seen the council attempt to be more transparent. They may not have always been successful, but my pledge to the voters is to be fully open, to as for and listen to public opinion, and to explain my actions.

Strangely, the three candidates have a snarky complaint about others who are “coming late to the game, like some candidates who’d never been to a meeting until they decided to run.” The implication, I suppose, is that in order to be qualified to run, you have to go to City Council meetings and fail ever to make a difference, as some of these three have done, or even to get your point across, because you can’t work well with others, you can’t compromise, you can’t recognize that we’re a city of complex interrelationships.

Every organization needs new blood, fresh perspective, to blend with existing experience. This is what I bring. I started attending meetings over a year before I decided to run. After the meetings, I’d come home and talk with my wife, and she would listen and ask questions and respond, and over time I came to believe that I could add significantly to the quality of our city government. I approached two respected persons in the community to begin learning what might be required to serve successfully. I then began my own private “listening tour,” walking around the Island residential areas, knocking on doors to introduce myself and ask voters to support me. I started in June, continued in July and August, and I used September to cool off before starting up again.

I believe there’s a need for a tough, experienced voice on City Council. I believe my business background qualifies me, and I believe a fresh set of eyes can add needed perspective and depth. I’ve aligned with two incumbents – Jerry Gibson and Frank Recker – because I’m not a well known person on the Island, and because I share their positive outlook for all citizens. But make no mistake: I’m an independent voice, and I will always do the homework, study the issues, listen to input, and explain my decision.

Larry Honig | Marco Island

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Comments » 4

ajm3s writes:

Mr. Honig:

Are you seriously asking the folks of Marco Island for your vote based on hitching your wagon to two incumbents because, in your words:

"...I’m not a well known person on the Island, and because I share their positive outlook for all citizens. But make no mistake: I’m an independent voice, and I will always do the homework, study the issues, listen to input, and explain my decision."

Ironically, I believe you should have hitched your wagon to Mr. Petricca, Mr. Sacher and Mr. Honecker based on your comments, in fact some have made their own detailed analysis while making repeated request for information from city management and council only to be dismissed on several occasions during the public comment segment of council meetings.

The slate of Honecker, Petricca, and Sacher are actually citizens that have coalesced NOT for name recognition but to provide competency against incumbents with solvency issues and candidates that appear to be single issue driven, i.e. advocate of youth on the island. You were a hope to consider, but hitched your wagon to maintaining to a slate for name recognition thereby endorsing the status quo. And that platform is getting old because I want an efficient government to serve the COMMON interests of ALL citizens. [I believe that is a positive statement].

Again, you would have more credibility if you did you homework with regard to the incumbents because, Mr. Recker, a professional lawyer just used the city website to promote his candidacy only to be quickly reminded by individual members of MI Property Owners, MI Taxpayers Association and MI Civic Association that this is against the law!!!!!!!!!

Imagine, citizens of various civic associations had to inform the city manager as well as Mr. Recker to remove the contents. So if the folks are paying attention, it is apparent, competency may be lacking.

The folks do NOT need a positive approach to governance, we need competency. Since you do your own homework, I would ask that it be returned with an incomplete grade, for an incomplete review of candidates in establishing a slate.

Your next assignment, if you choose to accept it: When can we get a response to Mr. Magel's endorsement of your slate while condemning a citizens organization that he references with obsolete information and projections of dire consequences? Not a positive approach.

Are the citizens merely being negative for pointing out inconsistencies amongst those candidates and a chairman that claim a positive and professional platform both present and past respectively.

For the record, I do not anticipate agreeing with every position of the Honecker, Petricca and Sacher slate, but as a start, I have to at least review platforms for credibility.

Again, I believe you may need additional study before submitting your homework and a seat on council. If you wish to earn the credits, start with credibility.

marcofriend writes:

Sorry Mr Honig. You have chosen the path of "birds of a feather" and our city needs to change. You apparently are not the person to offer us that change. Your Harvard degree did not give you enough common sense to come before the people and explain what you have to offer. Instead you join two people with private agendas who do not care what the people of Marco have to say. We do not need another four years of the same. Actually Marco should look into term limits of just four years.

JohninMarco writes:

Considering that Recker and Gibson have voted to purchase a fire boat with no idea of the final cost worries me. They may say that the cost is set. But the chief now states over 400K. Further your two friends have led Marco into more lawsuits over the last 2 years than since our existance.

20_Days writes:

Mr. Honig,

I am surprised that you are one of those packaged with "strings attached".

Sorry, but you lost my vote.

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