Letters to the Editor, May 15

Marco Eagle

Kudos to Marco Island City Council

Kudos to Marco Island City Council. On Monday, May 7, 2018, the Marco Island City Council finalized the wording on the ballot regarding the Aug. 28 referendum for the COPCN (ambulance service) initiative. It passed by a 6-1 vote. The language is clear and concise and outlines the cost for enhancing our emergency medical service.

Editorial cartoon

The ballot will ask Marco property owners to tax themselves $100 per year for an assessed property value of $500,000. This will generate approximately $2 million. That along with approximately $1 million in transport fees (fees obtained when an ambulance transports a patient to a hospital) will pay for two full-time ambulances and a third backup vehicle all year round for our citizens. It will cover the cost of hiring 12 paramedics along with purchasing appropriate equipment and medications. Finally, it will pay for our own medical director.

If the proposal passes on Aug. 28, which I am sure that it will, the citizens of Marco Island will have local control of all essential services.  That means we have a voice concerning our police force, utilities (water/sewage), fire/rescue, city government (City Council) and our emergency medical service.

The public is invited to attend the “Our City – Our Ambulance” town hall talk at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 17, at the Mackle Park Community Center for additional information and to ask questions. 

Dr. Jerry Swiacki, Marco Island

A resident’s three-prong proposal

In my opinion, the administration of our city of Marco Island has now become something of a joke among other communities. Beginning with the search and selection of a new city manager last fall, right on down to last week’s City Council meeting, I think enough inappropriate actions have taken place to explain Marco’s standing as the laughing stock of Collier County. 

I propose a three-pronged approach that, if undertaken by this City Council, will start to restore credibility and seriousness to Marco Island’s administration and begin repairing the public’s trust.

My three-pronged approach provides for a City Council vote of no confidence in Chairman Grifoni,

a City Council vote to censure Councilor Larry Honig and a City Council re-assignment request for City Attorney Gabriel

Grifoni unilaterally, without City Council knowledge or consent, assumed authority to mitigate the Scott vs Niblock complaint. He not inform City Council of the developing Scott issue details; denied Councilor Batte’s request to speak at opening of May 7 City Council meeting and refused Councilor Brown’s proper request to add an item to the May 7 agenda. He wrongfully demanded a supermajority vote in order to grant Brown’s request and wrongfully refused to hear a “question of privilege” from an attendee.

As former chair last fall Larry Honig unilaterally disregarded, without City Council discussion, the concerns of three councilors regarding the city manager hiring process. As former chair, he jeopardized the city by dissing a city manger applicant citing the applicant’s age. He alienated the Mercer firm’s representative, a Mr. Higginbotham, by publicly denigrating his performance vs his fee; had to apologize later; Publicly denigrated our Police Department thus incurring a withering public reprimand from Police Chief Schettino; falsely claimed not expecting or understanding Niblock’s now-infamous “massacre” email message; emailed a Naples city councilor denouncing Marco’s administration as “corrupt.” He frivolously and erroneously claimed that a change of procedures required a supermajority vote. 

City Attorney Alan Gabriel when informed of the Scott allegations, failed to aggressively caution against City Council involvement; failed to advise against Chair Grifoni’s unilateral involvement and failed to advise against the covert “hush-hush” efforts between Chair Grifoni and the victim’s employer, (MIA); and failed to correct Chair Grifoni’s wrongful supermajority vote demand.

It is sincerely believed that a City Council meeting agenda resulting in the discussion, adoption and activation of this three-pronged proposal would be in the best interests of the sitting City Council, the City of Marco Island and of our entire community; which is just a fancy way of saying: “Put your house in order, Councilors.”  

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Justice and fairness should be restored

On behalf of 400,000 Azeri-Americans, I urge the USG to use its influence and take serious steps to enforce the UN SC resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 1993, calling for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces of Armenia from Azerbaijan's territories. Twenty-six years ago, ethnic Azeri population of Nagorno-Karabakh region and other 7 districts of Azerbaijan, numbering close to 800,000, were ethnically cleansed by Armenian forces.

May 8 marked the 26th anniversary of destruction of the historic town of Shusha, the centerpiece of a vibrant Azerbaijani classical music scene and home to the first opera in the Middle East. Renowned for its composers and singers, it now lays in waste, a victim of Armenian destruction. Until 1992, Shusha, the most important city in the Nagorno-Karabakh, was 92 percent Azerbaijani. Shusha's fall followed the massacre of 613 Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian troops in the town of Khojaly just two months earlier.

On behalf of Azerbaijani-Americans, I implore you to do whatever is necessary to move this situation along to its rightful resolution: enforcing the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions; removing all Armenian military forces from Azerbaijan; allowing the return of Azerbaijani displaced persons back to their homes; returning all POWs and MIA.

Justice and fairness should be restored!

Sumer Aygen, Marco Island