While I agree with Mr. Lazarus’ recent statement that Chairman Magel has a right to free speech, I disagree that Chairman Magel made his views known as a “private citizen.” How is Chairman Magel speaking as a ‘private citizen” when he states in his letter to condo owners and country club members that he is privileged to serve as their City Council Chair and ICC board president? That is not a “private citizen” speaking. It is a man in power using his power to influence an election. That is what takes this to the level of an ethics violation, in my opinion.
I disagree with Mr. Lazarus’ comment “there is nothing wrong with a reference to his (Chairman Magel’s) elected position.” Doesn’t Mr. Magel’s reminder of his elected positions in reality influence condo owners and club members to assume that because he is a council chairman and a board president, what Mr. Magel says must be true? That he is merely sharing his concerns for their best interest? Or, it’s election time and you really need to know? It is very disturbing that Chairman Magel referenced his elected positions so he could falsely warn condo owners and Island Country Club Members that candidates Honecker, Petricca, and Sacher will double the condo and country club reuse water rates! His comment is false.
If you do not think that Mr. Magel has influence related to his position, then consider this: The Island Country Club Board, (on which Mr. Magel is president) will not allow Mr. Sacher (a club member) to write a letter of refute to any Island Country Club Members. Nor will the condo managers allow these candidates to speak or send a letter of refute to the condo owners. This appears to be a calculated shut-out on Mr. Magel’s part. Did anyone even think to ask candidates Honecker, Petricca or Sacher if they ever stated that they would raise the reuse water rates? If they had, they would know that these three candidates have never stated such a plan.
One person gets to reference his elected positions to say something untrue, while the others are shut-out from from setting the record straight. Is it possible that Mr. Magel’s elected position opened a door to free speech that is shut to others?
Legal? I suppose. Ethical? Not in my book! Manipulating and deceitful? Most definitely. I hope citizens will ask more questions before they automatically assume what they hear or read is true, especially when it comes from a person of power who wants to promote only one side, his.
You are so right, Mr. Lazarus, politics is a dirty business. Marco Island citizens have an opportunity to clean that up this election.