Sunday, September 27, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: REPUTATION IS STRONGER THAN SPIN

 

 

Councilor Larry Sacher refers to many accomplishments of the current city council, and said that I am “typically on the losing end of 5-2 votes that helped to accomplish all of these positives.” The voting records can easily be checked on the city’s website.

I am proud to have been on the “winning end” of votes establishing the bucket plan (which in the business world is called “reserve accounting”), the reduction in our debt, the elimination of pension liabilities, the new Community Building at Mackle Park, the new Savage Bridge over Smokehouse Bay, the Fire Rescue station renovations, the hiring of our lobbyist, the strong noise ordinance, the new Police and Fire Rescue union contracts, the installation of our magistrate process, the reinstallation of the lapsed spending cap, the refinancing of utility bonds, saving millions, and the accumulation of cash reserves for emergencies and routine recurring expenditures.

I am also proud of being on the “winning end” in blocking many of the egregious acts this city council tried to ram down the community, often in thinly attended daytime “workshops” or in one of the near-midnight meetings caused by inept council leadership.

I helped block the over-reaching rental ordinance that forced condos to opt in, even when they already have standards. I helped block the adoption of water-sewer rates literally pulled out of the air in one of the most egregious city council meetings ever to have occurred. I helped block the blindside vacant lot assessment designed to tax investors and out-of-towners. I helped block the proposed pseudo veterans’ “government building” in Veterans Community Park last summer. I helped block the illegal attempt to assess thousands of dollars from water-sewer customers our utility serves just off-Island.

Indeed I was on the “losing end,” as Councilor Sacher says, in attempting to have the city council provide the oversight role we have abdicated. I “lost” in my attempt to reinstitute a Budget Subcommittee to scrutinize city budgets; as a result, the city budget is up 19% in 4 years – excluding the increase in reserve accounts. I “lost” in my attempt to interview resigned and severed employees to discover why someone would leave our beautiful city. I “lost” in my attempt to find out why a senior director was terminated in the middle of a zoning dispute when there were questions about underhanded deals. I “lost” in my attempt to set standards for such routine city tasks as permitting; as a result, permitting times have increased from 2 weeks to 5 weeks and more. I “lost” in my attempt to have the city repurpose our hard-working Police and CSOs to monitor noise from abusive renters in residential areas and trash on the beach, instead of ticketing cars parked over the sidewalks at night. I “lost” in the vote not to send a nasty letter to Collier County on the Goodland Road dispute, and I “lost” when I suggested negotiation instead, which was rejected by the majority. I “lost” when I suggested that we give citizen proclamations during council meetings, instead of in front of the men’s room before the meeting begins. I “lost” when the majority of our council voted to require that if citizens wish to petition their city council, they must present 125 signatures (124 more than you need to petition the federal government).

So, yes, I’ve been on the “losing end” a lot. I hope the community will re-elect me and just as important elect a solid, professional city council that can put all of Marco Island on the “winning end” again.

 

Larry Honig
Marco Island City Council

481 Rio Court, Marco Island
Phone (239) 588-0080

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