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Friday, November 17, 2006

Opportunity for Change

Elections in democratic societies are the best venue by which to effect change. And by definition, it is also the means by which to affirm that no change is needed.

Why Changes Come About
As evidenced by the recent national elections, the majority “spoke” by proclaiming that a change was needed. While we can debate into eternity the merits of the rationale for the outcome, and even if any meaningful or intelligent change will ever come to fruition by such an outcome, the fact of the matter is that a change was made. The swell of dissatisfaction with national policies on the war, on illegal immigration, on national security, and on a host of other issues was vetted and vented via an election.

Here on Marco Island we are experiencing a microcosm of the national scene. There is a considerable swell of dissatisfaction with the direction and policies our elected officials have implemented and are following.

An important point deriving from the national election experience that all residents of Marco Island should consider is that the process for change was afforded. Namely, the question as to whether policies and directions should be altered was answered via voting.

Regardless of where one stands on the equity of the STRP, on the mishandling of the asbestos, and on other issues, consider that – as with the national election – the optimum process by which to vet and vent these issues is by voting. By affording a venue for voting, all sides can decide if the present leadership and management of the City are acceptable – or not.

Denying the Opportunity for Change
By disallowing a venue for voting, no one – literally no one – will know if the majority agree or disagree with present policies. And just because the majority agreed with the stated policies of the council members when they were candidates, does not mean that the majority agree with the implemented policies of the council members now that they are in office.

Those that claim that such an argument is irrelevant given that council members are elected for a predetermined term in office (seemingly irrespective of what they do), should consider the law. There is a legal process by which those terms can be shortened – it’s called a recall. This legal process is used to bring the disputed issues to the citizens for their evaluation and thereby determine if the council members should be removed.

An Aside
The City council members who are the subject to the recall missed a golden opportunity. They should have welcomed the recall vote as affirming their affinity to democratic principles and thereby providing an opportunity for the citizens to unequivocally proclaim agreement with their policies. Such a miscue speaks volumes as to their vision, insight, motives and genuine dedication to the community. Regardless, one trusts that the citizens of Marco Island won’t pass up yet again the same golden opportunity.

We Need Change
Clearly, we need change. There is an asbestos-contaminated field on the island. The contamination was caused by a City contractor. The City had been repeatedly warned about the problem and chose to criticize the messengers and not the people who put the asbestos in the field. The tax assessment for implementing the STRP is inequitable to all citizens. The City again chose to besmirch the messengers and not address the inequity to the point of litigation.

All of these facts are … facts.

All of these problems came to fruition because of the actions by the council members being recalled. These predicaments were encouraged and allowed to fester by the same council members to the point of becoming the serious problems they are today.

As with the national election, some may not agree with the electoral outcome, but what is undeniable is that the majority spoke and therefore mandated an alternative approach to the nation’s daunting issues.

Marco Island residents should mandate a change via the recall initiative so as to bring an alternative approach to our daunting issues.


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