Letters to the Editor, Sept. 11
All politics is local
Isn't it somewhat ironic that in the very same week that 'anonymous' has an op-ed published in the New York Times that a local group calling themselves "Marco concerned citizens" pass around anonymously an email attacking Dr. Jerry Swiacki from his time as chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee, Jim Richards who is an announced candidate for Marco city councilor and current councilor Howard Reed?
In both these cases, whether I agree or not with the content, the purpose was to damage the targets from the president to a sitting city councilor, yet in neither case did the person(s) involved have the courage to put their names behind their words! When I successfully ran for City Council there were people who objected to my candidacy and my agenda, yet at least they had the courage to put their names on their complaints.
As it pertains to the content of the email slamming Dr. Swiacki, et al, some clarification is important. First of all, let's remember that the citizens of Marco Island voted in favor of purchasing what is today known as Veteran's Community Park; secondly, the original plan called for significant landscaping and buildings, including an entertainment venue.
Subsequently, a prior council authorized a consultant to develop a comprehensive plan in 2009 that detailed, based on input from the community, a plan for the future of the park, which never came into being. During my time on council, we asked the Parks & Rec Advisory Committee to look into either updating the comprehensive Plan and/or offer suggestions for development; the chair of the committee happened to be Dr. Swiacki, who, along with his committee, spent the better part of a year getting citizens and council input on the future of the park.
Unrelated to the efforts of the committee, the then-city manager Roger Hernstadt negotiated an arrangement with a developer who would have built a hotel adjacent to the park, and in exchange for the necessary variances, would have paid for the majority of the improvements to the park that the citizens of Marco asked for (contrary to the coward's contentions, Dr. Swiacki did not endorse the manager's plan, he did endorse allowing the process to play itself out so that the citizens of Marco could have their voices heard).
Facing strong resistance, the hotel project was abandoned and that effectively derailed the committee's efforts. Just recently, another review of the comprehensive plan was undertaken and, based on the initial concepts, Councilor Reed embraced their recommendations (I'm unsure about the positions of the rest of council).
Here's my point: both Dr. Swiacki and Mr. Richards have taken the risk of 'putting themselves out there' and are running for City Council this year while Councilor Reed has endorsed a plan for the park publicly; these gentlemen have demonstrated their belief in their support of their ideas and have made it very well known. Where are the cowards who are nothing more than "key-board commandos" who work behind the scenes in clothed secrecy?
Larry Sacher, Marco Island
The Marco Island Model Yacht Club was founded in 2004 by two other tennis players from the Marco Island Racquet Club and me. We incorporated into a nonprofit organization. We started with about 15 members and through the years it has fluctuated between 20 and 50 members.
In March 2004 we held the first highly successful Marco Island RC Laser Mid-Winter Championships and have had 15 consecutive events since. It has been one of the biggest and most successful regattas in Florida and the U.S. We had all the permits from Mackle Park and the city even to the point that the city cosponsored the event with the yacht club. People from all over the U.S. and even the United Kingdom have attended this outstanding event, bringing income to hotels and restaurants.
The targeting of one of our long-standing members, Rocky Cale, for pulling weeds from around the launching dock is the most ridiculous and vindictive act we have seen in Marco. This could maliciously ruin his family life, He is a person who has done so much for the sailing hobby for children and residents of this community.
In 2009, Cale saved the life of Mike Leyse who was watching us race. Cale gave him CPR. When the Marco first responders arrived, they told us that the initial action taken by Cale was instrumental in saving his life. He later was given the Good Samaritan Award by the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation.
The facility the park has provided to our club is the envy of all model sailing clubs around the U.S.; it is the best facility for our hobby in the country. All the participants through the years have said Mackle Lake is the best sailing venue.
George Domenech, Marco Island