Letters to the Editor, Aug. 23

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Let’s be objective

Would that more precise facts prevail. Many false claims have been aired by both sides of the proposed short-term rental ordinance. Let’s be objective.

If you are a full-time resident in a single-family dwelling, as we are, this ordinance changes very little for you. You can still host your family and your grandchildren can splash and shout in the pool during the day.

If you are a short-term renter of a private home, your family can still do the same.

Full-time residents’ taxes are not affected because this ordinance is designed to be self-funded and sustaining. In reading the ordinance which I encourage you to do, I find this to be true.

If you are a seasonal owner and you rent your home on a short-term basis, your taxes may change along with other responsibilities. You might have to claim income you have been ignoring. You might have to spend money to make your home safe for unknown guests. But having fire extinguishers and fire alarms along with safety features for your pool is not unreasonable, especially if it saves the life of a single child or adult. You have to register. Why is that a problem? Currently, B&Bs, inns, hotels and motels must do so. Why are you different from other commercial ventures?

You are not being asked to forego renting your property. You are being asked to be an accountable landlord letting out your home to responsible guests. Your guests are not affected as they are only being asked to conduct themselves as good neighbors and furnish the same information they would need to furnish to a regular commercial establishment.

We have lived here for 26 years and seen a lot of changes. We accept them as a natural evolution of Island life. But we came to Marco Island for its special attributes. Let’s work together to maintain the cleanliness, natural beauty, and fabulous lifestyle of this remarkable place.

Over the years, we have been subjected to the “Renters from Hell.” Thirty-three people crammed into a 3-bedroom house; we counted. Overflowing trash and recycle barrels left for days beyond, or before pick-up, with birds and animals spreading the trash to the street. A Jet Ski cutting capers in the canal, sending sheets of water over the sea walls. When my husband put a stop to that, the next day we found broken beer bottles and empty beer cans thrown onto our boat. Add to that, multi-decibel music, general noise, broken screens from errant baseball games in the street. Motorcycles racing, fireworks at one o-clock in the morning as well as loud, profane language and general disrespect for other residents.

I won’t mention the multiple cars parked all over lawns and across sidewalks or the trash left on the beach or thrown into the dunes. What I have stated above is not anecdotal. It is a microcosm of what we have endured from short-term renters. Of the eight houses on our street, six, now five, plus the house across the canal were short-term rentals. Now we are down to five on our street. Do we really want this for Marco Island?

Everyone understands that vacationers want to have fun, but can’t that be achieved in a sensible manner? Businesses and restaurants will not close for the simple reason that people will still come to our beautiful island. Your family will still come to visit. They might even rent homes, but it should be from landlords who help regulate the impact on the island in a reasonable manner.

The argument that Government is taking over another section of our lives is hardly valid. As Americans we have always lived by the rule of law and the protection of the many as well as the minorities. Let’s all work toward an Island everyone can enjoy.

Bonnie Bozzo, Marco Island

Thrilled to be first-time voter

I just turned 18, and eagerly requested my first mail-in ballot. Participating in this process is truly thrilling. I was born and raised in Collier County and have been educated in our public school system. I am just beginning my senior year. To have my first voting opportunity include selecting school board members is impactful and a vote I do not take lightly.

I researched qualifications of the candidates in Districts 1, 3, and 5, paying particular attention to District 1, which represents my area. I was elated to read that Dr. Jory Westberry, our current School Board vice-chair, is seeking reelection. Her experience and qualifications are impeccable. She holds three degrees in education, culminating with a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Miami. Dr. Westberry has dedicated her life to education and 30 years specifically to Collier County. She was a Golden Apple Award winning teacher and was principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary for 14 years. I was a student at Tommie Barfield during her tenure. Our school always had an “A” rating, and she was fantastic.

Dr. Westberry could easily trade in her business attire for beachwear. Instead, she mentors students and new teachers while participating in educational initiatives. In 2018, she was elected to our School Board. During her service, CCPS has maintained excellent ratings, currently ranked in the top five districts statewide. As I cast my first vote, the choice for School Board, District 1 was crystal clear. Good luck Dr. Westberry!

Kathryn Barry, Marco Island

More:Letters to the Editor, Aug. 19