Wow, it’s a busy time with lots of twists and curves! I’d like to include more subjects besides our own Tony Smith, but right now, that is all I can think about. Maybe as I continue to write, other things will come to mind, like the notes I have written on a paper as I was forming my column before all this happened. There are so many twists and curves to this subject, but first I’d like to say I’ve known Tony for many, MANY years, and we’ve always worked so well together. He’s the nicest, most respectful man who works very hard, and most of his family works with him. Even though the family has suffered through many trials and tribulations, he has never let anyone down at his business at Tigertail Beach. He’s been there 32 years! He’s made the beach everything it can be with what he had to work with, and it would be so nice if the people at the county realized his worth and supported him! I’ll conservatively say that Tigertail doesn’t really have a beach, but more of a mudflat, and yet he makes it work for the county and for himself and the Marco Islanders! The birding opportunities are even mentioned in the National Birding books! He caters to the people, makes a dynamite Hamburger, serves adult beverages plus soft drinks, and is so loved by the people that they keep coming back regardless of the “beach.” When they used to rake it regularly, somehow people found a way to enjoy it.
For some reason the county stopped serving this beach the way they do others. The County has been dredging Caxambus Pass, and then have dumped 300 truckloads of shells on the Tigertail Beach for “storage.” Tony complained, but had no results and just kept moving forward with his little business, working to please his customers. He was given instructions that he was NOT allowed to call me! He was only allowed to complain to certain county people, and he DIDN’T call me! Even the county manager, Leo Ochs, stated this requirement to me! I guess they don’t even want the commissioners to know what is going on or to get involved. Sorry, that wasn’t very nice of me, but that’s what I feel right now.
Now, I must tell you that according to Florida law, the county manager is the only person in the county who can legally hire and fire employees or deal with employees about issues that must go to the county manager, and if a commissioner violates that law, he/she can be reported to the Ethics Commission in Tallahassee; so if someone believes they can overstep the law and tries it, they could be charged by the Ethics Commission. I’d LOVE to defy that law, but it IS the law, and breaking the law can lead to many other consequences in Tallassee Courts! So, if they remove a person from office (if that was the case), not only can you get nothing done, and pay a big fine, but you can’t help the people you want to help the most! I’m sure it’s different in the military, but in the county government, this is the way it is. I usually try to show the positive side to every situation to the public and to my readers, so I’d like to tell you about some of the things the county has purchased at Tigertail over the years that have made it a better park, the goal of making it a more attractive park to visit:
- A $2 Million complete makeover of six boardwalks
- Installing a $300 thousand bird watching observation tower in the lagoon area, to name a couple.
*By the way, right now as I write, I’ve just written to the County Manager and the Deputy County Manager to request they call an emergency meeting for Monday or Tuesday, June 29 or 30, with all the commissioners to discuss the upcoming July 4th weekend. We just heard, after the close of the week on Friday the 26th, that Miami will close their beaches this coming 4th of July weekend, and we all know what that means! They will flock over here! Alone, I cannot close anything, for all who are writing to me. ALL of the Board of County Commissioners must vote on it! Of course, this affects all of the beaches in Collier County, all of the boat ramps, the coastal parks, the traffic, the crime, etc., so we need to contact all of the agencies to include them in an emergency meeting. That means transportation, Sheriff’s Dept., City Police Depts., EMS, Fire Depts., etc. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, the meeting will be scheduled, and we might even know the answer, but for now, this is what I’m dealing with today. I’ve heard from many, many Marco People, but also from Goodland (other counties flock to their boat ramps) and from Isles of Capri, all of the beach parks, all of the other facilities that will be affected.
There are five county commissioners, and all must vote on a solution. Each has or will be hearing from all of their constituents with their opinions, and they are certainly varied! I believe the Coastal Breeze will keep you updated via coastalbreezenews.com, or on Facebook, as decisions are made, so you’ll have immediate information as they receive it. There is SO much going on, and we don’t want you to miss any news! I must say, and I don’t get paid to write for the Coastal Breeze, so I can say whatever I please, that this little paper has become a mainstay in this entire area! It goes all the way down to Port of the Islands, over to Everglades City, includes all of Isles of Capri, all of Goodland, and of course is a BIG HIT on Marco Island, and over to Fiddler’s Creek, Eagle Creek, and now is even extending it further into East Naples. There is nothing like it in this area!
*One last thing before I close, and that is did you know Tony Smith is a marvelous artist/painter? I saw some of his works and it’s over-the–top gorgeous! It somehow reminds me of Jerry Vallez’s style—clean, good lines, wonderful color! I had no idea until I saw Tony’s work, that he was such a talented painter! We should encourage him to have an art show to display his works!