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Transparency takes a hit

What is meant by governmental transparency? It means an open, accountable and honest government. Information on how officials spend taxpayers’ money and conduct the public business is a key component in transparency that must be readily available to its taxpayers.

There was a council discussion Item in the Dece. 4, council meeting to replace Ordinance 14-04, Section 30-673 where it states that site development plans and site improvement plans and amendments to those plans would be forwarded to the Planning Board for review and to make recommendations to City Council who shall review and make the final decision.

The discussion was to amend with a new ordinance (18-XX) reverting back to a previous methodology where the director of community affairs would administratively approve those plans. This means that no one in the public is going to know what is being approved. It also means that the public can’t hold their elected officials accountable. I seem to recall that most of the councilors ran on a platform of “transparency.” 

The Planning Board is a quasi-judicial board that vets plans to insure that land development standards and ordinances, if applicable, are met.  Under this process the public will be fully aware of the proceedings and how it may affect them. This transparency process insures that all commercial properties are made aware that the petitioner is not being afforded special consideration, resulting in a business advantage. 

The city must insure a level playing field. Transparency in our local government is crucial and in this situation, Ordinance 14-04 should remain the way it was written and approved.

Maria Lamb, Marco Island

 

Preserve paradise, shut the door

Reading about the continuing growth in Naples and Collier County raises real questions about the future of our area.  Are we going to become the Fort Lauderdale of Southwest Florida? If so, why?

The infrastructure in this area is and will be overwhelmed if we continue to encourage and permit growth. Just look at the city of Naples. The existing roads just can't handle more growth, even routes like Airport-Pulling Road, U.S. 41 and Goodlette-Frank Road are overwhelmed during season.

How about the water supply for this area? Can it support unlimited growth?

Another concern is the beach, including parking and availability for use. 

Regarding the matter of "low-cost housing," why do we need it? If anyone worked in a large metro area, they commuted to work. For example, in the Washington metro area, with which I am familiar, most government workers commuted to their jobs for a half-hour to 1 1/2 hours because of cost and availability. 

I think it is time we formed a metro government, including Naples, Marco Island and Collier County to manage this area and also reduce the cost of governing this area. For example, duplicate police, fire and administration in each area could be combined, therefore reducing the cost and overseeing the growth.

Do not destroy our paradise. Shut the door.

Bernard R. Jacobs, Naples

Wonderful church, city

New Hope Ministries on Davis Boulevard was a true shelter from Hurricane Irma and it continues to serve individuals who need shelter sometimes from life’s storms.  A booklet from the church titled “We lost our electricity but not our power” describes its value and assistance to the Naples community and individuals including my husband and me.

After Irma church members fed, sheltered and protected people; then they welcomed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, set up insurance claim services and gave again in so many ways people needed and yet had time for individual needs and heartaches like mine.  

Naples has been our much-loved second home for 13 years and New Hope Ministries became our spiritual home soon after.

My beloved husband, Bill Marland, died in Columbus, Ohio, last Aug. 17, but I brought memories home to Naples to rest forever in November.

Pastor Michael Smith and Pastor Steve McGraw of New Hope Ministries mended my broken heart with their concern, support and words that turned my sadness into joy in a most special memorial service for my love and veteran on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, on Naples Beach. They honored Bill’s life and service and gave a prayer for all veterans on that beautiful Florida day beside the blue water with a soft breeze that carried red rose petals and loving thoughts out to eternity. The gathered friends and family left calmed and hopeful.

Pastors Smith’s and McGraw’s loving service was followed by a celebration luncheon at Jane’s Garden Café, with food and service by manager Mario that only highlights the outstanding people and places that make Naples a wonderful city and home.

Jane Marland, Naples

 

 

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