Letters to the Editor, Aug. 2
‘Fairness’ that only money can buy
For over 50 years the citizens of Marco Island have enjoyed the sanctity and protections provided by our Fair election process. But unfortunately, as times change and ethics change, the fairness of our elections are subject to unscrupulous tactics and the type of “fairness” that only money can buy. Marco Island is no longer immune to this activity.
A Political Action Committee has been advocating for its’ constituents to register to vote in Florida as a means to allow the short-term rental owners to be able to vote on the STR ordinance coming up on the August ballot.
This would normally not be an issue if the person registering was not registered to vote in another state. Or, if the Florida address provided for residency is not a short-term rental shown publicly as rented or available for rent during the supposed period of residency. Or, if the person registering to vote in Florida owns a home in another state that has a Homestead exemption filed on it. That exemption will be forfeited if they vote in Florida, as that vote will indicate a change of residency.
No accusations are being made in this letter.
Suffice it to say that the Citizens of Marco need to know that their election Integrity has a watchdog. A group of citizens has done the research and filled out the Florida Form DS-DE-34 for each potential violation. We are sending these forms to Tallahassee for a voter fraud investigation. If a person votes with fraudulent information, this is a third-degree felony, punishable by fines and prison time.
Rest assured we are watching out for you.
Virginia Bingle, Marco Island
Is the sky really going to fall on Marco Island?
So, if it is to be believed, if a short-term rental registration ordinance passes, many business will fail, restaurants close, unemployment rise and thousands upon thousands of people will no longer come to Marco Island. Doom and gloom is being shouted from the roof tops and online and print!
The proposed registration ordinance does not change the rental term so they can still be daily weekly whatever. What it will change is knowing how many STRs there are and who owns them and who to contact when there are issues.
It will also require proof of liability insurance, working smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors and limit adult capacity to existing number of bedrooms. Also proof they have the required business license and pay appropriate Florida taxes.
These monied absentee landlord owners don’t want any such information made known. Hiding behind various LLC entities multi property owners stay in the shadows. Each STR rental property likely clears $30,000 to $50,000 per year which across the estimated 2000 STR properties is at least $60 million pocketed and going back up north to be spent and not in Florida.
So, if they have to pay what they collect on one- or two-days rental to cover the cost to administer such a worthwhile program doesn’t sound that onerous.
The sky will not fall. Critical information will become available. Life will go on.
Joseph Kurry, Marco Island
Where did it go?
As a full-time resident living on Marco Island for over five years, I feel I have to write and express my sadness at the nastiness and anger that the anti-short term rental organizers have caused.
The group is called Take back Marco. Where did it go? And Citizens for a Better Marco – again you can’t get much better than Marco Island.
So how are they going to improve it? These two groups have managed to divide an island and its residents. I googled the definition of community: a group of people living in the same place. This is what Marco Island is, a community of people who live, work and enjoy the beaches and the Southwest Florida way of life together. But you always get those who want to ruin it.
The ones that complain about everything and want to change what is working, because it doesn’t quite fit their narrative. Marco Island is a vibrant coastal city with jet ski tours, dolphin and shelling tours, bike and golf cart rentals and a myriad of other companies that rely on tourism and our visitors. We have been told that this new ordinance is simply a registration. This is not a vehicle for ultimately banning the vacation rental homes. We shall see.
There will be repercussions if we lose our visitors that come every year to spend a long weekend or a week in the community of Marco Island. We will lose their dollars, we will lose their recommendations for others to come and visit our beaches, we will lose our community.
Please residents of Marco Island vote no in August. Think about the long-term financial health of Marco Island and all the great restaurants and stores we have, these rely heavily on our visitors if the numbers get cut in half, what will happen? I think the answer is obvious.
Fiona Winter, Marco Island