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Living up to potential

Uh-oh. The Naples Daily News editorial of March 15 may have poked the beehive, but it was spot-on. Marco Island needed to “grow up.”

Several months ago, by our council election, we have started that process. Seventy percent of the voters said, “Enough!” Four council members were elected to make that change to “grow up.”

The citizens were tired of the existing “ol’ boy network” and the preferential treatment that prevailed. The proposed hotel, completely out of code in an already congested area, the arbitrary taking of Veterans’ Community Park for the use of said hotel, the proposed drug and alcohol rehab facility in a residential area, the influence of the Marriott, the tail that wags the dog, etc., are all examples.

The previous council hired former City Manager Roger Hernstadt and, along with a certain local reporter, became his biggest cheerleaders. Despite the obviously questionable dealings with developers, the “bro-mance” continued. A mid-contract raise for Hernstadt astounded the citizens. Based on what? There was no evaluation process in place, just an “ol’ boy” pat on the back for flipping hamburgers at local events.

At current council meetings, it is sad to see the divisiveness that lingers with incumbent council members. If a motion is put on the floor that the sky is up, expect the vote to be 5-2. That must change; Marco Island needs to move forward. A constructive atmosphere is what this city needs and wants.

New council members Jared Grifoni, Charlette Roman and Howard Reed, along with Chairman Larry Honig, have a long row to hoe, but 70 percent of their constituents have mandated a need for change. We applaud the professionalism that the new council members have sought to achieve, while the minority pouts. We have a great city. We just need to live up to our potential.

John J. Marchetti, Marco Island

Shame on you

To the person who knocked over my motorcycle at the Fountain Plaza outside the Sunshine Booksellers South on a Friday afternoon: Be aware that you caused several hundred dollars’ worth of damage.

It is surprising that someone on Marco Island involved in vehicle damage could not be bothered to leave a note, report it to the police or advise one of the shops in this plaza.

It showed a lack of responsibility and ethics. If you are an island resident, it reflects badly on all of us. If you are not, it reflects badly on our visitors.

Shame on you.

Douglas Andrews, Marco Island

Buy more refuge land

It sure was disheartening to read about the “major decrease” in nesting birds in Southwest Florida. But this should come as little surprise as water woes and destruction of habitat continue to put pressure on all Southwest Florida wildlife.

It made me recall a Dorothy Edwards article in the Marco Eagle March 1 about the Marsh Trail in the recently created Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge sustains a large population of wading and nesting birds. How lucky we are to have had our federal government set this land aside in 1989 for enjoyment and benefit.

The Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge) also appeared in a Naples Daily News article March 2. This story was about Collier County commissioners seeking back payments (approximately $500,000) from a National Wildlife Refuge Fund program that was designed to “compensate local governments for property tax revenue lost by creation of national refuges.

Read, “lost revenues from development.”

Collier County Commissioner Bill McDaniel suggested that the $500,000 could be used to develop an Interstate 75 interchange at Everglades Boulevard.

Is there irony here? Seeking money from an agency that blessed us by protecting thousands of acres of lands that will be critical to sustaining nesting birds, and then using that money to destroy yet more critical habitat for an interstate interchange?

Collier County commissioners are the front line in the defense of our natural resources, and they continue to fail us in eastern Collier County. Let the National Wildlife Refuge Fund keep that money -- maybe it could be used to add national refuge lands, hopefully in Collier County.

Luke Larson, Isles of Capri

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