Your city needs you

Marco Island’s government could not function without the key volunteer boards and committees appointed by City Council. And one of the most important is the Audit Advisory Committee. This committee oversees the city’s financial functions, recommends and works with the city’s public accounting firm, and implements policies and practices that help keep our financial situation one of the most stable and solid in Florida.

We need volunteers — the committee starts its cycle in June, because that’s when the city kicks off its budget process. Committee members do not have to be accountants or auditors. We need knowledgeable businesspeople. We need people who can read income statements and balance sheets. We need people who want to preserve our top-notch credit ratings. In addition to serving the community, committee members will get to know like-minded citizens, and the city’s officials, and will have a real impact on Marco Island government.

Please consider applying. Just go online to Click on “Government,” click on “How Do I … ,” click on “Apply for,” click on “Boards & Committees.” We look forward to a strong and involved Audit Advisory Committee.

Larry Honig, chairman, Marco Island City Council

More cleaning house?

Former city manager Roger Hernstadt, while being interviewed for the Fort Myers beach manager’s job reportedly said he rued blindly following the advice of a city attorney when he should have “taken a step back.”

This was apparently in reference to his signing a developer’s application for the hotel near Veteran’s Park which led to his leaving Marco’s employ. I would like to remind people that city attorney, Alan Gabriel, in a prior employment stint with the city, was involved with the disastrous unconstitutional anchoring ordinance since stricken from the code of ordinances.

Maybe there’s more cleaning house to be done.

Lee Oldershaw, Marco Island

The nuclear option

Extreme partisanship has permeated Capitol Hill since former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) into law on March 23, 2010. Now that the Republicans hold the majority in the House and Senate, they may be tempted to exercise a legislative nuclear option to speedily pass their versions of health care and income tax reform bills.

While such an option may prove expedient, it would behoove Republicans to resist this temptation.

Before providing my reasons for this position, let’s understand the terms “filibuster” and “nuclear option.”

A “filibuster” is an old rule, tactic or parliamentary procedure that the minority party in the Senate can use to stop a legislative bill in its tracks. Once invoked, 60 Senate votes (60 out of 100) are needed to override the filibuster. The rationale behind a filibuster is to slow down the legislative process, stop hotheads from introducing extreme legislation, and obtain more of a consensus via give-and-take negotiations among the senators.

The term “nuclear option” refers to any plan to change the Senate rules without support of a supermajority (i.e. 60 votes when 100 Senators are present). In other words, the majority party can eliminate the use of a filibuster by the minority party by using Senate rules and a simple majority vote. In 2013, Henry Reid broke with tradition when he invoked a nuclear option to override Republican opposition (filibusters) to approve President Obama's judicial and executive nominees. On April 6, 2017, Senate Republicans invoked their own nuclear option (simple majority) to include Supreme Court nominees – thereby denying the Democrats the opportunity to stop President’s Trump’s nominee.

So, we come to the legislative nuclear option. If used, the pace of legislation will certainly increase. Absent any give-and-take discussions between the parties and bipartisan consensus-building, extreme legislation could pass with merely a simple majority vote.

Based on the extreme partisanship generated after Obamacare was passed with no Republican votes, passing major legislation without bi-partisan support will only worsen party relationships in the Senate. There’s also the risk of repeal when the minority becomes the majority. Although Republicans are now in control of the House and Senate, history has shown that political fortunes are unpredictable. Let's hope the Republicans will work with Democrats to get bi-partisan support for major legislation.

Maria Lamb, Marco Island

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