Comments by Russ

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Written on Marco Island City Council campaign – Candidates air views at MICA forum :

Uh, it occurs to me that, in the interest of fairness, perhaps I ought to also mention the other candidates, including my opinion regarding their candidacy:
1. Wayne Waldack – DEFINITELY NO, he’s an incumbent, suffers financial shortcomings and is a political illiterate with a rather dim-witted sense of direction for Marco, (i. e. he was the one and only councilor that moved to approve horse & buggies for Marco Island streets.)
2. Jerry Gibson- DEFINITELY NO, he’s an incumbent and, like Waldack, also suffers financial shortcomings. Marco’s debt increased approximately $53,000,000 (that’s 53 million dollars) during his so-called “controlled spending” watch. On the council, Mr. Gibson has exhibited an unfortunate “us against them” attitude towards the community, except, of course, during an election year. He’s asking for four more years of his “controlled spending”. I don’t think so.
3. Frank Recker – NO, he’s an incumbent. Once thought of as an independent thinker, he has now disappointingly wrapped his arms around Jerry Gibson, (above), and shares in the fifty three million dollar increase of so-called “controlled spending” debt.
4. Paul Meyer – NO. He’s an appointee of city councilor Larry Magel and chairs the Parks & Recreation Committee that advocates for the multi-million dollar Mackle Park expansion. Additionally, Meyer has been favored by John Arceri, the major player in Marco’s water utility debacle. That favoritism, in and of itself, is enough reason for me to reject Mr. Meyer.
5. Larry Honig – NO. Many readers may be familiar with the list of questions I submitted to Mr. Honig in an effort to get to know him. Of the seven questions, only ONE was answered in a straightforward manner. His other answers were waffling enough to make me wonder who could be backing him. Then I received the mail-out flyer that advertised Honig teaming up with Gibson and Recker…so much for Honig’s claim of being an “independent voice”. BTW, if anyone would like a copy of my seven questions and Mr. Honig’s responses, just email me at Rskipperna2@comcast.net. I’ll be happy to share.
Thanks for your attention, (sorry, Mr. Magel)
Russ Colombo

Written on Marco Island City Council campaign – Candidates air views at MICA forum :

Here's one Marco voter's opinion on the council candidates:

1.Ken Honecker - DEFINITELY YES - Ken needs no introduction to those who follow our local politics. Volunteering and serving in various committees, I’ve watched him engage the council in the best interests of the residential community whenever those interests were being ignored or compromised. Ken Honecker is a natural “People’s Choice”.
2. Amadeo Petricca – DEFINITELY YES. Here again, Amadeo should need no introduction. A bona fide “numbers man”, full-time resident Amadeo Petricca has faithfully tracked, examined and challenged the money trails that city councils and special interests create. He’s the man you want on your side of any audit.
3. Larry Sacher – DEFINITELY YES. Mr. Sacher earned my respect (and my vote), when he, with one other Marco Islander, created the Marco Island Property Owners group, (MIPO). This group advocates for the best interests of all Marco Island property owners. You may have read recent newspaper articles indicating that local political activist John Arceri does not want Mr. Sacher elected to city council. That alone is a wonderful recommendation for Mr. Larry Sacher.
4. Duane Thomas – UNKNOWN. A late-comer to this race, and relatively unknown to me, Mr. Thomas will bear watching by all Islanders as the campaign season unfolds, especially during the scheduled public forums. At least, unlike candidates Honig,Recker, Meyer,and Gibson, Mr. Thomas doesn’t seem to belong to Marco's “good ol’ boys’”club.

Some readers may not know that the voting record of each councilor since 2008 is finally available to you on the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com/index.aspx?page=409. There you’ll get a fair idea of what the above incumbents have been doing since you elected them in 2008.
One more thing: IF ANY GROUP OR CANDIDATE EVER ASKS YOU TO LEAVE A PART OF YOUR BALLOT BLANK, (IT’S CALLED “BULLET BALLOTING”), YOU ARE ACTUALLY BEING ASKED TO GIVE UP YOUR BASIC AMERICAN RIGHT TO EXPRESS AN HONEST POLITICAL OPINION. Judge such shameful requests, and its requester, accordingly.
Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the Editor: We want an Island high school:

All:

Although I seldom "blog", I'm delighted to have helped correct the popular misconception regarding Tract K's deed restriction.
The civil and courteous manner in which this was handled by everyone deserves thoughtful recognition by fellow Marco Islanders, especially our High Schoolers...does it not?

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the Editor: We want an Island high school:

To writer "jbailey":
Thank you for your remarks concerning my statement that Tract K is not deed restricted for school use only. You claim that it is restricted to school use and provided a link to Collier County's warranty deed page 384 as supporting evidence.
Unfortunately, you failed to provide the entire document which actually consists of five pages, (384 through 388 inclusive)describing three separate sites, namely Site No. 1, Site No. 2 (Tract K) and a Multi Family Site.
Of these three, only site No. 1 carries the school purpose restriction. Site No. 2, (Tract K), and the Multi Family Site DO NOT.
I haven't the ability to include here the supporting hyperlink. You obviously enjoy that ability. It would be a great service to this issue if you would provide that hyperlink but this time show the entire five (5) page document instead of only the very misleading first page.
Thanks much.
Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the Editor: We want an Island high school:

Mr. & Mrs. Servante:
Your letter advocating a charter High School be built on Marco Island is perfectly understandable, given your very personal and special interest as local parents of a teenager. Unfortunately, you have been misled in saying: "Track (sic) K is that property already donated for a school."

1. Tract K is currently owned by the Collier County School Board and reportedly has NOT been donated by them to anyone for a school or anything else.
2. The notion that Tract K was/is deed-restricted by Deltona for a school is false. The deed carries no such restriction. It is available for anyone's inspection.
3. The concept of a small high school for a small community on a small island is not unreasonable provided it enjoys the approval of the community's majority. This was the case when such a school was initially proposed on the eight acres of the local YMCA's land.
4.This new concept of a much more grandiose school campus scheme on scarce, fast-disappearing premium island property, (Tract K), without the consent of the island's majority is, in my opinion, NOT reasonable.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the Editor: Election -- Bullet point:

ALL:

Having just read and re-read carefully the statements posted by Mr. Ed Issler, it's difficult to avoid the following thought:
Mrs. Gump was so absolutely correct when she observed: "You can't fix s-----."

Much wiser to not try and just move on.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter To The Editor: Newly elected councilman offers thanks; asks to hear from you:

in response to blogsmog:

Russ, welcome to the world of the sleazy syndicate - Lazarus, Aceri, Patterson and that gang throw in some condodwellers,the Chamber and a few friendly local judges and you have a recipe for ______________ (ya'll can fill in the blank.)

"Blogsmog"
Thank you for your comments and the "welcome" that they contained. I appreciate them. You (and others) might be surprised to learn that, as a native New Yorker, the world of sleaze and corruption holds very few surprises for me. The City of Marco Island is just at the start of its learning curve. Increased public awareness usually helps strengthen defenses, don't you think?
Thanks again.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter To The Editor: Newly elected councilman offers thanks; asks to hear from you:

With the election now behind us, I heartily congratulate councilors-elect Chuck Kiester and Joe Batte for their successful, honest and fair campaigns. Also, my thanks to Ted Forcht for his four years of dedicated public service. Ted’s extremely slim margin of loss is testimony to Marco Island’s appreciation as well. Because “congratulations” are an expression of pleasure at someone’s success, I cannot include the third winner, Larry Magel, in my congratulations. I think my fellow Marco Islanders might be curious to know why, so I’ll explain:

Mr. Magel, a resident of Hideaway, is also president of the Condominium Association and a member of the Hideaway Legal Committee and so he was understandably a favorite of the condo community. There were three council seats to be voted on and four candidates. Reportedly, voting members of the condominium community were urged to vote only their man Magel’s name, LEAVING THE OTHER TWO COUNCIL SEAT CHOICES BLANK. This is called “bulleted balloting”, is perfectly legal and is a tactic used by outfits such as Acorn to make a candidate appear more popular than he actually is.

The post-election data from Supervisor of Elections office has shown that approximately 1,400 bulleted ballots came from precincts that are primarily condominium sectors. The bulk of these bulleted ballots contained only Magel’s name instead of three candidates. You can readily see then, that if these 1,400 ballots had properly and correctly contained two other candidate names in addition to Magel’s, the election results would have been significantly different, (do the simple math, Magel ended with only 270 more votes than the lowest candidate). It’s quite likely that Magel would have finished out of the running completely.

Predictably, some will criticize me as a sour-grapes naysayer for bringing out the above facts, but most informed Marco Islanders can understand why a manipulated election result doesn’t deserve congratulations, at least not from me. However, I will compliment Magel advisors, John Arceri, Jack Patterson, Monte Lazarus, Jose Granda, for coming up with a pretty slick, albeit somewhat disingenuous, “winning” strategy. Good luck, Mr. Magel, despite your dubious beginning…and good luck, Marco Island.

Russ Colombo

Written on Which three Marco City Council candidates are you voting for?:

Of the four candidates running for office, the relatively unknown Mr. Magel will not, repeat NOT receive my vote. I’ll share three of several reasons:
1. Mr. Magel is the only candidate who wants Marco’s spending cap modified to provide an end run around its limitations.
2. Despite his claim of “independency”, Mr. Magel’s candidacy is reportedly supported by people like John Arceri, Monte Lazarus, Joe Granda, Ed Issler, et al. To vote for such an “independent” candidate requires a giant leap of faith that is unwarranted and risks regrettable consequences
3. One has to wonder about a man who spends twenty thousand dollars trying to get a job that pays six thousand per year.
…just one man’s respectful opinion.
Russ Colombo

Written on Three Collier community leaders honored for service at Family Fun Day:

Congratulations, Dr. Biles...no one deserves the recognition more than you!

Written on The Farmer File: Marco’s money woes -- the spending cap trap:

Uh, Mr. Farmer...please excuse this somewhat slow, aging mind of mine, sir, but please, just exactly what is it that you're trying to say in your column? Could you possibly simplify or clarify your remarks for those of us not quite up to your level of communicating? I do apologize for my inability to grasp what your article tried to state and would sincerely appreciate your help in doing so. For example, are you praising, or are you condemning the spending cap's impact on city administration's spending habits?
Thanks much.

Russ Colombo

Written on Bike ride sends Marco city councilman to hospital :

Frank:

Unless you had stopped breathing, which obviously you hadn't, the inspiration and training of Joel's mouth-to-mouth exercise, if implemented, would have raised serious questions...no?

Russ Colombo

PS: Glad you're OK!

Written on Letter to the Editor: Bill McMullan responds:

Mr. Issler:

About eight months ago you wrote echoing Waldack's mistaken allegations against Preserve Our Paradise (regarding non-existant lawsuits, fantasized expenses to city, etc.) When I corrected you, you assured me you would research the facts and apologize if your accusations proved untrue. Very much like Mr. Waldack, I have heard nothing further from you. I am reluctant to believe that you too, like Mr. Waldack, have little or no regard for your given word.
An honest research can only confirm that POP never filed a lawsuit, never caused any cost to the city nor was ever guilty of any of the blind, wrongful Waldack/Issler allegations.
Assuming your 8-month research into POP's activities has led you to these truths, may I respectfully ask your intentions? Hopefully you won't simply imitate Waldack in ignoring the facts and intentionally repeating the lies against POP.

Russ Colombo
Former POP Chairman

Written on Letter to the Editor: Bill McMullan responds:

Bill:

In your offer to make a “Scout’s honor” deal with Wayne Waldack, please keep the following in mind: I was chairman of Preserve Our Paradise, (POP), a citizen’s committee that sought a charter amendment referendum. During his campaign and in front of witnesses, Waldack promised me that he would make a specific public apology to POP for having falsely accused POP of 1) costing the city thousands of dollars, 2) filing lawsuits against the city, 3) obstructing the STRP project, 4) involvement in a councilor recall action. None, repeat NONE, of these allegations against POP are true!Waldack promised me his public apology well over a year ago but has not kept his word. Instead, unbelievably, today he repeats the very same false POP accusations! Bill, beware of making deals with insincere individuals who do not value or honor their own word. Unfortunately, Waldack fits that description. Such efforts are worthless. Chamberlain learned this the hard way, back in 1938.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letters to the editor: Dec. 10, 2008:

Mr.Issler:

I am delighted to accept your apologies for the numerous misstatements and false allegations you made in your 10 December, 2008 message. Your apologies do restore a degree of respectability to your statements and opinions.
I know that when you "research POP and it's past activities as far as lawsuits and courts and waste of City Money and get back to [me]", you will find that yet ANOTHER apology is owed and anticipated.
As to the Kiester case, I must again reiterate to you that the reference was to city council's apathy towards Mr. Kiester, as compared to council's sympathy towards Mr. Thompson's violations. The reference had nothing to do with our legal system. Can you understand that?

Again, I thank you for your apologies. They are appreciated.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letters to the editor: Dec. 10, 2008:

Mr. Issler:
I was referred to your comments by someone who couldn't believe how misinformed you are. She is correct. You requested correction if applicable, so I'll oblige:
1. No, Mr. Kiester has never been convicted of Sunshine Law violation. The charge was destruction of public records (deleting e-mails). Nevertheless, you didn't grasp my reference to the Kiester case. It had nothing to do with the court's ruling but referred to the publicly admitted VINDICTIVE reason for filing the case in the first place( S. Sciarrino, 08). The city council remained silent, despite other councilors admitting to e-mail deletions as a common practice on Marco (Tucker, DeSciullo). The absence of council "consideration and understanding" should be obvious to any unbiased mind.
2. You made reference to our "Democratic process" (sic) in suggesting we leave decisions to our elected representatives and simply "enjoy each day". Your comment betrays an appalling ignorance of how a representative democracy functions. Educating you is beyond the scope of this response, but I suggest you research the subject, particularly citizen rights and obligations.
3. Your message to me says:
"Hopefully you will run again so we can take letters like this [Colombo's] and show all citizens just how you would run our future. By the way, it sure would be nice for the City to have the money you caused it to waste in the Courts. You want to write about that wasteful effort you caused and it's impact on our budget ??"

Mr. Issler, you are most certainly a very confused person:
a)I have never run for any political office.
b)I have never taken court action against the City.
c)I have never caused any budget impact, wasteful or not.

Please consider this as an open challenge of those false allegations you have made. Check your facts, sir, and you will find an apology is in order. Should you choose otherwise, I suggest you seek help as soon as possible.

Russ Colombo

Written on Guest commentary: MITA president dissects fire assessment fee:

Dr. Biles' commentary is timely, truthful and quite telling. Among other things, I was reminded of one occasion wherein a woman called Marco police because she had locked her car keys inside her automobile. It was startling to witness a fire truck, an ambulance AND a police car all responding to her call! If this is Marco's "standard" procedure, it might explain why Chief Murphy needs more personnel, more fire engines and more budget protection.

If City Council votes to change all, or even PART, of the Chief's budget from dependance on property taxes to a separate, special assessment, it could become financially possible for the Fire Chief to turn his department into the "gold standard" of Fire Departments. I have nothing against "gold standards" of anything, including Fire Departments. They're certainly worthy models to strive for PROVIDED YOU NEED IT AND CAN AFFORD IT. I suspect that in today's economy only people that sell firefighting equipment will join a Fire Chief in trying to create a "gold standard" Department on a tiny island, especially where a lesser level has proven equally effective.

A prudent, pragmatic Marco City Council would reject the idea of a special Fire Assessment, particularly since (1) Collier County is actively considering consolidating ALL fire departments and (2) Florida legislation is considering making all such assessments ILLEGAL because they are designed to avoid the taxpayers' savings that the State's recent property tax "roll-back" law mandates. It'll be interesting to see how this city council will vote.

Russ Colombo

Written on Marco to revise permissible dock sizes:

Van:
It would appear that either
a) Ms.Farrell got the story all wrong (possible) or
b) Mr. Waldack hasn't a factual clue (probable).
You can be assured the "clarification" you requested, if acknowledged at all, will be interesting.

Russ Colombo

Written on Marco councilor Kiester, residents sound off on top city issues:

Refreshers for selective memories:

"I don't bother with my e-mails. I just delete them." (Councilor Glen Tucker)

" Me too." (Councilor Terry DiSciullo)

"My e-mails are just going to disappear" (Councilor Forcht)

Mockery being mocked...or selective vendetta?

Written on Marco councilor Kiester, residents sound off on top city issues:

Councilor Kiester must be recognized and thanked for the time and effort he has consistently volunteered to Marco Island's residents. For the past two years of his office, I believe he's been the ONLY councilor willing to hold open "town meetings" with the residents to get their unfettered opinions. He also initiated and chaired an ad hoc committee to address homeowners complaints against unregulated single family rental homes. Chuck's approach to elected office and his genuine concern for the voters is in stark contrast to what Marco has been subjected to from some other councilors, both past and present. It should be noted that Mr.Kiester's honest concern for the residents has earned him the abuse and disfavor of some members of Marco's administration. He has endured admitted "spite" persecutions apparently because he will not take marching orders from those who presume to control Marco Island. Councilor Kiester and I have disagreed strongly on some issues, but his is the sort of honest dissent and integrity that I, for one, will always respect. Those independant qualities have been all too rare in Marco's administration. Thanks for being there, Councilor Kiester!

Written on Guest commentary: Robert’s Rule of Order, turning chaos into consensus:

Lisa:
You're correct: Robert's Rules are an invaluable tool for orderly & civil proceedings. Unfortunately, Marco's City Charter does not mandate the use of these Rules, a fact that some councilors, particularly Mr. Tucker, point out when it's convenient. A simple Charter amendment would correct this oversight; however, don't hold your breath.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the editor: Insulting:

Veridicus:

I don't believe I've labeled groups with whom I happen to politically disagree anything at all nearing "hateful", "negative", "nutty", "divisive" etc., have I? Regrettably, you're following the "spin" that tries to paint me as a Hitler sympathizer simply because I made reference to an analogous WW II historical fact. That is about as misguided, disingenuous and insulting as a frustrated opponent can get. I'm sorry you felt compelled to fall quite that low.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the editor: Insulting:

Lolala & Veridicus:

I'm afraid that as long as dissent or political opposition is regarded on Marco Island as "hateful", "negativism", "nutty", "divisive" or any of the other labels used by some folks, hope can only flicker instead of flaming. Sailingby's comments demonstrate all too well the sort of mentality that will accept only those who march in lock-step with their own opinions. To these mindsets, disagreement is something to be destroyed. In contrast, Mr. Barry French's comments (above)certainly are intelligent and educated. Yet he too seemingly embraces the propaganda that honest opposition, disagreement or critiscism is anti-everything, uncivil or destructive. If Marco Island had political "bosses", they would seem to have done their work well. Note how I am attacked for expressing my views. I believe it's supposed to intimidate.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the editor: Speaks volumes:

Thank you, Mr. Schwartz. You're brilliant!

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the editor: Luck and aid:

Dear "Para_Rescue_38th":

1. Did you mean "INTELLIGENT"?
2. I'm sorry you couldn't read my letter. It said: "However, I can certainly hope that somehow this new City Council will prove me wrong."

Thanks for the attempt anyway. I'm sorry to upset you so much.

Russ Colombo

Written on Letter to the editor: Luck and aid:

Well, judging from some of the above threatening comments, Marco Island citizens are being served notice (by a few) that dissent, or differing opinions will not be tolerated. They must be silenced and/or deported across the Jolley Bridge. These strutting individuals seem to consider themselves stormtroopers that must beat down any who dare disagree politically. A rather strange and sad concept of their "positive" thinking. I reject it totally...so what?... concentration camp??

Russ Colombo

Written on Half of Marco council candidates show for a ho-hum debate:

It should be obvious to Marco voters that incumbent Bill Trotter, seeking re-election, has now thumbed his nose at the residents by not attending THREE OUT OF FIVE public forums. Apparently, he feels so comfortable having the support of the business community that he can ignore the residential community. Well folks, if you:
1) consider an uncaring attitude towards residents,
2) add a voting record that includes blocking the people from voting legitimate issues twice in as many years and,
3) witness voting an irrational rush into signing millions of dollars of contracts,
4) mix in an apalling lack of effective leadership during four years as councilor and
5) realize that despite a boast of having incredibly high financial credentials and expertise, his tenure has led the city unto the brink of bankruptcy (note the rescuing Bank of America $20M line of credit loan).

Well, add this up, friends, and you come up with a person that does not, repeat does NOT deserve any resident's vote. It doesn't matter at all whether you love the STRP or you hate the STRP, this sort of elitist mentality tramples on the voters' trust instead of honoring it.

In running for re-election, Bill Trotter has said he wants to "finish what he started." Fellow Marco Islanders, if you've never heard a frightening threat before, you certainly have now! Please do not give "financial expert" Bill Trotter another four years to finish us off!

Russ Colombo

Written on MITA hosts intimate candidate forum:

Last night's MITA event was a welcomed and successful happening for Marco's voters. Three items in Ms. Williams' article deserve closer attention:

1. In acknowledging imitating the deplorable Celebrate Marco tactic of labeling any and all critics of the city as "Citizens Against Virtually Everything" (CAVE), candidate Waldack agreed to publicly apologize to Preserve Our Paradise (POP) for wrongfully alleging that (a)POP wanted to destroy the city, (b)POP had instituted lawsuits against the city and (c) POP had cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. As you can see from Ms. Williams' article, Mr. Waldack danced around the subject and did not address his apology directly to POP as he had promised. Side-stepping promises so easily isn't a good sign from an aspiring council candidate.

2. The city charter originaly set the spending cap at 3% of the prior year's EXPENDITURES. The city removed the word "EXPENDITURES" and replaced it with the word "BUDGET", thus allowing a larger money calculation. Surprisingly, candidate Gibson does not see this as a change of charter language (which would require voter approval). Instead, Mr Gibson shrugs it off as mere "interpretation" and not a change of language. A frightening political position to take in this country.

3. The above report points up an interesting conflict between candidates Waldack & Gibson:
Waldack: "... holds to ... the detrimental effects of some of the nay saying he sees on the island."
Gibson: "It’s great to have diversity and arguments."

Hmmm...

Russ Colombo

Written on The Farmer File: If Marco manager goes, Ollie, Simon could help out:

Politically speaking, Mr. Farmer still doesn't, and probably never will "get it". In reading his incoherent, senseless babble about Marco Island, it becomes obvious why he is the FORMER CNN news anchor and the FORMER ABC News correspondent... these two demanding career fields require at least an average level of intelligence as well as an ability to understand political issues. Mr Farmer seems to fail in both regards. This understandably would result in being shown the door by both CNN and ABC.
Now one wonders just how long before the luckless, intellectually-challenged fellow becomes the "FORMER FARMER FILER" and adds this newspaper to his unflattering list of career failures?

Russ Colombo

Written on Marco City Council nixes additional H2S tests:

"15yearsmarco", along with several hundred other Marco taxpayers seem to have a grip on the fairly logical, "no brainer" question concerning community safety and liability. Reportedly, the sewer contractor, Quality Enterprises, signed the city contract agreeing to be responsible for a host of conditions including SAFTEY isues. In his infinite wisdom, Councilor Tucker attempted today to "pooh-pooh" this clause claiming it could be looked into "later" because making the Contractor pay costs wasn't an urgent matter. Wouldn't it be nice if Tucker & Co. (Moss) would guard the people's money as fervently as they protect the contractor's pocketbook? Happily, timid Councilor Popoff (of all people)finally found the courage to rebuff Tucker by making a motion directing City Attorney to pursue this very contract clause. This passed 7-0, with even lame duck Tucker agreeing! (go figure...) Folks, you just can't make this stuff up! Stay tuned for more of these wannabe "Keystone Kopper Kapers"

Russ

Written on Winners named in election date debates contest:

Thanks Jim, for caring and daring to become actively INVOLVED!

Written on The Farmer File: Electing Marco city manager a dumb idea:

Lolala:

You have articulated one of Marco's problematic situations concisely and accurately. However, I'm compelled to offer you a bit of unsolicited advice, if I may. Advice that has served me well through the years and is particularly applicable to Mr. Don Farmer and his writings: "A closed mind is like a closed book; nothing you say will alter the contents of either."
Happily, I'm sure your remarks were appreciated by Marco mentalities less limited than Mr. Farmer's.

Russ Colombo, Chairman
Preserve Our Paradise (POP)

Written on Letters to the Editor: July 24:

Mr. Ed Drury Jr

I want to thank you as sincerely as possible for taking the time, trouble and effort to spotlight a lack of courtesy to the flag of our country (Respect Old Glory). Many others certainly must have noted the condition of the particular flag flying over the United States Post Office on Marco, but you were the only one concerned enough, and PATRIOTIC enough to do something about it. I, for one, want to extend my personal thanks to you for being AMERICAN enough to express your honest opinion instead of just looking the other way. THANK YOU!

Russ Colombo

Written on None:

Captnjimbo:

You mentioned a "septic leeching problem". Marco's government water quality tests show none existing. Their numbers indicate septic tank leeching is not even imminent or a cause for concern. Are they wrong or lying? Could you elaborate please?

Written on Guest Commentary :

It's heartening to note the favorable responses bearing unfamiliar names . Americans are traditionally slow to arousal when it comes to governmental abuse, but once awakened, we become a force to be reckoned with. Are Marco Island residents beginning to stir and care about what's being done to their paradise island in the name of (commercial) progress?

Written on City and DEP awarded final judgment:

Ah, MarcoNo1...would that these darn "Marco Malcontents" simply and quietly turn down their collars and shuffle off to the guillotine mumbling something about "...tis a far greater thing I do..." - Now THAT would certainly make folks like you feel all warm, fuzzy and accomplished inside...wouldn't it??? It's so darned inconsiderate for the thinkers on Marco Island to rock your Oh-So-Comfortable Boat every now and then, isn't it? tch, tch...

Written on The Marcophile: A case of paying for pet peeves:

Miss Chris uses an interesting metaphor. Apparently, if a "bear" were to threaten her children and home, Miss Chris would stroll away "rooting for the bear"? Scary philosophy! By those standards, "Bear-Molester America" was out of line in dealing with King George III, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo Stalin, et al. Are we just a nation/city of dumb malcontents unwilling to march quietly in step with infallible national/city governments?
Chris, I KNOW you to be more intelligent than those writings suggest. Does your job security really require such embarrassing massaging of City Hall?

Russ Colombo

Written on Guest commentary: City Council's public statement about the Recall Petition:

Terri, you say " It is my belief that all seven members of this city council respect the laws of the state of Florida. We also respect the right of our citizens to express themselves and to participate in the decision-making and governing process." Where, then, was the courage of your conviction when your vice-chair Tucker stated in council meeting that he would stop POP's petition from reaching the voters REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY SIGNED PETITIONS WERE RECEIVED? Do you not think this is a blatant disrespect for the law? And did you not blindly SUPPORT this man's disrespect of the law when you instantly approved his wrongful motion to reject POP's 2000 signed petitions without confirming Tucker's self-serving allegation? Terri, according to your own City Attorney, YOU HAD A FREE CHOICE HERE, yet you allowed yourself to be manipulated into actually supporting vice chairman Tucker's threat. You ignored 2000 lawful Marco Island petitioners wanting to "express themselves and to participate in the decision-making and governing process." and just assumed, without thought of verification, POP's petition to be "illegal". I'm sorry, young lady, but these tragic facts can't just be "blown off" by fancy legalese words or writings, regardless of who creates them.
The unspoken apology of an honest, unbiased re-consideration of the issue would serve well in restoring some integrity to this city council. So far, even this simple request has gone ignored. Is the fear of of genuine citizen participation in Marco Island government so great?

Russ Colombo

Written on Celebrate Marco says recall petitions, letters 'misleading':

Marcogirl:
You seem to be in the habit of hurling baseless accusations against citizen committees such as POP and CARES behind the protection of your presumed anonymity. Here's a direct challenge for you: You've written that POP and CARES have been guilty of "misleading information" and "personal attacks". CARES is ably defended by Mr. Foster. As Chairman of POP, I openly challenge you to prove ONE SINGLE CHARGE OF MISLEADING INFORMATION or ONE SINGLE CHARGE OF A PERSONAL ATTACK committed by POP. There aren't any!
Persons of honorable character and moral courage would ordinarily apologize as well as identify themselves fully. Will you rise to that level?

Russ Colombo, Chairman
POP

Written on Celebrate Marco says recall petitions, letters 'misleading':

This city government is fast becoming the state's, if not the nation's, biggest governmental joke. In the above article their representatives, "Celebrate Marco", try to threaten supporters of Mr. Hall's recall petition with penalties because "...people signing the recall petition become part of the committee doing the petitioning. They make themselves liable..." Flashback now, please, to last month when the city rejected POP's 2,000 signed petitions because (they claimed) "insufficient number of petition committee members"!!! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!!!
This administration and its representatives, qualify as a modern "Show of Shows" comedy. The tragedy, however, is that they seem to consider Marco residents as being plain s----- and have said so. I have a problem with that concept. Do YOU?

Russ Colombo
POP Chairman

Written on Letter: 'Average' resident pays sewer freight:

Bbyrone's response to the city's "non-political" ambassador is a model of common sense. One additional issue deserves mention: Can anyone explain to me the logic of someone who chooses to pay the sewer assessment in monthly installments having to pay the entire balance owed when he sells his home? Does he get to take his "paid in full" sewer with him when he moves away or does he automatically just become an instant "collector of monies" for the city,(from buyer to city)... huh?

Written on City to cover cost for 3 councilors if recall defense needed:

Let me see if I've got this right: If a councilmember commits a serious infraction against the voters worthy of a recall effort by the voters, the council wants the voters to pay the costs of showing themselves to be wrong?...what happens when the councilmember is found guilty? He's risked nothing other than his position? I'm no lawyer but isn't this just another one of those voter-guaranteed "free ride" perks that legislators love to approve for themselves?

Written on Letter: Celebrate Marco group responds to recall issue:

Dear "Celebrate Marco"

As long as you're running errands for City Hall and "educating" Marcos legal dummies, you might want to share your wisdom with City Council. You see, when they denied POP's petition, they didn't know the following, but YOU obviously did:

"As our Supreme Court recently said in Beckstrom v. Volusia County Canvassing Board, et al., 707 So. 2d 720 (Fla. 1998) quoting Boardman v. Esteva, 323 So. 2d 259 (Fla. 1975):
The real parties in interest here, not in the legal sense but in realistic terms, are the voters. They are possessed [sic] to the ultimate interest and it is they whom we must give primary consideration . . Ours is a government of, by and for the people. Our federal and state constitutions guarantee the right of the people to take an active part in the process of that government, which for most of our citizens means participation via the election process. The right to vote is the right to participate; it is also the right to speak, but more importantly it is the right to be heard. We must tread carefully on that right or we risk the unnecessary and unjustified muting of the public voice. By refusing to recognize an otherwise valid exercise of the right of a citizen to vote for the sake of sacred, unyielding adherence to statutory scripture, we would in effect nullify that right."

Thanks for this amazing piece of news! Now run along...share it and celebrate the discovery.

Russ Colombo, Chairman
Preserve Our Paradise

Written on Calling for a recall:

Which councilman:
1. publicly insulted citizens...
2. publicly stated a willingness to break the law...
3. publicly accused citizens of criminal actions...
4. publicly admitted to lying...
5. publicly misled council into denying a LEGAL petition...

Councilman E. GLEN TUCKER has said:

1. (POP)is a self-absorbed, egotistical, s----- group.
2. I don't care how many signatures (POP) gets, I will stop their petition from reaching the voters.
3. (I) have photographic evidence of asbestos pipes being moved covertly.
4. Alright! I DON'T have any photographic evidence of asbestos pipe being moved.
5. (POP's) petition doesn't comply with charter and must be denied.

Should Mr. Tucker:
1. Be admonished by council?
2. Be considered untrustworthy?
3. Be considered unethical?
4. Be recalled?
5. All of the above?

Written on Tucker says he has no photo evidence of asbestos planting:

There seems to be a shameful pattern emerging here, and I'm not referring to ILOVEMARCO's "defecation-fixation". Councilman Tucker's confessed inability, or unwillingness to distinquish between lies and truth should impress the misled city council. That trusting body assumed Tucker's motion to deny POP's petition was true. Tucker, backed by Minozzi, claimed the petition was illegal. Council, apparently trusting Tucker's integrity as a lawyer, went along with him and denied permitting you to vote on the amendment. Charter facts surfacing now hold that POP's petition was not illegal at all. POP's has asked the city council to re-visit the petition issue. To date, Council has ignored POP's request. Regardless of how you may feel about the charter amendment, is this the type of government that Marco celebrates? Do you care?

Written on POP considers referendum lawsuit against city:

Amazing,amusing and sad: ILOVEMARCO'S obsessed fascination with defecation & sewers. H/She "shoehorns" that subject into any unrelated discussion...wonder how an invitation to say Grace at the dinner table would play out???

Written on Letter: Voting on city manager would be bad management:

Mr. & Mrs. Bier:
One continually wonders:
If providing direct accountability of a CM to the people is such a "bad idea", why do the detractors go to such lengths to block the voters from making the decision on it? Do they consider the electorate so intellectually inferior that they can't distinguish between a good idea and a bad one as well as YOU?...or between a good CM and a poor one? Is it not possible for a job performance evaluation (you're confused, it's NOT a "popularity" vote) to be a positive one as well as a negative one?

Written on Letter: POP's proposal would be chaos:

Sorry, Vickie...haven't you noticed that the fears expressed in your last paragraph have been underway for several years now on Marco? Were you too busy sitting pretty on the city council to take notice? You made some salient points but immediately devalued them by attempting to malign an equally concerned citizen group (POP). It would seem your mentor from your council days, Mr. Minozzi, has done well with you. How sad.

Written on POP to turn over 1,400 petitions to city clerk:

As chairman of Preserve Our Paradise (POP), I want to thank all of the supporters who have made it possible for POP to attain the first goal required in the process to amend our city charter. The minimum number of signed petitions has been exceeded despite the hardship of seeking signatures at the height of Marco's summer when a majority of our residents were away on vacation. Your heartening responses to POP's campaign have been more than encouraging, particularly under the difficult conditions just described. POP is committed to strictly and carefully following all the legal steps required towards having this charter amendment reach the voters of Marco Island. Collier's Supervisor of Elections office is now certifying those petitions. after which our city council will be required to act on the matter. POP does not anticipate council support on the issue; nevertheless, charter amendments are decided by the voters and not city council. Please visit POP's website PreserveOurParadise.com to learn how the proposed amendment will benefit Marco Islanders if you approve it.

With sinerest appreciation for all your support,

Russ Colombo, Chairman
Preserve Our Paradise

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