In response to Mr. Honig’s Guest Commentary: you’re right, “our City needs professional council with a positive outlook”!
MR HONIG: If you really believe the above statement, than why did your commentary begin with “So sorry to see the three negative candidates disparaging the other candidates, including me”? Isn’t that negative? Further, as a well-educated and obviously successful person, where are the facts that make us negative candidates?
MR HONIG: If you are going to disparage candidates because they don’t agree with the status quo, than I wonder how you would respond to the question “Where would we be as a country were it not for patriots going as far back as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who, apparently in Mr. Honig’s view, were guilty of negativism”?
MR HONIG referenced my campaign slogan of “Stop the Insanity”, which, as you know, is the first part of a quote generally attributed to Albert Einstein who defined ‘insanity’ as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” I chose this slogan because this is exactly what has taken place on Marco Island in our various council elections in which candidates promise fiscal reform, transparency, and a strong commitment to listening to the public. Since you’ve aligned yourself with two of the incumbents, let’s look at the record of their “accomplishments” during their tenure, which unfortunately has occurred during the worst recession in our lifetimes:
1. INCUMBENTS voted to INCREASE UTILITY RATES BY 6% across-the-board (effective 1/1/13) without justifying the need or identifying it in the Budget. Since Fiscal Year 2008 – 2012 the cumulative increase in Utility rates has been 25.8%!
2. INCUMBENTS boast they had not raised the millage rate; THE ISSUE SHOULD BE THAT THEY HAVE NOT REDUCED MILLAGE RATES BECAUSE THEY ARE SPENDING MILLIONS MORE THAN LAST YEAR!
3. INCUMBENTS boast no salary increases the last couple of years. THE CITY DID NOT LAYOFF ANY PERSONNEL DURING THIS RECESSION AND CONTINUE TO HAVE MORE THAN 200 EMPLOYEES BETWEEN ALL DEPARTMENTS AND THE UTILITY! (They also continued to pay a salary of more than $100,000 to a “laterally transferred” Finance Director until she found another job, while at the same time increasing the “Acting Director’s” pay by $42,000, as well as an across-the-board increase to all Employees in the next Fiscal Year).
4. INCUMBENTS continue to ignore the FACT THAT THE STRP DISTRICTS ARE SUPPOSED TO PAY THEIR OWN WAY, but cannot explain how the shortages, which are in the hundreds of thousands, are being covered.
6. Spent over $100,000 in consulting fees to study the “Cost of Services” for the utility and a “Rate Sufficiency Study” that has not yet even had a public hearing! If the Rate Sufficiency Study were followed as presented the total increase in rates over the next 10 years could be as much as 42%!
In the incumbents campaign literature they boast about “transparency” and “holding the line” on expenses, yet instead of spending less and reducing our taxes, they approved the same millage rate as a year ago, despite continued reductions in our property values. They claim they support “deciding large funding measures by referendum”, yet the only referendum they supported was a hastily structured effort to subsidize upwards of $1,100,000 to a private hospital in order to have a 24/7 walk-in clinic that the public never asked for! The Incumbents continue to allow planning for a $5,000,000 Mackle Park Community Center, despite the thousands who have sent e-mails and responded to MICA surveys indicating they want a referendum on this issue!
Mr. Honig proclaims he was the only one who spoke against the walk-in clinic referendum; apparently he missed the fact that Ken Honecker, Amadeo Petricca and myself are all on the video of the Council Meeting speaking against it. Further, the NAPLES NEWS had a half-hour video of me as their featured video for a week in which I cited the fact that the Referendum was improperly worded since it did not include what the amount of the tax would be or for how long it would be imposed, and also that while they maintained it was “advisory”, had published a presentation indicating that if approved a Special Tax Unit would be created. Finally, because the current Council is so ‘transparent’, than how would you justify the Council Chairman’s explanation of why it was so necessary to have a “Special Called Meeting” on June 4, a mere 4 days before the deadline to get an issue on the August ballot when the Supervisor of Elections had sent a letter to City Council that is part of the public record dated in December of 2011 advising that there was a June 2012 deadline?
It is time to Stop the Insanity and return Marco Island to the People!