MAILBAG: More rental ordinance letters
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: I stand corrected
In my Friday June 19 Letter to Editor, I alleged council had hired a lobbyist without public notice to change state law regulating rental. I stand corrected, and cheerfully admit my mistaken comment. In our haste to respond to another council member's opinion letter we found objectionable, we didn't take sufficient time and look back far enough in council meetings. Council did publicly discuss this in late 2013, and we believe hired Mr. Saunders in March 2014. Our supporters, as well as an opponent, remind me of the facts.
Which is really what this is about. The facts are that many people object to the regulatory overreach, that the proposed ordinance is a complex solution to a simpler problem, that existing ordinances – maybe with minor modifications and enforced – will resolve the small number of trouble spots without burdening the rest of us, that existing ordinances apply to everyone and don't discriminate against rentals only, that council adopted one ordinance version and then reversed itself to adopt another, that the majority of council ignored a good deal of public comment in the ordinance review process due to their predetermined agenda, and here we are.
0n behalf of Committee in Support of Marco Island Referendum Petition on Rental Ordinance 15-01
Thanks for rental coverage
(Editor's note: the first paragraph in the following letter was addressed to the Sun Times editor; the rest of the letter was addressed to members of the Marco Island City Council.)
I wanted to thank you for the coverage re: the ordinance. At first I thought the city council was dividing the residents of Marco Island; now I am seeing they are actually uniting them.
I just finished reading the "Mailbag" in the Sun Times. They certainly were "right on" with their opinions. I don't think you are understanding the amount of anger caused from this ordinance being passed. I have never seen such outrage coming from the people here on Marco.
The number of registered voters who signed the petitions were enormous; that does not include the owners who aren't voters, but may be some day.
I looked back on the 2012 and 2014 City Council elections to see what the total votes were per candidate. Considering the amount of people who signed the petitions (and there would be many, many more if you wouldn't have changed your mind by passing it after many people went back up north.) This has happened so often in the past. If my figures are correct, I see at least 3,000 less votes for some of the candidates and could result in a much different outcome.
I would encourage you to start listening to the small business owners here, also. Your policies are making it so difficult for them.
P.S. This e-mail is not directed at Mr.or Mr. Rios. I want to thank them for having the courage to stand up for what they believe the voters want and for helping bring sense to this matter.
Victor Rios a leader
Let me say again how lucky Marco is to have Victor Rios representing all the property owners of Marco Island. I have followed this issue in newspapers and appreciate Victor's steadfast stance even as he was ridiculed and viciously attacked.
He is a leader and it isn't always' easy to be a leader. In my judgment he stopped the ever over reaching arm of Big government on our little island.
Chamber goes on record
The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce would like to go on record to correct some false information recently written about the current rental ordinance petition campaign and the chamber's involvement. The petition campaign was begun by an independent group of voters, acting under the specific terms of the city charter. When the campaign got underway, the Chamber was asked to help disseminate information.
As a 501 (c)(6) organization, that is a proper and frequent activity for the chamber. We initially sent out information regarding where to obtain the ordinance and petition to our well-established contact list that includes chamber members, residents and business owners. The Chamber did not acquire a list of Marco Island voters as accused, nor did the chamber solicit voters. We shared this message, like we do many others, through our established Constant Contact database (that we do not share with anyone).
Due to the swift and overwhelming response from our mailing list, we modified, and re-sent the "email blast" to include all of the referenced documents. Due to the complexity of the petition requirements (blue ink, all pages, name as exactly on voter registration, etc.) we also provided an instructions page. Whether or not the members have an interest in signing the petition is up to them.
The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce has always - and will continue to - promote a healthy business and tourism climate in order to protect the quality of life in the community.
Sandi Riedemann, executive director
Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce
No taxpayer money used
Mr. Paul Tateo had an LTE published in which he alleges that City Council used taxpayer money to hire a lobbyist to remove existing restrictions on a municipalities ability to regulate rentals. He further alleges this was done without transparency.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! When Roger Hernstadt interviewed for the City Manager position he spoke about the $40+ MILLION he helped obtain in stare grants while manager of Marathon; consequently, when he proposed retaining Ron Book to lobby on behalf of Marco Mr. Book was invited to speak at a regular council meeting and we subsequently voted to authorize his contract, specifically for the purpose of obtaining state grants to benefit the city of Marco Island.
In the measure that is to be voted on by the state Legislature this evening, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Book and the support of local representatives to the state Legislature, especially Matt Hudson, Garrett Richter, and Kathleen Passidomo, Marco is scheduled to receive more than $3 million in state funds to help build a multipurpose facility at Veterans Community Park as well as funds for our water system.
Assuming these items successfully pass the governor's review, we will be the beneficiary of Mr. Hernstadt's foresight to hire a lobbyist ( which I believe is a first for Marco!) Mr. Tateo was successful in getting a petition to repeal the rental ordinance reviewed. We'll see how council addresses this, however it's not necessary to mislead our community about our lobbyist.
Larry Sacher, chairman
Marco Island City Council