On Marco Island: Independent Reporting, Documenting Government Abuses, Exposing the Syndicate, Historical Records of Crimes Against the Environment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Historic Council Meeting - Videos

Some democracy, some tragic comedy, some video snippets for your viewing pleasure ...

In this incredible exchange, councilamn Kiester suggest that the legal fees being paid by the city to the councilmen being recalled for their unecessary suit against the citizens that signed the petition be limited. Tucker responds by accusing Kiester of being "TRIPE" and of being corrupt!

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In this video, city council person POPOFF attempts to prevent a citizen from speaking - citizen becomes enranged by the attempt to prevent the exercise of his first ammendment rights.

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In this video, the lawyer for the City of Marco Island backpedals on his tacit acceptance of voter intimidation - claims voters NOT Liable for Legal Fees VOLUNTARILY incurred by the city council who opt to fight their recall.

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In this video, Roger Hall addresses the city council as they prepare to vote on whether citizens who signed the recall petition will continue to face voter intimidation by having to pay the legal fees of the city councilmembers who voluntarily sue the citizens to prevent the recall.

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Butch Neylon Letter to the Council as read by Doug Enman.(unfortunately abridged...)

7 Comments:

  • popoff you are a complete embarrasement to your community, anyone who changes their religion to garner a few votes to get himself elected to public office is a complete sell out.
    I really don't care what happens sewer or non sewer(I'm a full timer in the SAnds),But I've been following the players in this drama.
    Popoff, when its all said and done, you are gonna look like the biggest JERK on this island.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, September 29, 2006 8:56:00 PM  

  • Beyond a jerk - how about a biased sellout. Popoff tries to shout down a citizen because the citizen is not sticking to the rules that only comments on the legal fees will be accepted - BUT remains quiet when the alleged "MINISTER" does a character assasination on the recall people! Why didn't you object then Popoff???

    Hypocrite! Fraud! Fake!

    By Anonymous Fred (Ohio), at Saturday, September 30, 2006 1:37:00 PM  

  • Breaking News Video:

    This just provided clip is of the exchange between Mr. Tucker and the chair of the council. It long follows the first video on this blog where the chair interrupts Mr. Tucker when said Tucker was accusing Mr. Kiester of being corrupt.!

    ..courtesy of Godfrey Davies.

    By Anonymous mario, at Sunday, October 01, 2006 3:26:00 PM  

  • Why was Bill Moss involved in any way regarding the attorney fees for the council members? His job is to “manage the city” not support the opposition to the recall

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, October 01, 2006 6:50:00 PM  

  • In Just 48 Hours .... Statistics on the number of people viewing the videos!

    Marco Island - Councilman Tucker Accuses Councilman Kiester of Corruption = 188
    Marco Island - Enraged Citizen to Council - Councilman Tries to Silence Citizen = 149
    Marco Island - City Attorney Voters NOT Liable for Legal Fees = 97
    Marco Island - Recall Petition Chairman Roger Hall = 79

    By Anonymous mario, at Monday, October 02, 2006 9:31:00 AM  

  • Look at these stats - after ONE SHORT WEEK!

    Marco Island - Councilman Tucker Accuses Councilman Kiester of Corruption Viewed 227 times

    Marco Island - Enraged Citizen to Council - Councilman Tries to Silence Citizen Viewed 175 times

    Marco Island City Attorney - Voters NOT Liable for Legal Fees Viewed 116 times

    By Anonymous mario, at Thursday, October 05, 2006 7:32:00 PM  

  • Still Popular !!!

    Marco Island - Councilman Tucker Accuses Councilman Kiester of Corruption 236

    Marco Island - Enraged Citizen to Council - Councilman Tries to Silence Citizen 181

    Celebrate Marco Organization Attacks Recall Effort 181

    Celebrate Marco Organization Refuses to Present Different View 125

    Marco Island City Attorney - Voters NOT Liable for Legal Fees 121

    Marco Island - Recall Petition Chairman Roger Hall 99

    By Anonymous mario, at Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:20:00 PM  

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Won the Battle ...

The City Council of Marco Island has called for a “special called meeting” on September 28 at 5PM. The purpose is to consider a resolution where “It is anticipated that the Resolution will clarify that there is no intent to seek reimbursement of legal fees from citizens who sign the petition”.

After an initial posting on this blog (“Threats by City Attorney & Others - A Felony - You Decide” 9-20-2006) denoting how city officials appeared to have threatened voters with financial retribution for exercising their right to vote, the citizens of Marco Island became outraged and did what good citizens of a democracy do – expressed their indignation to each other, to the City Council of Marco Island, to the media, and even to state and federal law enforcement authorities.

With such heat that even the City-Council-Can-Do-No-Wrong Political Committee could not dampen, the few reasonable souls remaining on the city council opted to best clarify this matter. Good for them and us, thank you and congratulations.

We presume that the motivation is to assuage the overwhelming anger of the citizen body by claiming it was all a big misunderstanding. We can be equally presumptuous and posit that a felony conviction is perhaps a stronger motivating force, since clarifications by many on this council and nearly all of the staff are decidedly scarce.

So the question becomes ... if a retraction (read: backpedaling) ensues, should the law enforcement pursuit continue? Interesting, isn’t it. Did the words intimidate just one voter? Did the words cause just one person not to sign a petition?

As that decision ferments, we can only hope that some on the council are enlightened as to how they continue to alienate the citizens of Marco Island since governing by threats (or threats through proxy) appears to have backfired.

Then onto the other related questions.

So as to reevaluate their alienation strategy, is the majority of the council going to continue the truly Byzantine decision of pre-paying for legal fees and expenses for council members to fight the recall (read: the will of the people)? Reimbursement a priori – whether they win or loose? Reimbursement whether the three city council members “think” they have to contest the recall through the courts or not (they don’t have to – unless they need to be reimbursed for writing a 200 word rebuttal to the recall petitions).

So as to reevaluate their alienation strategy, is the majority of the council going to continue belittling the efforts of its citizens – just because they don’t agree with those citizens?

The citizens appear to have won the battle, irrespective of how the city and the council spin the retraction. They could appear magnanimous and claim that they have decided not to purse seeking the restitution of the fees and costs “for the good of the community”, or appear to once again hide behind the worst that society has to offer by claiming that they are not seeking the restitution of the fees and costs “based on the advise of our lawyer”, or if a miracle happens “that was a real stupid thing to say, we are sorry and we did not mean it and we are not doing that and shame on the people who said it.”

The last one would sure go a long way to healing this community.

But it is still up to the citizens to show up, express their opinions and views and thereby enforce our representative form of government. And with the grace of good fortune, our elected officials can represent us.

See you there!

5 Comments:

  • VERY Good. Now one other question; Are the CITY council sworn to uphold the law and if they are will they request an indepedant investigation and evaluation of the intimidation?

    I Do not know - can anyone comment?

    By Anonymous Fred (OHIO), at Tuesday, September 26, 2006 8:27:00 AM  

  • If I rob a liquor store and shoot the attendant dead, can I claim that I didn’t mean to kill him? Can I keep the liquor?

    The damage was done. One individual is publicly posting the clerk’s phone number and suggesting that petition signers can call to have their name removed from the list before it is submitted. The implication is that they then will not be subjected to monetary retribution. How do you retract that?

    The damage was done.

    A councilman libels the public openly in a meeting and does not even receive a slap on the hand when he confesses. Do you understand why the people are outraged? Now this.

    Please do not attempt to couch your words in your special meeting. Anything short of a full confession will be totally dishonest and simply a new source of outrage for the citizens. Be hopeful that the DA does not get involved. (Truthfully, “Celebrate Marco” was the worse offender, but they were GREATLY encouraged by Mr. Moss’s words and the deafening silence from the city attorney.)

    Thank you to Ms. DiSciullo for having the real COURAGE to call for a new meeting.

    By Anonymous John, at Tuesday, September 26, 2006 1:47:00 PM  

  • “Deafening silence” by the City lawyer? John, I beg to differ. I just watched portions of the 18 September City Council meeting tape that I recorded last week. Yes, Mr. Moss started it all in the guise of seeking clarification by asking the lawyer if Council members “…can seek reimbursement from the committee circulating the petition?” During their little “clarification” session, the lawyer made the situation even worse by saying “We’ll OBVIOUSLY look at whether we can get it against the people who brought the petition…” And the councilors sat silent. Anyone at that meeting, or viewing it later on TV, would have felt the intimidation lingering in the air long after the words ended.

    Linda Shockley

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 26, 2006 3:45:00 PM  

  • I have another question to ask someone: BEcaue the attorney and the City Manager at the very very least have appeared to have done a crime (a felony in the law printed here) is the City Council aiding and abetting in the same crime if they do not do anything short of an investigation? IF the Council does nothing then they too are under the same suspicion of the crime. Can I be wrong here?

    By Anonymous Fred (OHIO), at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:19:00 AM  

  • Letter From Mr. Sam Gold to City of Marco Island lawyer.

    By Anonymous mario, at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:19:00 PM  

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Celebrate Marco "PC" Claims Diversity (but) Denies Opposing View Point

In this first video clip, an officer of the Celebrate Marco "PC" attacks the Recall Effort and Besmirches Roger Hall. (press the arrow below the image to play)




In this second vide clip, the Celebrate Marco "PC" refuses to allow Roger Hall to rebut the allegations.




So much for the Celebrate Marco "PC" allowing/representing/putting forth different points of view ...

Don't agree? Well, unlike Celebrate Marco "PC", you are welcomed to post your opposing opinions here - all will be posted uncensored.

Note:"PC" - Political Committee by virtue of how they are acting and what they are doing. It is unclear if they are so registered.

22 Comments:

  • Recall has the STRP. Here look from a place with sewers!

    LEE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT www.lee-county.com/healthdept
    3920 Michigan Avenue
    Fort Myers, Florida 33916

    For Immediate Release

    Date: 21 September 2006
    Contact: Environmental Engineering Dept., (239) 274-2200
    BEACH ADVISORY

    Health Department Issues Advisories for Three Sanibel Beaches: Blind Pass/Turner Beach, Bowman’s Beach, and Tarpon Bay Park Beach


    Tests completed on September 21, 2006, indicate that the beach water quality at Blind Pass/Turner Beach, Bowman’s Beach, and Tarpon Bay Park Beach may not meet the criteria for enterococcus bacteria recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This indicates that water contact may pose an increased risk of diseases for swimmers and bathers. Test results at South Seas Beach on Captiva Island and Sanibel Lighthouse Beach are satisfactory.

    * We recommend not swimming from Turner Beach on Captiva through Gulfside Park Beach on Sanibel, including Blind Pass, Bowman’s Beach, and Tarpon Bay Park Beach. *

    Enterococcus bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of an elevated concentration of enterococcus is an indicator of pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, or sewage. Enterococcus bacteria concentration has been correlated with swimming-associated gastroenteritis illness (diarrhea and abdominal pain).

    For perspective, a gastroenteritis illness rate between 2% - 4% is possible with an elevated enterococcus concentration. This means that 2 - 4 swimmers per 100 swimmers might get a gastroenteritis illness. When the enterococcus concentration meets EPA's recommended criteria, the gastroenteritis illness rate is expected to be less than 2%, and is considered acceptable.

    This advisory may be a short-term event due to recent heavy rains. New test results should be available by 3:30 PM on Tuesday, September 26, 2006. For more information, please view our internet website at www.doh.state.fl.us and select Beach Water Quality from the pull down menu, or contact the Lee County Health Department, Environmental Engineering at (239) 274-2200.
    # # #

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 7:42:00 AM  

  • roger attempting to be heard ...


    Pictures of Roger asking to be heard ...

    By Blogger mario, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 8:27:00 AM  

  • Mario, I'm incensed. It is not true that CENSURE MARCO besmirched Roger Hall. They besmirched thousands of Marco citizens who feel exactly as Roger does.

    Ed Foster
    Chairman, C.A.R.E.S., Inc.

    P.S. I'd like to start a poll. How many think Mr. Arceri's comments were political? How many think CELEBRATE MARCO is raising money for political purposes? If so, why haven't they followed the law and registered as a Political Action Committee?

    By Blogger CARES-Chair, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 9:05:00 AM  

  • Flash! Fort Myers fined for sewage spill. In today's NDN.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2006/sep/23/fort_myers_fined_untreated_sewage/

    Ed Foster
    Chairman, C.A.R.E.S., Inc.

    By Blogger CARES-Chair, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 9:09:00 AM  

  • Fort Myers slapped with $64,500 fine for sewage

    DEP says raw sewage was flowing into Caloosahatchee tributary

    By Julio Ochoa (Contact)

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    The Department of Environmental Protection fined the city of Fort Myers on Friday after it found untreated sewage flowing into Billy's Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River.
    <A TARGET="_blank" HREF="http://adsremote.scripps.com/event.ng/Type=click&FlightID=2029871&AdID=2036938&TargetID=2017045&Targets=2022041,2003385,2004956,2006147,2007695,2017045,2017905,2022305&RawValues=&Redirect=http:%2f%2fwww.morangroup.wbsec.com"><IMG SRC="http://images.scripps.com/1x1.gif" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=350 BORDER=0></A>

    The problem, which has been going on since July, according to one resident, affects about 75 homes.

    The DEP met with city officials Friday after taking samples of water bubbling up from manholes in the Arlington subdivision near Palm Beach Boulevard in east Fort Myers.

    The samples revealed high concentrations of untreated sewage. The city was fined $64,500 for the violation.

    The sewage starts overflowing onto the streets and yards of the neighborhood every time heavy rain falls, said Mike Weinacht, a resident of the neighborhood.

    "I'm up to my ears in it," he said. "I'm sitting at home with fecal coliform so severe that you wouldn't want to walk in it."

    Weinacht believes the sewage in his neighborhood is what is causing beach closures on Sanibel and Captiva islands, but officials from the county health department said that is not likely.

    "The spills weren't big enough to make it out to Sanibel Causeway," said Gary Maier, an engineer with the Lee County Health Department. "I don't think the two incidents are related."

    The county monitors water quality at several places within the river. Maier said all of those samples were clean.

    The DEP also cited the city for violations in its drinking water system, which was not treated to standards, said Jill Johnson, spokeswoman for the DEP.

    Albert Abdo, public utilities director for the city of Fort Myers, said his department is working to resolve the issue.

    The problem is there is a leak in the sewer system and the city does not know where it is, Abdo said.

    When it rains too hard, water gets into the system and it overflows, he said.

    "When you get 4 inches of rain in two hours, it's hard for that system to put it out fast enough," Abdo said.

    The city hired a consultant to look for leaks in the pipe, but that may take several weeks, he said.

    "In the meantime, we're out there doing everything we can to prevent it from happening again," Abdo said.

    Weinacht, however, said someone from the city has yet to come out and treat the raw sewage in his front yard.

    "I went out to a feed store to buy some lime to clean my ditches out," Weinacht said. "Nobody from the city will call me back."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 9:31:00 AM  

  • You are right Ed - they besmirched all of us - all citizens of Marco.

    I guess I am used to being thought of as stupid by these folks so it went right over my head.

    By Anonymous mario, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 9:33:00 AM  

  • Hello There:

    I was at the Celebrate Marco event last night. I sat near the back, where I estimate 100 people. From these some look like they work for the church. I think I saw some that work for the city (Mr. Moss was there). I also saw Mr. Foster and some friends and Mr. Hall. My Point is in that maybe 50 people were of the Celebrate Marco group. Then my point is that Celebrate Marco are not looking very popular. Maybe I am wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 11:46:00 AM  

  • hi anonymous

    i too was there at the back - and actually counted heads - 92 in all including the people service the grapes, the church folk.

    deducting the city employees, the church functionaries (i hope that the minister is not part of this group) and those on the recall/anti-sewer/pops/free speech folks, i calculate 57 celebrate marco people INCLUDING those that may have gone there just to find out what.

    great estimate though!

    By Anonymous mario, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 11:56:00 AM  

  • How can a man get up there and say that the 3 councilors are the most honest people he has known, especially when one of them admitted to be an outright LIAR. I do not know what group he hangs around with and for that matter I don't want to know.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 2:30:00 PM  

  • This was not a forum. This was a membership organizational meeting, and true to our word, anyone could become a member. evidenced by Ed Foster and Roger Hill among others becoming members. There were no volunteers from the church there. All present (excluding the priest) were members of Celebrate Marco as the writers must know because they joined as members at the door, only members were admitted (Thanks guys). There were over 100 people there. By the way, all filming seen on these pages was done secretly. We're grateful for the added exposure. Thanks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 23, 2006 6:06:00 PM  

  • Did I hear someone in the audience advocate shooting opponents to the City Council? Listen carefully to the audio and you can actually hear someone say "they should be shot". Now that's the kind of celebrating we can do without.

    By Anonymous Byron Erickson, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 10:15:00 AM  

  • Should anyone be interested in my commentary on Mr. Arceri's remarks, they can find it on the www.marcocares.com web site or you can get to it directly through the following link:

    http://www.marcocares.com/Celebrating%20Marco.htm

    You may have to cut and paste the link into your browser. I'm not sure.

    Ed Foster
    Chairman, CARES

    By Blogger CARES-Chair, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 10:32:00 AM  

  • to the anonymous (ergo SECRET) poster:

    1) head count by two people = 92
    2) the filming was not done secretly = its impossible to be secret when the camera is held up in plain view for 20 minutes - ask the celebrate marco functionary that was sitting next to the camera and stated "i dont know why you people come here" - nice comment by the way for a group that is suppose to embrace diversity...
    4) the only secretive process here are those that write ANONYMOUSly
    5) a "membership organizational meeting" does not attack the efforts of the citizens of a community

    nice try

    By Anonymous mario, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:04:00 AM  

  • byron - that is in fact recorded. and it was heard as reported by at least two that where there.

    some were hoping to hear at that meeting how all points of view can be discussed and flushed out. unfortunately, with the "they should be shot" comment, and the "you people" comment and the attack on roger, it appears that the agenda of this group is to celebrate their own views/ideas - period.

    By Anonymous mario, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:15:00 AM  

  • The station has an open invitation to Mr.Hall to rebut the comments made by "Celebrate Marco". Please call in on Monday night's show.

    Thank you,
    Ronnie DeAngelis

    By Anonymous Marco Island Talk Radio, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 12:28:00 PM  

  • i hope that mr. hall takes on this invitation. then we should all promote the airing on the station. this way all citizens can hear mr hall's side and decide for themselves.

    thank you marco island talk radio.

    By Anonymous mario, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 12:41:00 PM  

  • IN 24 HOURS !!!!!!!!!!

    Look at these stats

    Celebrate Marco Organization Attacks Recall Effort: VIDEO Seen = 83 times
    Celebrate Marco Organization Refuses to Present Different View: VIDEO Seen = 56 times

    Incredible, no?

    There is interest in all sides of the debate.

    By Anonymous mario, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 12:51:00 PM  

  • CM is gripping we have video of councillors, Trotter, Minnozi and city manager Bill Moss at this meeting. A meeting which someone was cheered when they shouted "shoot them all"(refering to those that oppose the city). This group asked for donations and talked openly about their hatred for the people on their 'HIT LIST'
    The Hit List was part of the materials handed out to CM's members, it named people associated with being against the city. The city of Marco has now fumbled away the safety and security of those on this list.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, September 25, 2006 12:36:00 PM  

  • IN 48 HOURS !!!!

    Now look at these stats ...

    Celebrate Marco Organization Attacks Recall Effort: VIDEO SEEN = 110 times
    Celebrate Marco Organization Refuses to Present Different View: VIDEO SEEN = 72 times

    Hay Caramba!

    By Anonymous mario, at Monday, September 25, 2006 5:19:00 PM  

  • I take issue with the Celebrate Marco group that blame the civic groups that
    have organized to get their voices heard. Let me explain. City officials
    allowed Quality Enterprises to crush asbestos on So. Collier Blvd.and our
    Veterans Park property. Now the city is caught and the city hauls these
    materials off Island at taxpayers expense. YES, the taxpayers paid for the
    first removals of this toxic material. Celebrate Marco should NOT blame the
    citizens for the tax money spent for this but they should blame the city for
    allowing this to be done in the first place. A lawsuit was filed because of
    this action by our city officials by our civic minded citizens. Mr. Moss
    said in a newspaper article that the materials crushed were fiberglass
    pipes. No, this is not true or acceptable from our city manager. Are the
    people who were exposed outraged, yes. Having this staging area near the
    McDonald's playground is deplorable. Anyone who accepts this action is not
    looking out for the best interest of Marco's citizens. The citizens are
    seeking a recall because they are sick and tired of not being heard by our
    city manager, our city's attorney or by certain Council members.
    If anyone has pictures of the crusher on So. Collier Blvd. or on the
    Veterans Park, please send them to any group you feel can use them.
    Fran

    By Anonymous Fran, at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:15:00 PM  

  • IN 72 HOURS !!!!

    Now ............ look at these stats ...

    Celebrate Marco Organization Attacks Recall Effort: VIDEO SEEN = 139 times
    Celebrate Marco Organization Refuses to Present Different View: VIDEO SEEN = 89 times

    more viewers than cbs news.

    By Anonymous mario, at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:44:00 PM  

  • I take issue with the Celebrate Marco group that blame the civic groups that have organized to get their voices heard. Let me explain. City officials allowed Quality Enterprises to crush asbestos on So. Collier Blvd.and our Veterans Park property. Now the city is caught and the city hauls these materials off Island at taxpayers expense. YES, the taxpayers paid for the first removals of this toxic material. Celebrate Marco should NOT blame the citizens for the tax money spent for this but they should blame the city for allowing this to be done in the first place. A lawsuit was filed because of this action by our city officials by our civic minded citizens. Mr. Moss said in a newspaper article that the materials crushed were fiberglass pipes. No, this is not true or acceptable from our city manager.

    Are the people who were exposed outraged, yes. Having this staging area near the McDonald's playground is deplorable. Anyone who accepts this action is not looking out for the best interest of Marco's citizens. The citizens are seeking a recall because they are sick and tired of not being heard by our city manager, our city's attorney or by certain Council members.

    If anyone has pictures of the crusher on So. Collier Blvd. or on the Veterans Park, please send them to any group you feel can use them.

    By Anonymous Fran, at Saturday, September 30, 2006 1:22:00 PM  

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Friday, September 22, 2006

CELEBRATE MARCO RESEARCH PAPER

THE RECALL FACTS

Celebrate Marco has completed a review of the proposed recall of three elected city council members. The recall process will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and cause significant disruption of city operations. The recall initiative requires a thorough review of the facts. Based on its review, CM strongly urges that the recall be rejected for the reasons highlighted below. CM has focused its review around two key parts; the misleading and inaccurate statements made in the petition and the accompanying letter (the petition package) and the questionable motivations of the group leading the effort. The results of the CM review are described below.

Misleading Aspects of the Petition Package (Petition and Letter)

The petition letter states that Florida law puts the “power of recall in the hands of the people”. That is misleading because it implies that recall actions have no limits. Florida Statute 100.361 governs recalls. The statute is clear that there are very specific and narrow grounds to warrant a recall of an elected official. There are seven grounds for recall; malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform duties and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

The petition letter states that, if enough signatures are obtained there is no way the recall process can be stopped. Again, not so. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that an accused elected official has an opportunity to defend himself or herself and stop the recall action based on “lack of legal sufficiency” (State v Tedder, 106 Fla, 140). Other Florida courts have used this ruling on other cases (Thompson v. Napotnik, 923 So. 2nd 537 5th DCA (2006))

The petition charges the three councilors with having voted to expand the sewer system on August 21, 2006. The fact is that the same sewer expansion program has been voted on, and approved by previous and present councils numerous times in the past three years. The petition is also erroneous in stating that, on August 21, 2006, the councilors being targeted for recall “voted to extend the STRP to three new districts”. No such vote was taken on that date. In fact, on that date five city councilors voted to approve the assessment methodology for future sewer districts.

The petition charges the three councilmen with voting for a program that, in the petitioners’ opinion, is unfair and inequitable. The petition fails to mention that the design and fairness of the program, approved by these councilors, has been upheld by the review and decisions of the Circuit Court and has been found to be legally sound and fair.

The petition letter states that those who sign the recall petition are “collectively referred to as the ‘committee’”. The Florida Statute 100.361 does not use the word “collectively” but states that “those signing the recall petition shall be designated as the ‘committee’” and that the leader of the petition will “act for the committee”. Therefore, unlike other petitions, those supporting a recall petition, are considered members of an official committee and may be responsible for the actions of their leadership.

Apparent Wrong Motivation for the Recall Action

For those who closely follow public issues, there is an obvious link between some who helped organize CARES, POP and now the recall efforts. The petitioners have targeted three councilors that voted for the sewers, as well as mentioning in the petition letter their desire to recall the fourth councilor who voted for sewers. The petitioners did not, however, move to recall, or show any intent to recall, any of the three councilors who voted against sewers. This selective recall action proves that the reasons for recall are clearly based, specifically, on the votes taken by those councilors being targeted for recall.

The Florida Supreme Court (Garvin v Jerome, 767 So. 2nd 1190 (2000)) clearly states that officials should not be faced with recall based on their votes on an issue and that the recall process is not to be used as a substitute for the elective process. Such action would compromise the elective process by removing a duly elected official solely on the basis of a vote. That is contrary to Florida law and they cannot be recalled on that basis. The three councilors who are involved in the recall were elected to office two years ago with some 6,000 votes.

When the POP referendum to change the city charter was thrown out for failure to meet the specific requirements of the city charter, the group involved in these efforts called such failure a “technicality”. They took the position that the people’s wishes were more important than the need to follow the legal requirements of the charter. In the description of the recall the petitioners also clearly state that decisions to recall should also be placed “in the hands of the voters and to prevent City Hall or the courts from interfering in the process”” and not depend on the legal requirements of such action. It is clear that the motivation of this group is to try and bypass the representative form of government and put the law in their own hands.

Unable to achieve their goals through the accepted elective/representative process, the petitioners have directed their efforts to overturn the governing process that has been successful, not only for Marco Island, but for all cities in Florida and the nation. The latest recall effort also ignores the effect this action would have on the remaining councilors who may be subject to recall next year and to candidates in future elections in our community.

4 Comments:

  • Readers should read the following blog entry prior to believing everthing said in this entry. The bottem line is the people of this city should have the right to vote. What the City and the City Attorney have tried to construct are walls to seperate the city from it's citizens. Let us vote, just let us vote!

    By Anonymous Byron Erickson, at Friday, September 22, 2006 5:18:00 PM  

  • I am not on the Island right now so I can not understand why there is talk of blocking a vote. I do not not find everything the Council of the City does is wrong so I would probably vote for keeping most of them so why can't I be allowed to vote that way. Try the recall and see.

    By Anonymous Brian (OHIO), at Friday, September 22, 2006 5:38:00 PM  

  • brian (ohio)says it best, "why can't I be allowed to vote?" You should be allowed to vote and you may be right, the people may not want to recall these men. However, this City Council has done everything it can to keep the citizen's out of what it believes is it's business. The three being recalled will not even answer simple benign questions when asked. They do not wish to speak to a citizen about anything. This has been going on now for about six months. See you at a council meeting when you return.

    By Anonymous Byron Erickson, at Friday, September 22, 2006 7:09:00 PM  

  • Should anyone be interested in my commentary on Mr. Arceri's remarks, they can find it on the www.marcocares.com web site or you can get to it directly through the following link:

    http://www.marcocares.com/Celebrating%20Marco.htm

    You may have to cut and paste the link into your browser. I'm not sure.

    Ed Foster
    Chairman, CARES

    By Blogger CARES-Chair, at Sunday, September 24, 2006 10:33:00 AM  

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

RECALL COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO CELEBRATE MARCO ARTICLE

The article in Wednesday’s Eagle regarding Celebrate Marco is so fraught with false statements that it is hard to know where to begin. It is clear that the pro development old guard has circled the wagons and turned City Hall into a campaign headquarters to defeat the recall. It is both inappropriate and unlawful for Councilwoman DiScillio, the city manager, and the city attorney to be campaigning against the recall from their official positions. The law is quite clear in this matter and the Chairwoman’s prepared statement to the press with legal opinions provided by the city attorney is a clear violation.

Mr. Yovanovich, the city attorney, takes this abuse one step further with his involvement with the distortions propagated by “Celebrate Marco”. The most deplorable is the claim by this group that “The signers of the petition make themselves liable to be able to have the dollars retracted from them for the city successfully defending those three councilors. Nobody knows that.” That is a despicable falsehood designed to intimidate the voters from signing the petition.

The case of “Ferrara v. Caves” the appellate court found that the recall committee and its chair could not be held responsible for attorney fees advanced on behalf of the elected officials.

The appellate court held:

To interpret the law otherwise is to chill the constitutional and statutory privilege belonging to Florida electors to attempt to bring about the recall of elected municipal officials." Ferrara v. Caves, 475 So. 2d 1295, 1299 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1985). The above case is binding precedent.

The law is clear:
Voting rights; deprivation of, or interference with, prohibited;

No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or not to vote as that person may choose, or for the purpose of causing such other person to vote for, or not vote for, any candidate for any office at any general, special, or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidate.

(5) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.775.084.

We are very upset over this possibly illegal attempt to intimidate the voters of Marco Island.

In a further distortion both Chairwoman DiSciullo, Bill Moss, Yovanovich quote a 2000 decision regarding Malfeasance. What they don’t quote is the controlling February 10, 2006 decision (Thompson v. Napotnik) in which the fifth district appellate court found in favor of the recall committee on the basis “No requirement is set forth in Florida’s recall statute mandating that the recall petition allege a claim of malfeasance based on some alleged criminal conduct.” Contrary to the misleading representations that have been made by Mr. Moss, Council chair DiSciullo, and the city council, this allegation does not have to be based on a criminal act. Furthermore, the court reaffirmed that “the sufficiency of the charges for the recall of a public officer to cause the voters to require his removal is a political question to be determined by the people”.

There are so many distorted statements about the STRP that it is hard to know where to begin other than to direct the reader to www.earnmarco.com for a complete presentation of the facts. There you can see these councilmen in steaming video making their contradictory statements at various council meetings. You will also see the real numbers which reveal that the people on the septic tanks are being forced to pay $38,000,000, $6,500 each, to build a sewer treatment plant that will provide the capacity for an additional 18,000 homes or 25,000 hotel rooms.

In recognition that this response will be given a limited amount of space, I will let the above misrepresentations reflect the credibility of the entire article rather than refute the issues point by point.

Councilwoman DiSciullo’s motion at last Monday night’s council meeting raises the abuse of power by this council to a new level. At the last council meeting, the council presented councilmen Tucker, Trotter and Minozzi with an open check book, paid for by the taxpayers, to pay for all their reasonable attorney fees and expenses in their defense of the recall effort, win or lose. When asked what reasonable legal fees were, Councilman Tucker said as much as $500 per hour. There was no qualification as to the expense authorization that Councilman Tucker inserted into the motion. Does this mean that he gets paid his hourly rate for time lost? Can these men fly to Tampa, rent cars, and stay in hotels in search of their $500 per hour blue chip attorneys at the tax payer’s expense?

The Florida statutes are clear; a recalled councilman that successfully defends his position is entitled to request reimbursement for his legal fees and costs after the fact. There isn’t any case law that an unsuccessful councilman was granted reimbursement. There isn’t any case law that they are entitled to expenses which are quite different than costs. There isn’t any case law that supports the incurring of legal fees on the taxpayer’s behalf before a petition is even filed.

The remaining issue that I would like to address is the ongoing war between the citizens and the city council. I don’t think any of us have ever witnessed a council that has so little respect and moral authority to govern.

I didn’t create this problem. I didn’t have anything to do with the council’s support of Mr. Tucker’s and Mr. Moss’s hoax that they perpetrated on the voters and the FDEP for five months. Vice councilor Tucker’s statement that the asbestos contamination was made to look worse by people or persons unknown and they had photographic evidence to prove it was not true. The fact that the voters were outraged when Mr. Tucker finally admitted that he didn’t have any photographic evidence is not my fault. The complicity of Mr. Minozzi and Mr. Trotter in support of this ongoing misstatement is not the result of anything I did. How can you trust councilmen that will make or support false statements? The fact that they were part of an attempt to cover up a major asbestos contamination that impacted the health of thousands on this island is reprehensible.

The bottom line is that we have a very pro development council that is willing to ignore the law, as demonstrated above, distort, misrepresent and do anything they can to push through their pro development agenda before they lose power. The voters would like to stop everything, clean up the mess they’ve made, and enjoy the Marco Island they thought they had moved to. These councilmen know they will go down in resounding defeat if they have to face the voters.

At the end of the day, this question will be decided by the voters, not the courts. These councilmen are using our checkbook to finance their attempt to hide behind the court system in order to protect their part time, $6,000 per year jobs. I had intended to finance this recall personally. It is clear that these men will use the city’s check book to force the recall committee into a costly court battle that I can’t afford. I have spent my own funds on this effort but now I need help. I am therefore retracting my earlier commitment not to accept contributions.

Roger Hall
Chairman Recall Committee
Marco Island

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Open Letter to the City Council

To the City Council:

I write this to express my extreme concern regarding your unanimous vote to offer what amounts to a blank check to each of the three councilors who are the subject of Mr. Hall’s recall drive. Who is to say what expenses are “reasonable”? Mr. Popoff suggested that attorneys could cost $175, $200, or $250 an hour; Mr. Tucker said $400 or $500 an hour. Which is “reasonable”? Does each councilor decide for himself? Is each councilor authorized to engage his own attorney(s) at City expense? Is there any limit on the number of attorneys a councilor can retain? And apparently you have authorized these councilors to begin spending taxpayer dollars immediately before anyone knows whether Mr. Hall will obtain the required number of signatures to demand a vote or not. Your resolution was not advertised to the public, it was modified on the spot several times, and no one was prepared for debate. I realize that you considered passing the resolution an “emergency,” but this smacks of panic!


My concerns lie deeper. The very thought of using public tax dollars to insulate a councilor from recall is deeply offensive. It is clear in Florida Law that citizens have the right to recall councilors. Who would dare undertake to launch a recall petition knowing that they face the unlimited pocketbook of the government … a pocketbook funded by the petitioners themselves?

I believe it was Mr. Popoff who expressed concern that no one would run for council if he or she thought they might be subject to legal expense to defend themselves against a recall. This is false reasoning. Nothing obliges a councilor to spend a nickel in legal expenses unless he or she chooses to. Nor need they resign. By law, all they need do is write a 200-word rebuttal to the charges on the original petition and a revised petition is issued. If the revised petition receives the support of 15% of the electorate, a recall election is held. Otherwise it is not. Then of course the councilors must lose the election to be removed from office. It’s a long and difficult path to recall!

I would reverse Mr. Popoff’s concern: who would dare to exercise the right to recall a councilor if he or she might be subject to the untold legal expenses of a court battle? Your actions last night effectively deny the right of Florida citizens to recall a councilor. I am not an attorney nor have I consulted one on this issue, however I would hope that the court would realize that insulating councilors from all expense (as you have done) frustrates the right of citizens to seek a recall and therefore would rule against the councilors and, indirectly, the city that is footing the bill.

Some councilors accuse CARES of initiating legal battles and “costing the city money.” Let me make it clear that there would be no legal battles had not the City been the root cause of them by refusing to listen to their constituents. Your vote last night almost certainly will initiate another suit … not by CARES or by Mr. Hall, but, in effect, by the City! There is no reason for this to go to court unless the affected councilors take it there. By immunizing them against legal expense, you have virtually guaranteed that will happen, and the taxpayers of Marco Island will line the pockets of a few more law firms instead of building Veterans’ Park. If history is any teacher, the Council and City Manager will then blame Mr. Hall for wasting taxpayer dollars!

The council seemed to think that, if they did not vote to insulate Councilors from legal expenses, Councilors could be removed from office at the whim of any citizen who did not like the way that councilor voted on an issue. That is sheer poppycock! As your City Attorney advised you, recalls are rare! There’s a reason they’re rare: they are very difficult to win and that’s the way it should be! The difficulty of winning a recall effort protects every councilor; it is the ONLY protection any councilor should need. The fact that successful recalls are so rare is proof that the system works without requiring taxpayers to provide immunity from legal expense. Councilors are not city employees; they choose to serve and are solely responsible for their actions. If they act responsibly in the best interests of the majority of the citizens, their position is secure.

As you know, for a petition to be validated, 10% of registered voters must agree to it and sign the petition. That’s a serious hurdle that only POP has been able to overcome in recent years! Council chose to disenfranchise the supporters of the POP petition. I believe that was an incorrect and very foolish move; if the majority did not support the petition, it would have been defeated at the polls. That is the American way.

A recall petition has two additional hurdles: the time frame for the original petition is extremely short (30 days) and it is followed by a second petition that must receive 15% voter approval. Then, and only then, does the recall question go to a vote of the community. This is the community that elected these councilors. If the councilors have retained the respect and admiration of the community and the community feels that they have properly carried out the duties of their office, the community will vote to keep them in office. Once again, that is the American way. Council has no right to set itself up as a Politburo that decides what issues the people are allowed to vote on and I respectfully ask that you reconsider your positions on this question before the community loses faith in our City government as a whole.

Thank you,

Ed Foster
Chairman, C.A.R.E.S., Inc.
www.marcocares.com
cares@marcocares.com

1 Comments:

  • I want a copy of the previous letter Ed Foster submitted to this blog. I intend to send it, with a contribution to Bill McCollum to whet his appetite for my invitation to come to Marco,as our next A.G. and help us clean up this City!It is a chance that may have dividends, and votes for him.
    Paret

    By Anonymous Ray Paret, at Tuesday, October 03, 2006 2:57:00 PM  

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Open Letter to Mrs. DiSciullo

Greetings Chairwoman DiSciullo:

I just read your memorandum RE: Recall Petition dated 9/18/06 and am compelled again to write to you.

I apologize for having to do this so often, but it seems that our Council if nothing else appears to need some political advice. In politic s perceptions are actually more important than what has actually happened. I say this because you have acted without there being any need to. You h ave committed public resources for something that you do not know will happen. Your decision to commit these resources is based on perceptions and projecti ons not a public need, emergency or reality.

You claim you wrote the memorandum because you felt the need to seek City Council's approval to reimburse legal expenses for the three Councilors being recalled. You site a Florida Supreme Court ruling as your authority. I assume that was provided to you by the City Attorney or Councilman Tucker or perhaps via the City Manager.

There is currently no need for the three Council members to seek legal representation. The only thing that has happened is the electorate has been asked by Mr. Hall to vote to support a petition to recall these men for various charges. To invoke some law saying that the city must support them comes across as being political and inappropriate at this time. You are throwing gasoline on a fire.Further, you are doing it without discussion and thoughtfulness. The funds you are obligating appear to have no limits and are subject to anyone's interpretation of "reasonableness". I remind you that you are a steward of these funds, they actually belong to the citizens of this City. The revenue of Marco Island is not a personal check book fo r the Councilor's to use as they please. If the Councilmen being accused ever require legal assistance that can always be discussed as the need becomes a reality.

It is also your responsibility to protect the voting rights of you r citizens so if you respect the Republic form of government, you must reconsider this decision. Your decision to use taxpayer mone y to comfort those being accused is the wrong message and inhibits the right of the electorate to vote on this issue. If you are so sure that Mr. Hall is wrong and that the voters will prove you are right, what are you afraid of? Let the process play itself out as it is designed to do. We shall see what the voters say. The electorate o nly wants to vote and they should be permitted to do so.

Personally, I believe you have been influenced again by Councilman Tuck er and the City Attorney. The Attorney has an interest in maintaining the current state of affairs in Marco Island, he is making a lot of money. Continued conflict is always in the interest of the Attorney. Ask a divorce attorney and they will tell you the same. Councilman Tucker is an accused who has made false statements to promote his agenda in the past and admitted as much. He should not be trusted.

We didn't vote for you because you did what lawyers told you to do but because we believed you were grounded in our community, had g ood instincts and common sense. We believed you to be like us and were interested in us. So please discard the advice you have been given, it is politically flawed. Use your good judgment and reconsider this decision.

Sincerely, Byron Erickson

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Threats by City Attorney & Others - A Felony - You Decide

Per today's newspaper ...

Yovanovich said that the state Supreme Court found that a city has a "decided interest" to defend its elected officials from illegal recall petitions. The city council voted unanimously Monday to cover legal fees, if necessary, for Tucker, Minozzi and Trotter. Stefanides said that people signing the recall petition become part of the committee doing the petitioning.

"They make themselves liable to be able to have the dollars retracted from them for the city successfully defending those three councilors," he said. "Nobody knows that."
------------
Now, according to Florida law ...

104.0515 Voting rights; deprivation of, or interference with, prohibited; penalty.--
(1) All citizens of this state who are otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election by the people in this state or in any district, county, city, town, municipality, school district, or other subdivision of this state shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections without distinction according to race,color, or previous condition of servitude, notwithstanding any law, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage to the contrary.
(2) No person acting under color of law shall:
(a) In determining whether any individual is qualified under law to vote in any election, apply any standard, practice, or procedure different from the standards, practices, or procedures applied under law to other individuals within the same political subdivision who have been found to be qualified to vote; or
(b) Deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under law to vote in such election. This paragraph shall apply to absentee ballots only if there is a pattern or history of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude in regard to absentee ballots.
(3) No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or not to vote as that person may choose, or for the purpose of causing such other person to vote for, or not vote for, any candidate for any office at any general, special, or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidate.
4) No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, and no standard, practice, or procedure, shall be imposed or applied by any political subdivision of this state to deny or abridge the right of any citizen to vote on account of race or color.
5) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

3 Comments:

  • well, well, well, wouldn't have anything to do with this posting that i made on sept-20 now would it?

    Subject: Special-Called Meeting of City Council
    Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 21:55:59 +0000
    Dear Councilors:

    This message is to confirm that a special-called meeting of City Council, as
    initiated by Chairwoman DiSciullo, is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September
    28, 2006 at the Mackle Park Community Center. The purpose of the special-called
    meeting is to consider a Resolution regarding the reimbursement of legal fees
    for those Councilors who may challenge the legal sufficiency of the recall petition
    in circulation at this time. It is anticipated that the Resolution will clarify
    that there is no intent to seek reimbursement of legal fees from citizens who
    sign the petition.

    The Resolution should be finalized and distributed by no later than the close
    of business on Wednesday, September 27th.

    Bill Moss
    City Manager

    By Anonymous mario, at Monday, September 25, 2006 9:04:00 PM  

  • SENT VIA E-MAIL September 26, 2006
    To: Custodians of Public Records
    City of Marco Island
    50 Bald Eagle Drive
    Marco Island, Fl 34145

    Reference: Fl Statutes, Chapter 119, Public Records Request

    In accordance with the above referenced FL Statute, please provide me a copy of the following Public Records.

    All correspondence by City Staff, City Council members, City Attorney and members of the public regarding the Recall of City Council members, Messers. Tucker, Trotter and Minozzi, to include all; e-mails, memos, drafts, personal notes, attorney work product, etc.

    It is my understanding that members of the City Council are communicating with each other via e-mail. Council members may not be aware that copies of all correspondence between each member is required by Chapter 119 to be maintained by the Custodians of Record for public review.

    If possible, I would like to pick-up the requested documents on Friday, September 29, 2006 at 2 PM

    Thanking you in advance for your assistance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 26, 2006 7:58:00 PM  

  • -> look at #2 carefully (bold) below

    Efforts to Suppress the Vote: An Overview

    Edward B. Foley, Director, Election Law @ Moritz &
    Amber Lea Gosnell, Class of 2006, Moritz College of Law

    Concern about vote suppression has surfaced in this year's presidential election. Several incidents have received national attention, such as statements by a Michigan Republican state representative, John Pappageorge, who told the Detroit Free Press that the GOP will have "a tough time" if "we do not suppress the Detroit vote;" Detroit is 83 percent African American. 1 While this comment may be simply an instance of sloppy language, it still raises concern. In another incident that occurred during the January primary in New Hampshire, independent voters received calls erroneously informing them that they could not vote in the primary election. 2 The New Hampshire Attorney General's office did not know was responsible for making the calls, "although the complaints suggest they were from political campaigns or pollsters." 3 Given concerns raised by these incidents and several others, it is important to consider how the law applies to efforts to undermine the electoral process by discouraging people from voting.

    Vote suppression can be explained by classifying the different efforts to undermine the vote into three categories.

    Individuals who support one candidate and desire to suppress votes for the candidate's opponent can do so in a number of different ways. While there is no set formula for classifying acts of vote suppression, the following three categories help to distinguish the different techniques.

    Voters can be prevented from potentially voting for the other candidate (1) by direct threats of intimidation, (2) by suppressing turnout through disinformation and scare tactics, and finally, (3) by efforts to keep the other candidate's message from being communicated.

    Before discussing the three techniques, understanding the different reasons behind vote suppression is important. Historically, African-Americans have been victimized simply because of their race. The NAACP and People for the American Way Foundation have published a Special Report that reviews more than a hundred years of efforts to suppress minority voters following emancipation, the Reconstruction, and the years immediately following passage of the Voting Rights Act. 4 However, acts of vote suppression are sometimes based not on race, but on party-affiliation, age, or other motives. For example, college age voters, who tend to vote more liberally, might be targeted because of their age. Some of the laws addressing efforts to suppress the vote apply only to racially discriminatory suppression efforts, while other laws prohibit suppression tactics regardless of motivation.

    The first type of vote suppression, direct threats of intimidation, is subject to criminal punishment under both federal and state law. Among the federal laws that can be used to challenge direct intimidation, the most important is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act states that "no person […] shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote." 5 The statute likewise prohibits such intimidation aimed at efforts to mobilize others to vote or to facilitate their vote. Although other provisions of the Voting Rights Act concern racially discriminatory practices, this provision outlaws intimidation regardless of motivation. Likewise, some state statutes have explicit language outlawing this type of vote suppression. For example, in Ohio the statute states that "no person shall before, during, or after any primary, convention, or election attempt by intimidation, coercion, or other unlawful means to induce" a person "to vote or refrain from voting at a primary, convention, or election for a particular person, question, or issue." 6 While these statutes clearly cover the explicit intimidation that was common in the past (remember the physical violence of the Jim Crow era), today vote suppression tends to fall in the latter two categories. As a result, vote suppression becomes harder to challenge.

    The second type of vote suppression is achieved by suppressing voter turnout through different measures, such as disinformation and scare tactics. For example, in Texas earlier this year, a local district attorney claimed that students at a majority African-American college were not eligible to vote in the county where the school is located. 7 The attorney made this claim as well as threats to prosecute voters who failed to have a "legal voting address" in a letter to the local election administrator, which was later published in a local newspaper. 8 However, the district attorney was simply wrong, as a 1978 federal court order prohibited the local registrar from treating the University students differently than other county voters. 9 The Texas example is illustrative of how disinformation can be used to suppress voter turnout.

    Voter turnout can also be suppressed through the use of scare tactics. In Florida, state troopers were sent by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando. As described by New York Times commentator Bob Herbert, the state troopers were sent in a "bizarre hunt for evidence of election fraud" despite a finding by the department last May "that there was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud." 10 The officers arrive armed, and for elderly African-Americans who remember the torment inflicted on blacks who tried to vote in the South fifty years ago, the presence of armed officers discussing voting matters is disturbing. 11

    While the same laws responsible for making direct threats of intimidation illegal might be used to challenge this second technique of vote suppression, those accused of suppression can sometimes offer plausible responses. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, for example, claims that election fraud is a serious matter requiring investigation and that sending officers to the homes is an effort to make those questioned feel comfortable in a "more relaxed atmosphere." 12 As stated above, what constitutes "intimidation" is not clear, either through statute or case law. If the disinformation given in Texas or the questionable home visits in Florida were done with the purpose of intimidating voters, one could argue the Voting Rights Act or state statutes similar to Ohio's statute would cover these acts. Also, if proof of racial discrimination were available, other Civil Rights laws would be invoked. However, the intent to intimidate is often difficult to prove.

    The final technique of vote suppression occurs when supporters of one candidate try to keep the opponent's message from being communicated. In Upper Arlington, Ohio, a small suburb of Columbus, Democrats are reporting that upwards of 150 signs have been snatched from the lawns of John Kerry supporters. 13 While sign stealing is illegal in its own right, the question here is whether sign stealing counts as vote suppression. By removing the candidate's advertisements, opponents remove the candidate's message from the public discourse. When the message is not reaching the public, the outcome of the election might be affected: that, after all, is the reason for stealing the sign. While this seems also to count as vote suppression, the language of the statue has not been extended this far.

    Can vote suppression that involves techniques other than direct threats be prevented?

    What makes vote suppression (other than direct threats) so difficult to prevent is the reality that in many instances, there are grey areas in the law as to what counts as voter intimidation. A campaign attack ad designed to have the effect of keeping a voter from going to the polls surely is not illegal (unless deliberately or recklessly false); rather, it is simply effective negative campaigning. However, information about election procedure distributed to the public that is incorrect feels more like "illegal suppression." For example, a group that knowingly distributes incorrect information stating that a valid driver's license is needed to vote might be guilty of vote suppression. This would be especially true if the group accompanied its deliberate disinformation about voting procedures with a warning that voters could be punished if they attempted to vote without a driver's license.

    Suppose, however, that truthful information is given to portions of the public with the purpose of suppressing the vote. For example, a leaflet distributed in a minority neighborhood stressing truthful voting identification requirements might trouble certain groups who are wary of proving their identification to the government. Even though entirely accurate, the leaflet might have the desired effect of reducing turnout from a minority neighborhood. Vote suppression such as this example is difficult to challenge without proof of an improper motive.

    In conclusion, preventing vote suppression (other than direct threats) through legal means has two main problems to overcome. First, "intimidation" needs to be defined to cover the more subtle forms of intimidation that occur today. Without a statement to broaden "intimidation" from the courts or the legislature, covert acts of vote intimidation are likely to go unpunished. Secondly, even if "intimidation" were defined to cover such creative forms of vote suppression, finding the "smoking gun" of illicit motive is still likely to be a problem. Plausible legitimate excuses are often available to explain acts of suppression. In the absence of effective legal remedies, the only alternative is the vigilant exercise and defending of voting rights to counteract improper tactics.

    Notes

    1. Associated Press, Democrats Blast GOP Lawmaker's "Suppress the Detroit Vote" Remark, Detroit Free Press, July 21, 2004.

    2. Lieberman: Caller ID Needed Badly, The National Journal Group, Inc. (January 15, 2004) at https://www.lexis.com/research/retrieve/frames.

    3. Id.

    4. NAACP & PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY FOUNDATION, SPECIAL REPORT, THE LONG SHADOW OF JIM CROW: VOTER INTIMIDATION AND SUPPRESSION IN AMERICA TODAY, 3 (2004) available at http://www.naacp.org.

    5. The Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1971 (1965).

    6. Ohio Rev. Code § 3599.01(A)(2).

    7. NAACP, supra note 4 at 6.

    8. Id.

    9. Id.

    10. Bob Herbert, Voting While Black. N.Y. TIMES, Aug. 20, 2004 at A23.

    11. Id.

    12. Id.

    13. Robert Vitale, Election War Waged at Literal Grass-Roots Level, COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Aug. 29, 2004 at B01.

    By Anonymous mario, at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 12:02:00 PM  

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

OUTRAGE?




Just two questions at this time if our elected officials would be so kind as to respond:
  • Why was the "charge" of the asbestos issue not addressed in this prepared speech?
  • When the council members discussed this issue before the meeting - was it done in accordance with Florida's Sunshine Law?
Just asking...

1 Comments:

  • How can any targeted official remain impartial when voting to reimburse to defend their partners in crime? The only way to do this and negate any perception of their voting for their own self interest is for all trageted officials to recuse themselves from voting on the reimbursement issue. Otherwise they are just voting to reimburse each other. Anyone can see what that outcome will be.

    By Anonymous Byron Erickson, at Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:43:00 AM  

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Practical Suggestions for Either Direction

It is not clear to this author whether Marco Island is headed towards a tourist-driven commercial zone or a community where common folk come to raise their family or retire while complimenting a modest tourist economy. Since fanatical commercialization is antithetical both in theory and practice to a community, clearly there is no middle ground. Hence the direction for Marco Island is either big-business based or community based.

The trend does appear to be that we are heading towards the commerce-at-all-cost end (some would argue dead end). However, there are individuals and organizations that are resisting this direction through their constitutionally protected activism. The war is on, and at the minimum, it will be quite interesting to watch.

But to whichever force prevails, there are some steps that we can take now which will support either victor – but which in actuality benefit all of Marco Island.

Whether the zealots of big business realize it or not, they will need middle class folk. These are the people that make up the fine police force, and the fire department, and make up the civil service, and pick up the trash, and fix the electrical and plumbing problems, and soon will be processing the sewage. There are signs everywhere screaming to the all-out-developers to be careful lest they loose the middle class. Ergo, the myriad studies and articles and initiatives for “affordable housing”. Other signs such as high turnover, inability to hire, and middle-class flight are everywhere.

The first suggestion is to realize the signs. Regardless of where you fall on this debate, accept what is occurring.

The second suggestion is more specific. In order to support the middle class – which both directions need – we must take explicit steps to shore up the class base.

On this vein, Marco Island needs a high school. Marco Island should not surrender at the first word from the kakistocracy that rules the county school district by immediately considering only a charter school. More on this issue in a forthcoming article. Demand a high school – it’s the law.

Another specific suggestion is to support the police and fire departments with pay raises. The city council needs to stop hiding behind the “spending cap” boogeyman and take a leadership role and do whatever it takes to use part of that gargantuan surplus to help those that help us by perennially placing at risk that which is priceless.

Another specific suggestion is tax abatements for homestead-exempt properties below a certain appraised value. Forget the “affordable housing” farce – that is socialism at its worse. Substantially reducing taxes on the middle class neither impacts the cash register at the city coffers or is a tax cut for the “rich”.

Another specific suggestion is tax incentives for non-tourist based businesses. And please, not for more restaurants. Light clean industry, non-restaurant service industry and the such employ quite a good number of people. Ecotourism is very hot and it should be governmentally promoted. There is nothing wrong with diversifying the economic support base of a community.

There are many more specific suggestions that can be made – suggestions that should not be offensive to either side – suggestions that imply the benefit of Marco Island as a whole. We need leadership, and just as importantly, we need action – and now. There are many residents that would welcome an opportunity to work on any of the above noted initiatives (this author included) – but in a communal sense.

Let’s see if anyone else wants to move forward.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Normalizing the Voting for Recalling City Council Members

In purely technical and in extremely general terms, normalization is the process of eliminating duplicate data. Though duplicate data is not always “bad”, knowing that there are duplicate data helps the informatics specialist derive valuable information.

So, how does this explanation apply to the on-line voting by the citizens interested in Marco Island as related to recalling the city council members? Is there “duplicate” data in the voting? Has the voting been compromised?

The answer to the last question is NO. The voting has not been compromised. Safeguards are now in place preventing the miscreant(s) that voted approximately 3,500 times to remove Mr. Kieser and only Mr. Kiester from performing another such dishonest deed.

Is there duplicate data? Technically speaking, no.

But here is the rub. A household with one computer can have several legitimate voters. As an example, one household can have a wife, a husband, a child over 18, the husband’s mother-in-law, and a dog. In this case there are five legitimate voters (only kidding – there are only 4 – the mother-in-law does not count). Hence “one” computer can vote several times – and the votes be sincere and of different sources (different voters).

However, and in another example, one household can only have one voter but yet vote many times, say five times.

So how do informatics experts distinguish the first five (real) votes from the second five (four are fake) votes?

How? Look carefully at the fifth word in the above sentence – EXPERTS. Informatics experts have at their disposal tried, tested and proven algorithms by which to detect with a great degree of certainty these “fake” votes.

Detecting these “fake” votes, and taking them out of the calculations, is in a very general sense, normalization.

Hence, the new graph on the recall voting site reflects these algorithms.

Why were these algorithms not implemented from day one? Because, in part, it takes analysis of the data to design the proper algorithm by which to account for the problematic data. Hence you need something to study before you figure out how to fix it.


What exactly is the logic to the algorithms? This will not be revealed. Why? Because we want to continue trapping these “fake” votes. Knowing who is attempting to cheat, and in what context, is information that is exceedingly valuable – as priceless as knowing what the real votes are.

Don’t you find it valuable to know that the person(s) that went to such lengths to write a robot to flood the votes did so to recall one and only one council member? I do.

Thank you for your interest and please continue encouraging the voting! But only American style voting (vote early, vote once) and not Latin America voting (vote early, vote often).

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marco Island Real Estate Cabal Declares State of Emergency

The Marco Island Real Estate Daleks association (MIRED) announced today that real estate sales and prices will further decline due to the earthquake.

“Last year we blamed the precipitous drop in real estate sales and prices on Marco Island on the hurricanes. Before that we blamed a stagnated trend on interest rates. Now, with excuses running out, we are blaming our inability to sell on the earthquake”, proclaimed the chairman of MIRED – who for obvious reasons opted to remain anonymous.

For years, real estate agents on Marco Island relied exclusively on the highly aggressive sales tactic of waiting for the phone to ring. Starting in late 2004, the phones stopped ringing at Marco Island real estate offices, causing the agents to search for all possible culprits – except themselves. With Miami (only 90 miles to the east) booming with new and high-end condominium sales and other markets across the country also expanding rapidly – all during the same period – agents had to determine the “real problem” with real estate sales on Marco Island.

Now they have found yet another pretext. “Clearly, with earthquakes just offshore no one will want to buy on Marco” proclaimed the vice chairman of MIRED. “I mean, look at what happened in South East Asia after that big earthquake a couple of years ago. They got tidal waves, tsunamis, death, destruction, the plague, five of the seven deadly sins, crazy people running around naked, the U.S. Navy was sent to help and all of their beach front tourist sites were wiped out. That can happen here, so no one will want to buy!” further decried the vice chairman.

But there is a bright side to all of these apocalyptic prophecies of dropping sales and flat real estate prices. The City of Marco Island city council in an emergency session to address the economic impact of the earthquake, voted 4-3 (Disciullo, Forcht, Kiester in the minority) passing a referendum that if any large corporation or anyone claiming to be in any way related to any real or imagined American Indian tribe wants to rezone any part of the island to build casinos of any size, they get automatic approval without even having to file any documents.

Reports are coming in that six Mormons claiming to be descendants of the Calusa Indians are desirous in taking advantage of the earthquake ravaged Marco Island tourist economy. They are designing a casino with 25,000 luxury condominiums to be built on Residents Beach.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Recall Petition - DO IT!

These pages have always advocated the exercise of democracy. Voting by the citizens of a federalist democracy is the greatest tool free individuals can posses.

It is once again time to call for exercising that tool. Given the extensive and vociferous nature of the dissatisfaction with the Marco Island government, let’s once and for all put the issues to rest as related to the council members.

Should they stay or should they go?

If the voting is for them to stay, then rejoice for the
majority approves of their efforts, and business will continue as usual, and as such the detractors are silenced. The citizens have spoken.

If the voting is for any one of them to leave, then the council members so designated should leave immediately. The citizens have spoken.

There should be not one citizen, not one group, not one councilmember and not one public employee that should fear this process, that should besmirch this process, that should thwart this process. For in doing so, they are dishonest and hypocritical, for they reap the rewards of living in the greatest country on earth – a democracy – but impede the very foundation that provides for their standard of living. Lest anyone doubt this assertion, try living in Cuba or North Korea for a while.

And as salient and inarguable this position appears to be, there are those that will go to great lengths to divert our unalienable rights to vote and to obstruct the process with no shame. More on this farce in the following article.

So, Marco Island, allow the recall, vote, and let the chips falls where they may!

1 Comments:

  • Recall Petition Forms ...
    http://www.marcocares.com/Minozzi%20Recall,%20Printed.pdf
    http://www.marcocares.com/Trotter%20Recall,%20Printed.pdf
    http://www.marcocares.com/Tucker%20Recall,%20Printed.pdf

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, September 08, 2006 9:52:00 PM  

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Oh the Stupid Games They Play

On Sunday September 3, 2006 a “straw” vote web site was established by which people could vote on whether any one member of the Marco Island city council should be recalled. The web site is at address http://209.15.40.246/miblog/recall/ . The purpose of this effort and web site is to simply and cost-effectively measure the will of the people as it relates to the possibility (well, with today’s news, perhaps more like a near certainty) of desiring a recall election on specific council members.

This web
site was put forth without any inkling whatsoever about the efforts already underway to institute a recall. In truth, a sheer coincidence. Though perhaps not too surprising given the immense level of dissatisfaction of many residents with some city council members that appear to serve special interests – and not those of the citizens.

Late Sunday night an email was sent out to a few concerned citizens about the voting web site.

By Wednesday, there were approximately 30 votes – not bad!


By Thursday afternoon, there were 4,464 votes!? What in the world happened?


Here is what occurred
. The design of the web site was basic in that there was never any anticipation of abuse. Perhaps programmers are naïve in thinking that on such a benign and democratic and non-binding effort – remember that the purpose is just to measure the will of the people – that although there would be a few that would vote several times, but not to the extent that would affect the results.

Boy, were we wrong. One co
mputer alone registered 2,371 votes. Another one computer 908, another one computer 606, and two more registered a combined 326 votes.

Clearly we had an issue. But more importantly, we stumbled upon the extents to which people will go to thwart the democratic process in order to protect God-knows what.


But first things first. By the evening of Thursday September 7, 2006, we purged the database of all of these illicit votes, and did some
more data housecleaning. For example, there were a few other votes that we deemed as not nefarious (e.g. single computers that voted 8 times, 10 times, etc.). All of the votes that came from the serious offenders were deleted. Votes that came from the low repeaters, like those who voted 8 times, all but two of their votes were deleted.

Then we proceeded to upgrade the voting logic. The offending computers are forever banned
from voting. We have also instituted some advanced logic that would prevent single computers from voting excessively or even repeatedly without reason. Please keep in mind that there are important factors to consider – one household with one computer can have more than one legitimate vote – for example, spouses are two votes, and even beyond that as we know that friends can get together, and even relatives can live together (except mothers-in-laws of course).

As of this moment, the new logic is working. The database is pristine. Additionally we are mo
nitoring the site very carefully in lieu of what occurred and in lieu of today’s news of a formal recall drive.

Now, onto the geniuses. We were able to trace the offending computers.

The four most offending computers are:


Computer Address = 71.2.229.204
Node = fl-71-2-229-204.sta.embarqhsd.net
Located at = Winter Park, FL
Using = Sprint DSL Network SDSL-NET9-04
Votes Posted = 2,371

Computer Address = 66.221.54.10
Node = interactiveglobal.propagation.net
Located at = Bedford, TX
Using = USA C I Host CIHOST7

Computer Address = 67.15.97.24
Node = web7.ourinternet.us
Located at = Fort Lauderdale, FL
Using = Our Internet,Inc. EVRY-267

Computer Address = 68.47.146.88 & 68.47.146.115
Nodes = c-68-47-146-88.hsd1.fl.comcast.net & c-68-47-146-115.hsd1.fl.comcast.net
Location at = Miami, FL
Using = Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. NAPLES-1

Note that the “Located at” is where the internet service is provided – not necessarily the physical
location.

But for our greatest offender, we are getting close, real close. The offender appears to come from Naples, between 17 and 18 streets on 54Terrace SW.

To all of those reading these pages – we will pursue this issue to its fullest in the drive to determine the name of the person that is registered to the street address of where the offending computer made the illicit votes. Once we do, their names and address will be publicized.

Of interest …
The intellectual that wrote the robot to pump the 2,371 votes, voted for recalling Mr. Chuck Kiester – and only Mr. Kiester – in every one of the 2,371 votes. Perhaps that gives us some ideas?

The intellectual that wrote the robot to pump the 908 votes, voted for recalling Mr. Chuck Kiester – and only Mr. Kiester – in every one of the 908 votes. Perhaps that gives us some ideas?

The intellectual that wrote the robot to pump the 606 votes, voted for recalling Mr. Chuck Kiester – and only Mr. Kiester – in every one of the 606 votes. Perhaps that gives us some ideas?

It certainly tells us a lot – with additional facts that we will not yet divulge since at some point we will turn over this hacking proof over to the U.S. Attorney’s office for prosecution.

The other two large offenders of the voting nearly always voted for recalling Mr. Kiester, and at times for Mrs. Disciullo and Mr. Forcht.

Can someone refresh our collective memory? Didn’t Mrs. Disciullo, Mr. Forcht and Mr. Kiester vote FOR stopping the sewer project?

What a story – keep watching – and unlike Latin America, DON’T vote often – just vote once!

4 Comments:

  • Mario,

    THANK YOU! It is despicable that anyone would usurp the honesty of a simple straw-poll vote in this way. If nothing else, it speaks volumes about which side in the recall debate upholds democratic principles and plays by AMERICAN rules and which stoops to low despicable tactics!

    I hope you find the perpetrator, expose him or her to the public, and, if possible, prosecute the villian to the full extent of the law.

    Downloadable versions of Mr. Hall's recall petitions and supporting material will soon be posted on the www.marcocares.com website as a public service.

    Ed Foster

    By Blogger CARES-Chair, at Friday, September 08, 2006 12:57:00 PM  

  • Hello I am visiting this blog for the first time and also for the first time I went to the voting site to see what the latest count was.(Just curious) I get a message that says my computer "has been banned".How can this be if I have never been here before today?I have a similar address of a banned ip address posted however they are different.Please address this issue. Thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, September 08, 2006 2:14:00 PM  

  • hi - could you please email me your IP address - email to info@dbiq.com

    also send me your email - so we can communicate without using the blog ...

    i will investigate asap.

    thanks...

    By Anonymous mario, at Friday, September 08, 2006 2:20:00 PM  

  • Ok Mario I will email you now. Thank you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, September 08, 2006 2:22:00 PM  

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Open Letter To Council Members

Greetings Council Members:

I understand from today's Eagle article that you are soliciting citizen input for some of the decisions you are making tonight. That is commendableand I hope you will carefully weigh all of what you receive.

Tonight you will be deciding on the Budget and I want to make a few comments about that.

The city will have a 12 billion dollar taxable property value to draw from. A considerable amount of money for a city the size of Marco Island. Many city administrators across the country managing budgets for comparable communities would be elated by such a windfall. Yet our city managerand his financial director lament not having enough to pay for such basic services as police and fire rescue services or park and recreational services.

Mr. Harrison stated to the Eagle today that "the city has the same cost issuesas every individual and business". I respectfully disagree. We can go backto the rollback rate if our City Council would slow down spending. Unlike,our City Council, thrifty individuals do not spend more than they can affordand successful business owners do not borrow to purchase more infrastructurethan they really require. So give our taxpayers, City Manager our FinancialDirector, our Police and our Fireman a break. Stop trying to rebuild Marco Island in such a short period of time, use more of our good fortune to supportthese basic services. We can eventually have all that we plan for, just be willing to adjust your timetable and wait for it a little longer.

As for this large reserve the City keeps accumulating every year. Start paying for things we really need like replacing the WWTP. We own it, in someway it benefits all of us. Declare it an emergency and use the excess reserveto replace the WWTP if is in such bad condition.

Slow down the STRP, priorto approving a new district test the area and prove that it is required first. We will support you if it is needed. Pay for it out of general revenueso that we can deduct it from our Federal taxes. Don't develop a scheme to bilk the tax payer like your current assessment plan is. The STRP has neverbeen justified and may never be required. 135 million dollars is a lot of moneyto ask us for, especially when you have a 12 billion dollar taxable property pool. When you develop programs that require assessments, you are in fact increasing taxes. An assessment is simply another name for a tax, we are notfooled by this especially when the assessments are not charged across the board. Try harder to be fair and you will have less discontent on the island. Slow down and be reasonable. Mr. Trotter said it best "it's not your money". I know I have already sent you an email regarding the POPS petition and how

I feel you were misinformed by the City Attorney. However, let me simply askyou this question, why do you have so much trouble with the word "may"? Surely you know that this word allows for contingencies. Abide by the Charter,it's intent and not your personal wishes. Stop looking for loopholes.

You are not only sworn to uphold the Charter but to apply it's intent. So takeanother look at your decision, debate the arguments and move forward. I amconfident you will do the right thing and permit the referendum to play out withthe electorate. Do not disenfranchise 2,000 supporters or you will surely have another law suit. You must do the right thing. What are you afraid of? You all sincerely believe that the electorate is on your side, so you already know they will do the right thing.

Thank you for considering my opinions and advise.

Byron Erickson,
1735 Hummingbird Ct.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Open Letter to Chairwoman DiSciullo:

By Byron Erickson

Greetings Chairwoman DiSciullo:

I am dismayed by predictions made today in the NDN regarding the Personal Evaluation of City Manager William Moss and some comments attributed to you.

The article predicts that this City Council will again reward Mr. Moss with a salary increase.

How can this be? Admittedly, I have never had to work directly with Mr. Moss but I have been able to observe his performance during the past year and I cannot for the life of me agree that he has consistently performed at a level deserving of recognition. That said, you certainly are entitled to your opinion. I ask only that before you make up your mind you consider the following and weigh the opinions of your constituents along with your personal experiences.

I submit to you that it is a substantial portion of his job to do the City Council's bidding. Repeatedly, members of this Council have recommended changes and suggestions to the STRP assessments to make them more equitable to those being impacted. Repeatedly Mr. Moss has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy formulating excuses and justifications to not change it. Mr. Moss appears to be on a mission and that is to keep the STRP as it was originally designed, whatever the political cost to the Council. His suggestions for improvement and alternative payment plans are not real changes, they do not make the plan more equitable.

The City Manager's tenure is marked by constant and growing disharmony in our community. Although the Council shares the blame, much of the discontent is directed at Mr. Moss. Political Action Committees have been formed to change the City Charter and others to stop the STRP. Citizens have filed legal actions against policies and programs he designed and ultimately approved by a majority of one. A major contamination of our City on his watch has occurred during the last 12 months. His attempt to cover up the Asbestos mishap alone is enough to stop any bonus payment. The making and distribution of a glossy promotional book directed to our citizens contained false and misleading information that our septic tanks were contaminating our waterways. The making and writing of that document was his doing not the Council's. He is a manipulator and promoter with skills expected of a used car salesman, not skills we should be rewarding.

Public officials have a basic responsibility to protect the public from harm and corruption. Mr. Moss exhibited extremely bad judgment when he requested that the contractor move asbestos pipe to hold down construction material during Hurricane Wilma. It is Mr Moss who is responsible for a flawed contract procurement policy lacking sufficient adequate oversight. This policy has led to accusations of corruption by some of our citizens towards Rony Joel. Mr Moss should know that this type of Policy should be written to deny any implication of undue influence by a contracting official. Former employees of contractors bidding on jobs should not be part of the process.

I have seen written evidence that when he wants to discuss a controversial issue with the Council he requests that he be permitted to meet with each of you on an individual basis. Requests like that are designed to inhibit the council from making decisions under "Group Think". He takes from you the benefit of questions, information and thoughts that the other Council members may have regarding the issue. This is manipulative behavior and should not be entertained. He should be counseled about this and told that this practice is contrary to the spirit of Florida's sunshine laws. He should not be rewarded for these efforts.

You are quoted as saying that his communications skills have improved. I find this statement surprising considering the way he addressed your initiative to make the STRP assessments more equitable. I found his written response to be disrespectful to you and your initiative by consistently referring to your proposal as "The Problem". He now will not communicate with citizens about the STRP because of pending law suits but finds plenty of time to address Marco's commercial community. His limited target audience for these talks are clearly political and should not be permitted. He should be counseled that if he intends to address the community it should be an address to the community at large and not to politically influential groups or institutions.

I suggest that prior to promoting this individual or awarding any further bonus payments you also read the web site at www.earnmarco.com you will see not only evidence of his wrong doing in the asbestos mishap but also statements revealed on video clips of council members and citizens questioning Rony Joel about the asbestos incident. These video clips clearly offer evidence of the crushing of asbestos pipe. Mr. Moss followed this discussion with denial of wrong doing and an admission that he ordered the movement of the pipe.

In spite of what Mr. Moss may believe, the law suits against the City and some of it's employees including Mr. Moss may still go against the City. If it does, any promotion you give him now will look pretty silly and reflect directly upon those that recommended it. Please for the sake of your creditability don't recommend a bonus payment, he really does not deserve it.

Sincerely and thank you for your service.

Byron Erickson,
1735 Hummingbird Ct.

1 Comments:

  • I am seriously dismayed that discussions are being held between the city manager and council members on an individual basis.

    While informal discussions are normal and expected, any discussions on matters of public issues and policies must be brought forth in an open forum. Ergo the sushine law.

    Since using laws to exert good manners or ethics is the tool of the weak (a la lawyers), then let's apply a bit of common sense and courtesy. If the matter being discussed affects us all, why not bring it out in public?

    After all, up until very recently, we were a democracy - weren't we?

    The council members who are elected presummably to represent the citizens shouold insist that all discussions be held openly. If impractical - record them.

    By Blogger mario, at Monday, September 04, 2006 12:09:00 PM  

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Should This Be Attempted?

The 2006 Florida Statutes, Title IX, ELECTORS AND ELECTIONS

Chapter 100
GENERAL, PRIMARY, SPECIAL, BOND, AND REFERENDUM ELECTIONS

100.361 Municipal recall.--

(1) RECALL PETITION.--Any member of the governing body of a municipality or charter county, hereinafter referred to in this section as "municipality," may be removed from office by the electors of the municipality. When the official represents a district and is elected only by electors residing in that district, only electors from that district are eligible to sign the petition to recall that official and are entitled to vote in the recall election. When the official represents a district and is elected at-large by the electors of the municipality, all electors of the municipality are eligible to sign the petition to recall that official and are entitled to vote in the recall election. Where used in this section, the term "district" shall be construed to mean the area or region of a municipality from which a member of the governing body is elected by the electors from such area or region. Members may be removed from office by the following procedure:

(a) A petition shall be prepared naming the person sought to be recalled and containing a statement of grounds for recall in not more than 200 words limited solely to the grounds specified in paragraph (b). If more than one member of the governing body is sought to be recalled, whether such member is elected by the electors of a district or by the electors of the municipality at-large, a separate recall petition shall be prepared for each member sought to be recalled. Upon request, the content of a petition should be, but is not required to be, provided by the proponent in alternative formats.

1. In a municipality or district of fewer than 500 electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 50 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

2. In a municipality or district of 500 or more but fewer than 2,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 100 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

3. In a municipality or district of 2,000 or more but fewer than 5,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 250 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

4. In a municipality or district of 5,000 or more but fewer than 10,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 500 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

5. In a municipality or district of 10,000 or more but fewer than 25,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

6. In a municipality or district of 25,000 or more registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 5 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

Electors of the municipality or district making charges contained in the statement of grounds for recall and those signing the recall petition shall be designated as the "committee." A specific person shall be designated in the petition as chair of the committee to act for the committee. Electors of the municipality or district are eligible to sign the petition. Signatures and oaths of witnesses shall be executed as provided in paragraph (c). All signatures shall be obtained within a period of 30 days, and the petition shall be filed within 30 days after the date the first signature is obtained on the petition.

(b) The grounds for removal of elected municipal officials shall, for the purposes of this act, be limited to the following and must be contained in the petition:

1. Malfeasance;

2. Misfeasance;

3. Neglect of duty;

4. Drunkenness;

5. Incompetence;

6. Permanent inability to perform official duties; and

7. Conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

(c) Each elector of the municipality signing a petition shall sign his or her name in ink or indelible pencil as registered in the office of the supervisor of elections and shall state on the petition his or her place of residence and voting precinct. Each petition shall contain appropriate lines for the signature, printed name, and street address of the elector and an oath, to be executed by a witness thereof, verifying the fact that the witness saw each person sign the counterpart of the petition, that each signature appearing thereon is the genuine signature of the person it purports to be, and that the petition was signed in the presence of the witness on the date indicated.

(d) The petition shall be filed with the auditor or clerk of the municipality or charter county, or his or her equivalent, hereinafter referred to as clerk, by the person designated as chair of the committee, and, when the petition is filed, the clerk shall submit such petition to the county supervisor of elections who shall, within a period of not more than 30 days after the petition is filed with the supervisor, determine whether the petition contains the required valid signatures. The petition cannot be amended after it is filed with the clerk. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked. Upon filing with the clerk, the petition and all subsequent papers or forms required or permitted to be filed with the clerk in connection with this section must, upon request, be made available in alternative formats.

(e) If it is determined that the petition does not contain the required signatures, the clerk shall so certify to the governing body of the municipality or charter county and file the petition without taking further action, and the matter shall be at an end. No additional names may be added to the petition, and the petition shall not be used in any other proceeding.

(f) If it is determined that the petition has the required signatures, then the clerk shall at once serve upon the person sought to be recalled a certified copy of the petition. Within 5 days after service, the person sought to be recalled may file with the clerk a defensive statement of not more than 200 words. The clerk shall, within 5 days, prepare a sufficient number of typewritten, printed, or mimeographed copies of the recall petition and defensive statement, as well as the names, addresses, and oaths on the original petition, and deliver them to the person who has been designated as chair of the committee and take his or her receipt therefor. Such prepared copies shall be entitled "Recall Petition and Defense" and shall contain lines and spaces for signatures and printed names of registered electors, place of residence, election precinct number, and date of signing, together with oaths to be executed by the witnesses which conform to the provisions of paragraph (c). The clerk shall deliver forms sufficient to carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors.

(g) Upon receipt of the "Recall Petition and Defense," the committee may circulate them to obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. Any elector who signs a recall petition shall have the right to demand in writing that his or her name be stricken from the petition. A written demand signed by the elector shall be filed with the clerk and upon receipt of the demand the clerk shall strike the name of the elector from the petition and place his or her initials to the side of the signature stricken. However, no signature may be stricken after the clerk has delivered the "Recall Petition and Defense" to the supervisor of elections for verification.

(h) Within 60 days after delivery of the "Recall Petition and Defense" to the chair, the chair shall file with the clerk the "Recall Petition and Defense" which bears the signatures of electors. The clerk shall assemble all signed petitions, check to see that each petition is properly verified by the oath of a witness, and submit such petitions to the county supervisor of elections, who shall determine the number of valid signatures, purge the names withdrawn, certify within 30 days whether 15 percent of the qualified electors of the municipality have signed the petitions, and report his or her findings to the governing body. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.

(i) If the petitions do not contain the required signatures, the clerk shall report such fact to the governing body and file the petitions, the proceedings shall be terminated, and the petitions shall not again be used. If the signatures do amount to at least 15 percent of the qualified electors, the clerk shall serve notice of that fact upon the person sought to be recalled and deliver to the governing body a certificate as to the percentage of qualified voters who signed.

(2) RECALL ELECTION.--If the person designated in the petition files with the clerk, within 5 days after the last-mentioned notice, his or her written resignation, the clerk shall at once notify the governing body of that fact, and the resignation shall be irrevocable. The governing body shall then proceed to fill the vacancy according to the provisions of the appropriate law. In the absence of a resignation, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the municipality is located shall fix a day for holding a recall election for the removal of those not resigning. Any such election shall be held not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the expiration of the 5-day period last-mentioned and at the same time as any other general or special election held within the period; but if no such election is to be held within that period, the judge shall call a special recall election to be held within the period aforesaid.

(3) BALLOTS.--The ballots at the recall election shall conform to the following: With respect to each person whose removal is sought, the question shall be submitted: "Shall _____ be removed from the office of _____ by recall?" Immediately following each question there shall be printed on the ballots the two propositions in the order here set forth:

" (name of person) should be removed from office."

" (name of person) should not be removed from office."

(4) FILLING OF VACANCIES; SPECIAL ELECTIONS.--

(a) If an election is held for the recall of members elected only at-large, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at the same election and shall be elected in the same manner as provided by the appropriate law for the election of candidates at general elections. Candidates shall not be elected to succeed any particular member. If only one member is removed, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected to fill the vacancy. If more than one member is removed, candidates equal in number to the number of members removed shall be declared elected to fill the vacancies; and, among the successful candidates, those receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected for the longest terms. Cases of ties, and all other matters not herein specially provided for, shall be determined by the rules governing elections generally.

(b) If an election is held for the recall of members elected only from districts, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election called by the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the districts are located not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the expiration of the recall election. The qualifying period, for purposes of this section, shall be established by the chief judge of the judicial circuit after consultation with the clerk. Any candidate seeking election to fill the unexpired term of a recalled district municipal official shall reside in the district represented by the recalled official and qualify for office in the manner required by law. Each candidate receiving the highest number of votes for each office in the special district recall election shall be declared elected to fill the unexpired term of the recalled official. Candidates seeking election to fill a vacancy created by the removal of a municipal official shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 106.

(c) When an election is held for the recall of members of the governing body composed of both members elected at-large and from districts, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election as provided in paragraph (b).

(d) However, in any recall election held pursuant to paragraph (b) or paragraph (c), if only one member is voted to be removed from office, the vacancy created by the recall shall be filled by the governing body according to the provisions of the appropriate law for filling vacancies.

(5) EFFECT OF RESIGNATIONS.--If the member of the governing body being recalled resigns from office prior to the recall election, the remaining members shall fill the vacancy created according to the appropriate law for filling vacancies. If all of the members of the governing body are sought to be recalled and all of the members resign prior to the recall election, the recall election shall be canceled, and a special election shall be called to fill the unexpired terms of the resigning members. If all of the members of the governing body are sought to be recalled and any of the members resign prior to the recall election, the proceedings for the recall of members not resigning and the election of successors to fill the unexpired terms shall continue and have the same effect as though there had been no resignation.

(6) WHEN PETITION MAY BE FILED.--No petition to recall any member of the governing body of a municipality shall be filed until the member has served one-fourth of his or her term of office. No person removed by a recall, or resigning after a petition has been filed against him or her, shall be eligible to be appointed to the governing body within a period of 2 years after the date of such recall or resignation. The clerk shall preserve in his or her office all papers comprising or connected with a petition for recall for a period of 2 years after they were filed. This method of removing members of the governing body of a municipality is in addition to such other methods now or hereafter provided by the general laws of this state.

(7) OFFENSES RELATING TO PETITIONS.--No person shall impersonate another, purposely write his or her name or residence falsely in the signing of any petition for recall or forge any name thereto, or sign any paper with knowledge that he or she is not a qualified elector of the municipality. No expenditures for campaigning for or against an officer being recalled shall be made until the date on which the recall election is to be held is publicly announced. The committee and the officer being recalled shall be subject to chapter 106. No person shall employ or pay another to accept employment or payment for circulating or witnessing a recall petition. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree and shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by law.

(8) INTENT.--It is the intent of the Legislature that the recall procedures provided in this act shall be uniform statewide. Therefore, all municipal charter and special law provisions which are contrary to the provisions of this act are hereby repealed to the extent of this conflict.

(9) PROVISIONS APPLICABLE.--The provisions of this act shall apply to cities and charter counties whether or not they have adopted recall provisions.

History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 74-130; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 12, ch. 77-175; s. 1, ch. 77-279; s. 1, ch. 81-312; s. 20, ch. 83-217; s. 17, ch. 89-338; s. 15, ch. 90-315; s. 549, ch. 95-147; s. 14, ch. 95-280; s. 1, ch. 2000-249; s. 5, ch. 2001-40; s. 8, ch. 2002-281.

2 Comments:

  • If this is intended to remove Popoff from office I am totally for it. He certainly led many of us astray with his promises prior to being elected. His intentions were certainly not honorable so I will support any effort to creat a recall of this individual from office.

    By Blogger Moon Courter, at Saturday, September 02, 2006 5:56:00 AM  

  • I support removing Tucker because he is inconsistent in thought and shows contempt for the very people he is sworn to represent and therefore not competent to represent anyone. Tucker's actions and lack of corrective action during the asbestos mishap also make him guilty of misfeasance. Tucker's recent support of an unequal STRP assessment makes him guilty of Malfeasance. I support removing Minozzi because he is guilty of malfeasance by being an original and continuing supporter of imposing an unequal and unnecessary program costing the taxpayers 135 million dollars without citizen input. Minnozzi actions during the asbestos mishap also makes him guilty of malfeasance. His inability and unwillingness to seek out an equitable assessment to the STRP reveal his incompetance. I support the removal of Trotter because he has consistently shown an inability to represent any constituency within the community he serves and therefore he is incompetent to serve as a Representive at Large. Trotter is guilty of Malfeasance for not taking any action during the Asbestos mishap endangering the health and welfare of many whom he is charged to represent. Trotter is also guilty of Misfeasance for continuing to support an unequal assessment for the STRP and for continued support of the STRP, a program that he will not justify a need for and one that possibly will damage the ecology of his community and harm the health and welfare of those he is sworn to represent. Mr. Popoff is not eligible for recall or I would also support his removal for failing to maintain campaign promises thereby obtaining office through guile and dishonesty and is at the least guilty of misfeasance at the least.Byron Erickson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 02, 2006 7:02:00 AM  

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