Letters to the Editor, May 9

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Certainly not paradise

Re: “Vacay rental rules: Has it made Marco a war zone of noise complaints?” May 2 Marco Eagle, 7A.

Welcome to the People's Republic of Marco Island where the city is taking away fundamental rights of freedom of speech and assembly. The city government crackdown on daily life continues and includes police investigations of all festive occasions including birthdays for gramma and babies.  

The government is in your home checking your invitation list for Christmas Eve and telling you how many people can be there until the curfew. You can't have a conversation or family dinner on your lanai for fear of a police investigation. Your kids can't swim in the pool or play on the dock either because any noise in your outdoor area including your lanai, pool, dock could be an infraction. So just tiptoe inside and don't say a word.

If your trash can is out too late, your neighbors might rat you out and become government informants then boast about it on social media. You will certainly get a “scarlet letter” taped to your wall for all to see. The blue tape they use on your stucco takes forever to scrape off so everyone who drives by knows you’ve done something wrong for weeks. Make sure not to run your sprinklers on the wrong day or park an inch over the sidewalk because the police will swoop in immediately.  

This is more like the hell of North Korea. Certainly not paradise for anyone, and absolutely not the United States of America, where we are the land of the free. Yet this is all happening on Marco Island right now.  

JR Stark, Marco Island

Councilors should be applauded

Over the last week or so, there has been a flurry of letters to the editor from the pro-short-term rental community that unfairly disparaged several city councilors for supporting the short-term rental ordinance.

The letters falsely claim that these representatives of our community – that is, Councilors Folley, Brechnitz, Blonna, and Rola – somehow neglected their duty, when in reality they simply listened to the overwhelming majority of Marco voters who are concerned about the erosion of quality of life in our residential communities.

While some claim the ordinance was “changed” after it was voted on, the reality is that these were mainly technical changes – almost all of which were supported by both pro and anti-STR folks – that improved the long-term resiliency of the ordinance.

Would short-term rental owners have preferred we kept technical errors in the ordinance? Of course not. No one would. Everyone wanted to see corrections be made. Several of them received unanimous support of the City Council. Yet the casting of these corrections as somehow anti-democratic is ridiculous.

In reality, it is the short-term rental owners who fail to listen to the will of the people. Despite the overwhelming majority of Marco residents clearly desiring protections for residents in single-family homes – after years of inaction and after being outspent during the referendum campaign – these short-term rental owners are still trying to silence the will of the majority through a series of frivolous and unfounded lawsuits.

The STR owners argue councilors that voted “yes” exposed the city to these lawsuits against the ordinance. What these STR owners fail to acknowledge is their own involvement in supporting – and in some cases, directly funding – these very same lawsuits. In other words, the STR owners are decrying the exposure to the very litigation they are causing.

Councilors Rola and Blonna have consistently supported the ordinance. And Councilors Folley and Brechnitz made it abundantly clear during the 2022 campaign that they would respect the will of the voters. None of that has changed – yet the manufactured outrage of some STR owners is simply crocodile tears deceptively designed to sow doubt in our councilors that respect the majority of voters.

Marco residents would do well to see through these mistruths and thank our councilors who supported preserving the quality of life in our residential communities.

Amadeo Petricca, Marco Island

No talking in your backyard?

Marco Island has been a family friendly vacation spot for over 40 years. Families who own vacation homes also enjoy their time here. When they are not here, they offer their homes to other families who vacation here today and potentially own tomorrow. Did you know that most Marco Islanders came here on vacation and decided to buy a place here? I did just that.

But now it is clear from the vacation home regulations that Marco is hostile to families. This is an outrage. I come from a large family and we love to enjoy our time on Marco, with our kids, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. But it seems with the new regulations on vacation homes that having dinner on your lanai will be a crime. How about children laughing and singing in the pool? Are we going to outlaw Marco Polo too?

You are interfering with my vacation home and my enjoyment of my property – that is the real crime.  You knew when you voted for the regulations that they were illegal, yet you pushed them through because you thought my rights were up for a vote? This is greatly disturbing. As leaders in this community, you knowingly broke the laws of our country and state.  

Let vacationing families enjoy their time and stop the madness of police showing up when people are not doing anything wrong.  Stop making Marco an intolerant place for families.

Nancy Sheehan, Marco Island

Marco pollutes turtle nesting site

Oxygen levels in Marco Island’s waterways have declined 33% in three years. Phosphorus in 'reuse' water from the sewage plant is the direct cause of low oxygen here.

Reuse water is partially treated human sewage used for irrigation at Marco Island golf courses, condos, and hotels along the beach. This source of cheap fertilizer saves golf courses money. This pollutes Marco Island. Have you noticed the algae, loss of sea life, no seagrass, and stinky water in the canals? Do golfers care?

The estuary oxygen levels were monitored over the year 2022. The Marco Island average oxygen level was unhealthy at 4.4 mg/L. Healthy levels of oxygen are greater than 5 mg/L.

Oxygen levels North of Marco in Rookery Bay were a healthy average of 6.25 mg/L or 42% higher than Marco. Oxygen levels South of Marco in the Ten Thousand Islands were 4.5 mg/L or about the same as Marco Island.

The ocean current immediately off Marco Island is southerly and is dragging Marco pollution into the Kice Island sea turtle nesting grounds.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve Sea Turtle Program has been monitoring sea turtles on the uninhabited islands of Kice and Cape Romano since 2003. According to sea turtle monitor, Sarah Norris, the Reserve has counted and monitored approximately 1,654 nests!

Florida residents must add an amendment to the Florida constitution for a Right to Clean Water (RTCW). Please sign the petition: floridarighttocleanwater.org

Eugene Wordehoff, Marco Island, Collier County captain, Right to Clean Water

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