Letters to the Editor, April 21

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Should foxes guard the henhouse?

Marco Island voters approved regulating short-term rentals (STR) of private homes within single family residential, (SFR) zones.

This ordinance does not prohibit such rentals. It merely regulates the uncontrolled loud partying, drunkenness and peace-disturbances happening every few days by constantly changing house-renters in single-family neighborhoods. 

The voter-approved ordinance provides family neighborhoods relief by assigning responsibility and accountability to those who profit from the peace violations.

Unsurprisingly, Florida Realtors are suing the City of Marco Island for having sought and observed the legal will of its citizens. I believe the city should not, repeat not, be represented or defended in this particular legal action by four particular city individuals, namely: City Attorney A. Gabriel – Criticized STR ordinance; City Councilor J. Grifoni – Criticized STR ordinance; City Councilor B. Irwin – Realtor Professional; City Councilor D. Palumbo – Realtor Professional.

Unfortunately, according to legal definition, these four suffer a conflict of interest in this matter:

“A conflict of interest in law isa situation in which a person or organization has two or more competing interests that could affect their professional duty or representation of another person or organization This can happen when a lawyer or law firm tries to act for the benefit of both parties in a legal matter that are adverse to each other, or when they have a personal or financial stake in the outcome of the matter that could compromise their loyalty or objectivity. A conflict of interest is a breach of the trust and confidence that the public or a designated individual places in someone to act in their best interests.”

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Tourism is an important economic engine

Tourism is an important economic engine for Marco Island. With 50 percent of visitors choosing to stay in vacation homes, this new vacation rental ordinance will tank our economy.  

Furthermore, how can Marco Island City Council pass illegal regulations? You showed disrespect for the law and the city attorney who advised you that the rules are illegal.But you wanted to ram them through.  

Your campaigns promised small government and low taxes. Now you are doing the opposite. You are creating big government regulations that are against Florida law and the lawsuits have begun.

You have subjected the taxpayers to lawsuits after you told us the vacation home regulations would not cost taxpayers anything.  

It seems you have no principles. You deceived taxpayers, broke the law and city staff are following your example by making things up as they go and changing elements of the ordinance.

The information online changes daily because the staff don’t understand the confusing regulations. Documents appear and disappear online and so do questions and answers.   

Stop this lawless behavior. Rather than look at the longterm prosperity of our island you caved to the pressure from a small time special interest group.

Tear up this ordinance now before you bankrupt the city with lawsuits that will increase taxes for everyone. 

Sheri Hayden, Marco Island 

Re: Lawsuit

April 4, Marco Eagle: “Marco Island facing lawsuit over short-term rentals ordinance” 

Ed Issler’s statements are incorrect and can be refuted by checking the public record.   

Renting a vacation home is residential use based on state law in Florida and across the US. It is not business use. 

The city attorney did not say he “welcomed lawsuits.” Actually, Ed Issler himself was the one that said he welcomed lawsuits. Now he is trying to deflect blame to others for his actions and obstinance. All council meetings are archived on the city web site to confirm this.  

Some counties have “actual registrations” like Collier County’s 3.5 pages vs Marco Island’s 14-page big government regulatory scheme. There are lawsuits against Marco Island because it is a full of illegal rules that are against Florida Law.   

There is zero data to support that an ordinance is needed. Marco on average has two or three confirmed noise complaints per month. Police reports are publicly available on the city website as the police chief reports the data. Many people call in false complaints for kids playing in the pool as a way to get their neighbors into trouble. Remember Marco is not a 55-plus community and children playing in the pool is not a crime.  

It is not true that condos already have these rules. Condos on Marco Island do not have $1M insurance requirements or one-hour onsite response 24x7, or high fines and suspensions, or requirements to post all these rules in your home etc., etc.

Issler fought to keep the condos off the registration, if these rules were in place as he says, it would make no difference. But he knows Condo’s would have opposed these regulations.

John Miller, Marco Island

‘The Trial’ – A century later

Franz Kafka, the notable Prague, Czech born author, had his novel “The Trial” published posthumously in 1925. It is a story about a man who is accused by the administration of a dysfunctional society of an undisclosed crime.

He is brought before the judge with a presumption of guilt and with marginal evidence against him must then prove his innocence.

This century old fictional tale sadly mimicked reality when former president Donald J. Trump was recently indicted, and then arrested and arraigned in New York City on April 4. He was apparently accused of 34 incoherent misdemeanors which could be elevated to underlying and undefined felony charge(s).

Let’s hope that Lady Justice is “truly blind” and Mr. Trump will receive a fair trial based on the facts and evidence, unlike the main character in Mr. Kafka’s novel. It would be most unfortunate for the 45th President, if we have to conclude with one of the Author’s famous quotes from this historic tale …

“It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”

Leonard J. Schuman, Marco Island   

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