Letter to the Editor: Us vs Them? Or Them vs Us?

At the Oct. 15 City Council Meeting during Council communications, Mr. Magel made several comments that I believe need to be addressed. While his comments began discussing the formation of the Marco Island Homeowners Association and basically said that if “you guys” were to bring the city together he would have no problem, but if they were to create and “us versus them” mindset that he felt obligated to make the “thems” (condo owners) what is going on inside the city at the Utility Advisory Board which could be problematic for the “thems” (condo owners).

Somehow Mr. Magel managed to conclude that the Homeowners Association at the time on its own constituted an “us versus them” mentality. He then went on to state that the “thems” (condo owners) didn’t know what was going on, and he decided it was up to him to educate them. He felt he could not just sit back without informing the “thems” what was going on.

Let’s try to make it clear that the “us versus them” mentality was created solely by Mr. Magel and certainly not by the then Marco Island Homeowners. All the MIH wanted was a united voice on the island very similar to what has been in place at the Condo’s for many years via the Condo Association which represented of the individual Condo’s on the island. Examples of the disparity were the STRP program (we all remember the election issues in 2008), where the Condo Association had a vehicle in place to keep themselves informed of what was happening within the city and certainly a subset of the STRP was the Sewer and Water Rates and whether they were equitable or not. Both of these were highly contentious issues and the single family homeowner had only his individual voice, which many times would never be heard by our elected officials. As the homeowners progressed, it was quickly decided that there were many issues facing them such as Mackle Park, Smokehouse Bay Bridge, and 24 Hour Care facilities proposed by the Council Chair. These issues affected all property owners on Marco as opposed to just the Homeowners and the Marco Island Homeowners decided to become the Marco Island Property owners so that every property owner whether single family home or condo could share in voicing their concerns.

Mr. Magel went on to state his many reasons for his assumptions that there is a “group” on the island running for council who does not have represent the “thems” (condo owners). This could not be further from the truth and if anyone has spoken to us in the past or would like to speak to us in the future they will quickly understand that Mr. Honecker, Mr. Sacher, and myself are here because we want to represent every Marco Island citizen whether single family homeowner, condo owner, or business owner. Let’s take a look at some of these “untruths”:

Mr. Magel stated in his first letter to the Condo owners that the UAB was for a 20 percent reduction in SF water/sewer rates with a 12 percent increase for condo owners. Because of this, the City Council was forced to spend $100,000 for an independent study of both sewer and water. It should be made clear that the initial Cost of Service per Council was to be $50,000 and take only three months. The truth is that at the July 13, 2010 open meeting set up especially for condo owners (in Council Chambers), Mr. Dick Rigler from the Prince Condo stood and suggested that nothing should be done without a Cost of Service study being done. Immediately that was supported by Mr. Al Diaz and others.

Later Mr. Magel contacted the Island Country Club (where he is President) informing that if we were elected their re-use water rates would double from $1.16/1000 to $2.32/1000 gallons. Again this is a total fabrication and there has been nothing mentioned by anyone stating that they want to see re-use water rates adjusted upward. This quickly morphed into including Hideaway Beach also.

One has to be surprised why Mr. Magel has not sent out notification to the other Condos that have re-use water for their irrigation which would cause their rates to double from $1.54/1000 to $3.08/1000 gallons. Perhaps he felt this would be too much of a fabrication to put out at one time.

Condo owners need to ask themselves why the untruths continue. They heard them in 2008 during the election that if a group was elected their rates would increase substantially, and now the same group is stating that if we were to be elected you would see your rates increase. These myths need to be stopped.

There is only one person on Marco who is openly promoting an “us versus them” on Marco Island and that is Mr. Magel himself. One has to assume that the slate the Mr. Magel has supported must also be advocates of this “us versus them” mentality also or they would speak up against these untruths. Mr. Magel ended his commentary to the City Council stating “if the people do not like it – tough!” This alone speaks volumes about what Mr. Magel thinks of at least 65 percent of the residents on Marco Island.

Amadeo Petricca

Marco Island

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